PAX Recap Part One

So, I should post about PAX '07 before it all fades into blurry memory. Short version: it rocked. For those with short memories, Karin and I went to PAX '05 and enjoyed it, but didn't make it out there last year for PAX '06. A big problem with PAX is that they always schedule it for the same time (the weekend before Labor Day weekend) and that always ends up being the same time relative to Karin's schedule: after she has to report back and the weekend before kids show up. So it's always a challenge to make it work. But this year they moved PAX to a bigger venue and beefed up the concert list enough to make Karin sigh and say "OK, let's go!" So we scooted out there Friday after she got out of work. We were worried about making the concert so went straight to the convention center and pretty got right in the concert line (still wheeling carry-on suitcases even). Because we missed most of Friday we didn't get to see Wil Wheaton's keynote, which sucks but what-are-you-gonna-do?Friday night we saw the One Ups, Optimus Rhyme, and Freezepop. (The Neskimos played after Freezepop, but us old folks bailed out and went to the hotel - we got there around 2 AM! This is the second time we've gone to PAX and skipped out on these poor fellows. I'm sure they are great.) I liked the One Ups quite a bit. It's all 8 bit classic themes, much like the Minibosses but they are more . . . jazzy I guess? This is the third time I've seen Optimus Rhyme, in the third venue (they were at PAX '05 and on tour with MC Frontalot back in February) and every time I cannot understand the lyrics because the instrumental mix overpowers the singing. Back at PAX '05 I blamed it on the acoustics of the show but now I'm thinking they must do that on purpose, and I don't really care for it. Freezepop was fantastic, well worth going to see.Saturday we slept pretty late (see not checking in until 2AM above) and then set about maximizing our one full day in Seattle. We made an early dinner reservation at the hotel's semi-fancy seafood bar and headed over to the show to grab the wristbands for guaranteed admission to the second concert. Then we grabbed lunch and planned out the rest of the day. We wanted to see the "Make a strip panel" like we did in '05 but that would have left less than an hour for the expo floor, and we weren't sure we'd want to go back on Sunday to the show. I wasn't sure how I felt about the floor in this post-E3 era, so I wanted to make sure we gave it enough time. We finally decided to hit the floor and let me do a quick read on it and if I was in doubt we'd skip the make-a-strip panel. Turned out we skipped it and I'm happy we did. I got to see Rock Band (but chose not to wait to play it - it was a huge line) and Karin and I played a game of Eye of Judgement. We also later played a demo game of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, looked at a bunch of stuff (saw the Starcraft board game, which looks cool) and played a bit with the character creator from the Penny Arcade game.Eye of Judgement . . . it's hard to say. First off, the person supposedly running the table knew less about playing the game than I did (and I haven't been tracking it that closely). The main concern I have right now is that as we played it you get a flat 2 mana per turn. Well, most cards cost more than two mana to play and most creatures costs 2 or more mana to even attack so it seems like you end up passing every other turn. Most TCG games have a curve where you slowly build up resources so you can play bigger cards later, but if you just get 2 mana a turn forever things never really get "cheaper". Karin played this monstrous dragon which looked fierce but she never had the mana do anything with it again. If there's not some other element to this (more mana based on square control or creatures that generate mana or something) this game is going to play very ponderous and sloooooooowwwwww. I can't quite believe that Wizards would ship it with the card element that broken, so I'm assuming there was something disabled for the demo. One theory I have is that there is a simplistic "beginner" mode but the real game has more mana interactions. I won't be buying it until I hear something that makes me believe what we played wasn't the "real" mana curve.This post is too long now. I'll write about Saturday night and the the WoW TCG later.

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