The first thing to remember about going to PAX East is that you can’t see everything that’s being offered. There is always going to be a booth or a talk that you couldn’t get to. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead of time what kind of experience you want from PAX and what you want to do to make sure you get the most out of your experience, whether it be trying to catch every event and talk hosted by companies such as Riot and Blizzard or just walking around the show floor looking at any of the booths that catch your eye.
The show floor of PAX is where the action and the crowd are. On the lowest floor of the Boston Convention Center, where PAX is held, is where all the booths were set up, from indie game developers, to custom Dungeons and Dragons dice makers, to the big names like Riot’s League of Legends booth. There were several big name game companies on the show floor.
One of the most impressive displays was Riot’s League of Legends booth, where they had Riot employees playing each other. The booth had a giant screen at the center of it, showing their game. Scattered around the booth were five smaller panels, each devoted to a different game role: Top, ADC, Support, Mid, and Jungle. People would gather around the booth and talk to Riot employees, answer trivia about League, and watch the game.
Another very impressive booth was from Blizzard, where they showed off the next expansion to World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard also had a playable demo of their new Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), Heroes of the Storm.
Although each booth had its own way of pulling people in, one of the most interesting displays was 2K’s, which had a giant 15-20 foot statue of a monster from its new game Evolve. Scattered around these large booths were a plethora of smaller tables for indie game companies, shops trying to sell their gaming related products, and cosplayers walking the show floor taking pictures with people.
There were much more than only video games or video game booths at PAX. Wizards of the Coast made an appearance with their popular trading card game, Magic the Gathering. In addition to showing a preview of the next set of cards, Wizards also held various magic tournaments. In fact, half the show floor was devoted to tables and computers for tabletop game tournaments or video game tournaments. There were tournaments running all during PAX, playing games from Halo 4, to FIFA, to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which were only the console tournaments. There were also tabletop tournaments running all PAX for games like Warhammer 40,000, Dominion, and Blood Bowl.
On the other floors of PAX, there were several conference rooms in which talks were held. You could get into these talks on a first come, first serve basis. The talks were on various topics, like “The future of online games”, “Mega64 Panel for True Kinect Gamers”, and “Lost in Translation: Do Crossovers Work?” These can range from fun topics to serious discussions on the gaming industry.
PAX East is a wonderful experience for anybody who enjoys any type of video, tabletop, or card games. There was so much to see and do at PAX that it’s impossible to get the full experience. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the PAX!