Blizzcon ticket sales hits a snafu with unexpected demand
Blizzard's annual convention suffers from fits and starts in the ticket purchasing process.
As a big World of Warcraft fan, I was extremely excited that Blizzard was once again having its annual Blizzcon convention in Anaheim, Calif., this October. Blizzcon is a two-day event and celebration of all of Blizzard's properties, which include Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. It typically contains Q&A panels, social events for players and developers, and hands-on gameplay of the latest Blizzard games. Think of it as a mini-E3 just for Blizzard fanatics.
So I woke up early Monday morning to purchase tickets for the show, which were set to go on sale August 11 via the Blizzard Store. The log-in page loaded like molasses, and when it finally loaded, I found out I had to create an account before I could buy tickets. Which I then tried to do, but it kept giving me errors and kept pushing me back to the first page. I finally gave up in frustration and left to go to the office.
It turns out, I wasn't the only one to suffer from Blizzcon ticket snafu. Comments from Wowinsider as well as Blizzard's General Discussion forums indicate that Blizzard had been suffering from ticket store problems all morning. Even after they took the store down for maintenance in the afternoon and placed it back up, site errors and traffic problems continued to plague the ticket store. The murloc on the Error Page has even gained a nickname, dubbed "Failoc", perhaps in reference to the Twitter "Fail Whale." From comments and forum posts, it seems like only a handful of people managed to buy tickets Monday.
According to Blizzard, the errors are because of extreme demand for tickets, and are working on optimizing the store to handle the load requests. Last night, Blizzard took down the ticket store entirely for maintenance, promising to have it up after 12 p.m. PT today. It's currently 12:15 p.m. as I write this, and the site is still under maintenance (with a huge yellow SCV unit from Starcraft blocking the way, it seems).
Players are understandably upset. A brief glance through the forums indicate many threads and posts complaining about the site errors, while a few people are angry that their credit cards were charged without receiving confirmation e-mails (I have not investigated further into this claim, however). As players typically come from all over the world for Blizzcon, a delay in ticket sales also results in a delay in travel plans for many people.
Blizzcon 2008 is expected to draw record crowds because of the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft and the pending release of Diablo 3. It seems to me that Blizzard should have anticipated such a high traffic demand, but here's hoping they're able to fix the ticket store errors soon.
Update: As of 12:45 p.m. PDT, the ticket store is back up and is fully functional. I was able to buy two tickets. How about you?
Update: The ticket store was up for about 10 minutes until it was reportedly "sold out" by around 1:00 p.m. PDT. After around 15 minutes, tickets were available again. It was then "sold out" a few minutes later, and reemerged again hours after that. Apparently this is a way for them to handle the load of ticket orders coming in.
Update: This is a forum post by a Blizzard employee: "The bulk of the BlizzCon tickets we had available were sold out within minutes of ticket sales going live again this afternoon. We have a small reserve of tickets left -- to make these available to some of you who might not have had a chance to purchase yet, we will be releasing the remaining reserve tickets for sale tonight, August 12, at 8:00 PM PDT (Ed. Emphasis added). We appreciate the enthusiasm everyone has shown, and wish we were able to accommodate even more attendees at this year's BlizzCon." So if you still haven't gotten your tickets, try again at around 8 p.m. PDT.