It's Open Registration Eve! Tomorrow a massive crowd of nerds will pour into the San Diego Comic-Con badge sale waiting room - and only a fraction of them will emerge victorious.
Veteran attendees, you know the drill - be prepared, get a good night's sleep, convince yourself tomorrow won't really make or break 2017 for you (even though it will), etc.
First-timers, you're a different story. You have no idea what you're in for. (Unless you've tried and failed before.) Here we go.
What You Need to Do Now
Watch the above video.
Make sure your credit card has room on it for your best outcome. If you get picked and you want to buy 3 badges, you'll need to pay just shy of $800. If you're a profligate spender who's constantly flirting with your card limit, call your credit card company and find out where you are. If you're using a card you never use, as I did last month in Returning Reg, you might want to warn them so they don't freeze the transaction. Mine called to confirm the legitimacy of my purchase so it wasn't a big deal, but it's still another way for something to go wrong.
Exchange Paypal information, Member IDs and last names with your buying group. Get very clear on the order you're buying in. Have everyone touch base tonight, especially if someone is acting sketchy. Review the rules.
Make sure your technology is ready.Take the little browser test - better safe than sorry.
Warn your housemates, spouses, parents and anyone else that you require a period of freedom and quiet tomorrow morning, and are not to be trifled with. Make it absolutely clear. They need to know you cannot be interrupted and that interference will have repercussions.
If you have intense social plans for tomorrow night, reconsider. This depends on how well you shake things off, but failing to get a badge will usually sink you into a dark mood.
What to Expect Tomorrow
You'll click the link in your email and go into the waiting room between 8-9 am PST. Is there a correlation between time logged in and who gets picked? Based on my data, no. I had 4 of 8 sessions picked in Ret Reg and all of them had gone live in the waiting room at different times. My 2 Preview Night sessions were - interestingly - the first and second to last ones.
Once the sale goes live at 9 am PST, you'll know. No one can enter the room after this time. It used to be that there was a long period of them sorting everyone but last month the sale started moving people through very quickly.
While you're waiting, you will see a spinning blue circle that tells you your session is live. You'll also see various nerd-themed jokes appear in a yellow bar, along with messages about badge inventory. Let me be clear: this can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of your life. I've lived through muggings and car accidents that did not stress me out like an SDCC badge sale. As you see the messages like "Preview Night inventory is running low," your stress level will shoot into the stratosphere.
If/when you get picked, you'll need to calm your shaking hands, type in the right names and Member IDs and make sure you pick the right badges. (One of my greatest badge sale fears is that I'll accidentally click something that undoes all the days I've clicked.) If you click Preview Night, you lucky dog, everything else is selected automatically. Otherwise you'll need to click each day that you want.
Then you'll pay. CCI quite nicely gives you a confirmation screen that spells out everyone you bought for with the days they got and the prices paid. Screenshot this and send it to the other people, then save it for your records.
Then you'll grieve or celebrate accordingly.
I know Twitter is like a community bonfire during badge sales, and we all huddle around it to encourage, congratulate or console each other. But while you're waiting to get picked, it can make your anxiety worse. You will see person after person crowing over their badges and it creates the impression there will be nothing left for you. You'll also hear conflicting reports of what's sold out. Try to minimize social while the sale is actually happening.
If you accidentally get bumped out of the waiting room or session, just use your registration code and you'll go back in - as long as you originally logged in before 9 am PST.
Screenshot every glitch, and your confirmation screen.
One session per browser, and don't crowd too many browsers onto one device.
Don't be a princess about only settling for a 4-day badge. There is nothing wrong with just getting Thursday and Sunday, and even just Sunday can be good.
If you're in a buying group and someone else buys your badge, don't shut down your session - stay in the game and help out your comrades.
Your window to buy badges has a ticking clock, so don't waste time announcing to everyone that you got in, or texting your friend to find out why her Member ID says someone else has already bought her badge. Just move on to the next person who needs a badge.
Come to term with the odds: not in your favor. You're competing with a vast number of people. But remember that there are many, many other Cons out there.
I'll be live-blogging the sale, on Twitter, and sending lucky wishes to all you questing nerds. This is the first year in a while that I nabbed Preview Night in Ret Reg/Pre-Reg, but I'll still be running sessions for other people and nervous on their behalf. I hope to hear about your victory tomorrow - and to see you at San Diego Comic-Con this summer.