Long Jack and I had got into the Fanfest frame of mind by day two and felt like we were part of the experience, unlike the previous day where we felt a little like imposters. With contacts made there were always familiar and friendly faces among the crowd. There were a few roundtable sessions that interested me which we headed for.

Unconventional Gameplay
I felt this was a must as the Freebooted ethos is “do it wrong, do it with style, die laughing”, so this topic seemed to suit us down to the ground. However, on arrival we found that it was clearly a popular subject and it was standing room only. On reflection, given the open-ended nature of EVE, the concept of conventional gameplay is a bit nebulous, so it made sense that many folk would consider themselves unconventional. I was happy to take a back seat as my head was still a bit fuzzy anyway. The session largely consisted of ninjas trying to out-brag each other. Whilst amusing, it didn’t feel very productive and I’d heard most of it before so I ducked out to try to catch the end of Dr Eyjo’s Economy presentation, but the tail end of it made little sense to me.

New Player Experience
Hosted by CCP Chiliad and CCP Flying Scotsman who have been working on the character creator and the Captain’s Quarters feature, this promised to be an interesting roundtable. Also present was Dierdra Vaal of CSM and EVE-University fame. Having regularly blogged about the progress of a new player in the My Sister The Rookie series, I have strong opinions on this subject and will cover this in more detail at a later time. The session was lively with many colourful characters offering thoughts. The devs stayed fairly quiet and just took notes.

Captain’s Quarters
This presentation had a huge crowd waiting by the door some time prior to the start time.  The journalists we’d been drinking with the previous day had stated they intended to get there early in order to ensure they got in. I’d been sitting nearby chatting with Crazy Kinux when we decided to give this a look. When I got to the door, a couple of Devs apologetically stated that it was full and even they weren’t allowed in. I wandered away disappointed. However, looking back I saw Crazy Kinux exchange a few words and the Devs did an almost comical shifty glance around before smuggling him through the door. CK’s tech two Press Pass scores a wrecking blow to my rookie Fansite Pass.

Keynote Presentation
This was an amusing and informative presentation in the vast main hall, covering everything from Team BFF’s iterations to the Art Team’s future plans for the character creator and much more besides. The meat of the earlier Captain’s Quarters presentation was also included, which I was grateful for. If you read devblogs regularly, much of what was covered was old news, but some key highlights were the upcoming inclusion of custom ship paint-jobs, corp/alliance logos on ships, re-modelled weapon turrets and new nebula skybox art. I sat next to Keith Neilson who live-blogged and photographed the whole thing like some kind of many-armed spider-ninja. If you look at nothing else, I highly recommend you find the video of this presentation.

CK’s Blogpack Interview
With Crazy Kinux freelancing for PCGamer, he mustered a group of colourful characters together for a photo opportunity and an informal group interview. It was good to show a bit of solidarity and, although we kept straying off topic, it was nice to get the gang together. I’m sure he’ll be covering this in more detail at some point and I look forward to reading the article. Here’s a link to CK’s photos.

This was superb high-quality production. I was quite surprised at how professional the whole setup was. The event was ridiculous, hilarious and visceral all at the same time, with two CCP developers competing in alternating rounds of boxing and chess with the winner being decided by checkmate or knockout. They weren’t faking either – there was blood. The commentary was excellent and this truly was a spectacle.

Two Greeks, Two Brits and a Yank do Iceland by Night
With the herd all disappearing off on Dev Pub Crawls, Long jack and I hooked up with Quivering Palm, Luminous Ardokay and Manasi for our own exclusive pub crawl. I would say more, but what goes on tour stays on tour. It was a great night out. One thing I will say is; I think I now understand where the inspiration for the character creator models come from. If you think all the characters in EVE are impossibly beautiful, you need to go to Iceland. Especially Oliver’s Bar. ‘Nuff said.