For many of you, February is going to be a great month. And for many more of you, it may not be so great. Why? Because Comic-Con International announced today that Open Registration for San Diego Comic-Con 2016 will take place next Saturday at February 20, at 9AM PT. That means that for better or worse, you’ll know soon whether you’re attending the pop culture juggernaut this year.
We don’t want to scare you, but the odds of purchasing a badge in Open Registration are a lot harder than in Preregistration, simply because the pool of people wanting to score a badge is exponentially larger. But thousands and thousands of attendees manage every single year, and we’d like each and every one of you to go into the sale as prepared as you can be, to walk away with the golden ticket.
So: Are you ready?
Just in case you’re not, we’ve put together a guide and tips on making sure you are ready for the February 20 sale.
You can also join us, whether you’re buying a badge or just wanting to hang out, at the SDConCast’s Open Registration Live Coverage podcast. We’ll be kicking things off at 8:30AM PT, 30 minutes after the waiting room officially opens and 30 minutes before the sale kicks off, and we’ll be updating on any issues we see users having, badge inventory, and more. Plus, it’s a great way to celebrate getting a badge.
What You Need
Above all else, you need to actually be eligible for Open Registration for 2016 (rocket science, right?). This is actually much easier than Preregistration (the sale that happened in November, for those eligible attendees who attended in 2015). Instead, all you need to be eligible for Open Registration is a Member ID (you must have already created one — any new Member IDs created will not be eligible for Open Registration this year), and to not have already purchased all four days with Preview Night during Preregistration. Easy, right?
If you’ve still got questions about whether or not you’re eligible, you can login to your Member ID to see:
For the visual learners:
Once you’ve verified that you’re eligible, you’ll need to gather a few things:
- Credit card information
- How many badges you are buying (you can buy up to 3, including one for yourself)
- The last name and Member ID of anyone you are buying a badge for
- Your Registration Code
- The link to the EPIC Registration Waiting Rom
Your Registration Code is the specific 15-digit-code that you’ll use to access the EPIC Registration waiting room, and it’s what you received for validating your badge earlier this year. You will need that code, as well as the link to the Waiting Room. The code and link should have been e-mailed to you, but even if they weren’t, they’re helpfully stored under “Registration Info” in your Member ID.
Price & Payment
Be familiar with the cost of a badge. Single day badges will run $55 for a Thursday-Saturday badge, with $40 for a Sunday badge or $35 for a Wednesday Preview Night badge (only available if you’ve purchased all four days). A combined four-day badge with Preview Night will run you $245.
Here’s the breakdown of prices:
When paying, credit cards and payment can’t be split. Meaning that if you are purchasing badges for multiple people, it all has to go on a single credit card. This is the only downside to using large groups to purchase, as you may not be comfortable “spotting” someone upwards of $245. Again, we recommend only forming groups with people that you feel comfortable being in a financial situation with. If you’re not comfortable, don’t share payment information.
Trusting those in your badge buying group is even more important this year than ever before, as CCI will by physically mailing badges for the first time this year. Rather than mailing them individually to each attendee, they’ll be mailing them based on how you purchased them. Badges will be mailed only to the buyer and the address entered upon checkout during Open Registration – so if someone else buys your badge, you’ll need to arrange for them to ship your badge to you once it arrives.
The one caveat to this is for international attendees. If the address upon checkout is international, then Comic-Con won’t be mailing your badges — instead, you’ll pick them up on site. In the case that a US resident purchases a badge for an international attendee, the badge will be mailed to the US attendee. In the case where an international attendee purchases a badge for a US attendee, the badge won’t be mailed. So plan accordingly.
At least 24 hours prior to the sale, CCI will e-mail all eligible attendees a link to enter the EPIC Registration waiting room on Saturday, February 20. Attendees will be able to enter as early as 8AM, but the sale won’t officially start until just after 9AM PT. Between 8AM-9AM, you’ll be greeted with this screen, and prompted to enter your individual Registration Code:
Beginning just after 9AM, EPIC Registration will randomly assign everyone in the waiting room a place in line to purchase badges. This is a completely random process – and those who arrived at 8AM on the dot have as much chance of getting a “good” spot in line as those who entered at 8:59AM. There is no advantage to arriving early. However, there is a disadvantage to arriving late, as those who try to enter after 9AM will not be allowed back in, and the room will be closed to new entrants. For this reason, it might be good to arrive a little early, to test that everything is working properly prior to 9AM.
Once the sale kicks off, in the past, CCI and EPIC have kept people informed with various messages. Here’s a look at one of last year’s messages (though whoever wrote Preregistration’s messages in November apparently wasn’t in as humorous of a mood as usual):
According to CCI, if you are accidentally removed from the waiting room or lose connectivity, simply return to the EPIC landing page and enter your registration code again. You will be put back with the same group you were previously. This only applies to registration codes that were authorized prior to 9:00 AM.
When it is your turn to purchase a badge, you will see all of the available badge types. Those badge types are held for you for 15 minutes, while you complete the purchasing process. Again, you may purchase up to three badges, including one for yourself, but you can only pay with one card. Each person you are purchasing for must be eligible for Open Registration on their own, and you must have their Member ID and last name.
You’ll also fill out your mailing address, so that CCI can mail you your badges (unless you’re an international attendee – in which case, you’ll pick up onsite).
You should then be e-mailed a confirmation e-mail.
The Technical Side
Although CCI has fine-tuned this process over the years, technology often can and will have issues – Preregistration for 2016, for instance, was met with more issues than it has in several years. The only steps you can take to try to avoid these issues are to make sure you’re following the technical advice provided by Comic-Con International.
Here is a quick overview:
- No mobile devices or iPads. Get to a desktop. Seriously. Although some users reported being able to make it work last year, if this isn’t a risk you have to take, don’t.
- Only try to log into the waiting room once, and do not share your Registration Code. If you have other people trying to log in for you, logging in again will kick off the other sessions. If the waiting room logs you out prior to the sale starting, which happened to some users last year, you should be able to re-enter without it affecting you.
- No multiple browser tabs. If you are a family with multiple eligible attendees using the same computer, use a different browser for each Member ID.
- Don’t refresh. The waiting room will automatically refresh every 120 seconds. The blue spinning circle is your friend, even if you think it is your enemy.
- Don’t use the back button. This could remove you from the waiting room completely.
- Although the randomized waiting room theoretically “evened the playing field” for all attendees at having the same chance at scoring a badge, there is still at least one tactic that might give you an advantage: Buddying up. Work with friends, as well as the Comic-Con community at large. Twitter and Friends of CCI are both great tools for finding fellow attendees – so utilize them.
- Theoretically, the larger the circle of people you are working with to try to score badges, the better chance you have at getting one. After all, if you’re working with nine people, there is a better chance at three of those people will be placed in a “good” spot in line and be able to purchase badges for all nine team members, than there is a chance that on their own, all nine individuals will be given a “good” spot in line. The larger the group, the better the odds.
- Only work with people that you trust and feel comfortable sharing money with, and who you trust to mail your badge.
- Also be aware of all the new changes. If you’re an international attendee, you won’t receive your badge in the mail — you’ll pick up onsite. If something happens to your badge (lost/stolen/dog ate it), CCI can disable your old badge remotely through RFID. However, you won’t receive a new badge in the mail — instead, you’ll pick up on-site. Children under 12 who receive a free badge will also register on-site still.
- If it’s your turn to purchase, a screen will come up that asks for the Member ID you wish to purchase for. If you are purchasing for someone other than yourself — either because you don’t need a badge for 2016, or because someone else already purchased your badge — then make sure you enter the Member ID you’re actually purchasing for. If you enter your own and someone has already bought your badge, you won’t proceed to the next step.
It’s also important to be prepared prior to the sale. We’d like to think you’re all up to speed already — you are now.
Will you be trying to buy a badge next weekend? Let us know in the comments.