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So, I’ve come to the eurogamer expo for the Saturday. I got in just in time to get into the Bioware session, which consisted of the founders doing a history of Bioware and what they believe is important for games. Mostly, they believe games should be engaging and emotionally involved, but rhey have moved from the original version of this – which was more or less story focused in their earlier games, to being engaging to all the different types of players they have identified.

They also believe in engaging with the audience, as demonstrated by them giving out a Star Wars Old Republic beta code to everyone in the audience, as well as a Mass Effect XBox thingy and beta for their new War Hammer Online game, Wrath of Heroes. All in all, a good use of 45 minutes.

Most of the rest of my time is being spent in queues. The games I’m most interested in playing – Guild Wars 2 and Skyrim – have the down side at an event like this that the demos are, by necessity, quite long in order to give you a good idea of a deep game. This means that by being third in line for the Guild Wars demo, I’m still stuck here for another hour, as the guy on the game is halfway though at 20 minutes, and they’ll be another 40 minutes with the guy between us.

I did manage to play Battlefield 3, which was interesting. The City Warzone area we were demoing owes an awful lot to Modern Warfare in its various forms, and reminds me far more of that than the slightly more arcadey feel of the earlier games. One to miss, I think. Plus, people who played BF on the consoles got bags of free stuff, and people who queued for the PC version got nothing, which sucked.

(This post was finished some time later)

I gave up on Guild Wars 2 in the end. The booth structure screwed it over entirely. They had at least 20 machines playing it, but because that meant 20 different queues that moved every 40 minutes instead of a couple of queues that moved every 10, it felt like an infinite wait. The Battlefield 3 booth, which had separate queues for each of the three platforms, each containing a rotating block of around 16 machines, worked a lot better. I know queue management isn’t very interesting, but it didn’t help my enjoyment of the event.

The OnLive booth was popular, though since it was giving away free set-top boxes to use it that wasn’t surprising. The longest lines were for that, Arkham City, Skyrim and Star Wars, and as a result I played none of those. Once I had the queue I was in pushed back 40 minutes so they could give an “industry demo” to a guy who had once been on a podcast, so apparently I need to get press credentials somehow next time. (To be fair, there was a note above the games machine saying this might happen. Given it pushed my projected queue time into multiple hours, that didn’t help).

With the show floor mostly dedicated to multi-hour queues, If I go again it’ll be to go to more of the developer sessions, since the one I was at was interesting. I liked having the opportunity to play the big games before I consider buying them – the demise of the demo is a terrible thing – but I don’t care enough to waste that much of my life in queues.

Things I didn’t explore enough include the Indie games arcade, which is my own stupid fault.

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