Day three of Dragon*Con is usually when the cracks begin to show. Its that second (or third) night of little to no sleep that leaves your feet shuffling a little more than walking, the enthusiasm is there but the expression of it has waned… and this is how I entered my first panel of the morning, “Oops!” – an apocalyptic track panel about things you need to know about surviving catastrophe. I’ve gone to this panel every year that they’ve had it. Its fun to listen to people who’ve done more research than you tell you stuff like “We all like to make fun of SPAM, but seriously, Hormel canned meats are something you need, and with the right dry spices and preparation it can be tasty… well, as tasty as SPAM gets.” and “Buying bottled water is good, but you have to rotate your stock because it will go bad.” and watching people furiously taking notes and the looks on their faces as the wisdom of these little nuggets sink in. And for those that don’t go, here is the short version: In the case of any disaster, you are on your own for 72 hours, so you should always have food, water and supplies to last at least that long, if not longer. Oh, and make sure your disaster recovery plans don’t rely on the things that will likely be lost in a disaster, like electricity.
Then there was a Champions Online panel… no developers, just fans talking about the beta and playing the game. The kind of panel you just don’t get at other conventions. I followed this with the “What’s wrong with WoW?” panel… the short version: Everything. The long answer is that WoW does many things right, from a certain perspective, and if you are an MMO veteran who isn’t looking for the RPG version of whack-a-mole then WoW really isn’t for you. The real long answer is… well… a series of posts that I might do later.
With no interesting panels for a couple hours, I took a lunch break and visited the dealers’ room. Much like the Art Show and the Exhibiter Halls, I’ve been here before, a lot, and it is pretty much the same things every year. But I made my way through the “5 for $25” shelves of graphic novels and didn’t find any I couldn’t live without. Though, he did have a complete set of the huge leather bound looking Absolute Sandman series. I wish I had that kind of cash to blow.
Back at the MMO track I settled in for an afternoon of SOE. First, Free Realms… really, if you haven’t at least tried this game, I don’t know what to say. It is free, it streams the client so you create an account, create a character and log in, the game downloads as needed and it does it very well. Sure, its largely a collection of mini-games, but its fun. I think it is anyway. Second, The Agency. The more I learn about this one, the more I like it. It looks like an MMO version of the old Top Secret RPG. You are an agent, you get skills, you do missions, you have other agents who help you out, you shoot stuff, you sneak in places, espionage… it just looks cool. Third, DC Universe Online. You know, I really wanted to love City of Heroes, it had lots to like but in the end was too grindy. When I saw Champions Online, I was excited, but from what I’ve read by the people who are playing, especially about how the graphics didn’t turn out to be the cell shaded awesomeness the screenshots originally portrayed, I’m not buying in yet and am waiting to here some ringing endorsements. But from what I saw and learned about DCUO today, I’m really interested. The physics of the game are just incredible. As the example they used goes, you can freeze one bad guy in a block of ice, then pick him up and beat other bad guys with him. That sounds like a comic book.
A smiled my way back to the Marriott then and attended a panel about upcoming post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows… not really a whole lot I didn’t know already, so nothing really exciting to report. Book of Eli, Zombieland, The Road, V, Day One, Daybreakers… lots of things coming up I want to watch.
As the final night of Dragon*Con, it is also the final night of parties. The Pirate Party is always a popular choice, though I imagine that many men choose it because of all the cleavage that comes with women dressing like pirates and wenches. The highlight of this particular pirate party was watching one pirate make many frontal assaults upon the virtue on one wench, which she repeatedly rebuffed. We also managed to catch the end of the Mad Scientists Ball where they had Tesla coils arcing toward a box within which they allowed ladies to dance. Genius. I didn’t make it to the SOE Party for the MMO track, and I wish I had… hopefully they will be back next year and do it again.
To wrap up the night, I spent it people watching in the Marriott. Really, watching the other people, seeing the costumes that people create, is one of the best parts of the con. It is so very inspiring.
Good night Dragon*Con, just one more day is left with you, but tonight was the last night. Until next year…