While the SOE Fan Faire site only has photos going back to 2003, my Fan Faire memories go back a bit further than that. The names, dates and locations may have become a bit jumbled, but there are still some very strong, and very fond, memories tied to those events.
"Hail!" "Hail!" "Hail, darnit!" For our first Fan Faire, way back in the early days of EQ, we may a day-trip of it down to San Diego. I'd dragged out my old Ren Faire costume as something appropriately costume-ish, which made for some interesting confusion during the live quest. Several times while we were running around for the Live Quest, folks would run up and hail me, thinking I was part of the quest. Despite the unintentional confusion this caused, it was a lot of fun, and it helped break the ice a bit.
Ample Running Room Back at that same Fan Faire, there was still a lot of uncertainty about the role of sites like mine, as MMORPGs were still young enough that folks still weren't sure if we should be considered "cheat" sites or "community" sites, etc. We weren't sure of our reception, the devs weren't always sure how to treat us, etc. Thus, when I met the (then) tradeskill dev for EQ, Dan "Yakatizma" Enright and introduced myself, I kindly did it where there was a door behind him for an easy escape route, should he feel the need.
Not only did he NOT look like he was ready to head for the hills as a known crafting addict approached him, but we had a pleasant conversation that was to be my first of many, many pleasant interactions with the devs. Most devs that I've had the pleasure to meet over the years, especially at Fan Faires, are great folks who care a lot about the games they are designing. You can also learn quite a bit from them at Fan Faires. Why they could or could not implement some wishlist item. Why they want to do X for the players, but they're having issues with Y that need to be sorted out first. Various little (and sometimes big) details that the community at-large hasn't yet heard about. Which ones are almost as huge a chocolate addict as you are. And much, much more.
Alcohol Tolerance? Not in the way you think, either. At one event, I bought a set of all the tradeskilling pins for EQ, since I pretty much made everything under the sun over there. However, I handed the alcohol tolerance pin to a kilted barbarian with a large drinking horn, as that seemed to be a more fitting match. He got pretty psyched about it, which really made my day, too, and was an icebreaker when I met some of his friends in later years.
A Bearded Lady Dwarf?! Some of the more memorable costumes that I've seen at Fan Faires center around a certain lady-dwarf. Imagine my impressed awe and surprise when I realized that these costumes, involving a LOT of really involved leatherwork, among other things, were ones that she had made herself. As if being that talented wasn't enough, Brasse is not only a talented cartographer, and enjoyable role-player, but a truly neat lady. While she says she's a fan of mine, this is one of many cases where the admiration is mutual.
Someone adopt me! For one of the Vegas Faires, my hubby wasn't able to join me. Folks from my server, however, that I hadn't really known before the Faire, basically adopted me for the weekend, making sure to include me in various activities and so on. When our Live Quest ran late, and lunch was therefore delayed, they made sure I got food in me as soon afterwards as possible. (I'm told that I was looking more than a bit wan as my blood sugar tried to drop into the sub0basement.) When it looked like I was being cornered a bit too much by folks airing their pet tradeskill peeves, they'd check in with me to see if I needed rescuing, and so on, as this was during the EQ years where I was having issues with some "fans" tell-stalking me so badly I couldn't even play the game in peace anymore.
Trail Mix! Mindful of the above-mentioned blood sugar thing, and having more issues with allergies and food sensitivities, I made myself some home-made "trail mix" to bring to the next Fan Faire. Complete with dark chocolate covered cranberries, cashews, and sweetened dried cranberries, it became a handy pick-me-up and filler when I wasn't sure when my next meal would be, or if there would be much at it that I wasn't allergic to. As a side-effect, several folks asked for samples of it, and/or looked longingly at it, and it quickly grew in fame. Soon thereafter a "Niami's Trail Mix" appeared in EQ recipes, and "DenMothers Trail Mix" came out in EQ2.
Mental Core Breach Another result of that Fan Faire, or so legend has it, is that Quark's (a Star Trek themed restaurant at the Vegas Hilton, which housed a couple past Faires) was the cause of the EQ2 drink Mental Core Breach. While I didn't see the event firsthand, being a serious lightweight on the drinking front, Frizznik was supposedly introduced to the Warp Core Breach, a smoking (dry ice) blue drink served in a giant fishbowl-type container, with enough alcohol in it to fell several burly folk. Wheee!
Backstab! Years ago, the folks from the Safehouse started doing mock backstabs, in proper rogueish form. While it seems to be a less common practice at recent Fan Faires, I've looked forward to seeing Fricka at their Phat Lewt booth every year. Someone, somewhere, may have a picture or two of her backstabbing me while I've got the RPoD raised against her. Fun times.
RPoD? Ah, the Rolling Pin of Doom. A product of a bit too much mischief in EQ2's Non-Gameplay Discussion forum (NGD), it quickly became legendary, used in stories and so on. Last year, I decided to pick up a nice shiny rolling pin and bring it with me to the Fan Faire for a giggle or three. While it was fun, and I'm sure there are interesting shots out there (such as me mock-menacing Maddoc with it), not only was I worried about someone getting hurt due to people wanting to horse around with it, but it also started hurting me to carry around the extra weight for very long. If I do bring an RPoD this year, I'll likely go back to the tiny wooden 6" or so pastry-style one that I brought the year before.
Other Random Bits and Pieces Brenlo being forced to sing happy birthday to himself one year, so he sang Barney-style. Owlchick's reaction to finding out that she knew me from wayyyyyyyy back when I used to play Gemstone III. The look on Coyote's face as he sat at a table with Larry Elmore. Several of the Aggro Fish/NGD crew escorting me back to the hotel last year after the of-site party (hubby called it a night early). Being surrounded by several very tall fellows (I'm on the short side) who started bowing and kneeling and doing the "we're not worthy" routine when they found out who I was. Realizing that the fellow I met right before a panel was author R.A. Salvatore and finding out that he knew and liked my sites.
Of course, not all my Fan Faire-related memories are so great, from whiplash while hubby and I went out to ogle the redwoods, to forgetting my purse at home and having to spend a large chunk of time and money cabbing from then back to the airport while hubby flew on ahead due to work. Those things pale, however, in light of all the fabulous players and devs alike that I've had the pleasure of meeting at these events, and they're really the high point of my year, since I tend to be pretty reclusive the rest of the year.
Look out Vegas, here I come ... again!