Originally a team-up event with Ozine Team last December, Cyber Café and eSports organizer Wargods decided to go solo for their 2nd gaming event and to focus more to their community.
Held last July 12, 2015, Wargods Gaming Expo (WGX) 1.5 shifted from the traditional con venue of Megatrade hall to the smaller, amusement-oriented Playland in Fisher Mall, Quezon City. One of the serious question here is if the venue can handle the activity line-up of WGX to make it enjoyable to the loyal fans of the brand, so let’s see how the event goes.
Entrance and Registration
The entrance only has one area for entry point and exit point, so it can get crowded when more people gets inside, the exit points also acts as a re-entry point for the attendees, guests and media, however attendees are having a hard time returning to the venue, as the security requires you to show your ticket and stamp, as the stamp is the confirmation that you purchased the ticket and already entered the premise, so if you lost the ticket, you’ll have a hard time getting back to the venue.
Tickets are priced at PhP 150, and it includes a couple of freebies such as ballers and free game access to the arcade section of Playland, which is a pretty sweet deal. There are also the PhP 350 and PhP 500 bundle packs that include some shirts and other goodies.
The odd part of the entrance area is that the merchandise booth of Wargods is also located there, but we’ll get to that part later.
Event site and booths
The Playland amusement park has three levels; the first floor has the amusement rides and other parlor game booths, the second floor has all the arcade cabinets along with the console and gaming areas, and the top floor has the basketball court and billiards pool area.
The first level have very narrow paths going to the second floor, which give people a hard time to reach the second floor as the walkway is only good for one path way, there is an alternative path, but it is unnoticeable as it is in the far opposite side of the other pathway and it has a longer route compared to the first.
One thing that Wargods did not do was to post a map directory right at the entrance, there are a lot of activity areas that you would missed out, one good example is the exhibitor’s area, no one has any idea that there is an exhibitor’s area where they can purchase a lot of merchandises; ranging from League of Legends items to action figures and other gaming related items, many slipped past the area, making it look deserted at some point. The staff tried to make a remedy by putting a sign near the entrance, but it’s still not enough to grab any con-goers’ attention as the sign is small to be easily recognized. Another problem is that there is a Wargods merchandise booth right outside the entrance area that we mentioned earlier, where everyone can purchase these items without paying any entrance fee, which is a turn-off for these exhibitors as it pulls away the attraction from the exhibitor’s area.
The second level has the console and arcade game tournaments as well as the free-play area for World in Audition, unfortunately the place had poor lighting since it was intended as an amusement center; not for a convention, some attendees had difficulty playing with the Rumble Royale’s card game activity due to the poor lighting, also con-goers may have to use an external light or flash to take pictures in the area, it would have been better if they placed spotlights in select areas.
The third level had the basketball court converted into a stage area, some of the major sponsor booths are located at the third level as well. One positive feedback was the dressing room area for the cosplayers, they were given a larger space and have designated places for male and female cosplayers. However the placement of the other booths on the third level was rather pointless as the con-goers were more focused on the stage activity rather than the booths, it would have been better if these are placed at the exhibitor’s area on the first floor. The billiards pool area was a great attraction, however just like the other booths, the audiences were more interested on the stage, it would have been a great idea if that area was converted into a cosplayer lounge where the cosplayers can relax and photographers can use it as their photoshoot area, making it a cosplay-friendly spot.
This is where majority of their activities are happening. In regards to the stage design, there is nothing fancy or attractive about it, just the usual backdrop of the event logo and some streamers beside it, they could have invested more if their main highlight is the stage. What makes this good is that there were never a dead air moment at the stage, as every hour there was always a segment, however the activities would become dull and boring if the hosts are not that entertaining. Fortunately hosts are somewhat entertaining, but having a lot of hosts talking on stage can become a mess, especially if each hosts are trying to interrupt each other’s conversation, there is no coordination on who is the main host and who is the co-host, which as a result, each hosts are trying to woo the crowd on their own antics without proper coordination. There is nothing wrong on having more hosts for the event, but it would be advisable to only have a pair present per segment and only include all of the hosts during opening and closing ceremonies to avoid a messy presentation. Also it seems that the hosts are doing impromptu stints more often, making the flow of the program a bit dragging and unpredictable to watch especially their scheduled activities are delayed in more than an hour. Judging from these cases; it seems that they don’t have a stage director to dictate the flow of the program, which is very important in an event.
There are also a lot of incidents on stage that were out of control could have been avoided, one notorious incident was when a stage audience participated in a question and answer portion for the Wargods Ambassadress, out of nowhere the contested blurted out about condoms, the hosts tried to control the situation by reminding the contestant of refraining to use any inappropriate words, yet the contestant did not hesitate to continue blurting the same word again, as this rate, the management could have stepped in and removed the contestant from the stage to avoid further issues, but they let it slip and continue the program despite having children at the event (more importantly there is a young girl beside the contestant while he made the condom jokes), another was the dance-off segment from Playpark, though less indecent but still could have been controlled; this is where participants have to impress the crowd with their dance moves, one male participant made a performance that involves stripping off his clothes; leaving him with just his boxer brief. It would be okay to let these incidents happen IF the event is aimed for adults, however WGX is a gaming community event where most of their target audience are also children.
Aside from the usual cosplay competition, eating contest, meet and greet, panel talk and other performances on the stage. WGX has a pack full of activities in other parts of the venue, there’s the console gaming tournament for NBA 2k15, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 arcade tournament and a series of carnival games where attendees can take home prizes. Its setup is more of a convention masked as a carnival, and that’s not a bad idea.
So far WGX managed to provide their loyal fans some entertainment as well as a ton of freebies for them to enjoy even after the event. However a lot of holes have been found and have affected the entire quality of the event, it may not hurt much to their loyal community, but it will definitely leave a dent to some ordinary con-goers and even to their sponsors and exhibitors, which is crucial for their future partnerships. If compared with their previous WGX last December, there were no sign of improvements on their presentation quality, they really need to step up if they aim to cater the non-Wargods community.
Its choice of venue has its merits; it can provide more entertainment to the con-goers, unfortunately the structure of the venue is not suitable for a full-scale convention area, some of the planned layout and activities of the event only looked good in paper, but once it was fully implemented, the issues are noticeable. Wargods just need to rethink some of their attractions and restructure on their layout that will be both engaging and convenient to their community if they still continue their event on the same venue.
A Wargods fan will definitely enjoy the event as it is more focused towards them, giving them an event they deserve, but those who may be looking for a new gaming or otaku event may feel alienated as majority of the attractions are more catered towards the Wargods community.
What do you think of Wargods Gaming Expo 1.5?
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