Ahead: Comic-Con International: San Diego 2011

This year, I am again in charge of logistics and production for my company at Comic-Con, so I’ll be traveling to San Diego. I’ll be there from 20th -25th July and I will be helping to implement all of the onsite logistics for my company. I really enjoy doing this because it’s awesome to see my months of planning and hard work in action.

Last year was pretty tiring, but I had a great time at the biggest pop culture convention in the world. Last year, I didn’t try to do everything or try to attend the most popular panels, and I’m going with the same strategy this year. It’s already going to be exhausting enough to work at the convention without trying to run around to see everything during the few spare moments I’ll have.

Ahead: Penny Arcade Expo East 2011

Work is sending me to PAX East in the convention’s sophomore year. It’s taking place in Boston, Massachusetts from 11th – 13th March. We have a new demo of Guild Wars 2 to show at PAX East, as well as two new professions which will be playable in the demo, the thief and the guardian. There are more details about my company’s activities at PAX East on the ArenaNet Blog.

I will also be speaking on three panels during the weekend. Each of these panels covers something which I’m passionate about: community and social media management, the awesome game that my studio is working on, and diversity in games and gaming culture. There are a bunch of panels about community management at PAX East, and The CM List aggregates them all in a handy blog post.

Here are details of my speaking engagements during PAX East:

What the Heck is a Community Manager?
Manticore Theatre
Friday, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
What the heck is a community manager? What does he or she do? Why are there a growing number of community management positions at publishers and development studios? We’ll talk to the industry’s leading group of community managers about their jobs, how they got where they are, how they actually “manage” the “community,” and how they influence the games their studios make and the people who play them.

Panelists include: Tracey John [Games Writer, Freelance Games Writer], Arne Meyer [Community Manager, Naughty Dog], James Stevenson [Senior Community Manager, Insomniac Games], Seth Killian [Strategic Director, Online & Community, Capcom], Regina Buenaobra [Community Manager, ArenaNet]

Guild Wars 2 – Fantasy MMO Redefined
Cat Theatre
Saturday, 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Are you tired of grind, repetitive combat and MMORPGs that have no RPG? Key creators of ArenaNet’s upcoming Guild Wars 2 MMORPG will discuss the game’s creation from an art and design perspective. Accompanied by stunning GW2 concept art, Lead Content Designer Colin Johanson, Game Designer Jon Peters, Community Manager Regina Buenaobra, Global Brand Manager Brian Porter, and SVP, Global Business Randy Price will examine how the lore, design, and gameplay of Guild Wars 2 has evolved from the original game. The panel will field questions about the highly anticipated Guild Wars 2.

One of Us
IGDA Dev Center
Sunday, 12:00pm – 12:50pm
Are people surprised to learn that you’re a gamer? Do the clerks at the Local Generic Game Retailer ignore you when you shop? If they do talk to you, do they assume you’re shopping for something with more pink on the box? Or worse, ask you if you’re buying a game for your son or boyfriend? Gamers who do not fit the stereotypical image of the hardcore gamer often feel left out in the cold. Our panel of game writers and hardcore gamers discuss the obstacles to acceptance they’ve faced and their strategies for coping with them.

Panelists include: Mark Barlet [President & CEO, The AbleGamers Foundation, Inc.], Regina Buenaobra [Community Manager, ArenaNet], David Edison [Writer, Gaygamer.net], Alex Horn [Writer, Big Huge Games/38 Studios], Alexandra Raymond [Writer, The Border House Blog]

Ahead: Game Developers Conference 2011

I’m headed to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to again participate as a convention volunteer. This is the first time I am attending GDC on consecutive years, and I’m excited that I was accepted to the ultra-competitive Conference Associates Program. I’ll spend most of the conference working volunteer shifts, and my free time attending panels for professional development. I’ll be in San Francisco, one of my favourite cities, from 26th February – 5th March, arriving early to help with setup. The conference is held from 28th February – 4th March. GDC is one of my favourite conventions, as it’s fantastic for networking with other professionals, as well as a good place to learn new things.

At some point, I’d love to attend the Game Developers Conference Online, a convention that is specifically targeted to the online games and MMO game developers. GDC Online is more relevant to my niche of the games industry, but the time during which its held in the calendar year tends to be inconvenient as it tends to be busy work-wise.