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Unread 08-06-2012, 09:47 PM   #31
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Personally, I haven't really encountered any major problems- I'll note a few which have happened top other people though.

Friday's Pre-registration line was atrocious. I'll just recap for a moment and not I got regular registration because I'm always waiting for the day I can spite the pre-registration-ers by taking less time. I went in the line at 9:55am and came out around 10:45 which wasn't bad at all. My allies in the pre registration line waited until 12:30/1 pm to get through. I feel as if these people prepared enough for the convention that they deserve a faster moving line. I remember the line at 2pm stretched all the way to the other end of the skywalk (where the hyatt is). I came back at 4:30pm to find it all gone- so something must have happened during that time period to as least alleviate the line. I hope this problem is fixed for next year. Every event has some glitches, and that line was certainly terrible- but I hope they improve logistics for it next year.

I didn't attend too many panels during the weekend, but I'll note that the capacity of the rooms for large events was infinite. The Aya Hirano concert had a line that spanned across the convention center out onto the skywalk above/outside of the fountain area and further but by the time we all got inside there was still some rows of extra space! I heavily underestimated the size/capacity of that room! Always ask about the capacity of a room- because Otakon can handle a lot of people!

I really enjoy the ability to use the floor across from the fountain area for dancing. One of the highlights of my con experience is actually what attendees bring to the convention: dancing of all kinds ranging from breakdancing, shuffling, to para para! It's wonderful seeing what random people from different places around the nation (possibly world) can bring to Otakon.

A note on security: They're trying their best to do their job and it took a while for me to realize that. I'll ask: if you were asked for a badge in order to exit the convention and didn't have one- how did you enter? If they do it at the main doors I feel like it's not fair because people who still need badges are mulling around... but just keep the badge on you at all times. I know we had one situation where my friend left her badge by accident with a group of friends in the con center to pick something up quickly from my hotel. I'm so glad we were stopped before exiting the convention asking where our badge was because otherwise we wouldn't have been able to enter! It's possible that's what they wanted to make sure of too. At least have a decent excuse at hand where you haven't registered yet (and let it be true) and forgot your money/ID in your hotel.

All this being said- Otakon is a place I return to year after year. The people I meet there have similarities and differences that I can enjoy. The setting provides for an open atmosphere where I can meet people and just have fun. I rarely have the chance to enjoy something like that. I'm glad Otakon provides enough 'venue' to attract people from all over~
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Unread 08-07-2012, 05:28 AM   #32
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I, personally, don't have issues with otakon... so far. I had some problem with their pre-reg for the first time this year but that was all figured out at the last moment thanks to them keeping pre-reg open longer than they had originally planned. They are disorganized in large events, in my opinion; ie, 2 of my friends went to the Aya concert on Sunday and sat in the second row. Staff announced that the first couple rows get to get autographs then point out that the autograph is at the back of the room so the back rows ended up getting autographs and my friends weren't able to.

But besides that, my own experience with staff members have been pretty lenient since most, if not all, are volunteers and aren't paid through monetary means to man their stations. ie, i was picking up my badge on Thursday with a few friends but my friend could not find her ID! We were freaking out because you need a valid ID with name and a photo and we came from another state. It's finally our turn and she tells them she forgot her ID so they just ask her to verify the info that she put in; her name, address, DOB, etc. and they approved.
My friend was quite surprised because when she attended Nekocon, they were super strict and one of her friends had to drive 20 min back home for her ID -- i mean, good for her for living close by but what if she didnt?

another encounter was when I was in line for a panel and she got out of line for the bathroom. she went back to the staff member and told him and he just let her back in.... so... :P

also the security guards are third party help so otakon staff can't fully control the security's actions... but my experience with them are pretty nice. I offered some jelly I had but they couldn't accept out of policy :C I know they were a little strict but it was out of caution from what I overheard when I was near some important security people talking. because there's so many people and in baltimore especially, you have to be super careful @_@
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Unread 08-07-2012, 07:09 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Scorpion89 View Post
You'll be back
Maybe some day. but honestly the trip is too far for me. It's a lot of money for me, and it's not worth it anymore. Staff/hotel problems aside, I prefer smaller conventions.
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Unread 08-07-2012, 10:19 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Scorpion89 View Post
3rd As for AA they have very strict rules for many reason I suggest if you have a issue is to talk to the Senior Staff about it,also Otakorp like everyone else has to follow copyrights laws hece why certain things are enforced while other aren't. The 50/50 rules is their for a reason I suggest folks take it up with the Dept Chair to get a better understanding of it
The 50/50 rule would be fine if the staff themselves actually followed said rule. I was an artist assistant in the alley and witnessed the staff being belligerent to artists over this rule. If the rule states 50/50 original to fanart and a table can show they have that adhered to that ratio in good faith, staff shouldn't harass the artist and tell them that it doesn't matter what the website says, they want 60/40 or more. AA staff were also very rude in regards to assistants, who do have the AA ribbons on their badges, being behind their artist's table this year, which defeats the purpose of the assistant since it's sort of impossible to assist when you are not allowed to be behind the table. I ended up sitting on the floor next to my friend's table for the weekend because of this. When I was let in, by Otakon and security staff no less, Saturday morning right at 9am through the access elevator to the AA because I had bags and a suitcase of stuff for the table, I was greeted by a staffer snarling "Who let YOU in here?" at me like I had broken in and was given a death glare when I said the Otakon and security staff by the elevator.

I had never had any problem with Otakon staff for the entire 10 years I've been going before this year, and it was ridiculous that the AA staffers were power tripping on probably the least unruly part of the entire con. I certainly hope that the complaints from a lot of people in the AA will remove the parts of the staff that were the problem this year.
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Unread 08-07-2012, 10:25 AM   #35
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I've only missed 1 year since 2004 (last year) and I've competed in 4 Masquerades. I've never really had a problem or heard any serious complaints by friends. Everywhere you go you're going to encounter 1 person who's rude and doesn't know what they're doing. Overall, Otakon is one of the more organized conventions I've been to and their Masquerade is better constructed than the others I've been in.
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Unread 08-07-2012, 10:43 AM   #36
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The main reason I attend Otakon is to hang out with all my friends. Because we all live fairly far from each other, we only really get to see one another one or two times a year. The con provides us with more than enough entertainment, and seeing all these wonderful cosplays is an added bonus. The crowd generates such a positive and friendly environment. This past Otakon, I was walking to the bathroom and an Ash cosplayer jumped from the wall, thew down his pokeball and challenged me to a battle. Where else could that happen?

The staff though, leaves little to be desired. I've had all too many run ins with snarky staff members. I suppose I can understand where they're coming from (dealing with rude cos members, being asked repeatedly the same question), but why would you volunteer if you don't want to put up with that? ._.
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Unread 08-07-2012, 12:16 PM   #37
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This was my 9th Otakon this year and I've only had one major issue with Security. It was when I bought my complete resin blue gun (Non-firing, non operational, and a lovely light blue) and I was kicked from the convention because it didn't have an orange tip (thankfully I was let back in after I got one painted on); but my issue there was my friend had a green light gun that didn't have an orange tip and he was fine.

I've never had an issue with waiting on the lines, it took me literally 10 minutes to get on line, walk in, and get my badge on Thursday. My first Otakon it took two hours.

I also spend a lot of time in the Artist Alley and heard a few complaints, but never anything so much so that it made people have a miserable time.

I attend Otakon to go with my friends and to have fun, and for 9 years I've done just that. I've had fun and a lot of good memories to keep going with. 2013 will be year 10 for me; definitely gonna make it rock! :>
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Unread 08-07-2012, 01:02 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by DespairedPheonix View Post
Maybe some day. but honestly the trip is too far for me. It's a lot of money for me, and it's not worth it anymore.
I originally wasn't going to go this year. Round-trip airfare from San Francisco to Baltimore cost $500+ and it's not worth paying that much in-addition to the $70 pre-reg. fee for your badge.

Thankfully when I got delayed coming home from San Diego Comic Con, the voucher I received was more than enough to pay for most of my Otakon airfare, so I used it. That blessing-in-disguise allowed me to go to Otakon and overall it was worth it.

Next year if airfare is around $500 (i know it could be cheaper earlier in the year, but I have other conventions to juggle first.) I probably won't return. With pre-reg fee, hotel, and food, the cost would be well over $700.00

Not to mention that next year D23 (Disney Expo) is happening the same weekend, and I can get really cheap airfare via SouthWest, plenty of cheaper hotels in the Disneyland area, Disneyland is right across the street, and the weather will be nicer. Only disadvantage to D23 is that it's not a Cosplay-oriented convention, so people mainly go to see the Exhibits, panels, and new stuff coming out (similar to BlizzCon) There won't be as-many cosplayers there (and it's almost all Disney cosplay) as-opposed to Otakon where there are much more cosplayers and I'd get a lot more pictures.

There's lots of time to decide, but overall costs will determine which convention I choose next year. I'd love to return to Otakon but to me it's not worth a $700+ trip for 4 days.
"This is your job. You want a clear conscience, go start a charity. But if you want your own photography business, and your cosplayer boss says you gotta go out there and take a photo-shoot, go out there, take it, come back to work, and say "DO YOU NEED ME TO DO IT AGAIN?!!"
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Unread 08-07-2012, 02:34 PM   #39
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Here's my take on the matter, having been one going for six years now.

One of the reasons I continue to go to Otakon is because of its location and hence, the convenience of "rooming for free" at my house.

This was my first year riding into Baltimore and taking about 6 friends with me. The ride to Downtown and surprisingly the parking wasn't all that bad. The downside, I had to get up at 5 AM to prepare myself in cosplay and then hopefully try to get a decent parking space in either the Conway parking lot or the Sheraton garage. My friends and I ended up staying inside the convention center/outside in line for about an hour after we parked, sacrificing our sleep time just to get a good spot.

As for next year, I'm still quite reluctant to carpool again for all 3-4 days, mainly due to the time issues (some friends wanted to leave early, etc.). But I am trying to convince some of my friends to get their licenses and go themselves. xD Overall, in my opinion, the location and the travel expenses (about 30$ for a full tank of gas, friends taking turns to pay about $25 for the parking fee each day) are easier to manage than paying for a hotel and rooming with others in a small space.

Another thing that keeps me going is the cosplay and socializing.

I have a lot of cosplay/anime/online friends that attend Otakon and they live too far for me to see them every once in a while. So, it's really one of the only chances I have of meeting them. I hate to say that it seems like I would need a lot of money just to catch up on our relationships, but it used to be worth the money to both meet old friends and meet new people. This past year at $70... well, I'm really on the fence for that.

I also do it to experience the Cosplay Contests and see more amazing talent than me. I get inspired to go for it the next year and the next year. Again, the downside is that cosplay making is extremely expensive and with the rising costs of conventions everywhere, it's becoming a Catch-22 type of thing. But with it, I have introduced many friends to cosplay and they have also been inspired to do the same, so I can at least share the experience with my friends at this unique and huge event.

I guess one thing that could potentially prevent me from going to Otakon again are the panels they show. As each year passes, I've been attending less and less and less panels, due to lack of interest, schedule conflicts, or even down to the attitude of the audience. It may be my problem to be picky about these things, but I was just reluctant to attend a Jason David Frank panel because it was just too popular to go to. It was sad that they left out the Detective Conan movies showings this year, because that really got me and my friends engaged. Maybe it's the fact that I am growing out of interest for recent anime and video games.

But in that way, I can focus on more cosplay things that really give me purpose year-round to craft them for this annual, special event. In terms of money and other misc. expenses, it's becoming something that I have to take more seriously to account for going next year or not.

It's frightening because since next year is their 20th Anniversary, I am quite certain that they will raise the price for the badge due to their planning of "big events" and whatnot. I can solely admit that it's my fault for not having a job (although I am trying my hardest to get one in these economic conditions) and for pleading parents to pay for my badge for the first years of going to Otakon. But the decision of going next year will most likely come down to the dollar signs.

Oh and as for the weather: we're not God or Kami-sama or whatever, so it's really no use complaining about it, hehe. I'm pretty sure we are given plenty of warning about these weather conditions during the summer in Baltimore, so it's really up to peoples own discretion to tread its heatwaves.

(Sorry for yet another wall o' text :c )
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Unread 08-07-2012, 03:08 PM   #40
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I've been to Otakon since 2007. The only thing that has kept me from having a good time would be the people I roomed with on some occasion. I never really had any trouble with Otakon's staff, hotel staff, anything.

They are just people, though, trying to run a convention that gets around 30,000 people a year.
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Unread 08-07-2012, 04:00 PM   #41
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From what I can tell, every con has horror stories. It's a large number of people gathering on one relatively small area, it's going to happen.

Otakon is just has 32k people. In Baltimore.

It's like reviews for products online, people are more likely to go out of their way to complain and give something a low rating than to get on raving about how awesome it was. The complaints are easier to recall, and they almost always end up spreading into these legendary horror stories even though maybe THREE people were involved total.

All in all, I always enjoy Otakon. I've only been twice, once in 2009 and again this year, but I show up prepared with my confirmation email, ID, and plenty of fluids (and money for food and MORE fluids) so that I don't die/get sick in the event of wretched heat and humidity (it's Baltimore, I can't say that enough).

While next year (the 20th anniversary) may be my boyfriend and I's last year at the convention, it's not the con's fault. We're just both more into games and cartoons being pushed out by US producers nowadays, and keeping relevant on anime and Japanese releases is getting tiring.
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Unread 08-07-2012, 09:28 PM   #42
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I've been going for 10 years.

I am actively involved in the Hall Cosplay Contest, Masquerade, Panels/Workshops, and Artist Alley. I attend other events like the AMVS, concerts, other panels. I visit the Dealers Room, Video Game Room, Photo booth. I cosplay around the con, meet people, catch up with old friends. Weather is always the same, check the TV/internet/phone. It's hot, duh lol. Bring water and an umbrella. That's just common sense. I show and where my badge the entire con.... because I am told to.

I've never has issues with any of the said things above. I follow the rules and I don't expect perfection. I'm sure issues arise. Be an adult and alert the dept head. Really, it's that easy.

So why do I go? Why the hell not? It's a large anime con, I expect thousands upon thousands of people. That is thousands upon thousands of potential friends!
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Unread 08-07-2012, 10:08 PM   #43
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To be honest, the main reason I go is because it's one of the only times of the year I can see my friends anymore. So many of them have moved away, it's really the only thing we all consistently attend. That and I spend a good amount of my time in the Inner Harbor in general... because the Aquarium and the restaurants and just sitting on the docks at night is my happy place.

But I swear, I will never attend another Artist Alley at Otakon until that douchebag they have in charge is evicted from his position. He has no right running the alley if he can't learn some common decency (and teach it to his staff) and stop being a tyrannical asshole and treating the artists like they are all criminals. People come there to sell their artwork, not to be subjected to his powertrips, unfair "rules" (that more or less are completely inconsistent, even with what is POSTED) and temper tantrums. It was bad when I shared a table and has only gotten worse since.
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Unread 08-07-2012, 10:40 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by ShiroChaan View Post
I know this seems weird and perhaps a bit rude, but seriously:

WHY do people keep going to Otakon?

Between their incredibly rude staff, insanely strict artist alley rules and tendency to act pretty elitist and asinine, why would anyone want to attend their con?

Personally, I have never been and never intend to go. I have heard too many horror stories to have any desire to attend a convention where I'm going to be sheparded around by security and staff to that degree. So how can others that inhabit the same internet I do read the same stories I have and still feel the need to give the con their money?

Is it just an amazing con aside from the staff being completely unreasonable?
So you've never been but have drawn all these conclusions about what happens there? Hmmm... I would say, go and then make your conclusions. But taking people's opinions, esp people on the internet who usually hype up the bad and rarely mention the good, seems like a really bad place to start from. I've been to Otakon over 10 years, it has been a fun and fantastic experience almost every year. I've only ever had very minimal rude run-ins with staff maybe 3 times in all the years I've been. And they were always BCC staff, never the volunteers. You are not 'sheparded around by security' by any measure. Your post really reads less like someone who wants to find out why you should go and more like someone who doesn't think anyone else should go. And that's unfortunate. You're missing out on one of the biggest and best conventions out there. But you've already decided you're never going, so I guess it doesn't really matter.
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Unread 08-08-2012, 10:24 AM   #45
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what? I have NEVER had one problem with staff and find that Otakon is the highlight of my entire year. I save for MONTHS to go. I even sacrifice other conventions to go.

Though personally I don't attend much events, so I don't know how they are. I go to meet up with friends, cosplay, and walk around A LOT to get to better places for pictures but the Artist Alley and Dealers room, the two places I go mostly, I've never met rude staff. As long as you had your badge turned around...? maybe I just got lucky? But yeah, already planning to fly this year instead of drive and SO EXCITED already!
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