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Outpost Discovery Philadelphia Review

OP TUBACHRIS

This is my review of Friday and Saturday

I'll add my experience after becoming very very worried after watching all going on with Orlando:

Autographs-
My primary goal was to meet jen and steve- it was essential to me. I missed out on the VIP Saturday as my 2 friends and I came out from Virginia for it. They got them, I procrastinated. However, I opted to still get a Friday VIP, believing it would aid in my goal. I'll copy/paste my earlier autograph details.. The location in philly for the autographs was accessible by anyone who entered the con regardless of the ticket type you got. I got in early Friday morning and ran straight up stairs after stressing about this the entire week leading up. I was one of the first 5 people to show up and get tickets. I asked and clarified it was NOT a raffle and the guy running it referenced the Orlando debacle. It was over an hour later after I got my ticket and they still hadn't issued all 80 tickets out. Today, however, the line was packed by 8AM for steve/jen (I went there for Frankie/Kiki). My 2 friends who only had Saturday VIPs managed to jump at the end of the steve/jen line and got like #78 and #79. (They number the tickets and you get back in numerical order when you come back). They told me that they had a standby line of folks who didn't get a ticket and let them in after getting through the 80, which is nice.

I specifically asked the gentleman managing the tickets about the 80 person cap; he told me that it was specifically to give people a little bit of time to speak with the guests. This of course is not the best answer given the totality of those seeking to get autographs but that is what he had told me.

Hall of History-
I'm a lore, props and display kind of guy, so the Hall of History was up my alley. I know it's not to everyone but it was something I wish they had a lot more of, maybe some interactive or tactile experiences would make it better.

Halo Ring Experience-
I see some folks crapping on this but I think it was one of the best aspects there. Again, it's both about lore but also to really drive home the true scale of these things to people who may not "get it." I'm a big guy at 6'7" and I love halo partially due to it being a world that's "bigger" than myself. So seeing a full 1:1 scale Sentinel, Flood spore, and Installation Monitor set a good baseline to just how huge these are. It was a museum quality set up and I enjoyed it very much.

Combat Deck (lazer tag)-
This was really cool. I was a bit annoyed that I was literally getting shot through the wall but aside from that, they made it fun. What made it better was the fact that the weapon provided all the standard Halo slayer audio cues and sounds. So when you get it, and your shield drops, it goes off just like in-game and when you die, you hear the death grunt from Halo 2/3, and then your respawn beeping plays when you go back to a respawn point. The lines for this was very long but it MOVED. It took us just under an hour to get in and we were at the maximum end point of the line stantians. It was beastly. The set up was great. They did 12v12 matches. An executive we spoke with told us they want to make the arena much larger/longer and even suggested he wanted to be 20v20.

Pelican-
I didn't mind this when I went through it. It wasn't a piloting simulator like some folks thought it would be, but to get a full "pass" on it, you need to make sure the other 7 people with you can properly communicate when needed.

Covenant Escape-
This wasn't bad, though earlier today (Saturday) it was having issues and had to close for a short time. We got into this right before we were ready to leave. I think they were having some minor issues because they had one of the workers with us inside. (Idk, it was my only time through it so it could have been that way anyway) she didn't really guide us but made a few comments. It was simple, except for one part that was like "Simon says" on steroids.

Target Range-
I was reading how it was just boomco shooting. It was really but I didn't wait very long to do it so I decided to check it out. They gave you the option of either the Magnum pistol or the SMG. I've had the magnum for a couple years now so I was comfortable with it. It was alright as they have a TV screen in each "range" where targets would pop out. My only gripe with this is that some of my clearly accurate shots didn't always register as a hit, so I lost a lot of points as a result.

Training Grounds (Virtual Reality)-
Believe it or not we were about to leave tonight without doing this but we ran into one of the top folks for the event as we wanted to give credit to one of the "scientists." He was interested in hearing our feedback about the event, elaborated on things. He specifically asked about the VR and when we said we hadn't, he walked us right over and got us at the front of the line. I will say.THIS WAS -Yoinking!- AMAZING. It was very much the closest thing to "being in the game" as one could be. It was a sectioned area that they placed directly in the center of Valhalla, so game play aside I couldn't help myself of looking around as if I was actually there in the game. You have only a plasma pistol but it operates just like in game (just no curving towards the enemy unfortunately). You had the full helmet HUD just like in game too. You were obviously not allowed to actually hit anyone but some walls had "shield" walls that you can actually "hit" and it will drop. All in all, a 3v3 match, we waffle stomped the other team. I WANT to have more of this. I feel this would be -Yoinking!- amazing and we need VR gyms because this was great excercise.
Ap issues and Physical Prizes-
I will say we used the ap alot but man it was buggy as hell. Constantly crashed, and other times would take forever to start back up. It would also often delay recognizing completion of certain things, so it would update later in the day with things you finished earlier. When scanning or doing the AR stuff, I did notice it would be "recognized" as new when the ap started to say "try again" and crash. That being said, me and my friends did spend a considerable amount of time trying to scan and complete what we could despite these issues. It is certainly something that needs to be fixed and improved upon, but it was also something unique to do and keep you busy between attractions, and I feel it has merit when working as intended.

As for prizes: each thing right now was a variant dog tag. There's about 7 total dog tags, one for each major activity, and some for the scanning completion (Hall of History and finding 8 data fragments). Each activity would scan your badge so you'd get credit for it but part of the challenges were also to get a varying number of high points, which unfortunately really requires you to go through multiple times, which unless you were here all 3 days likely wouldn't happen.

Now, aside from dogtags, the folks at the information kiosk confirmed that if you completed EVERYTHING with the point challenges too, they would "mail you" something that is "too heavy to carry." They told me they don't know what it is but that was their words. I'm sure we will all find out eventually....

General interaction experience-
I had a great time with people these past 2 days. I was alone friday really but I was able to meet new people, have long talks and debates about things with. Overall everyone was surprisingly nice and wonderful. The "scientists" also were awesome, and actually went to the information kiosk with our friend s to help them work out the ap issues not recognizing their completed achievements (I went and told 2 exec's about them and how wonderful they were).

Friday in the VIP lounge-
It wasn't a bad spot to be if you just wanted to chill or watch/play halo with folks but generally pretty quiet. They have free sodas/water and a handful of snacks (unlike what Orlando reported). It was funny as I did run into some 343i guys hanging out in there, and so happened a few of them recognized me from the 343i party at RTX 2014. I played a few rounds of infection with them and all went our ways.

Merchandise-
It seemingly did not seem like a whole lot to be honest, but most of the event specific items were mostly apparel but other items appeared to be generally available items. As for the Funko, I think they were selling them on Friday as I recall one guy in the autograph line roll up with a bag filled of them (I got it anyways with the VIP ticket). I saw them on the display picture at the shop but don't recall seeing them there though. I ended up getting a few of the pins, 2 Jorge Mega-Bloc figures, outpost Philadelphia "Spartans never die" shirt, a masterchief plushie, and the black Zip up long sleeve.

Summary-
I quite simply had a great experience, and quite opposite of how I felt I would be a week ago. While we had the opportunity to do it all in terms of main attractions, there was plenty more to do if you were interested, such as a few of the varying panels, gaming stations (and Reach on PC). I would very much recommend this to anyone who is into both the lore and gameplay. If you just care about the gameplay and nothing else, then it may not really be the right event for you UNLESS you want to be able to see/watch and possibly meet some of the popular Halo gamers that come out as guests
I feel the same way about the app. I loved that the app gave some added value to the history display. But the issues with the crashing was a bummer to the experience. I only wish they had a mix of merchandise that that was new like die cast models or an elite mask like the dog mask for the eagles football team.
I enjoyed the experience and think it was the good test to see if this would work. I overall give it 6.5-7/10, though some of that is due to not being able to try most of the stuff due to time and the lines.

I have to ask. Did anyone else have issues with initially finding the entrance? It was kinda off to the side and under a bridge. They had security everywhere and wouldn't let you go through other doors even though it was like 90+ degrees out (I give major props to cos-players in this heatwave) and nothing really pointed you in the right direction. We walked around half the center (and some backtracking) until we actually found the door. I will admit, one security guard gave us the best line of the day when they came out and asked, "Are you looking for the Halo?". Yes, we are looking for the Halo indeed. After we got in the rest of the check in was fine and quick. One of the ticket ladies said something happened in Orlando that caused the bump in security.

Due to time (we arrived a little late and only had 5 hours) we only did two of the attractions. We did Laser-tag and the Ring Experience. I really liked both, while I knew all the lore they talked about, the presentation was very nice. I really like the models they showed (the ring section felt kinda cheap looking though, everything else was fantastic.) and it felt like those museum narrations where they describe each painting. The actual "experience" part was also pretty neat. While it is just a 360 movie, you kinda felt some movement just due to motion and your body trying to adjust. If they ever decided to majorly bump that up, a mini Star Tours like thing would be amazing.

Laser-tag was the highlight though. While I only got 1 kill (and 2 deaths), my friends did better with 3/0 and 7/0 (which is funny since the 7/0 friend isn't the best in-game, but really good irl cause they did rifle.) The guns we used were amazing. The sound, feeling and the scopes (those scopes!). It really felt like Halo in real life. The shield thing was really neat and I liked how the handled respawning.

We also played Halo 5 on the Xbox's when we only had 20 min before the place closed. They let us do are own custom game so we got to exert are silly gamemode on other people. I wish we could have talked to people about the thing, but we were strapped for time and I am honestly really shy.

Again, I overall think this was good. I think the biggest thing they could do is add mores stuff. More stuff would help make lines shorter if the keep the same ticket cap. Having only one VR station that takes 6 at a clip made the wait like 2 to 3 hours long. Also more vendors and Halo based merch. They had stuff, but nothing really to make you go "wow". I bought a water bottle for $10 for college, but that is it. The non-Halo vendors were alright but very overpriced and kinda out of place.
Can someone elaborate if you can bring in your own things for Steve/Jen to autograph? or is it something get there? Also, can you bring in your own bags?
Can someone elaborate if you can bring in your own things for Steve/Jen to autograph? or is it something get there? Also, can you bring in your own bags?
Yes you can bring what you want to have signed, but they stressed it's one item per person per autograph. So you can have both sign one thing, or have each of them sign just one item separately. As for bags, yes. In philly they had security checkpoints with metal detectors and they check your bags as you go through. Can't imagine it being any different in the future locations
TUBACHRIS wrote:
Can someone elaborate if you can bring in your own things for Steve/Jen to autograph? or is it something get there? Also, can you bring in your own bags?
Yes you can bring what you want to have signed, but they stressed it's one item per person per autograph. So you can have both sign one thing, or have each of them sign just one item separately. As for bags, yes. In philly they had security checkpoints with metal detectors and they check your bags as you go through. Can't imagine it being any different in the future locations
Thank you.
You forgot the most important part of the experience is the Armory area where you got to interact with the 405th Infantry Division and take photo's with the many Halo Cosplays that we had on site especially on ( Saturday ) There was also a 2k Cosplay Contest which many people won and went home with Cash prizes. We have also are making adjustments to the next show to give visitors more things to do. We had Grunt Sticky toss at our booth butt nobody came by to play so we packed it up. We also had several panels going on in the armory stage which were very informative to patrons who were attending the event. The Armory is also a place where you could sit and lounge around also be able to fix your cosplays at our repair station. We had everything & even sizzors to cut those zip ties off the energy swords which i did a lot of during the week.
I had a great time, spent the whole Saturday there. I was able to experience everything except for the VR because the line was over 2 hours long and they shut the line down at 4. I was hoping that the line would die down and I could jump on it before the end of the day but oh well, always next year hopefully. I definitely plan on getting a VIP pass next time and at least 2 days.

The events were cool but like what everyone says the lines were long. Wish the app worked a little better but these are relatively minor complaints. The cosplay competition was pretty cool.