I promised Painlord a blog post.. mostly about my thoughts on GenCon va. PaizoCon.
Firstly, I was so surprised to run into Painlord at Scotty's on Thursday. Since coming to GenCon was a literally a last minute con from Mike Brock at PaizoCon, I hadn't planned to be here long term. I can also say that since I am off summers I tend to do a lot of traveling and going to conventions. When I arrived on Wednesday there was a huge cluster regarding our room... in which we didn't have one. By the time I'd actually gotten to the hotel there was a room... a single king-sized bed in a small room for 4 adults. I was definitely not okay with this and very nearly said F-it and spent the weekend with my in-laws, I stuck through it though and by the time my room-mates arrived the front desk had called. I simply explained that the room was not okay at all and was not going to work. They upgraded us to a suite, which at least had two beds. So that made things moderately better.
Some thoughts, for pure PFS/PF things I would say that I genuinely prefer PaizoCon. Paizo has more control over than venue, the technicalities, and advertising than they do at GenCon. There are more players at GenCon, but more doesn't always equal better. For something as large as GenCon I would love to see more 'trial' games like the Goblin Invasion and Quests - GenCon is big with a lot of stuff going on, spending 4-5 hours on a single slot can sometimes feel like a waste of the convention time. I know that there are some veteran players that go to play, so for sure I'm not saying do away with everything, but I would like to see more balance in how PFS/Paizo is attracting new players at GenCon. Sadly I also noticed a lot of players and even GM's bashing new players and pregens when I was walking around. This is definitely one of my pet peeves when working with new players... there is no quicker way to make people feel less welcome than constant negativity. Perhaps because this is my first GenCon I misunderstood what the point of the con was (to draw in new players).
PaizoCon also allows for that intimacy with the nature of Pathfinder, especially the most recent year with the change in slots it was nice to be able to take things at the pace it was needed. Which isn't to say that GM's are always great.. I had a terrible GM for my Sunday Night special at PaizoCon (he was also at GenCon so I'm glad I wasn't playing). Slots at GenCon were pretty much back to back and were exhausting. I worked HQ almost the entire time and there was plenty to do. I've been reading through the Feedback thread and some of the feedback is very interesting.
I did not see nearly as many familiar faces as I thought I would. Some of the familiar faces were ones I recognized from previous PaizoCons (I've been to the last 5). This was my first GenCon, GenCon while very interesting as a convention wasn't as fun as Origin's was in terms of playing new games and having the opportunity to do so. I didn't have as much time to wander and explore GenCon as I would have liked so that may be something that is available, but that I didn't get to experience. I wished that I had exchanged my Core table tickets for PACG tickets - when I realized that pretty much no Core tables were going off (I only brought paperwork for my core character) I could have spent time doing something else on the slots I had off. So I skipped out on the two tables I purchased tickets for ... one because I slept in both times (see exhaustion above) and two, because while I don't mind pre-gens I had specific characters I'd rather play those scenarios with (Darkest Abduction and Out of Anarchy).
I did enjoy working with the HQ staff, though I would prefer a better adherence to the schedule we were given. Sometimes it was hard to know what to plan for when I showed up for my slots.
Final thoughts, if making a choice I would pick PaizoCon hands down, I preferred that pathfinder experience to the one at GenCon. For gaming I would pick Origins. For people watching I'm going to continue to keep with San Diego Comic Con. Gencon seems to want to be a lot of things and as such with the growth in commercialization I think it loses some of it's accessibility (so does SDCC; by a lot) to new gamers that want to try new things. I also tend to prefer conventions that are not pay to play. That was something I disliked about Origins and GenCon. Frankly, when I have a crappy experience at PaizoCon I know at least I didn't shell out $6 or $10 for the experience ontop of my badge and other fees.
I will also say that my experience got off on the wrong foot since we didn't have a room and then got different room-mates than planned since June. Nick Greene and Mizkitty were great and I am so glad we got them as roommates, but that definitely didn't begin the con on a positive note. I also realized as I got home that my copy of Occult Adventures ended up sprouting legs from our hotel room and walking away (I didn't want the book... but still a =/ moment).
Some highlights -
I loved working with the HQ staff, they were really great and it was awesome to get to know people within the area. I have a super severe anxiety disorder so if I came off as snobby, it wasn't the intention.
I enjoyed seeing the specials from the other side as it were. I played 2 of the 4 at PaizoCon and at some point TOZ will run the Kobold adventure for me and friends. I don't know when I'll do the Season 7 opener, but I'm sure it will be just as fun.
I met a ton of nifty people and I would have loved to chat more but I felt super awkward (see anxiety disorder above). I'm generally open to talking to people about just about anything.
Seeing Chris Hayes table (3d Terrain... all my <3 there) and Thursty's table was such a blast. I seriously couldn't contain my laughter.
I know I'll be at PaizoCon this coming year, Phoenix Comic Con, and San Diego Comic Con. I'd like to try GenCon again, but that depends on my work schedule and contract.