The links to the badge sale have gone out. Are you ready?
If you've lived through Open Reg before, you know what to expect. First-timers, you may be blissfully ignorant, misguidedly confident or steeling yourselves for the worst. Maybe you think that all of the hand-wringing is an exaggeration, and that you'll be way cooler than the rest of us overly dramatic attendees. In which case, talk to me on Sunday.
SDCC Open Registration is kind of famous for its demand at this point, but you can come to terms with the odds. (Not in your favor.) What's harder to prepare for is the anxiety of the experience. As the minutes pass, and the system announces that other people (not you) are slowly being moved into their buying sessions, and then starts announcing that Preview Night is sold out, Saturday is sold out, Friday is sold out, Thursday and Sunday vanished together and Comic-Con is sold out, thanks everyone! - most participants go through the emotional wringer.
What helps: making sure you feel 100% prepared for the process. So here are a few tips.
- Have enough room on your credit cards. If you're flirting with your limit, use a different one. Borrow someone's. Luckily CCI doesn't just cancel your badge purchase if there's a problem; you'll get another chance to pay with a card that works. But really it's best to do whatever you have to do now to ensure you have enough money when the time comes. And that could be a significant sum. Let's say you're overseeing 3 Member ID buying sessions; on the off chance that all 3 get picked in time to buy Preview Night badges, and you buy 3 badges in each session, you now have to pay $2205.
- Make sure your tech works and that you're using a valid browser (Safari, IE, Firefox, Edge or Chrome.)
- Screenshot any problems. CCI is pretty good about fixing problems if you can provide proof that they happened. On that note, if your screen freezes, email CCI immediately at email@example.com. Don't wait - you want the time of your email to prove you were frozen mid-sale.
- Screenshot your confirmation page as well. I send that screenshot to anyone I bought for so they have some kind of immediate proof - it's just a reassuring thing to have while waiting for the confirmation email to come in. Which, by the way, can take a few days so don't flip out if you don't get it right away. That's normal.
- If you get bumped out of the sale, just re-enter your registration code and enter again. You'll be returned to the original group you were placed in.
- I know lots of us are juggling more than one session, but I don't advise trying to crowd 4 browsers onto one device. It's easier to accidentally shut one down or miss one going live. If you can, use multiple devices.
- If you're in a buying group and someone else gets your badge for you, don't shut down your session and start celebrating. The whole point of a group is to maximize everyone's chances by having as many sessions as possible. When you bounce out, you're being unfair to the rest of the group.
- If a Member ID doesn't validate or it says it's already been bought, don't bring everything to a halt and contact that person. Move to the next name on the list.
- Finally, it's natural to feel increasingly nervous as the minutes pass. But don't storm off when days begin selling out. Hold on and see what you can get. Obviously if you're traveling a great distance, you may already know that one day isn't worth it for you. But if you can swing it, remember that there is a lot to do around the Con and that even going for one day doubles your chances for 2017 since you'll be eligible for Pre-reg.
I say this every sale, but I'll say it again: try to make the rest of your weekend as easy as possible. If you don't get a badge (and a lot of you won't), you probably won't want to force-smile your way through a bunch of social obligations. Have some kind of consolation prize on hand for yourself and try to avoid those people who say annoying things about going to Comic-Con. And remember that even if San Diego Comic-Con 2016 doesn't happen for you, another great Con will.
But for now, say every magic spell you know and maybe the nerd gods will smile upon you Saturday.