I spent my spring break in Boston.
Keynote: Jane McGonigal
This keynote was mainly about using games to improve our lives and how to go about accomplishing that. The term that comes to mind is “gamification” but not just as a tool to get people to use your product. It’s more about using games to better our lives as human beings. She did her talk, then we had what I can only describe as a massively multiplayer thumb war! I’m reading through her book “Reality is Broken” right now. Very interesting read so far. http://tinyurl.com/3r2xxg6
Guild Wars 2 – Fantasy MMO Redefined
I’m a big fan of the original Guild Wars. I liked how it combined traditional mmorpg gameplay with that of a CCG in the way you select and use your skills. The second one looks to blow the original out of the water. Arenanet is making the questing system a lot more dynamic. Events actually just happen in the world and players must deal with them or not deal with them(with consequences). The skills interact with the world and other character’s skills in more meaningful ways. I was able to play it for a bit as the new Thief class and it’s coming a long very nicely!
Money for Nothing and Your Kicks for Free
I learned a lot about the free-to-play model here. The games that were included in this roundtable style discussion included League of Legends, Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online and more. They talked about which kind of microtransactions brought success and which failed. I believe a big take away is that some of the most effective purchasable in-game items save the player time but they don’t give the paying player an advantage over players who play and don’t purchase anything.
Unfortunately those were all the talks I was able to fit into my schedule at PAX East. I had a great time though. I got to hang out with the folks of Riot Games. I played El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, Skulls of the Shogun, Skullgirls, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Battle Block Theater and a bunch of other games I’m looking forward to playing when they are finally released.