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News :: EPIC33 - Hybrid Event Announced

EPIC33 - Hybrid Event Announced

As we recently announced, unfortunately our usual venue is not available for EPIC33 this July. That left us with a dilemma for the event, which was already challenging with the global pandemic and the roadmap in England. 

Technically, events should be OK from 21st June, but the situation is constantly evolving and we're watching Government and industry guidelines really carefully. So we've come up with a plan that will allow us to host EPIC33 in a safe way for a small number of people who want to try attending events again while retaining the online event format that has been popular for us over the past 12 months. 

So here's our plans for a "hybrid" EPIC33...

Is it an online or offline event?

It's both. The starting point will be online tickets, available as they have been for our past 3 events. All of our activities will be run online first, that includes our game servers, esports tournaments and with Discord being at the heart of our event communications and community. 

A limited number of people will be able to buy a LAN upgrade to their tickets to join us at a temporary new home in Coventry for the July event. The LAN event will be very scaled back compared to our normal events, but is the first step on getting back to normal. 

Where is the LAN?

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Coventry (CV2 2ST)

How many tickets will there be?

Online tickets will not be limited (though individual esports tournaments will have caps as usual for timing). 

LAN tickets will have between 80-160 tickets available depending on whether both the May and June steps of the Government roadmap proceed. We will only release each wave of tickets once the Government gives a clear confirmation of each step

How will accomodation work?

One of our biggest concerns at the moment is around any sort of communal sleeping and was one of the reasons we opted for a hotel-based event this time. It means everyone has their own space they can return to at any point during the event, their own showers, their own toilets etc. Being a hotel, they're obviously not going to allow camping or indoor sleeping in the traditional LAN sense, but we also wouldn't be comfortable with that yet. 

We've negotiated a really good rate with the hotel of £50 per room per night for 2 people or £45 per room per night for single occupancy. This also includes breakfast each morning. 

We will provide details of how to access this rate when you book and we currently have around 50% of the rooms held at this rate for now, if you book direct via the hotel you are likely to pay more. 

Of course you can go to other local hotels if you like, or if the rooms sell out at the venue. 

What will the event be like on site?

Very much like our old events back at Alsager and Uttoxeter Racecourse for those old enough to remember. It will be a casual feel to the events, there will be low level background music (and I emphasise low level, it is not a Lakeside party level or a big stage) and we expect plenty of oldschool LAN party banter across the room to make up for the missed events. 

The event is open to casual and competitive participants, but those taking part in the esports tournaments may want to bear that in mind and also note that the tournament admins will not be on site, so all communication around those tournaments will be on Discord. Similarly, servers/gameplay will all be online on a shared connection. 

We also wont have things like the pub quiz on site (so people online can still take part) and want to avoid things like shared consoles and VR units at this point until the risks have been reduced. 

What about vaccines/COVID passports/social distancing/masks etc?

We are totally at the mercy of government guidlines at the point when the event takes place and we will apply those rules in order to be allowed to run the event safely. We believe that after 21 June many of these restrictions will be lifted but we can assume that as a minimum, extra hygiene measures will need to be in place. If proof of vaccine or recent negative test is required by the government, then we will have to implement those rules to be allowed to run the event, whether people agree with them or not, and we would ask people to bear that in mind when attending. 

How will tickets be released, there's likely to be a lot of demand for them?

We do expect the event to be popular based on the initial Q&A session. Tickets will be released in 4 waves, the exact dates to be confirmed:

  • Wave 1 - Existing Ticket Holders (people who have continued to transfer their tickets from previous cancelled events can allocate them to this event if they wish, or transfer them one final time to EPIC34 in October). 
  • Wave 2 - EPIC.WAN Supporters (people who purchased a ticket during lockdown to support us through the online events as our way of thanking for that support)
  • Wave 3 - General release up to the initial event capacity
  • Wave 4 - Increased capacity based on the government restrictions moving to the final stage

Prices will be released soon but we're to match or ideally be cheaper than our KCC event tickets, we're just sorting a few final logistics out and can then confirm. 

What about internet connections?

We have a long relationship with the team at our main venue and have much more control over connectivity. We do not have that at the temporary venue. We have made a number of site visits to test what we can, but some things only become apparent once we have a large volume of people on site. Bandwidth is not an issue and will be a higher ratio of bandwidth per person available than at KCC, but we may find that certain ports are blocked that we may not be able to resolve as easily which may cause difficulties with some inbound services or games. Again another reason why we are really emphasising this as a social event first. 

I don't like it.

We get that, not everybody will. Unfortunately the normal venue is simply not available to us until October so we're trying our best to put something on that will give us a much smaller pilot to get ready to come back in October with whatever new procedures we need to work out for the world of events after a pandemic. If you want the "normal" EPIC.LAN experience then  you will need to wait a few more months. 

What if I'm feeling unwell close to the event?

We're going to be taking a very relaxed approach to ticket refunds for people showing any of the common COVID symptoms and offering transfers/refunds for anyone who feels unwell. Note that your hotel booking will not be with us direct though so we advise you to check cancellation/refund policies when booking as we have no influence over that. 

And if it all doesnt go to plan with restrictions lifting? 

Same as before, we offer a refund on your tickets or a transfer to a future event. Again, check when booking with the hotel what their cancellation policies are, but most have been helpful with refunds over the past year or so where there has been government restrictions applied. 

I want to know more

Watch Jon talk about it in the recent Q&A on Twitch.