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The Guild Wars 2 Fan Experience at PAX East 2011

Posted Wed, Mar 16, 2011 by Sardu

The GW2 Fan Experience at PAX East 2011

Like most industries, life in this nutty world we call games media has its good points and its bad points. There are times when it’s kind of like busting open a bag of what you thought was your favorite trail mix only to discover that it’s got strawberry flavored sardines in it. While you can pick out the offending aquatics pretty easily, you’re still left with a bag full of nuts that taste like fake, fishy strawberries.

On the flip side, I wouldn’t change what I do to afford those oddball bags of strawberry sardine flavored trail mix for the world. Case in point: I got to attend PAX East not only as an industry professional, but also as a long-time hardcore fan of all things Guild Wars.

Now in its second year, PAX East is already beginning to take a similar shape to its west coast counterpart. That is to say, it’s quickly establishing itself as one of the better fan events in the industry. But purely fan focused events can often be a mixed bag much like the one described above. Sometimes developers are a bit less inclined to reveal major new aspects of their projects due to less potential mass media exposure. Or, as was originally the case with ArenaNet, if they do plan to give fans something completely new to be excited about during one of these events, all it takes is one media outlet breaking an embargo to spoil things for everyone else, thus adding their own special brand of sardines into the mix.

PAX East 2011 Expo Hall

"Fully Loaded" is certainly one way you could describe the expo hall at PAX East this year

An interesting side effect of that whole nutty chain of events surrounding the early reveal of the thief profession is that not only did fans get to learn about what’s new in the latest demo build before heading to the event, it also granted them the opportunity to decide exactly what part of the game they wanted to check out first if they managed to snag one of the highly coveted demo stations.

While the professional in me had a set agenda for the bulk of my two days in Boston, the obsessive Tyrian lore nerd and Guild Wars fan in me spent as much time as I could stalking the various members of the ArenaNet team that were on hand for the event. Along the way I also had the opportunity to connect with a lot of franchise fans, both old and new.

But knowing that there were plenty of other fans that couldn’t make the trip to Boston this weekend, I wanted to give you at least some idea of what the whole experience was like not only from the perspective of the manager of a dedicated Guild Wars 2 fansite, but the fan side of that equation as well. After all, “fan” is right there in the word, and it’s because of all of you that I love what I do so much.

GW2 in the Alienware Booth

"Fully Loaded" is also a good way to describe the Alienware booth on Friday morning thanks to the legion of fans who showed up to play the Guild Wars 2 demo

As you can see in the above image, the initial Alienware booth takeover on Friday morning was literally spilling over with GW2 fans eager to watch the demo being played by others even if they weren’t able to get in on the action during those first 2 hours themselves. Apart from the small team running the media presentation upstairs, most of the Anet devs were down on the show floor and readily available for fans to ask whatever questions they could dream up. This held true throughout the weekend, with a constantly rotating cast of Anet All-Stars such as Colin Johanson, Jeff Grubb, Jon Peters and many more making the rounds.

You're the man, Sardu!

I knew we could count on you to get us the goods on GW2 at PAX East. I'm looking forward to reading all that priceless info you got from the ANet devs.

The young lady in the Gwen costume did a great job with it. It looks just like her. I'm sure there were plenty of guys there who wished they had brought their Keiran costume :D

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