Photos of the GXL 512 Man Lan are in the Photogallery section, check ‘em out! They’re quite blooooo. And now with my random-ramblings about the LAN.
So, what was it like at an almost 600 person lan? Boring. Yep. The regular gaming was horrible. Well okay, maybe not horrible, but boring. The 256 Man Lan was a lot more fun gaming wise. While we did have a few good rounds of Quake 3 CTF, overall we pretty much held our dicks and DC++.
The regular servers available (official or clan-run) were Quake 3, Counterstrike, Counterstrike CS, Call of Duty and Battlefield. The majority of these servers were locked. If you could get in one, the teams (if there was team play mode on) were locked to prevent people from joining. Forget about asking to unlock a side, you got heckled. This was really fucking frustrating. I can understand a CLAN hosting a private server to scrim & practice, that’s fine, but the locked team shit sucked, and there wasn’t much in the way of public servers available.
I didn’t see a United Offensive server up until late Saturday. Actually one was up earlier but they were totaly empty.
I do know some Far Cry & Team Fortress Classic was going on, but they werent’ up long, not many people joined in them. This was the same for any game people tried to put up and get started on their own. We tried to start a Wolfenstein ET game up. I rounded up some GiB players, had a stage announcer call it over the system, and ended up with 3 whole players.
Forget about Tribes Vengeance. I was screwing around in it often just ski heavy practicing and would attract people walking by into joinging, but we never got enough involved to start a real game.
I have talked to several people about this with the same complaint. The gaming just sucked. I did not enter any competitions, didn’t feel like it. I hear they had problems with them also.
Saturday our group went out a couple times to eat just to kill time. DC++ had a whole whopping 20 people in it at maximum (out of almsot 600 attendees). Thank god I bought an Airmattress to sleep on, it made a big difference friday night compared to last year with the cot.
I also think a lot of the side stuff was dull too compared to the 256 event. Some stuff was great, like the halloween costume thing, giveaways, etc. And having a bunch of hardware dealers there was good too for last minute essential purchases and just talking about hardware upgrades. The console room was a great idea (my photos of it are too blury to post sadly). Unfortunatly the expected multitude of networked PS2’s, Xbox’s and GC’s did not show up. I was told that company went bankrupt.
The live band they had was too loud (rang too much in the echoey garage there) to really hear well so I can’t say how good they were. Nice idea though.
A big highlite though, just as last time, and as with any lan I’ve been too, were the people. I spent a lot of time just walking around looking at people’s systems, getting into conversations about all sorts of things (like minded people you know) and getting along with everyone. That’s awesome. It’s why I like going to these things, I hope LAN parties in general never get mainstream enough to attract fuckfaces.
Finally, the GXL people did a great job of executing this. They optimised getting into the event with a side entrance and two lines for cars. While the searching of yoru bags was time consuming, the effort in keeping out unwanted shit made it acceptable and highly welcome, especially in something this large. Seating was still too damn close together (3 people on one table), but the tables and walkways were well spaced apart. The GXL staff were all friendly and very cool with helping at anything. The environment in the building was very good with the lighting, music, projectors, food, etc. They had their shit together and it was all solid.
I hope to see and attend another GXL LAN. I do hope they learn from this one though and make it as fun as the 256 Man Lan they had. They have a good thing going being run by great people and it would be ashame to see it disappear.