Our five favorite MMO meet-ups

I spent hundreds of hours with my guildmates last year, chatting online while downing dragons, super-villains, and other big bads. But every now and then, it's good for a team's morale to drop the daggers, get out of the house, and just hang out with each other.

More and more MMOs are hosting annual conventions to help their players do just that. But it's not just the games that make each convention different -- the theme, style, and length all vary as well.

From Iceland to Austin, Texas, PC Gamer attended five of the biggest MMO player conventions last year to see what each has to offer gamers. The results are below. Don't get too discouraged if you find you can't make it in person to your favorite on this list -– almost all of them provide free livestreams of the main events online.

5. The Old Republic Guild Summit

Where: Hotel in Austin, TX, USA

Who: 200 invited guild leaders

Main event: Presentations about upcoming features.

Food: Four free food trucks.

Best dev bonding moment: Playing Star Wars trivia in groups.

Overheard: “Man, sometimes you just have to admit how much cooler tech Star Trek has.”

Hours spent playing games: 0

Link: TOR official news

Party rating: 4/10

4. City of Heroes Player Summit

Where: Hotel in Palo Alto, CA, USA

Who: Approximately 100 players

Main event: Audience input on content design/tweaks.

Food: Free greasy finger food.

Best dev bonding moment: Playing board games and Dungeons & Dragons with CoH's lead developer as your enthusiastic DM.

Overheard: “Oh, man. I LOVE the mission you designed. Big fan!”

Hours spent playing games: 4

Link: City of Heroes official news

Party rating: 5/10

3. SOE Live

Where: Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, USA

Who: Several thousand players

Main event: Tons of panels for each game.

Food: Fancy banquet feast, Las Vegas buffets.

Best dev bonding moment: Calling their bluff on the poker table.

Overheard: “Hey, wanna see my EverQuest tattoo? It's pretty cool.”

Hours spent playing games: 10

Link: SOE Live

Party rating: 8/10

2. BlizzCon

Where: Convention center in Anaheim, CA, USA

When: October, usually, but Blizzard is skipping this year

Who: 26,000 players

Main event: Game-specific panels and pro tournaments.

Food: Convention food for purchase.

Best dev bonding moment: Watching Mike Morhaime rock his bass guitar on stage from the front row.

Overheard: “I just saw Gabe Newell playing Diablo III with regular people!”

Hours spent playing games: 10

Link: BlizzCon

Party rating: 8/10

1. EVE Online Fanfest

Where: Reykjavik, Iceland

Who: 1,000 players

Main event: Keynotes for each franchise.

Food: Meals/drinks for purchase.

Best dev bonding moment: Pounding drinks and lamb sandwiches during the massive dev-led pub crawl.

Overheard: “No! Don't wait; wake him up and launch the counter-attack now.” – EVE player on the phone outside the hall talking to his fleet's second in command back in the US.

Hours spent playing games: 10

Link: Fanfest 2013

Party rating: 10/10

This article originally appeared in issue 230 of PC Gamer US.