Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Blizzard uses random loot tables to sell Blizzcon tickets

This is a rant. Just thought I would get that out of the way in case anyone tries to make a logical argument in the comment thread. I have the misfortune of being one of those idiots who have been trying to buy Blizzcon tickets for the past two days. This was the first year where I had the available vacation time and money to fly out to Anaheim so I was unaware that Blizzard had a reputation for making it impossible to get tickets. Most people who did manage to buy them this year made sure to post in the forums how long they had been in front of their computers hitting refresh. We are talking about people spending 15-17 hours in front of their computer waiting for the store to come back online.

You see while Blizzcon tickets were supposed to go on sale Monday, that was a baldfaced lie. The site was constantly down and even when it was up wouldn't allow most people navigate it because of heavy traffic. I spent about four hours just trying to make an account before they brought the site down for the rest of the day. It then became a waiting game for when Blizzard would bring the site up again. They're were no announcement and only people who were constantly hitting refresh were eventually able to buy tickets. When tickets finally did go on sale at 3:50pm EST there were enough refreshers that they sold out within minutes. I just love the time frame too, which makes sure to screw over anyone whose workplace blocks Blizzard's site.

Anyways they saved a small number of tickets to sell at 11:00pm EST which was the first time they actually announced a time frame. I didn't have much hope for getting them and I was actually surprised when I was able to put 3 into my shopping cart and make it almost to the last purchase page. Unfortunately, the site was getting hammered enough that it kept not taking my 3 digit CCV code. Eventually after hitting the continue button for the sixth time I was bounced to the main page and told the availability of the items in my shopping cart had changed and were now sold out. This was probably a worst case scenario, but it really was the most frustrating online experience I've had in recent memory. I came up with a nice string of offensive post titles the nicest of which was "Blizzard can suck my ...", anyways nerd rage is never pretty.

I was wondering why bloggers weren't talking about Blizzcon and now I know. It's impossible to get tickets so why bother talking about it. Only scalpers and people without jobs seem to be able to navigate Blizzard's horrible ticket distribution system which is run on an old Pentium 1. As some people posted in the forums it was the same for Blizzcon 2007 and they weren't surprised nothing changed. Oh, and I know that you have to show the credit card you bought the tickets with to pick up your badge. However, this doesn't seem to have stopped tickets from showing up on stubhub and ebay already. I'm pretty sure the scalpers have a work around or simply just meet people at the convention. One of my friends suggested that Miley Cyrus and Blizzard have a lot in common since about 95% of their event tickets are scalped.

The interesting thing to note is that Stubhub was mentioned in a couple articles as being under investigation for illegal scalping. The site has tickets listed for Blizzcon 2008 at 1500$. If not illegal its at the least criminal.
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20137827,00.html

Also while searching the customer service forums I found this youtube video that perfectly matched my experience with the Blizzcon ticket buying process. The voice acting is horrible but it's so true.
http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=z_wV6ax3FKI

I'm sure I could score a single ticket if I wanted to but the idea was to go with some people I actually play the game with. I'm starting to suspect that Blizzard is just too big and slow to have good customer service anymore. I just hope that most of the tickets sold were to actual fans and not scalpers like I suspect. Anyways while I partially blame the web team at Blizzard I also realize that with such a high demand not everyone can get a ticket. It's still really turned me off Blizzard though and I don't think I can discuss anything related to them for awhile without putting a negative slant on it. So if my next posts have titles like "Blizzard employees sacrifice kittens" take it with a grain of salt.

7 comments:

emyln said...

Amen. I've got a full time job, and my work place blocks blizzard and yet I still brought my personal laptop to work just to check the status of their website.

To find out that it was all over in minutes is beyond disturbing. Sames goes with their release of a small number of reserve tickets at 8pm pacific. They brought down the site, and at about 8:10pm bought it up (meaning they expect people to hit F5), and less than 3 mins later the sold out post appears on their main page. WTF. My browser was still trying to load the ticket page, that's how bad the lag was.

I'm a fairly level headed person but for a company that get's over 1/2 a billion in profit, we expect something better. MUCH BETTER.

There are about 2 million WOW players in USA, even if only 5% want to attend the convention, that's 100,000 persons. Not to mention the huge numbers of Starcraft and Diablo fans and international fans who would also be interested in attending. And I discovered they released only 12000 tickets. Add the scalpers in and you have a fiasco.

iomegadrive said...

Wow so much venom. It's the name of the game, just deal.

I'm kind of surprised at this kind of really immature reporting on the incident. It pales in comparison to the other articles you've written. I think in a couple of days, after cooler heads have prevailed, you're going to be pretty embarrassed that you let your emotions overcome you like it has.

Relmstein said...

What's the point of having a blog if you can't get emo every once and awhile? :-) I'll make sure I don't make it a habit. I've already lost a lot of sourness by decided to plan a trip to Vegas instead.

Anonymous said...

It strikes me that there is an um... market opportunity... here for someone to organize an independent WoW-con. There are plenty of bloggers who want to talk about the game and plenty of people who want to hang out with them. Hard to imagine that it wouldn't be a success.

Rhey said...

But now I will never get a chance to wear my "Sorry Ladies I'm Immune to mace stun" T-shirt. But now I will be heading over to Vegas during the con to drowned myself in Gambling, booze, buffets, and debauchery. I live in LA too so it sucks not being able to go to a event even when it’s local.

Anonymous said...

Relmie, my friend, it's time to ditch WoW. 12 step program! Just say no! :)

Honestly that company makes SO MUCH money, and provides so little for it. I don't know what they are doing with their profits... probably using them for the "next gen" MMO, which will ultimately be starved of proper expansion like WoW has been while they spend those profits developing the 3rd gen MMO. LOL. :)

In all seriousness... Blizzard provides really ratty CS for the money we consumers have given them. CS with oodles of bad attitude. The ONLY thing that is going to change their perspective - and even then it may not work - is if enough people simply quit paying them. For Blizzcon tickets, for the games.

I've long held that WoW has become the "training wheels" for the world of MMOs... it's the first game a lot of new MMO players go to, but now that they all have it figured out they are going to start migrating to various other MMOs that better meet their own needs. Just call it the America Online of MMOs.

12 steps Relm! You can do it!

iomegadrive said...

Yeah, no offense by my comment, it just took me by surprise. Not used to that kind of writing here. WoWInsider, yes. Relmstein, no.

And yeah, I am INFINITELY sure you will have more fun in Vegas than IRVINE.