Hey all, (CAUTION :: WALL OF TEXT At least read the first two paragraphs and the last two!)
First off, this was my first FITES lan. I flew from California to make it and battle it out with my great friends and I had an AMAZING time. I haven't felt like that since 2005 at a CS tournament in Pittsburgh! Great event and nicely organized as far as I can tell. If you are trying to put a face to a name, I am the tall guy with the black Pirates hat and a full beard wearing the black Vitality Gaming t-shirt with the name ntgCleaner on the back. (Hi, if we didn't meet)
My impressions (which could be taken as final thoughts):
Unfortunately, flying from California takes a long ass time to begin with (7.5 hrs travel time) then, getting delayed in Cleveland (of all places) for 6 hours due to "mechanical issues" on a crop duster just pisses me off and scares me a little. So, I unfortunately missed the opening of the event and the UT3 tournament. Oh well. I guess I'll have to see it next year.
When I got there, I was greeted by very friendly staff (I assume if I had gotten there on time, they would have been waiting at the front table) by the vending machines and was shown into the event by The Shoctor (Thank you again, sir!). Wow, I thought, That's a lot of people and that's a lot of glowing lights! Walking in, I thought I had a sense of how large the room was but I was completely mistaken and underestimated the size of how many people there were. I actually thought at one point "oh, this is one of those places with mirrors on the walls to make it look bigger". But no - I was wrong, it was just a big ass room with a lot of sweaty people...
Eventually The Shoctor and I found the Vitality Gaming banner and I found my spot among old best friends from college. Here is where the whirlwind of adventure and time began. From this moment on, I didn't know what time it was until I went to bed. It was all just a big whirlwind.
in the first 24 hours of no sleep blur, I felt a little lost. Of course, I had my set up - I installed all the drivers I needed on a friends machine (Thanks Gri3v!) and set up all of the settings I needed. But after that, I felt like I needed to be doing something (besides practicing). In the front of my mind, I was telling myself; "there's nothing you need to do until a tournament that you signed up for happens" but in the back of my mind, I felt like I needed to be somewhere... Again, this could all lead to the fact that I didn't attend the opening where they may have given this vital information.
Anyways, in that time, I got to meet a lot of great people and put faces to names. It's always surreal to hear a voice and recognize it before you know what the ugly mug on the other side looks like (Just kidding, no one's ugly.... Except that one guy. Did you all see him?!!) <-- That's a joke if you're that paranoid
One big gripe I had was the lack of information in non-internet form. I would have loved to see a whiteboard or something with a grid on it that showed competition times or winners of competitions or something like that. Or as previously mentioned, some projectors, but projecting this same information.
I would also like to see the FITES "HeadQuarters" in the middle of the room, rather than being all the way at one end of the room. Being able to see what was happening, for me is key and you can get people's attention much easier. I felt this way especially for the raffle drawing. Having to wait for people who were playing a game walk alllll the way down. oh - and, come on guys, a little more intensity from the crowd? These guys are giving away some nice free stuff! at least a couple claps?! Anyways - I was playing some BF3 as they started to announce and I had my headphones on and I was really intense in the game. I would like to see some more indication of when there's an announcement made. Like flash the lights before making a big announcement like that. Those Logitech G35 headphones don't allow outside noise in!
As for the timing of events. I get it - technical issues. I can see that as the only thing holding back a tournament (DAMN YOU ORIGIN). But when we had to wait for a person for 20-30 minutes.... That got annoying. My suggestion would be to have the server for that particular game up for 30 minutes before the "Setup" of the round which would also be indicated on some sort of whiteboard or projector screen. So anyone can jump in, have their obligatory crash and BE THERE for the start of the match. If the player is not there - it's their fault. I don't want that team DQ'ed so they can have the option of starting without them. Also - no ready checks. Yes. It sucks when someone crashes or something happens when everyone is getting ready but we’re all in the same room. BE THERE OR DON’T PLAY.
Also, if it gets pushed back, make an announcement with a time to be back. You guys did a great job organizing this and most of the time this happened, but I would like to be able to come look at some physical thing that shows times, like a departure board at an airport (sorry, I’m still reeling from the first flight). When the time changes, so does the whiteboard or projector.
As for the rewarding of the awards, I felt it was a bit lack-luster. My team got the chance to play some awesome people in BF3 (among others) and we were fortunate enough to win. When we were called down to claim our prize, they said “they are over there on the table. Grab them and we’ll take a picture”. Listen – I understand there’s a lot of stuff going on and I don’t expect an award ceremony or anything like that and I can’t thank you guys enough for doing everything! But I’m human, and just like everyone else; I like to be cheered for! Building on with the rest of what I said up there, it would be nice to have an attention getting (flashing lights) announcement and possibly someone at least handing a trophy to the players. If you’re interested, I am a User Experience expert and may have more suggestions to implement for next year!
Remember FITES guys, these are only Suggestions and NOT Criticisms. You guys really know how to throw a good LAN. I had a [explatory]ing Amazing Time. And it was worth every penny of cost to get there and every minute of listening to the wife ask why I would spend that much going here to play games but not organize a vacation for us. You are all great people and I didn’t have one real complaint (only suggestions)… except for that one guy… We all know who I’m talking about. Yeah, we get it, you killed someone, yay! *golfclap – but hey, at least he was having fun too… That’s what’s important ← that’s not necessarily a joke…
FITES crew, Thank you again. You are all wonderful people and know how to show a guy a good time