oh my >< the hotels are a bit expensive haha!
Yes, unfortunately, some of the hotels can get expensive.
I would highly recommend Freight's room plan, if the hotels are priced out of your range. It is one of the best deals that you'll get at AX. (Especially, if you want a nice convention hotel room that's located right next to the convention center. Plus, since this is your first time to AX since 2003, it will be easier to navigate around the con with the J.W. Marriott, since the hotel is very close to the convention center.)
Don't wait or procrastinate too long though, because at the rate that things are going with the hotel reservations, his room plan may sell out soon as well.
Here's the link.