BlizzCon Tickets – The Need For Speed
Imagine sitting in a large stadium with, oh say fifty thousand people. Each of you have a digital stopwatch, and you’re all looking at the scoreboard as it counts down to zero. When the digits come up 0:00, a siren blares and everybody hits the start button on their stopwatch. They then immediately hit stop. As fast as you click, it’s not really instantaneous. You look down at your display and you see a fraction of a second showing on the screen, maybe a tenth of a second if you were really on the ball.
Now imagine that your car tires are going to be slashed to ribbons in the parking lot unless you have one of the four thousand fastest times. Forty-six thousand people are going to be very disappointed, and it all comes down to a fraction of a second.
Welcome to the BlizzCon Blitz.
This was the third year in a row that I’ve tried to get a ticket for BlizzCon. In 2009, I was somewhere around ten thousandth in the queue a second after they went on sale. The 2010 event went a little better, and I snuck in line around the 8600 mark. But neither spot was good enough to get a ticket. This year I slipped in at 3608 and when I proceeded to the checkout window to process my purchase (*performs fist pump of victory*), there were only twenty-one percent of tickets left.
Some say that speed kills. Othes say speed thrills. I think both are corny as Hell, but one thing that isn’t up for debate is that queue speed is everything. Over on the WoW Insider site, Mathew McCurley picked up a few nuggets of knowledge on the first round of ticket sales:
– Based on queue positions when tickets sold out, likely less than 4,000 total transactions were completed.
– The WoW Insider staff all clicked to buy our tickets at nearly the exact same second. Some of us didn’t get a queue. Others ended up 13,000 deep.
– Whether or not you’re getting a BlizzCon ticket today was a matter of one single second.
This year I did a few things differently. I’m sure it helped. How much, I can’t say. Maybe some of these tips can give you that slight edge you’ll need on Wednesday when the second round of tickets go on sale.
- Hard Line – I know there are some amazing wireless routers out there. Some are so good that folks can even run a raid completely wireless. But while wireless is good, hardlined is always going to be better. When we’re talking fractions of a second, you want to shave off any potential lag you can. I had a big blue wire running halfway across my house. It was an eyesore, but a speed test proved that pretty doesn’t always mean effective.
- Browser Speed – So you’ve found a long network cable and you’re all plugged in. The cat’s playing with the cord and people have tripped on it twice, but damn it sacrifices must be made! You decide to double-check your battle.net account info and open up Internet Explorer. Mistake. What you want to do is run a nice, fast, non-system intensive browser to speed up your Internet interactions. Again, slivers of seconds count here people. According to this review, you want to run Google Chrome as your browser. Yes it’s a creepy browser and it feels like Big Brother is watching you, but we’re talking BlizzCon tickets here! Suck it up, use it once, and never use it again.
- Live Close To California – Everything’s tight on your end. You’ve got speed to spare within your four walls. But the problem is when you hit that “Proceed to Checkout” button, it’s going to take a lot longer for that signal to reach the Blizzard servers in California if you’re sitting in New York (or worse, CANADA). Unless you’re going to book a flight to Cali and use your laptop at a Starbuck’s WiFi hot spot, you can’t do too much about this one. Which leads to…
- Get Lucky – At the end of the day, it pretty much comes down to luck. Two people can be sitting side by side with similar setups, and they’ll get vastly different queue positions. There’s just too many variables out of your control. All you can do it give it a shot and hope for the best.
For those who try to get a BlizzCon ticket on Wednesday – May the Internet Gods smile on you, as long as they’re not busy checking out porn.