Like last time, I am going to attempt to recap my trip to EVE Vegas here for your enjoyment and include as many pictures and videos as I possibly can.
Flight leaves Orlando International Airport at 4:40pm and begins boarding at 4:10pm. It's a 2 hour drive from to get there and Southwest says I should be there 2 hours early, so I leave at 12:30pm and begin my long journey to Las Vegas.
The drive was uneventful and I arrived early to the airport. Parking in spot 1-D (important for later). Inside the airport I had some Chik-Fil-A and then went to board the plane. I don't have much flying experience to draw from but Southwest seats are not wide enough for a grown mans shoulders, and the leg room is barely adequate. Luckily I was able to maneuver my way into sitting next to a Latina and a young girl that was probably less than 80 pounds. This gave me enough room to have a decent but still unconformable 5 hour flight to Vegas.
At LAS I was met by a Limo Driver holding a sign with my name. Pretty cool to see. Then he got my bag and took me to the Limo. It was OK but I was really hoping it would have cold beers and cocktails in it...
Still sober I texted Astronavis (my roommate for the weekend) to let him know I would be arriving soon so he could meet me. Once I got there, I found the lobby to be little more than a Starbucks and Escalator so I decided to go upstairs to wait. At the top I saw the Heart Bar and remembered seeing tweets about that being where the EVE people were hanging so I texted Astro to say I would meet him there instead.
Inside I started to order a Beer at the bar but was interrupted by Space Bro LordShazbot followed shortly by Astronavis and Chubaluba. Astro read my mind and greeted me with a cold beer so I could avoid paying $10 for one at the bar.
We then headed up to the room to see how cool our Suite was...
Pretty darn cool. We had an awesome view of the Strip, the Bellagio Water Show, and the Eiffel Tower. In fact we had a prime view of the water show and saw it many times day and night. The sound from it would wake me up some mornings when it did it's really high bursts.
I'm a little fuzzy here but I believe we then had a few beers and then headed down to the strip to find a place called Casino Royale which I knew had $1 Beers. Unfortunately, we struggled to find it and by the time we found it, we were all so drunk we didn't want any beer and instead ate at Chipoltle then met up with Bros at the Cromwell.
Later we ended up back at the room and I jumped in the tub with a beer (wearing boardshorts). Passerby's were a little shocked but had respect for the tub in the living room relaxation.
Then at approximately 12:30am local time (3:30am EST home time) we passed out hard, pledging to sleep until at least noon.
By 8am we were both pretty much awake and decided to get up and go do some stuff. After sitting around the room awhile, we started off with a walk across the strip down to Aria so we could get our feed on at the Lunch Buffet.
The cost was $30 with tip and I ate the following:
- Crab Legs
- Crawfish (gotta suck the head!)
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Bacon and Cheese Baked Potato with 1/2 pound of Sour Cream
- Roast Beef
- Maduras (Sweet Fried Plantains)
- Fried Chicken
- Mac and Cheese
- Cheese Cake
- and probably more I forgot
The result... Instant grogginess and a strong desire to constantly know where the nearest toilet was.
It was a great meal and the best food of the whole trip.
Next we were off to go check in to EVE Vegas and get our Shwag. After checking in, we found that the only shwag was a Shirt and a in game Skin. A far cry from what we got 2 years ago with the Battleship Model, in game items, dust items, and a free plex from Somer Blink (not part of official shwag but handed out later by a Blink guy).
BTW I sold my Hyperion Quafe Skin for 3 Billion. In about a year I will wish I hadn't sold it.
After checking in it was time for the Opening Ceremony and the Keynotes for EVE and Valkyrie.
The only bit of extra info I can give you beyond what was made public is that a CCP Dev told me Valkyrie will be a stand alone game at first for PC and PS4 but they hope to one day integrate it with the EVE Universe. My sense is that the technical challenges to doing so now are unrealistic.
After playing Valkyrie about three times I can safely say that I am ready to drop $300 dollars for the VR headset and Game as soon as it's released. Any more and I will have to think about it.
The biggest draw back to EVE Valkyrie is it's biggest asset. It's so immersive that it can be disorienting. You look do at your legs in game and it just gives you a very weird sensation. The cockpit is fully 3D and seeing EVE ships in full VR is breath taking. BUT it's not a game you can play for hours. It might not even be a game you can play for an hour. I could be wrong but I feel like if I played for any length of time it may make me "car sick."
Still, it is hands down the coolest gaming experience I've ever had and I hope that I'm wrong about not being able to play for long periods of time.
After the EVE Keynotes everyone wanted to eat again. I wasn't hungry but I think we at a little something anyway.
By this time we were fully into Friday night and got started Drinking with some card games like "F the Dealer" which was a fun game that with a basic understanding of odds could be easily won. That didn't stop Shazbot from calling the most unlikely cards and almost always being right. He is truly the "F the Dealer" Rainman.
Buzzed and ready to party we decided to head to Fremont Street and meet some people there as well as bar hop since we didn't do the Pub Crawl (a choice I regret).
There were six of us so we had to get a SUV Taxi to take us. Our driver was quite possibly the coolest driver in all of Las Vegas. When I got in she had Punk Rock jamming and when she went to turn it off I stopped her and said no "Punk Rock is Awesome" which then led us to talk about SKA and how a few good SKA bands come from my home town of Gainesville, FL (Less Than Jake).
During our ride to Fremont she quickly caught on to our Trolling and joined right in, giving us all a hard time and trolling right back all while listening to Punk Rock.
At Fremont we walked a bit and started searching for The D which was a joke not lost on anyone that a Casino/Bar was called the The D.
Finding it we grabbed some 6 dollar beers and walked the Fremont Experience with lit up ceiling, zip liners, firemen with no shirt, mostly naked women, mostly naked men dressed like women, and so much more weirdness.
Finally we settled in front of a bar with a bunch of Goons. As much as I am Grrr Goons in game, I have to say they are a very fun bunch to hang out with.
About this time one guy in our group had drank a little too much and the rest of us were nearing that point anyway so we called the same Taxi and she said would be there in 10 minutes.
The trip to Fremont cost $60 for all six of us, but on the way home it was $60 for just four. Which made transportation a little expensive.
The trip back to the hotel was even more lively than the one there.
Once back we decided we needed something to soak up all that alcohol and headed for a nearby subway. The guy behind the counter called out one dude in our group for being stoned, called me a Gringo, and then joked around with us as we ordered. That sub was probably the second best thing I ate the whole time I was there.
From there it was back to the room for a few final beers and bed.
I woke up at 11am feeling a little rough. Then me and Astro went up for some food and decided on a place called Pin Up Pizza where you paid 7 bucks to get one slice of average pizza or in our case a $12 for a Slice, Garlic Knot, and Drink.
Finding no where to sit we headed inside to the Sports Betting Bar and ate there while watching college football. Since the only team that matters is the Florida Gators and it was a Bye Week, I didn't care too much. Although I still enjoyed watching anyway.
After that I went to meet up with a buddy from Usurper named Arandil at the Vegas Talks. We watched the talk about the new Capital Rebalance and I sent real time updates to the alliance on my phone. When they asked questions I was too brain dead from the night before to answer so Arandil did it for me.
Next we went to play some Valkerie and got in two rounds without much line before going to the next talk about Nomadic Piracy.
We kinda hoped this talk would be led by a Pirate but instead it was led by Sniggwaffe guys. They did a good job but it was less about Gate Camping and Ransoming people than it was about creating content, moving where the content was, and how if you were good enough in Snigg you would graduate to PL.
I threw in a question about whether they thought Low Sec had more Content than Null Sec and the Answer was that content was every where but it's best to go where a lot of people are. Fair enough.
At some point we went to a roundtable about capitals and listened to people ask all kinds of questions, but nothing too interesting happened there.
Afterwards we went to Chipotle to eat and couldn't help but notice that Chipotle seems to attract hot girls like an Ibis full of Plex attracts Gankers. My theory, they all ate it in college so much that they stick with it later.
After our feed we headed to the room to get all dressed up for the Saturday Night Party at Chateau Night Club. There was no dress code for the 3 hour open bar but afterwards, once they let the public in, you had to have a button up shirt, long pants, and dress shoes.
I just so happened to have all of the above, and so did Astro.
Then we walked over to Paris to get to the club, but found a massive line that stretched clear across the casino.
But the wait wasn't that bad and by 8:30pm (3o mins into our open bar time) we were ordering drinks. At first the line was very organized, but by the end of the open bar the line had pretty much failed with half the people waiting in line and the other half just skipping everyone.
I tried to talk to CCP Guard while waiting in line but the music was so loud I didn't get to say as much as I would have liked. My voice is both a blessing and curse. Everyone loves a deep voice but the simple fact is that I can't talk as loudly as someone with a normal pitched voice and in bars and clubs it's always been a serious pain. Just imagine Barry White trying to yell over music and you'll see what I mean.
It didn't take long for me to learn that the optimal strategy was to order two beers every time so that you spent less time in line and more time with the Bros.
Around this time I sent out a tweet "Any EVE Pro Guides Customers here at Chateau?" hoping to meet up with some of you guys and thank you in person for supporting my idea that EVE Players deserve to be able to enjoy the game to it's fullest by making the most of their game time with my Guides.
Unfortunately, I was left hanging. Either no one there was on my Twitter or more likely they just weren't watching it.
So instead I picked the first random group of dudes and introduced my self. By some strange coincidence it happened to be a bunch of Flying Dangerous guys I have flown with and against many times from Syndicate.
So our talks quickly turned to the current state of Syndicate with Rote and Flying Dangerous both living in TXW right next door to Tishu in Vestouve. I mentioned that I had some good fights with CAS and Of Sound Mind and we talked about the good old days when Usurper and Flying Dangerous teamed up to crush Clockwork Pineapple.
A little later I hear CCP Guard take to the stage to perform so I quickly pulled out my phone and started recording this:
Pretty awesome performance and the whole thing was a ton of fun.
All to soon for our fun and too late for our livers the clock struck 11pm which meant it was time for most of our space bros to leave.
Me and Astro stuck around a few minutes to drink our beers and met a girl EVE Player who was in Faction Warfare. We talked for a while and I tried to recruit her to Usurper since Usurper is all dudes all the time.
After that things go pretty fuzzy and I can't trust my memory since I was completely trashed.
Our next stop was a "Private" Goon party, where I played pool with some guys for a while before a noise complaint forced everyone down to the casino bar.
Wanting to keep the party going I followed down to the Casino only to decide that more Alcohol may not be a good thing. So I just went back to my room and had a beer before passing out.
I woke up at 11am to Astro leaving. Since it was Sunday I knew he was going down to watch football and tried to go back to sleep. However, that was not what the hang over gods had in mind for me. Instead, my headache and upset stomach forced me out of bed.
Two Advil, multiple trips to the bathroom (with some bidet action), and a few dry heaves later I decided I had to do something to feel better.
From past experience I knew the only way to get rid of a bad hangover quickly was to exercise and drink water. So I went down to a restaurant called Earl of Sandwich to get a quick breakfast and a water, then set off for a trek down the strip.
The plan was to just start walking and then find some thing to do at some later point. I got a $1 dollar water mid walk after finishing the first and then decided to go to NYNY and do the roller coaster like last time.
But when I arrived at NYNY still feeling nauseous and like I could spew at any moment, I decided a roller coaster may not be the best choice.
Instead, I found a $5 Blackjack table and played for a hour or two on $50 and despite getting it up above $100, only cashed out with $60.
The walk back to Planet Hollywood was uneventful and by this time EVE Vegas was wrapping up with the last few talks and closing ceremony.
I was too sick to do much else so I just found a chair and watched whatever talks they had until the closing ceremony where they gave some stuff away.
Since they didn't sell enough Beer during the event (at $12 per beer, I have no idea why not), they decided to just give us all the beer that was left over. So on the way out they had cases of beer as well as beer in ice. I really wanted to grab one but I was still way to sick to even try.
At this point I met up with the Space Bros and we set off for a long walk to Tilted Kilt sports bar or something like that. Hot waitresses but the food wasn't very good.
We then went back to the suite and played some cards as I tried to start drinking again. It was slow but I was eventually able to do it.
Bored and all feeling a little ragged, we decided to go gamble. However the Planet Hollywood Casino only had $15 Craps and Blackjack. So out of desperation Chubs and me both dropped $100 on Craps and then lost it very quickly because of the high minimum.
The high minimums were the worst part of the trip. Too much to ever really play unless you were dropping $300 every time you went. I honestly preferred the Rio for this reason and for the reason that it was a nicer overall place.
Having lost out money we decided to go next door to Paris in search of a $5 table or at very least a $10. However the Paris failed us too and we were all to tired to go hunting any further, so we found a table where hot chicks danced behind the dealers and played $15 minimum Blackjack. Several of these girls had full on 6 packs and definitely spent a little too much time in the Gym and Tanning Booth.
I was doing very well for a while and staying even while everyone else was running out of money, however toward the end our Columbian dealer suddenly became the luckiest person on earth and started hitting 21 every time. I know there were at least three times in a row where her up card was 6 and everyone stayed only for her to draw to 21. It was the most absurd game of Blackjack I've ever played.
With $200 dollars gone to the stupid high limit tables I was pretty much ready go to sleep so I could get up at 6:30am for my flight.
We got back to the room at about Midnight and while I went to sleep. Astro and another guy decided to try to finish off all the beers left over in the fridge (30+).
It didn't take long after I got in bed to realize I wasn't hung over like I had thought all day. I was full on sick with fever and runny nose so bad that it started to bleed from blowing it so much.
The next 6 hours were spent under the covers shivering with chills and aches, unable to sleep listening to the two guys in the other room getting absolutely smashed to the point I heard them falling and knocking stuff over several times.
I finally took some Advil at about 5am so I ended up getting maybe 30 minutes of sleep before waking at 6:30am. I had to meet my limo at 7am and since the flight left at 8:30am I was a little worried about being late so I went down 10 minutes early.
I didn't see anyone holding a sign but did see two limo drivers talking so I went and asked if they were there for me. One of them was so I jumped in and we set off a few minutes early.
This limo was much nicer than the first. But still no free drinks like I would expect. Not that I wanted any at that point.
The Airport was a blur... I know I wanted to eat but I don't think I ever did because I was still feeling queezy and didn't want to be sick on the plane. Security was fast because they didn't make us take off our shoes and used metal detectors instead of the Xray machine.
Once on the plane I found a aisle seat, but in retrospect wish I would have gotten a window seat so I could try to sleep. The guy who sat in the middle happened to be huge muscular dude and had shoulders wider than the seats, so we were rubbing against each other all the way home.
The flight back was only about 4 hours, shorter than the one there. So that was good.
For some reason, I just can't sleep sitting up, so I mostly read Arnold Schwarzenegger's biography Total Recall on the way back. It's a pretty cool story and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading biographies.
At this point I was massively congested from the Cold I picked up in Vegas and since I was on a flight couldn't blow my nose but twice when I went to the bathroom.
When the plane descended from 30,000ft, I my ears slowly felt more and more pressurized. I yawned, swallowed, chewed, and did everything I could think off to equalize the pressure but none of it did a thing.
So with every minute we descended the pressure grew and soon so did the pain. At one point the pressure was just too much and it felt like my inner ears was ripping, then there was a whistling noise from my left ear (the large dude was on my left).
I wondered if he heard it, and then thought "What if there was an explosive de-congestion?" That would be pretty gross but a funny story at least.
The whistling soon stopped, but was replaced by complete deafness in my left ear. This was quickly followed by deafness in my right ear also.
By the time we landed I was 95% deaf. I couldn't hear the flight attendants, or the people around me talking. I just heard "inside my head" like if I chewed or something.
When we finally got back to Orlando I managed to find the baggage claim and find my bag quickly (I tied a white sock to the handle so it stood out).
But this is where the trouble started. I needed to find my car and knew from my previous note that it was parked in 1 D.
The only signs I saw were for parking, so I followed those until I arrived at the Parking Garage. From memory I was on the second level. So I took the escalator up to the second level and then tracked down 1D.
To my surprise I found a completely different car in 1D than mine!
Not only that but it didn't look like the right place. So I went back to the escalator and elevator and tried to go up another level. But no, they didn't go up any higher. So I went to the other side of the parking structure, but found nothing there.
Finally I decided I must be in the wrong parking garage so I went back into the Airport and searched for a map. While I was studying the map a Worker (taxi driver maybe?) approached me and offered to help.
But I couldn't hear him nor could I properly gauge how loud I was talking, which made communication difficult resulting in us messing three elevators in a row. Then he pointed me back toward the garage I came from.
Once there I again rode the escalator to the second floor and then found a elevator. A middle aged women was getting on in front of me so I asked "does this go up?" she said "what? I can't hear you" and so I yelled (I think) "DOES THIS GO UP?" and she gave me a nasty look and said "NO!"
So at this point I decided I was going to find a way to get up to the next level one way or another. I had already spent close to an hour looking and felt like a bag of turds.
I saw some fire stairs that led up to the next level and about 100 yards away and headed for them. At this point I noticed a guy behind me wearing an EVE Vegas shirt. I wanted to turn and talk to him, but again felt like crap.
Luckily this strategy worked and everything looked more familiar. Soon after I found the car.
My first priority was to find a way to hear again, so I asked my phone and it said I had Airplane Ear. The solution was to do everything I had already done or take meds and wait. The only thing I hadn't tried was to hold my nose and blow.
This is how first learned to equalize my ears when diving, however I had since learned to just swallow under water to do the same thing at least when free diving.
It said it was slightly dangerous and not to do it too hard, so I tried and yes it hurt like someone put an ice pick in my ear, but it worked and I was able to hear again.
The drive home was 2 hours with about 10 tolls to stop at. I had thought I was awake and able to drive but it turns out I wasn't.
Most of the drive home was spent struggling to keep my eyes focused and not going double then closing. I swerved off the road once but the Rumble Bumps on the side snapped me back into consciousness.
This made me decide I was being stupid so I pulled off, ate something, and got a coffee. These didn't help a ton, but they helped and I was able to make it home after stopping to buy some Pseudo Ephedrine and a box of Tissue.
Once home I slept for about 14 hours and it took over a week to get over that Cold.
That concludes this years EVE Vegas trip. It was a ton of fun, but nothing beats the first time. Next time I go I will rent a car so I can do more and even if they hold it at Planet Hollywood I will stay off the strip or at a lower profile place like Casino Royale or the Rio. Somewhere with $5 dollar tables or in the case of Casino Royale $1 beers 24/7.
Another revelation from the trip is that there is no South Eastern US EVE Event. The nearest I know of is Wisconsin which is way too far.
So I'm thinking of hosting an event for us down here in the south. I'm thinking about Tampa, Orlando, Daytona, or New Orleans.
Personally, I think New Orleans at a Ceasers Casino would be the best, but we could always do the Hard Rock Casino that's just outside Tampa.
EVE Vegas is mid October, Fan Fest is usually February, so maybe Tampa in March for the Gasparilla Music Festival or early June when it's warm but not oppressive yet.
Let me know what you think... Not sure I want the job of hosting an event but it's something to think about. Maybe start with just 10-30 guys in Tampa for the weekend? Then grow from there.