The MMO Geek: What to look forward to at PAX East

mmo geek

Gaming conventions are a curious thing for me. A lot of times you cannot fully appreciate them unless you are there, taking in the sights and sounds. Gaming companies usually go all out, creating elaborate booths and props, bring in some heavy hitting developers, and hiring ridiculously hot cosplay chicks. From home, I get to just browse various news sites in the wake of it all, taking in news and marveling at all the cool stuff. That said, I still get crazy excited about these conventions, because it’s a time when we are guaranteed some big MMO news. It’s not always from publishers I’m uber interested in, but usually there’s at least one cool little snippet that piques my interest. In today’s article, let’s take a quick look at five storylines I’m interested in following this year at PAX East in Boston.

What is Blizzard announcing?

For quite a while now Blizzard employees have been hinting about a big new reveal coming at PAX East. We’re already getting Diablo III on the PS4; is it possible we might see Starcraft join it? I would say probably not, given that they’re stating this is something totally new. We should assume pretty heavily that they’re not announcing Titan- they’ll save that for Blizzcon when the spotlight is solely on them. Other popular guesses are the ability to craft or pet battle via Blizz’s mobile app, or perhaps some other way to stay connected outside of the game. Time will tell!

What is the general reaction to the new Elder Scrolls game?

The new Elder Scrolls MMO is on tap to be playable at PAX, and I for one am very interested in seeing fan reaction. Some reviews by the gaming media have begun to leak out, and from what I have read it seems to be a fairly positive reaction. That said, we as gamers are far more cynical (see: harsh) on the games we play, so let’s see how they rate it. While a convention setting isn’t quite the perfect place to test a game, seeing as how you’re probably already experiencing sensory overload, it should at least give us an idea of what people think.

How are fans taking to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn?

It’s no secret by this point that Final Fantasy’s second foray into MMO’s was a bit of a mess. They’ve spent the past couple years working to fix it in the form of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. I’ve always been a huge sucker for Final Fantasy games, dating back to Final Fantasy seven when I was just a wee tyke, and while I haven’t played any recent incarnations, I have read some pretty interesting stuff about this game. Final Fantasy XI always held a special place in my heart, as it competed with EQ for the first MMO I wanted to play (I eventually chose EverQuest), so obviously its sequel would hold some appeal. Will this be the game fans are looking for? Director Naoki Yoshida is one of the more passionate personalities in the MMO industry, so it’ll be fun to see if he can breathe some life into a game and satisfy what Final Fantasy fans are looking for.

What do developers think about the future of MMO’s?

Fun fact: when I sent in a writing sample to Stuart and William in an effort to become a writer for GeeksFTW, I wrote an article that posed the hypothetical question, “What is the future of MMOs?” Apparently I was not the only one asking this question. A panel is being featured at PAX that features developers from many prominent MMOs gathering for a Q&A on the future of online gaming. I will be watching anxiously to learn what they feel is going to take precedence moving forward. What will gaming companies focus their attention on? How will what is happening now influence what is going to happen in the future? What do they want to see? Fans will also have the opportunity to ask questions, so it’ll be fun to see what fans are curious about.

What’s going to be the sleeper hit?

Usually people emerge from these conventions talking about one game or another in an exceedingly positive light. I seem to remember a couple years ago hearing talk about how TERA was exciting people. Now when I say “sleeper hit,” I mostly mean which game garnished the most buzz; I felt the need to clarify that given that TERA didn’t do too stellar out of the gates (though it has experienced quite the renaissance with the F2P  transition). What new game will people walk away from PAX East talking about this year? Will MMO gamers have something to look forward to after, or will single player games steal the show this year?

I’m excited about the opportunity to cover this event as a gaming journalist (sort of), even if it is from a distance.  I’m curious to know all your thoughts on what you are most excited about when it comes to PAX East. Also, don’t feel like you have to constrain it purely to MMO’s; if you’re ultra excited to learn about some new D&D news or the next great fighting game, feel free to comment on that as well!

Happy gaming!