The other side of the hanger featured a large stage, which hosted the opening day announcements and press conference, as well as concerts by Dropkick Murphys and Kanye West. During the day, the stage also showcased a set of two "Pro vs. G.I.Joe" tournaments. "Pros vs. G.I.Joe" is a really cool organization that helps soldiers overseas stay connected with their families as well as giving them a taste of home by pitting them in tournaments against athletes.
There was also a series of four live panels focusing on different aspects of Call of Duty, such as clan support in CoD: Elite or the evolution of the incredibly popular Zombies Mode. If I came away from the convention with one disappointment, it was the panels. I enjoyed the ones shown, but being a panel-going type of person, would have enjoyed a chance to hear developers discuss the series' development. Another, panel-specific venue would have been nice since the constant foot traffic was a distraction.
Outside the event, players could check out a series of real-life events referred to, as least by fans, as the "Call of Duty Experience." At the center of the outdoor portion sat a replica of "Burger Town." Based on the usually long lines, the shops offerings were a bit of a hit. While not dining on burgers, fans could also take a ride down a zipline or jump into a jeep for a rocky, incredibly well done jeep ride along. Of the outdoor events, the jeep was my favorite, if only because of the test track styled terrain.
In an effort to bring a bit of the game into the real world, the outdoor section included a scale replica of "The Pit," the training course from Modern Warfare 2. A replica of the "Scrapyard" map was also recreated for paintball matches. Lines were usually long for the paintball, but it was also a major thrill once inside the play area. Just to add to the experience, giant speakers surrounded the open-air area, booming sound effects and music from the games, adding just a little more atmosphere to the event.