I'm going to spare you all my usual sarcasm and stick to the facts. Because this is the most complicated any Comic-Con registration has ever been and I want to make sure everyone gets it.
If you attended San Diego Comic-Con last summer and you want to go again this summer, Saturday morning - this Saturday morning - is your chance. Everyone else, this doesn't pertain to you. It doesn't matter if you were there as a pro last summer, or went faithfully as an attendee 2005-2011 - you had to be wearing an attendee badge around your neck in July 2013 to qualify for this Saturday. If you're not sure, check your Member ID. It will tell you.
Countdown to Pre-Registration
Yesterday, 4 Feb:
You should have gotten an email from CCI telling you about Pre-registration. If you didn't, go check your Member ID account and see if you're eligible.
Weds, 5 Feb -Friday, 7 Feb:
Sometime in the next few days you'll get another email from CCI with the link to the EPIC waiting room and your personal registration code. If you haven't received an email by Friday, go into your Member ID account and the code should be in there under the Registration Info tab. If it isn't, email CCI.
ETA: These emails have now started out going - Thursday, Feb 6.
Make sure you and your friends have each other's Member IDs and other information, as well as a solid game plan with contingencies that cover who buys for who.
Saturday, Pre-Registration Day
7 am - 9 am PST: You'll use your Member ID and registration code to get into the EPIC waiting room. You'll do this using a Chrome, IE, Safari or Firefox browser, NOT on a mobile device. You will only use one computer, because if you try to log in on a 2nd device with your Member ID, it'll just cancel out the previous one. According to CCI, it doesn't matter when you get in.
Shortly after 9 am PST: Pre-registration will go live. Everyone floating around the waiting room will be randomly sorted into a line for registration sessions. Don't refresh; you'll go to the back of the line. Apparently this can take 10-15 minutes to complete. Watch for a spinning blue circle on the page that indicates your page is still active.
Once/if you're selected, you'll enter the number of people you're buying for, then your name and their names and Member IDs, and arrive at this kind of screen:
Check Preview Night, and every box is checked for you. Otherwise, just check the dates you want. You have 15 minutes to complete this phase.
ETA: If the kind of badge you want is not available, go ahead and select the days you want that are available. You aren't eternally stuck with what you get during Pre-reg; you can "upgrade" later during Open Registration. So if you want a Preview Night badge, but can only get Thursday, Friday and Sunday badges, go ahead and buy them. You can try again for Preview Night during Open Registration. If you get it then, it will override the day badges you bought during Pre-reg. If you don't - well, you've still got those days at least. So if you're in the "something's better than nothing" camp, don't just bail on the whole process.
Payment: only American Express, Mastercard or Visa are accepted. No Paypal, no multiple cards.
The odds: You're competing against all of the 2013 attendees who want to go again. Despite how annoying Comic-Con can be, that's almost all of us, overwhelmingly so. How many badges are up for sale? No idea. It seems to be more than the number of badges that used to be sold during on-site pre-reg, but that's just my feeling.
Glitches: Like always, this is hard to anticipate. Sure, the waiting room could freeze, you could get booted, the whole system could spiral down into dust, who knows. It could even go smoothly. CCI wants you to know in advance that any snafus are not their fault; many villains could be to blame, from your personal applications to user error to random ISP issues. "We make no guarantees that your efforts will result in a successful badge purchase regardless of when you enter the process." We know, CCI. We know.
If you don't get a badge: you can still take a shot during Open Registration Day, but I know that won't be much consolation this weekend.
CCI's Pre-registration page
I will be in the mix just like the rest of you and I'll be live-tweeting and blogging it. Feel free to share your pain and your triumphs with me. I like to know what's happening.