Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fool Me Once...

It's probably safe to say that most people who were queuing up to purchase a ticket for Blizzcon 2014 felt a bit nervous. Breaking the mold of previous years, Blizzard contracted a third-party vendor---Eventbrite---to facilitate ticket sales. Granted, one can hardly blame them for this choice. Not only does it likely save them time and money, but it passes the headache of coordinating such a high-demand sale to an entirely different entity.

Googling "Blizzcon ticket fiasco" tells a story. The articles and blogs from this year haven't yet broken to the top of the results, but you'll find a lot of info on what's known as the Official Fiasco of 2008. There's another article on the 2012 process on the first page, where Blizzard's own ticketing site was down for hours, leaving people who set aside time unable to buy tickets.

Last year, I was a first hand witness to Eventbrite's systems. While many people reported issues with the queuing system, my friends and I were able to get through with relative ease. We weren't deaf to the plight of others, but luckily hadn't experienced the same issues other people were having.

Blizzard acknowledged last year's problems. In fact, we were assured Eventbrite had looked into the causes of the bottlenecks last year and would be prepared. Then Wednesday happened. Long story short, Eventbrite admitted there was an error in the Waiting Room system, but they believed they'd returned it to full functionality by the Saturday sale.

Unfortunately, that did not happen. The issues experienced Saturday were, for one, much worse and more widespread than last year. Additionally, the issues experienced on Saturday were much worse and more widespread compared to Wednesday. It was an actual regression. Some players got to the purchase screen only to submit their order error out. Other people, myself included, had the order error out, yet received an e-confirmation that indeed, our transaction went through.

Perhaps the most common problem was being placed into a Waiting Room that truly lived up to its expectations; you literally just waited, and for too many people nothing happened. Meanwhile, the savvy/less-patient of us out there opened new browser windows and were able to nab tickets almost instantly.

That's two years now. I think Eventbrite has had their chance to prove whether or not they're capable of handling the type of demand Blizzcon sees. It's not about having the ability to do better; it's about actually doing better. Blizzard would be best served by another vendor.

No comments:

Post a Comment