It was a whirlwind of a weekend for me. Flying back and forth from East to West coast left me feeling extremely fatigued after the fun-filled weekend. Yes, the Fan Fest was shorter than years past. But packed in that one day event was an opportunity the likes of which I'd never had before: interacting with people I once knew only in-game, now in person. It was enjoyable, hearing people have a variety of pronunciations for all the various character and place names in Vana'diel. "Nyzul" was up for debate, and people always find different ways to emphasize the syllables in the word "Dynamis."
Though Square Enix provided plenty of great reasons to be there, including the beautiful performance from Kumi Tanioka and the humorous Special Task Force Report, my most lasting memories will be those of the fans themselves. The cosplayers, yes, but more than that. Meeting members of the prestigious "Bluegartr" linkshell, spending time with a player who does machinema work with FFXI, talking to new players and veterans alike about their favorite jobs, events, etc. That is what will stick with me for years to come.
I can only hope that Square Enix will continue to provide this fantastic opportunity in the future for FFXI players, and as their next-gen MMORPG comes to fruition, I hope for even bigger and better Fan Fests. Now if only I could convince them to come to the East Coast...just kidding! It's worth the flight out, for sure.