This past Saturday I went to London to attend the official SWTOR Community Cantina Tour event there. I'd never been to an event like that before, but then I've also spent most of my life so far living in a country where nobody would ever bother to host any kind of gaming event. Living in the southern UK and having something happen in London is fortunately much more convenient.
I met up with three of my guildies as well and we had a good time, though I have to admit that the actual event was a little disappointing, mostly because it seemed that the organisers were a bit overwhelmed by how much interest there was in the thing. Most importantly they had rented a room that could fit less than a hundred people and I reckon that at least two hundred of us showed up.
What this meant was that instead of the event going on for four hours as had been advertised, they split the whole thing into two one and a half hour blocks with one Q&A and raffle each. This made perfect sense and was probably the fairest way of dealing with the situation, but it also meant that as someone who had made it into the first "session" it was a bit disappointing to be ejected from the room as soon as all the official business was over, instead of getting to socialise for another two hours as I had been hoping to do.
Also, someone needs to tell the community people not to tell players to come early if they'll refuse to let anyone in until the exact start time. A basement stuffed with impatiently waiting geeks is not the happiest of places, and I don't think the restaurant owners were particularly keen on us clogging up an entire corner of the venue plus access to the toilets while we waited.
Oh, and the advertised "pre-event gathering" was apparently non-existent as far as we could tell. The museum was obviously there, and we saw one or two other fans in the vicinity, but nobody from the community team was there to herd people together as had been advertised on Facebook.
On the plus side... it was nice to see and meet other fans of the game, not just my guildies. There was a guy in a trooper costume and a lady with what I thought was some pretty impressive zabrak make-up. While we didn't actually get to socialise a lot (see above), we did overhear quite a few comments from other people playing on The Red Eclipse, though The Progenitor had clearly fielded the largest contingent, seeing how half the room erupted into cheers every time the server name came up.
The Q&A wasn't terribly informative in the sense that a lot of the questions basically came down to "When will you / will you ever [implement feature X]?", with the usual response being something along the lines of: "We'd quite like to but probably not any time soon." Still, I can't really blame Bioware for that, it's just one of those things that seems to happen as people always ask the same sorts of questions. It was still vaguely entertaining.
And of course there was a raffle with some pretty nice prizes (though neither me nor my guildies won anything), and swag bags for everyone! At last we too are proud owners of Taun Fawns... except for one of my guildies who was one of the few who got a code for a speeder instead, which was quite a point of contention among us. Being the one guy in a group of people who got something different can certainly make life... interesting.