If you haven't been to SOE Live yet, it can be quite overwhelming in the best possible way period. If you don't go to SOE Live, but are a fan of SOE's titles, chances are, there is some tidbit of news you want to come out of Vegas over the next few days. Whether you're attending in person, F5ing your favorite subreddits, or eagerly consuming live streams, here's a few tips to get you through the next few days. Team Hammer will be attending in person, so if you see one of us, be sure to come say hi!
If you're going in person, chances are you've already booked your hotel and purchased your pass. This is not something to slack on. Closer to the actual event, prices increase and there's a good chance that by the time you get there, only the Vagabond Inn has rooms (but hey, it has a nice view of Treasure Island), you'll be at the mercy of flying standby, and you probably won't be able to get a full event pass. Unless you're planning on only attending for one day, you really don't want a day pass.
This is Las Vegas. Going outside will feel like the world is trying to kill you. I don't care about people arguing that at least the heat is dry heat. Guys, hot is hot. Dry just makes it feel like the world is trying to back you instead of suffocate you the way humidity works. If you don't go outside often, you'll be in a complex that engulfs several city blocks, so be prepared to breathe in nothing but recycled air for the duration of your stay. Long story short, stay hydrated. Don't just sit at the penny slots all day long drinking the watered down booze the cocktail waitresses are schlepping.
This smug goat hella planned ahead. Just look at how satisfied he is.
Whether or not you're at home or in Vegas, the last point for planning ahead is sage advice for everyone. Be sure to go over the schedule ahead of time and choose what you want to see. This is especially important if you're in person, because if you're finding out last minute that the EverQuest Next Keynote overlaps with DCUO's Design with the Devs, you're not going to want to have to choose last minute. There's also a good chance that attending one panel or another comes down to whether or not you have to get from one end of the convention area to the other can be saved through a little planning. This works for you folks staying at home, as well. Did you know that in addition to SOE's main livestream on Twitch that individual games have their own streams, as well?
Devs Are People, Too
If you're coming in person (or maybe just rapid firing comments on Twitch), remember that the people presenting are real people with real feelings. I know I've said this time and time again, but if you have criticisms, keep them constructive. There's a good chance you won't find out some information you wanted to find out (me personally, I'm hoping we'll see EverQuest Next Halfling anything) or if the information you do find out isn't what you wanted to hear (I'm just going to go out on a limb here and assume that EverQuest Next will be absolutely nothing like the original EverQuest, so if that's what you're looking for, expect disappointment). This doesn't mean that it's a free-for-all time to see how creative you can get with your insults or start listing off all of the things and people you want to see die in a fire.
Just because you aren't happy with something isn't a license to lash out. It's OK to not like things. However, don't take this as me saying to never let someone know you're dissatisfied. Just, you know, maybe try adding in a little “constructive” with that “criticism” eh? Not sure how to be constructive? Think of something you recently decided sucks. You just said, “this really sucks” and moved along without much else. Now, let's back up and look at the matter. What sucked about it? Instead of saying “racial choices for EverQuest Next really suck,” a constructive criticism would be: “I really wish we could know more about racial choices. I don't want to play as a Human or a Kerra, and creating a desirable character is really important to me.” You could even go so far as to add in suggestions on how you think they could improve. “Come on, SOE, let's see some Halflings!” Boom. Constructive.
Say Hi To Strangers
Let's have some real talk here. SOE Live is a celebration of MMOs. Massively multiplayer. We're not celebrating single player games, here. A large portion of what makes up these games would be the communities that play and support them. If you're attending in person, pay attention to SOE badges, since they'll have character names on them. If you haven't already arranged meetups with your friends beforehand, see if you can have some happy coincidences by running into them! Otherwise, see if you can find more folks who are having a good time. I met one of my closest friends for the first time at what was then Fan Faire and it's an experience I'll never forget.
While you're out saying hi to all the strangers, realize that if they're devs and you aren't personally close friends with them already, they will have a super busy schedule. On top of that, other folks will want to chat them up as they run in-between panels, press meets and other events. Devs are a shared commodity and resource at events like these, so please, take your time with them but remember to share!
Dear Hollywood, zombies don't need to breathe, so naturally water won't phase them.
In a similar vein, I also highly recommend to pay attention to the offsite parties and attend those. I'm not a karaoke person at all, but that party is fantastic. Any SOE sponsored offsite parties provide shuttle transportation, so when you get bored of watching people badly sing “Baby Got Back,” don't worry, you can get back to your bed without issue before everything really goes downhill. Even if you don't have a costume, go to Zombie Prom. We're also hosting a pool party that night. Stop on by and help us in celebrating our first ten years of geeking out over multiplayer online games!
Fine Tune Your Information
As with any convention, there will be a great amount of information coming out. If you're attending SOE Live this year and already have your schedule sorted out, then you likely don't need to pay too much to what is going on online. If you're attending with friends, be sure to have their numbers for texting, but also have alternative contact (WhatsApp, for example), in case cell reception is spotty or clogged. SOE Live can be overwhelming and trying to keep up with the internet might make you crazy. For those of you attending, I recommend either sticking straight to the real world or having a very short list of what's going on on the internet. Shameless plug, you can subscribe to the Team Hammer Twitter feed if you're not sure where to start!
Bunny once tried to read every tweet ever tweeted and now look at him.
For you offsite folks, you'll have a lot more wiggle room. Not only can you follow Team Hammer on Twitter, but all of your favorite SOE devs, some other news sites, and all of your favorite gaming personalities. You can keep an eye on #SOELive for that feed. You'll be able to watch Twitch streams for all of the games SOE has (full schedule is at the main SOE Twitch channel now), and Facebook is also another great place to get information. No matter what your social media poison is, you'll be able to get your SOE Live fix in just about any form possible.
But Most Importantly...
Have fun! I've said that SOE Live is overwhelming. It's also an absolutely incredible experience, full of extremely passionate people who are either into the games they're creating or into the games created for them. Not only that, but this is the time where once a year SOE will unleash all of the juicy news they've been saving up for us to consume. If you're a big fan of SOE's games, this is one of the most exciting times of the year for news. Whether attending or at home, there will be plenty announced to digest. If you take the time to figure out how to best attain the news, you'll be set up for maximum enjoyment.
What games are you following this year and what news for those games are you hoping to hear about most?