In terms of quality, editors are looking for what you'd expect...strong beginnings, good story, strong voice, don't follow fads, do use new ideas, correct grammar/spelling, etc. I couldn't disagree with their comments, but based on what they said, suspect they are more quick to reject stories than we are. An interesting point: you don't need an agent to sell novel-length genre fiction; agents just get it in front of editors quicker.
Another highlight of the day was the SFWA Business Meeting. Probably the most important thing I've learned at WorldCon is SFWA is pronounced: "siff-wah". Anyway, the good folks of SFWA are working hard on behalf of spec fic authors. Please consider joining if you are elgible.
Probably the most interesting WorldCon panel that I went to was The Bad Guy in the White Hat: Changing Images of Heroes and Villains, with James Morrow, John Moore, Mario Acevedo, and Rob Gates. This one was interesting because there was a lot of audience participation. We talked about all kinds of images of villains and heroes in literature and media throughout history, from Shakespeare to Frankenstein to Casablanca to Godzilla to Dexter. For some reason we had more fun talking about villains. ;) Personally, I think the whole concept of heroes and villains is interesting. Heroes and Villains are artificial constructs; in real-life we are all mixtures of heroes and villains. Why do we enjoy them so much in literature/media?