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Posts with tag pax-east-2011

WRUP: Memories of a PAX East 2011 long gone by ...

Every week, just at the start of the weekend, we catch up with the WoW Insider staff and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" -- otherwise known as: WRUP. Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game -- and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!

This weekend feels weird. You see, I had spent the weekend prior caring for WoW Insider's own Mat McCurley, who was in town for PAX East. He crashed on my couch, along with my good friend Chester. We spent the whole weekend together at PAX East 2011. We caught up with Mike Sacco, played some Rock Band 3, got pancakes at 3am, and even danced with the brave WoW Insider readers who showed up at our impromptu meetup on Saturday night. In short, we had an absolute blast.

This weekend, though, there's no convention. There's no Mat McCurley sleeping on my couch, showing me pictures of his cats. It fills me with sadness, because PAX East 2012 is a long way away. In this week's edition of WRUP, we asked our intrepid bloggers whether they saw anything they liked at PAX East last weekend. It's a pretty loaded question, because there's a lot to like. Case in point: The amazing sound of Video Game Orchestra (as seen in the video above).

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PAX East 2011: Will World of Warcraft ever go free-to-play?

It seems that every new MMORPG wants to bill itself as a "WoW killer." From Lord of the Rings Online to Age of Conan to (most recently) RIFT, everyone wants a piece of the most popular subscription-based MMORPG of all time.

To date, World of Warcraft has weathered the competition. Its subscriber numbers have reached an all-time high (now over 12 million), with its latest Cataclysm expansion selling nearly 5 million copies in the first month alone. The game should remain popular and successful for years to come. Still, even Blizzard admits: It can't stay on top forever.

So what happens when the game starts losing a significant amount of its subscriber base? If what happened to Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online is any clue, World of Warcraft might move to a free-to-play model. Since switching to free-to-play, both of Turbine's games added subscribers and increased revenues.

This past weekend, I sat in on the free-to-play MMO panel held at the PAX East 2011 conference in Boston. Afterward, I caught up with Robert Ferrari, VP of Publishing and Business Development for Sanrio Digital (Hello Kitty Online), to discuss WoW. We discussed the free-to-play industry and whether or not World of Warcraft could eventually find a place in it.

"WoW has to be looking at a free-to-play model currently," Ferrari theorized.

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Filed under: News items, Rumors

PAX East 2011: Law In Games panel hits home for WoW

PAX East is home to all sorts of panels and discussion, ranging from sexism in video games to mechanics and motivations in the games we play. Legal issues are present in all things, and video games -- even World of Warcraft -- are no exception. Two of the biggest topics at the panel, hosted by prominent legal minds in the video game industry, were End User License Agreements and damages in game as part of tort law. All in all, it was a very interesting panel of Q&A from some of gaming's smartest minds.

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PAX East 2011: Cryptozoic Entertainment's big year

It's been almost exactly a year since it was announced that Cryptozoic Entertainment, a new company founded by former employees of Blizzard Entertainment, Upper Deck, and DC Comics, would be taking over the license for the WoW Trading Card Game from Upper Deck. With no other products under the company's belt, players were understandably skeptical that a startup would be able to develop the TCG effectively, but looking at the actual talent behind the company rather than the age of the company told a different story. Cory Jones, one of the company's founders, was the director of global business development and licensing at Blizzard, for example, and John Nee was DC Comics' head of business development. Couple that with designers and other employees who came over from other successful card games and companies, and you have a dynamite combination.

I caught up with Ben Cichoski, head designer for the WoW TCG, at PAX East.

WoW Insider: It's been a pretty busy year for you guys. What do you consider the company's biggest accomplishment so far?

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Filed under: WoW TCG

WoW's undercurrent at PAX East

World of Warcraft has transcended the traditional mores of gaming culture, injecting itself into every genre, most conversations, and almost every discussion. After one day of PAX East, I've talked about World of Warcraft for a longer period of time and with more people since BlizzCon. This is because WoW is not just a game to a majority of the people attending this show, participating in this industry, and fans -- it is now a lifestyle. When I walk the halls, I always find myself caught up in listening to multiple conversations that have their roots in a WoW discussion or eventually make it to WoW.

Our game of choice has become a punctuation mark. When standing in line to see The Old Republic, WoW was on everybody's mind. While moving from booth to booth, learning about the MMO components of games like Firefall and Brink, images and fanciful thoughts of WoW's success danced in the minds of developers. When people ask developers questions, WoW is always there as an example, accompanying every "this game AND WoW..." And the accessibility features of such a widely accepted game is on every game maker's mind as to how to breach new markets and bring new players into the fold.

It is cliché to say that WoW is the elephant in the room, but I hate the connotation of said elephant. WoW represents a set of ideals and rules that a good number of gamers relate to. The number of WoW shirts and hoodies, guild names added to their badges, and cries of faction pride shocked me. Here at PAX, after one day, it is readily apparent that Blizzard doesn't have to have a formal presence to make its presence known. WoW exists, in some way, in almost every game we play. Whether for good or for bad, our vocabulary is one of the most mainstream undercurrents in the history of gaming.

What do you think about WoW's presence in gaming's vocabulary? Are you at PAX and talking to people about WoW, even though WoW is almost nowhere to be seen?

Filed under: Events, News items

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