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GenCon Events – Got Tickets?

A week of sifting through thousands of events for the most anticipated Geek convergence of the year came to fruition on Sunday, May 19th.  Our group spent Saturday night and early Sunday morning trying to finalize our wishlist, also making sure we had plenty of alternates in case our first choices were taken.  I don’t even want to guess how many hours I put into planning this year, my six page spreadsheet of time slots – both primary and secondary choices as well as a complete “oh my God everything is gone, time for Plan C!” spreadsheet.  Over planning?  Maybe.  I simply wanted to make sure I was getting in the very most coverage this year after leaving last years with so much regret for having not planned enough.

So here we are, its Sunday morning and 30 minutes left until the Event Listing becomes “Live” and everyone will be able to submit their wishlist.  I’m Skyping with a couple people that will be helping out this year, making sure we’ve not missed anything in our wishlist.  One or two last minute changes, mostly alternates for our first choices and then we’re content to just watch the counter.  The countdown display is at 19 minutes but I swear it felt like 19 hours.  The last minute and we start counting it down over Skype in 10 second increments until we near the end.  At 10 seconds we’re all suddenly quiet; all out attention turns to the “Submit Wishlist for Processing” button, which is currently greyed out.

Three, two, one!  Holy crap, my reflexes resembled a lightening strike!  I am not exaggerating when I tell you I clicked that button so fast once it was activated that I questioned if it had ever activated at all.  My response time had to be under a second yet my browser returned what I had feared going into this adventure; “Your wishlist is number 1829 in the queue”, or some phrase similar to that.  Oh the agony!  My partners over Skype were ahead of me, somewhere in the 800s.   Seeing how my wishlist carried the bulk of our plans, we were all a bit concerned.

While the large number for our position in the queue was disheartening, the GenCon system performed admirably in processing the queue in a timely manor.  We were dropping steadily and it wasn’t long before our partner’s wishlist was processed, about 15-20 minutes after launch.  The bad news, all their planned Friday activities were unavailable by the time their wishlist was processed.  Now the sweat has begun to pour after hearing this news and realizing I am still over 820 in line!

At the 35 minute mark I am finally less than 10 in the queue and my palms are pouring buckets, my mouse is hopefully waterproof.  Then we have it, “Your wishlist has been processed, View Results”.  A deep breath, dry the palms and click…impatiently waiting for the new page to display in my browser until there it is; A screen of green and red lines, green being success and red meaning heartbreak.

My first reaction was “Oh man, look at all that red!”  However, a speedy review through the list and I’m starting to feel pretty good.  For the most part I got everything I wanted.  I was after a lot of reveal seminars which are large group events, so that helped.  I also had a few smaller games which I hoped to review and luckily secured what essentially were very limited seats.  I only missed 2 events that I had hoped for, one being in my top 3 but I’ll accept that for the sake of the rest.

In the end I had a great Sunday, I felt great having spent all that time preparing and really happy how things turned out. I was also very impressed with the registration system deployed by GenCon, it performed superbly!  I am utilizing Will Call and hope that the experience will be identical to that of 2012, quick and easy.  Unfortunately we now have another 80+ days to wait for this gaming Mecca to open its door to our geekness.  Shamefully I will be wishing for the dog days of summer to pass as quickly as possible so I can make my journey to Indy to celebrate the best of gaming.

See you there!

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