Okie dokie well, in the interest of time (got back several days ago) and with a new semester starting in a few days, plus a dangling Act II and III…i was going to combine the rest of my Gen Con experience into a single post here.
However, that post had mutated into a giant mega-post! We did so much stuff, it simply would not do to contain it within the confines of a single post. So without any further ado, let’s get into Day Two of my experience at Gen Con 2013!
We left off last time with a much-needed night of sleep after a day of driving, gaming, and scouting out the convention floor. As i mentioned previously, Day One was really just plain old overwhelming. Personally, i was disappointed in myself for not playing more games, especially my beloved D&D. Expressing those concerns to my attending buddy, he admitted similar feelings but put an optimistic spin on the situation. Since we’d both already resolved to return next year, he explained that this trip was primarily an information-gathering quest so that we’d be 100% ready for 2014. i could get on board with that, sure.
Our goals for Day Two were pretty simple. The DDOcast Live was at 4 p.m. and we knew for certain we wanted to go to that. Besides that, we returned to Gen Con with an eye towards taking stock of what to prep for next year. Properly caffienized we hit the floor for more walking around in amazement. One thing that called to us was the True Dungeon, a two-hour live action walkthrough adventure. That was our first stop. According to the map in the program book the space where it was set up was pretty massive, so we were stoked about seeing it. Bewildered, we tread inside the entrance ready for anything.
After gazing around in stupefied excitement for a moment we made our way over to what looked like an informational booth, which thankfully it was. After expressing our newbitude to the volunteer there, she explained what the True Dungeon was and how it works. There are three different adventures paths you can take, depending on what your interested in doing. One is filled with a lot of monster battles, one presents puzzles and riddles, and the third…you know i don’t think she actually told us what kind of adventure it was. i read more about it afterwards and it seems there are just the two types of paths, but it’s a multi-stage adventure.
Anyway, as you proceed through your adventure, you collect treasure tokens for things like Cure Light Wounds potions, cloaks of elvenkind, and various and sundry other magical and mundane gear that helps you best the challenges you face. When the adventure is complete, i believe you have an opportunity to redeem your treasure tokens for pulls out of a treasure chest of swag. The coupon booklet had a coupon for something like 10 free tokens as well. Pretty cool.
Since we were already sold on the idea before even crossing the threshold, by the time she’d finished her spiel we were like “hell yeah we want to do this!”
Unfortunately, she went on to tell us that the True Dungeon was sold out for the entire weekend.
In fact, it’s probably the most popular event at Gen Con every year, and typically sells out within minutes of open registration! She did give us a tip that there were some brokers around would sell their tickets, and we searched about the area for one but, unable to find any, we headed back out into the convention. We were pretty disappointed about missing out on the True Dungeon, but since this was our scouting mission, we made a solemn vow that next year we’d make sure to try to register for this immediately. i guess the trick is to put every timeblock on your registration wishlist, make sure you’re logged in when registration opens and mash that mouse button furiously! So that’s our plan for 2014. True Dungeon is #1 on the must-do list. It’s one thing to play the rogue in your campaign and roll the dice hoping to disarm that trap. It’s an entirely different thing to physically do just that, and answer riddles posed by live monsters and stuff. Yeah yeah, i know it sounds pretty dorky – but only to those of you for whom RPGs are inherently dorky. If you’re an RPG’er, you’d be geeking out about it too.
By this time it was mid-afternoon. Time to snag a bite to eat. Despite all the unusual and unique cuisine offered by the food trucks (i’d decided to only eat from them – gotta support those foodies!) it was a game convention after all, so i had to get me some pizza at some point, right? Fortunately i knew just where to go. The NY Slice had caught my the day prior. i love NYC and i love pizza and i love those big NY slices so for me this was a no-brainer. Plus, i got some of the more amusing pics from Gen Con while waiting in line. Yes, that is Deadpool ordering a New York slice.
While munching down our ‘za i also spotted a really terrific hobbit costume, complete with a Lothlorien cloak and walking stick, but i had my hands full of pie so i couldn’t get a pic. i did, however, give the guy a nod to let him know i dug his style. As a bonus, he had a sweet looking pipe that was actually a vape device. Well-played, hobbit of the shire, well played. On the downside he did have a goatee, so the nerd in me was thinking “hey dude – hobbits don’t have facial hair!” But i can tell you from experience that when you’re used to sporting facial hair, and then you shave it off, you look weird even to yourself. So he lost a couple points for authenticity, but it was a great costume nonetheless.
It was approaching 4 p.m. by this time, so it was off to find DDOcast Live. i was pretty stoked about this for several reasons. It was the only official DDO event at Gen Con, which made showing up pretty much mandatory. Not only had we been playing nearly since release, but it was the final broadcast to be hosted by Sig Trent and his wife Anne, and it was live! Also, there were more than a couple people i’ve met through the blogosphere who would be there and i thought it would be really cool to meet them in person. If you’re a DDO player, i highly suggest visiting The Order of Syncletica, DDO Gamer, and any of the other blogs from OurDDO (including this one!).
Located in one of the satellite hotels to the convention center, DDOcast Live had a nice turnout of about two dozen. The hosts Sig, Anne, and frequent guest Geoff were happy with the attendance numbers too. They were worried that barely anyone would show, but the DDO community pulled together and represented at Gen Con, which was great to see. i know i’ve been taking a little hiatus from the game, but that’s the nature of MMOs and i am happy to say my interest was reinvigorated by the show.
The podcast had the usual assortment of game and community news, but since it was live, we in the audience got to participate too by sharing what we’d been up to in-game. There was also a Jeopardy!-style segment for a chance to win the Shadowfell Conspiracy x-pac and lots of other giveaways throughout the podcast as well.
Finally, there were a few representatives from Turbine in attendence like Tolero and Producer Glin, who joined the panel and took some questions from the audience. i am happy to report that i got a chance to not only request they refocus on Eberron but also to add psionics to the game. Like so many fantasy gamers out there, i cut my teeth on the Forgotten Realms, and when DDO came out i was like “what the hell is Eberron?!” But that was a long time ago, and i’ve grown to really enjoy the Keith Baker’s award-winning campaign setting. So why they choose to continually expand into FR – especially in light of NWO‘s release – is beyond me. Stick with what brought you to the dance, Turbine! Who needs another pastoral/medieval fantasy setting we’ve seen a million times? Give me back the magicpunk world of artificers and airships. Besides, didn’t we defeat Lolth’s schemes in Caught in the Web? Close that portal and bring us back to Xen’drik, please. As for the psionics, i hear and read a lot that “it’s just like magic so what’s the point?” Well, two things actually. One: the point is for flavor – it’s an important part of the setting. And two: who cares if it’s like magic? i’m sure there’d be some cross-over spells, but there would also be some new ones, and i want to shoot monsters with mind bullets dammit!
Anyway, by the end of the podcast, i was walking out of there with free Turbine points, a code for free astral shards, an exclusive Turbine dice bag, and a new pin to adorn my Gen Con badge lanyard. And i got to shake hands and talk with TeacherSyn and Gamer Geoff – two other bloggers who i’ve communicated with several times online. So that was really cool. Everyone in attendance seemed to have a really good time, and the show went great. It was very cool to feel like a part of a community like that. i mean, yeah all 50K of us at Gen Con were one thing, but this was a special little niche and we were proud to say we were there.
But wait! The DDO goodness didn’t stop there. As i understand it, an evening of drinks and camaraderie for DDO is a Gen Con tradition, and we all planned to meet up at the Severin bar that night. So after leaving the podcast, we headed back to the car to drop off the day’s swag before making our way to the Omni Hotel where the Severin was. i think we chose that place because it kind of sounds like Severus, which as we all know is a Harry Potter reference. i’m sure that’s not what the bar owners were thinking when they named it, but it worked for us. Yeah, we’re dorks.
The remainder of Friday evening was filled with a growing crowd of DDO’ers and the acquisition of pretty much all the tables in the bar area that morphed into some kind of mutant mega-table. One of the fine folks of Turbine whose name i didn’t catch arrived and bought a bunch of appetizers for everyone too. These included sticks of fried bacon, which of course were favorites. There is also a traditional DDO-inspired cocktail menu that has developed over the last few years. i may have imbibed some of these had i been aware of it beforehand, but by the time it was brought up i’d already started down the path of Newcastle. Beer before liquor and all that.
Everyone there had a really super time! At my end of the table were Sig and Anne, my friend who came to Gen Con with me, and the other guy who i understand used to be one of the GMs for DDO. i didn’t get his name either, but he was a riot. Very funny guy. Mostly we all just talked about DDO and it was refreshing to hear everyone telling what they liked about the game and all the fun times they’d had playing it (unlike a visit to the forums, which is quite the opposite!).
At one point, we went around the table introducing ourselves and noting our main toon’s name and server. Imagine my surprise when Solbiter from Sarlona stood up – he’s in my guild Sacred Flame Guardians! That was a real treat to meet someone with whom i’d run around in-game quite a bit. Quite some time ago, when i was fresh to the guild, i remember Solbiter jumping in to help us finish my favorite quest chain – Attack on Stormreach.
So Friday night was basically an evening of DDO. We got to participate in Sig and Anne’s final DDOcast before passing the reins on to Shemgar. i got to meet Geoff and Teachersyn in person, hang out with Tolero, run into a guildie in person, and spend the night carousing and sharing stories of all the great times we’ve all had playing DDO.
Now, if you’re keeping track, i’m heading into Day 3 of the Best Four Days in Gaming and i have yet to play Dungeons and Dragons. This will not stand.
i was resolved that i absolutely would not go home without playing D&D, which i would consider a mortal sin for attending Gen Con. As i told my friend, i intended to wake up early Saturday, head to the D&D Play area, and immediately play D&D. No exceptions.
And that’s what we did…
…More on that later!