Thursday, April 25, 2013

Heading West: ticket purchasing tips for BlizzCon 2013

Tickets are sold out! Your only chance now is to find someone with an extra or try for a $500 benefit dinner package, which includes a ticket to the con. 

Wisconsin represent!

At 9:25pm CST last Wednesday night, two local friends and I had four BlizzCon tickets between us. Chris entered the queue at 2,200, Dave entered at 1,500, and I entered at 4,300. By the time I was booted from the queue -- tickets sold out when I was number 99 -- we already knew we'd be making the trip to Anaheim come November.

We're considering ourselves lucky that two of three people in our group were able to reach the front of the queue. I'm not sure if our assessment is accurate, but I know that when I checked queue position in another browser just after landing 4,300, it had already eclipsed 15,000. Granted, since we were buying in a pool, we were all more likely to have a chance at tickets; still, there are steps you can take to increase the likelihood you'll end up at the front of the line before tickets sell out.

Blizzard released a handy-dandy buying guide, which the three of us followed closely; however, I'm going to break down our method in detail below, if only to tell the story, invite superstition, or simply pass our luck onto another hopeful, future-attendee.

Update your payment method
I had several methods of payment on my account: one primary and two back-ups. To be sure I was properly up-to-date, I removed all of the payment methods and re-added them immediately after. Paranoid, yes. But it ensured that if I made it to the front of the line I'd leave with tickets.

Do NOT use Internet Explorer
Absolutely anticipating disagreement on this point, and I believe you when you tell me you got your tickets on Wednesday with no issues using IE.x. This is like, my opinion, man. Dave, our lowest in the queue, used Chrome. Chris and I both used Firefox. Take that for what it's worth. I won't detail the reasons why I absolutely loathe, and never use, Internet Explorer. Can't speak for Safari, but since you're going to be mashing on the F5 key in the moments before tickets go on sale, the most light-weight, fast-loading browser is your best friend.

Make sure your browser is set up to accept cookies
If you're not sure if you've got this part right, type the following into Google: "enable cookies for [insert browser name]." Expect you replace the "insert browser name" with...yeah, you get it.

Log into BEFORE the sale
We were each logged in about five minutes prior to tickets going on sale. I don't know what happens when you're not logged in, i.e., when you'll be prompted to log in, but be safe and log in prior to sale time.

Open the ticket sale page and start mashing your F5 (refresh) key two minutes before sale
Blizzard will flip the switch during one of those refreshes and you'll see a "CHECKOUT" button appear in the middle of the page. 

Ignore quantity & click checkout ASAP
Securing an attractive position in the queue is only possible if you are fast at clicking the "CHECKOUT" button. This means you don't have time to change the ticket quantity on that first page, which is fine: you can adjust the ticket quantity should you be lucky enough to reach the front of the queue. The time it takes you to select a different quantity on that first page is most definitely more than enough time to put you back thousands of places in the queue.

Cross your fingers & hope for 4,000
Based on what we saw with our little buying group, you run the risk of not getting a ticket around the 4,000 mark. Anything under that, you'll be sitting pretty. If you end up in the 2,000s or lower, CONGRATULATIONS!

You're going to BlizzCon.

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