Recently, the Geekly Grind was offered an opportunity to cover the mobile game Final Fantasy Brave Exvius’s convention called Fan Festa. Held in the Long Beach Convention Center this year and hosted by both Gumi the developers of the mobile game, as well as Square Enix. Having been to larger conventions like Anime Expo, I was interested to see just what a mobile game does when they have a convention. So if you’re curious like I was, here is what I experienced for Fan Festa 2018.
First I want to commend how well they handled the initial registration and line up. As I mentioned before, I’ve been to the larger cons – and where most of them fail is dealing with their registration line. Even a small con can misstep here, but they did remarkably well making certain that the line moved at a very easy pace. So kudos to Gumi and SE.
So next up is the venue. Having not been to a convention like this I had no idea what to expect when I arrived. What I was greeted to was the Long Beach arena being packed with large scale activities. Of note, and what dominated the floor was a large charge lounge. Large sofas allowed many attendees to rest and recharge their phone or other mobile device. Even better was that this area was just behind the seating for the main events and panel area.
It genuinely gave the vibe that this wasn’t just a convention to hear news about what the developers were planning. But that this was just a massive hangout, not dissimilar to a Pokemon Go raid or meeting event. There was even a quest to get new players added to your friend’s list. Granted, I cheated a little by just grabbing four random numbers I overheard in the lounge area, but the spirit is still there and strong as to what they intended.
As I mentioned they had large scale events in the arena as well. After all there’s only so many panels that you can cover with those willing to come to something like this. So what did they have to offer besides meeting random people and hearing people talk about a game most of those there were already deeply infatuated with? Well first they had a large VR-like experience. Using controllers for a modern VR headset and coupled with a pressure projected floor and screen, groups of six fight their way through mobs to defeat the boss, Ifrit at the end of the game. Along the way, you collect coins to increase your score to see how you rank at the end of the game.
Next, some of the smaller, but no less interesting events. There was an inflated obstacle course. Climbing, jumping swinging and dodging inflated moving obstacles added to a fun and simple challenge to get through it and to the end. There were also demos being run for the collectible card game featuring several of the named characters from the mobile game called Opus VIII. Third was a QAR picture section where attendees were allowed to select notable characters from the mobile game to be generated into a picture with them. There was even an art gallery next to this showing the character concept and art from Final Fantasy—there’d be a picture here but unfortunately no photos were allowed, take my word for this they were some really cool art pieces.
Finally, and somewhat most interesting was the battle arena. While the name is very much misleading as there wasn’t any actual combat, it still seemed like a fun concept. Two players go head to head and pull 11 random heroes from the entire unit pool. The point of doing this is the same as anyone who just dropped 5000 in game currency for a banner pull: to get as many “rainbow” or high rarity characters as they can. So while there wasn’t much on the line other than bragging rights, for those of use who get a high from doing this on a normal basis there was an odd appeal to it.
So you’re probably wondering why you’d want to do any of this, in addition to screaming at me to announce something. Well, there are certain milestones for doing any of these events. The more people that participate the more in game rewards are released to the everyone currently in the game. While individually small, all of these events added to each other offering massive in game non-premium currency, leveling units as well as free summon tickets. So if not for others, at least you can do it to try and get all of these for yourself as well as being able to lord it over others by making them thank you that they got something for nothing.
You may have noticed that during these events nowhere did I put in my own experience regarding this. Sadly, that’s mostly because the events were capped out by the time I got to any of them, because each event was ticketed. Now it’s easily understandable, this is their second year doing this and they’re very much new to this experience. So with that in mind and giving them the benefit of the doubt, my one and only criticism to an other wise fun filled event, would be better event line management. When someone sees an empty line but is told there is no room, it’s a bit disconcerting, especially to be told that if you come back several hours later you might be able to do something then. My advice would have to be keep the tickets for front of the line privilege, but still allow anyone interested to line up. At least you know you’re going to get in at some point and anyone jumping in front got a ticket for a free line hack earlier. I think a lot of people would accept this, given how sought after premium passes are at other venues.
So would I go again, is likely the most poignant question that can be asked after my experience. I would definitely lean toward yes, now with a bit more knowledge of how things work at their convention I can prepare better. But I would much like to go there with someone else as well to enjoy the experience with me. After all, it’s a big event meant to meet other fans, but it’s always a far better and more comfortable experience with a wing man/woman to hang out with while you’re getting to meet new people. Also, I’m curious to see if they improve and get better since it’s something they boasted about during their opening ceremony. So I’ll hopefully see some of you next year, at Fan Festa 2019.