RPG PanelsI think the very best panel thus far was the RPG+ panel where the dicestormer gang played a short game (Pathfinderish) with heavy audience involvement. The party each had clothes and traits from the crowd as well as facing trials and dangers spewed forth from the theatre. There was much merriment to be had and much learning of RPG goodness.
Related GMing panels were great as well, hearing stories and ideas from a variety of tabletop RPG styles and GMs.
TabletopSeeing so so many tables filled with people playing/trying tabletop and card games of all kinds is pretty amazing. I tried my hand at all manner of things from Dead of Winter to Roll for the Galaxy and many in between.
Penny Arcade's Gabe brought some early play of Thornwatch last year which was great to see at the panel and out in the playtest area. An interesting blend of RPG with a GM as well as deckbuilding.
LoL (champs plus art)The League of Legends world championships coincided with PAX this year, but last year they were huge, loud and overflowing from their area the whole time. In 2014 it was the OCE Championships and Phreak and co were here to commentate and it was superb to see the atmosphere live and get loot.
They also had an artist there the whole time creating a pretty neat Aussie themed image:
RPG Play and PaintingI have tried out quick intro games for both D&D 5E and Pathfinder. The simplified format for both didnt show off any cool mechanics of the systems at all which was disappointing. In fact I am not sure anything mechanically cool happened in the games - though as players we embellished and I enjoyed both games. My little Kineticist in the Pathfinder game didnt do anything with her offensive spells in the whole game - spending turns moving, preparing or just missing. But I had great fun casting light on my toy Owlbear and using fire to help weld shut a floor grate.
Taking a break from all the action and games, I liked taking time to paint a free mini along with tables and tables of other people. Here is my 2014 magey character with the tables from this year: