It was big. It was grand. But it certainly wasn’t the best Domination ever.

E-GAMES celebrated its fifth anniversary with Domination V on Saturday, April 2, at the SMX Convention Center. Just like the previous years thousands of gamers again came in droves and formed long lines all throughout the day. Although I still have to get the official number of attendees, I guess it’s still safe to say that Domination V will remain as the biggest single-day gaming event of the year.
Over 23,000 people attended the event last year, breaking the previous record of 21,000 set by Domination III in 2009.
This year’s anniversary celebration utilized a Steampunk theme. According to Miguel Bauza, IP e-Games’ vice president for Marketing, “The e-Games version of Steampunk is about industrial revolution meeting science fiction and fantasy. We chose Steampunk this year because the community loves this theme and it’s cool as well.”
e-Games started with Road to Domination V (R2D5) to kickoff Domination V in February. Aside from online tournaments, R2D5 also held the Crush ng Bayan, Video Making Contest and Battle of the Bands competitions. The winners of these competitions, gamers themselves became part of the main event program.
Domination V served as the launch pad for RAN Online’s new “Gunner” character class. This new class hopes to provide a whole new experience to playing the campus based Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). This will be the fifth playable character class available for the game.
Seen as a multi-role unit, the Gunner class consists of three character builds—Power, Dexterity, and Intelligence types. With each having unique attribute, Gunner characters can either deal damage to down enemies or provide ample combat assistance to help party members.
Heidi Mendita-Garayblas, IP e-Games VP for MMORPG group said the reception for the Gunner class has been overwhelming. “We have veteran players who are coming back to play Ran Online and they’re even inviting their friends and new players to play the game. The new Gunner Class will definitely play different than other RAN Online classes.”
RAN Online product manager Leslie Corbilla said he believes the Gunner class will be a treat for gamers who like to strategize in order or win a game or survive in-game challenges.
“With the new skills and gameplay available, the Gunner perfectly complements the current character classes (Brawler, Swordsman, Archer and Shaman) thus forging better guild bonds and help spur community relationships through alliances and friendly rivalries.”
Around 300 top-of-the-line PCs were again made available for freeplay and gaming tournaments; while celebrity appearances from Cosplay Queen Alodia Gosiengfiao (for the new AXE Provoke) and performances from Gracenote, Pretty Young Thing, 6 CycleMind and Gloc 9 kept the attendees entertained. There was also a cosplay competition held later in the day.
But while the e-Games community, the sponsors, and celebrities were still there, one can’t shake the feeling that something was missing from Domination V.
As expected, first-time attendees were all praises for the event, but for the returning participants, many felt underwhelmed by the lack of things to do and compared it to the past “Dominations.”
First-off, there was no game launched or even a big announcement of an upcoming new title by the company. It seemed that e-Games wanted to put focus on its existing games and revive the RAN Online franchise.
Unlike the carnival/fiesta theme last year, where there were “banderitas” and carnival arcade games all over the venue, the “Steampunk” theme was only evident in the stage and not much else. Whether it is due to the so- called “SteamPunk” Theme, the venue was also a bit too dark, and it was quite hard to find your way without bumping into someone or stepping on empty water bottles and other trash littered all over the venue—proving that even the garbage bins were hard to see.
Aside from the gaming tournaments and the 20-minute freeplay, there was nothing much left to do but sit in the dark and start a conversation with some other gamers who haven’t found anything else to do either.
There was a Winila online bidding section, a henna tattoo booth and a Cosplay.ph booth where one can buy some merchandise and not much else. Only the performances onstage kept the crowd alive and interested. I also saw a few photo booths but most of them charged P50 for a picture—strange.
Even the cosplay competition, which was usually a highlight of a Domination event was a big letdown. I could only remember the Predator and the Zoid cosplayers from among the 20 or so participants. Perhaps the grand prize of 8000 ecoins! (instead of PESOS or real money) was not much of a motivation after all.
Lastly, there were also a lot of new GMs that just kept wandering around the venue asking for pictures with the female cosplayers (as usual). The result? There was chaos in the game booths, and the hosts kept shouting through the microphone desperately trying to get attention.
A few weeks earlier, I read some Facebook comments saying they were even surprised there was going to be a “Domination V” event happening this year. Hopefully, the staff and management of e-Games have also noticed their shortcomings and have not been too caught up with the positive stories that came out.
They’ve worked too hard and invested too much in the past to just let everything go to waste. Besides, they still have an entire year till Domination VI.

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