By now you should have familiarized yourself with the Pre-registration process we'll experience Saturday. It's very close to last year's and all pretty simple, and mostly comes down to luck. Here's my advice anyhow on how to manipulate whatever luck you're given and maximize your chances for attending San Diego Comic-Con 2015.
Remember that your browser should be Safari, Chrome, IE or Firefox, and that your device should be a desktop or laptop - not a mobile device.
Once inside the waiting room, don't refresh. A yellow status box will keep you updated every 120 seconds during the sorting process. Make sure your computer doesn't go to sleep while you're waiting. Adjust the power save settings if necessary. Don't ever use the back button.
Have your credit or debit card ready. It can be under someone else's name; that's fine. But you can only use one card to pay for everything and you can't use Paypal. You don’t need to show this credit card at a later date, which means you can use one of those store-bought ones if you need to.
Don't get rattled by the hysteria on Twitter and Facebook. People will post completely untrue things like "Friday's gone! Only Sunday left!" that spread like wildfire. I used to think they did this for attention; now I think it’s a strategy aimed at demoralizing contenders and driving them out of the waiting room. Yeah, we're all nice to each other once we're at the Con but on badge sale days some people grow claws and fangs.
The one thing that drove people crazy last time was not knowing where they stood in line. There were a few years where CCI used a numbering system that told people just that, yet it was missing for 2014 sales. Will that be back? Probably not, but you still shouldn't give in to your rising despair as the minutes tick by. Hold on until the bitter end. True story - I had a friend who an hour into the last badge sale texted me that he didn't have a shot and was going to log out. I persuaded him to hang in there and within minutes, he had all 4 day badges.
On that note, let's review the stats from last Pre-reg: Preview Night sold out by 9:32. Saturday and Friday were gone by 10:26, Thursday by 10:51 and then it was all over with by 11:15. Yes, it went that slow.
If you do get picked late, remember that you can always try to upgrade during Open Reg. Don’t stomp off in a huff because Saturday is sold out. And if you’re not picked at all - don’t lose hope. There’s a limited number of badges in play, and you get a second chance in Open Registration.
I have to say it - don’t be hungover during the badge sale. I know Saturday 9 a.m. is not everyone’s best hour, and that the process is fairly simple, but every year I hear about someone who slept through the sale or was indisposed and made a critical error. Every year. Maybe I just have irresponsible friends.
And if you're emotional or obsessive about SDCC at all, build room into your day to recover from whatever failure might befall you. People can get seriously enraged on badge sale days and it doesn't dissipate quickly. I know I've felt exhausted for hours even after scoring a Preview Night badge - the process is that stressful for me. And the emails that flood my inbox indicate a lot of you are the same way. Make Saturday a day when you can be good to yourself.
Finally, despite numerous blogs posting numerous posts on Pre-reg, and CCI churning out videos and painstaking instructions, some people effed it up last year by trying to do it on their iPhone or using some esoteric browser. If you’re prone to acting randomly like that, get it together. There’s no room for individuality when it comes to an SDCC badge sale – you have to follow the process by the book.
And that's my advice. I will say that I haven’t seen too many complaints or accusations since Pre-reg was announced. Were there snafus last time? Yes, of course. Sessions closed prematurely; some people were told their Member ID had already bought a badge (which could make for a cool alternate universe/SDCC conspiracy story); sometimes the blue circle stopping spinning and just froze, truly a sign of doom.
However, I do feel that this is superior to the years when we all stormed the digital Bastille at once and crashed the system. And I think most people agree with me. The lottery system has its drawbacks, but at the end of the day it only devastates some of us, rather than frustrating all of us.
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