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04 August 2012 @ 09:13 am
Comic Con 2013 Pre-reg  
4 one-days is as good as a 4-day. Many thanks to taeriel, without whom I wouldn't have gotten it.

I got up at 6:40 (yes, on a Saturday) to make sure I was up, dressed, properly caffinated, logged in, and the cats were safely stowed away before an 8 AM start time. This is a fair bit lazy for Comic Con, but eh, it's a virtual experience. There's a limit to the authenticity. And the ability to actually line up in advance, actually.

This is like a virtual Comic Con in some ways. They came up with a "line" system, where they only process a set number at a time. (Looks like around 900 per 120 seconds.) When you load the URL you go into a "line", and they tell you the number. Every two minutes the screen refreshes and updates your place in line. Great idea for keeping the system from melting down into a whimpering pile of molten computer parts pitifully begging for mercy from the fannish horde. I think insofar as keeping the servers from dying under load this is a promising step.

While waiting in line you can be online chatting with friends, can pop off to the bathroom or to grab a drink (or get in costume?) without losing your place in line, so it really is kind of a virtual Comic Con experience from the comfort of your own home. Heck, I was even sitting on the floor while waiting in line. (I needed easy access to multiple computers and the floor was the easiest way.) I did kind of miss the zen of the back and forth through the mazes, though. Zen good. So this new system really is almost like being at Comic Con.

Complete with the "oh shit, I'm not going to get in." Shades of last years' craziness, sans backup plan.

I started in line 12645. taeriel was about 2000 people ahead of me. When she got in all 4-day badges were sold out and there were only single days left. Back of the napkin math says they sold less than 32,000 4-day passes. (I'm assuming everyone ahead of her in line bought 3 4-day passes. This is slightly inaccurate, but I'm betting it's pretty close.)

So what I've learned from this experience to capitalize on for next year, assuming they do the same process again:

1) Have two computers, one running IE and one running Firefox. At first I was only doing IE since I know in the past Firefox has had testing fail that could contribute to badge acquisition fail. This time IE wouldn't load the page at all, which if taeriel hadn't been wiser than I would certainly have resulted in badge acquisition fail. Clearly more browser variety is necessary.

2) Multiple avenues of attack is key. Get together with two other friends and all pile into line, with whomever gets to the front first getting all the badges. Keep in contact via voice or chat to coordinate. If possible, have someone else do the coordinating so the person filling things out can concentrate on that and not updating the group or just be on a conference call with everyone.

3) taeriel was able to use more than one computer to "stand in line" twice with the same account. I'm not entirely sure how to capitalize on that, but surely there's a way. Must ruminate on this.

And if this experience has taught me anything, it's that my credit card has expired and I don't have the new one. Dang. Must get that fixed.

Now I'm off to the gym to work off the post stress adrenaline.
Cirdancirdan_havens on August 4th, 2012 11:32 pm (UTC)
At least 4 1-day passes are the same price as the 4-day pass. I keep thinking in the past Saturday was more expensive?

Getting in at 8 am lands you 10k+ in line? o_O Maybe IE, Firefox, and Chrome! Computer, laptop, and netbook! Or Kindle too? Ok, maybe that's excessive. But maybe necessary?

It might also be a buy first, return later situation. After all, you can refund your badge up to May. Unless they change their policy but you know what I mean.
Taerieltaeriel on August 5th, 2012 05:37 pm (UTC)
We weren't in at exactly 8am. We *tried*, but servers were busy and we didn't get through till a little after. I'm afraid I didn't look at the clock to see what time I actually got into the waiting room.

Yes, definitely need multiple browsers and computers. Multiple browsers insures you have one that will work if another has a bug; it also multiplies the number of attempts you can be making on each computer. 2-3 per computer instead of just 1.

Some people will return badges, I'm sure. Not too many but some. Those will go into the pot for when they open up sales one last time after the refund deadline has passed.
Cirdancirdan_havens on August 5th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
Ah, busy server still a problem. Harsh since you were right there and waiting. :/

Well, if you can wait in line under your member ID in more than 1 place, then yeah, definitely worth it in case your browser suddenly fails and you get bumped to the end.

Geez, and SDCC 2012 has really only just ended. There really must be a better. way. -_- Or maybe not if there's such crowding.