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E3 from a PC gamer’s perspective: day two


It would be hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t attended E3 before that this year’s show floor is quieter than usual.

There are still booths the size of skyscrapers, speakers louder than jet engines, and more people than Disneyland (although there is still a giant Disney castle here). But outside of one unfortunate incident where I got trapped between a stampede of people trying to get into and out of a Mad Max demo, I haven’t gotten shoved, jostled, or physically harassed in any way. This is an improvement for E3.

I’ve only seen about five depressed booth babes dressed in skimpy outfits posing with lonely gamers trying to not sweat too much. Five is probably still too many, but it’s better than E3s past, where it felt like every booth had stripper poles and bouncy castles. (Yes, there really was a bouncy castle last year where ladies with fox tails were paid to jump up and down in for people’s viewing pleasure. Gross.)

So this year’s E3 is already better on one front. But the PC front still feels pretty deserted. As expected, the two main console announcements–the Xbox One and PlayStation 4–dominate the show floor. Microsoft and Sony’s booth is huge. I wandered through both, feeling a bit lost. I can forgive Sony for not showing PC games, but the only PC I could find in Microsoft’s oversized booth was a sad little lady holding a Surface Pro next to a tiny little island pedestal in a sea of Xbox ads–a sad display for the company that should care most about the PC’s success.

Next on that list is Valve. So I looked them up in the program’s booth directory. Not present. So I looked up arguably the next biggest PC developer, Blizzard. Present!

I dreamed up visions of Hearthstone and World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2 as I tracked down Blizzard’s booth. Instead, I found a small alcove filled only with the Xbox version of Diablo III being shown. Disappointing. I was really hoping to try Hearthstone, the PC/tablet card game they’re developing. It was playable at PAX East, but maybe Blizzard knew their target audience wouldn’t be attending E3.

There were some PC highlight, though, which I found through appointments booked beforehand. Hex, the MMOTCG from Cryptozoic that exploded Kickstarter last week looks amazing. The depth of strategy and complex mechanics, creative innovations, and no-compromise aspirations for greatness are refreshing and reassuring.

Riot’s eSports team got me amped for the future of professional PC gaming, and convinced me that, while we’ve got a lot of room to grow the space still, there are some really smart people working on it. Wargaming.net’s booth rivaled the epic scope of anything else on the show floor, and their upcoming PC strategy game, World of Warships, was shown in a massive domed theater with a giant Imax screen. The game’s naval combat looks fairly complex and offers some interesting strategies on the individual and team levels.

After my scheduled appointments, I decided to wander the show floor and try to find games I hadn’t thought to book appointments for.

I wandered the two massive show floors, and was amazed at how little I cared about anything I saw. I don’t really care about the new Xbox and its overrated graphics. I don’t care about Mario or Luigi’s new adventure. I certainly don’t care about a console-exclusive game I’ll never play.

I was bored within an hour, and sent a message to my buddy who was attending to show to see if he’d found anything better. He had. He’d gone over to a local friend’s house to watch the League of Legends’ esports league, the LCS, kick off their summer split.

I wish I had thought of that.

Josh Augustineis a connoisseur of online games in the MMO, MOBA, and RPG style. He currently works as a game designer at Sony Online Entertainment on EverQuest. He’d love totalk with you on Twitter.