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PAX East Day 1: WildStar Takes on Boston!

Written by Troy "Aether" Hewitt on March 27, 2013

Wow. What a show. The WildStar team is home, with a shared feeling of exhaustion, excitement, and loads of inspiration for ideas to support our growing community moving forward.

But before we dig into the future, I’d like to reminisce a bit about the experience we had in Boston, and how this show impacted the entire team. In short, PAX East was INCREDIBLE. Here’s a little taste of how the first day went, then read on for my additional thoughts:

On Friday, the team kicked things off at 10 AM, and while we had some technical problems (welcome to showbiz!), the booth was busy throughout the day. We kicked off our schedule of presentations on the show floor stage with our Introduction to WildStar, and the PAX East debut of our What is WildStar video to a large gathering crowd.

Generally speaking, I don’t get nervous about showing WildStar at any show. The game speaks for itself, and our policy of having real and true Carbine developers on the show floor means that people with game questions get legitimate answers. It also means that people with gameplay concerns get direct access to the people who can address those concerns, either by giving insight into our design intentions, or by taking show floor feedback with them when they return to the studio.

So yeah, WildStar shows great live, and Team Carbine is passionate and approachable. I wasn’t nervous at all… until I decided to head over to the Phoenix Theater to do a tech check for our later afternoon panel sponsored by Curse, called WildStar: Journey to Nexus. That’s when it struck me: That damned theater was the size of a football field. Or at least, what I understand a football field to be. It held seats for 1000 and all for WildStar.

Even as I write this, I’m recalling that gut-punchy feeling of worry that we wouldn’t fill the room. Mere hours before the panel, I sat looking out into the sea of empty chairs, and had a minor internal freak-out. 

Not having any real time to actually freak out, I headed back to the booth to support our Content Director Mike Donatelli and Design Producer Stephen Frost and their Deradune Demo and Q&A. They drew an even bigger crowd, and the Q&A session was really fun. By this time, we started to make some real friends with the Friday PAX East attendees, spending some time talking about everything from core WildStar features, to advice on snagging a job in the industry.

Before I knew it, it was time to start herding the Team Carbine panelists to the Journey to Nexus panel. With our Executive Producer Jeremy Gaffney, Art Director Matt Mocarski, Content Director Mike Donatelli, Audio Director Charley Lanusse, and Lead Narrative Designer Chad Moore in tow, we all stopped for an energy drink along the way.

We rounded the corner towards our room, when we saw this gigantic group of people waiting in a line for another panel. Jeremy remarked “That’s the kind of group I want for our panels!,” and we all agreed. That would be rad. The group was huge! The line was so long, it nearly reached the entrance to our own room. That’s when two things struck me: Holy crap! All these people might actually be here for WildStar! And also, I suddenly had to pee really bad, with absolutely no time for it.

So I turned to a group of about 100 people or so, and said “Hey, are you all here for WildStar?” to which they responded by screaming yes directly into the team’s face. 

Our panel ended up with an attendance of over 800 people, nearly filling the gigantic room. They laughed when we told a joke, they marveled at our debut presentation of WildStar’s housing features, as presented via our new Dev Speak initiative, and they asked seriously awesome questions of the panel.

But don’t take my word for it; check it out for yourself here:

As if that wasn’t enough for PAX East day one, Jeremy Gaffney participated on the panel sponsored by MMORPG.com at the Naga Theater on the Future of MMOs to a standing room only crowd. You can watch the whole panel here.

At the close of the day, Team Carbine couldn’t have been more excited. Sure, technical issues are a drag, but our very competent team at home, and our IT pros on the ground made enough progress so that Saturday would promise to be a little less technically daunting.

The good news is that Saturday couldn’t have gone any better. The bad news? You’ll have to wait for PAX East Day Two: WildStar Kicks Adventure in the Ass! I promise you’ll only have to wait a day.

Stay tuned!

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