I had a blast at Hero-Con. Mhari not so much, but that was due to side effects from her new higher dose of meds and the like rather than the convention itself.
Registration at Hero-Con was really, really, really good. They got things done swiftly and they were well organized. The right number of people working the registration desk for the population level of the convention. They had a maximum of four folks during the high traffic times, down to 1 or 2 at the slow times. It worked well.
The ‘Dell Network Computer Room’ or whatever they called it had 30 Dell XPS machines, quad core intel’s with 2 GB ram minimum and Nvidia 8800’s in them with 798MB ram each. Large 22 inch widescreen flat-pannels and XP Pro. The keyboards ranged through the ones that come with the XPS to one that had this strange circle area to the left for FPS/MMO use. (They also gave away these in raffles and to live event winners later in the con.)
The con store, or Wentworths, was a small little two-table thing. That is where you claimed your T-shirt (size S to size 3X) that came with your memebership and could buy more of them if you wanted (@ $20 each). They also had S and M sized FREEEM shirts, but I am NOT going to fit in one of those so I didn’t buy one. There were Hero Kits from the DvD Collecter Set ($10 like from the online store), and some little inexpensive, but very nice looking, buttons for Hero, villian and archtypes. 12 in all, but they sold out of a lot of the villian ones early.
The pannels during the day were cool, but Mhari and I only went to 2. One was the Machinama one by Samuraiko Productions, and the other was about mission content design or some such. (Mhari sat in on this one while I was just outside the room chatting with Bruce Harlick and catching up a little on old times.)
After the pannels was the live quest, and we formed a PUG with others from Guardian and at least one other server. My appologies for not remembering details there. I told the leader role when no one choose to do so off the bat. We had only about 90 mins to complete this quest and it was something of a doozy. They gave us clues on little pieces of paper. The first clue took us to the Pool (er, Magnolia room… the pool got taken over by a wedding after they had put the stuff together, but before the event started. So anywhere in clues that said ‘Pool’ became magnolia room). At the Pool we were given our Bag of salvage which was also where we were supposed to put the things we got during the event. Everything.
I committed my first mistake by not immediately dumping out the bag and seeing what was there. Instead we started out by popping the balloon we got with our bag. Why? Because there was a clue inside. That took us to our next place, which was University… and thus it began.
Due to Mhari not feeling well, we left her in a spot with the 2 pages of trivia questions that we found in the bag. And we used where she was as home base.
Things we got were little glowsticks to wrap around our wrists, symbolizing our ‘Freakshow’ disguise for talking to the shoeshine boy. The shoe shine boy gave us a Rubik’s Cube. The folks in room 1313 gave us a rubber duck. We got mostly clues from everyone else.
One stop had us registering our supergroup (team) so they knew who was part of it. That took time for us all to write things down. We decided on Generic Hero 01 as our team name (for group #8).
The puzzles in the clues ranged from logic puzzles to brain games, to a word scramble (whose answer was Envoy of Shadows, which we learned too late to do anything with), to just trying to find where Ex Libras was. She gave a mind puzzle/riddle that was actually real easy, but had a trick to it.
THEN, with less than 5 minutes left, was when we dumpped out the bag… trying to find hints to help with the word scramble, and discovered the little barbie doll (action figure!! was the cry from others). And lots of craft things. We were supposed to make ‘costume pieces’ from the craft things and dress up the action figure (Doll!! was the cry later) in a super costume and give her a name, archtype, powersets, and a character bio. And describe the costume pieces we had. There was a toga, a tail, a tiara, etc… I was toast by this time.
My team was great. I was the one that let them down by starting to lose my head at the end due to being really, really, low on blood sugar. I couldn’t think straight. And I take all blame on myself for us not completing the vital things we had to do.
But, you know, I still feel we had FUN with that event.
Now… I have ONE complaint about the event… don’t EVER, no matter how COOL it is to do, put things on the top levels of the hotel, 10+ floors up, and make us go there, not once, but TWICE (the 2nd time, to finish… and I am surprised, and relieved, that we were NOT the last to turn things in). There were only the standard 4 elevators, and 2 stairwells at FAR ends of the hotel. Making 20 teams of 8-12 people each have to FIT through those elevators (or wear themselves out with the stairs) along with the large number of wedding guests, quilter’s conventioneers, and other hotel guests, was something of a nightmare. Fun… but also NOT fun. Not when time counts.
That is my ONLY complaint about the event. Otherwise it was well done. The ‘contacts’ were good at not giving things away and some of them played VERY well in character.
Following the live event was dinner. It was american buffet. And it was okay. Bruce Harlick sat with us at our table, and we all had a good time at the table. I got to meet some others from the Guardian server and we are likely going to add at least one of them to our super group at some point. I think they will be a good addition.
At the end of dinner they introduced the members of the design/programming/etc teams from NCNorCal, and said good things, gave away prizes, awarded the winners of the live event. No, Generic Hero 01 (Team 8) did not win. But we DID get Mhari’s book back which had ended up in our bag and was NOT worth extra points. And at the very end of the dinner, Positron did something for all of us there, as well as all of the players of the game. He started the Halloween Event, the Zombie Apocolypse 2 nights early! For us! So we get 2 nights more of the event than was planned. And if you read on the CoH forums, some folks feel that the opening of the event was the best ever. For rather than having to take down the servers (as some DID go down, but for other reasons having to do with the west coast servers), they just activated the event. The skys went red and zombies started to rise from the ground! EVERYWHERE. Even in the Shard and in Eden and all the hazard zones. (Don’t know about PVP zones.)
After that, with Mhari not feeling very good, and myself having had too much after having too little… we went home…. and Played the game until around 11pm +!!!
There were still things to be going on at the con, but they were a ‘rave’ and karoke, and other social things and Mhari and I were just wore out. Our backs hurt, a LOT, and we needed to sleep.
I don’t remember all the people I met. I’m bad that way. But they all made for a good time. A really good time.
My final review… would I do it again? My instant response is ‘yes’…. but after a few moments… I am not sure. Did we really get $60-70 of value out of it. $20 for the shirt, $20 for the dinner… that’s still another $20-30… yeah, taken in that light, along with the special power code (A perm costume power, Carnival of Shadows Haliquin/fencer)… okay, yeah, it’s worth it. Don’t know if I will do the live quest again. But I might. I got to meet good people through it. Yeah, I’ll do it again, if it’s local.
And my thanks to everyone that put the con on, that made it good. I didn’t feel a bad vibe ANYWHERE. And all the staff at NCNC are fun! Thanks! Thanks Bruce! Thanks Mel!