The Ultra-Paranoid Reunite: Tips for San Diego Comic-Con 2015 Pre-Registration

Do you feel that rumble in the distance? That’s the sound of thousands of nervous nerds shaking with anxiety – it’s time for 2014 San Diego Comic-Con attendee pre-registration! Last year we gave you our guide to pre-reg for the ultra paranoid – but a few things in the process have changed, so here for your anxious planning needs are our updated tips.

Make sure you’re eligible.

Saturday’s attendee pre-registration is only open to people who:

  • attended Comic-Con in July 2014,
  • as a paid attendee,
  • and validated their badge ID prior to October 15, 2014 by entering the ID code found at the bottom of their 2014 badge into the member ID system

You are not eligible to buy a Comic-Con badge this weekend if you:

  • did not go to Comic-Con 2014, even if you purchased a ticket but were not able to attend
  • went to Comic-Con 2014 but didn’t validate your badge ID before October 15
  • attended Comic-Con 2014 on a creative professional, trade professional, press, exhibitor, or volunteer badge, or as a guest of one of these ticket types (e.g. professional guest)
  • attended Comic-Con 2014 with a free or complimentary badge (e.g, you won the badge as part of a contest)

You can check your eligibility in the member ID system. Log into your account and look in the upper right hand corner. If you are eligible to buy a badge on Saturday, it will say “OK CCI’15 Attendee Prereg” with a green check mark. You can double check on the “Registration Info” tab: eligible attendees will see their member ID as well as their badge ID. Ineligible people will see a big red X. Anything else, and you’re out of luck. (If you don’t have a member ID, you are definitely not eligible for Saturday’s sale.)

Don’t be confused by the big green check mark under the “Notices” tab – that does not tell you whether you’re eligible for pre-reg. See the gallery below for examples of eligible and ineligible members.

Find a buying group.

Pre-reg starts in less than two days, so if you want to be part of a buying group you need to find one ASAP. Try this Friends of CCI forum post if you’re still looking for a group.

How does a buying group benefit you? Everyone who’s eligible for pre-reg can buy badges for up to three people in their purchase session (including themselves). The only catch is that everyone you’re buying for must also be eligible for pre-reg. Forming a buying group is about the only way to outsmart the system now that it’s become so randomized – you’re still trying to win the lottery, but it’s a lot easier when you’re pooling your tickets with all your fellow gamblers. Even if someone in your group is able to buy you a badge first, you can still buy badges for three people other than yourself if you make it into the purchase session next.

For example, let’s say you’re in a buying group with five other people. We’ll call them Xavier, Jean, Scott, Logan, and Ororo. You all log in around 8:30am and get randomized just after 9:00am PST. At 9:20am, Scott is let in to buy tickets – which CCI refers to as your “registration session.” He logs into the registration session with his member ID and badge ID. He buys badges for himself, Jean, and you and is done by 9:35am. You stay in the waiting room even after he’s done buying you a badge, as does the rest of your group. At 9:45am, you get to the front of the line and start a registration session by logging in with your member ID and badge ID. You buy badges for Xavier, Logan, and Ororo. And now your whole group is set!

Things to square up ahead of time: having everyone’s member ID on hand, deciding on a communication method for the morning (text? Facebook chat? GroupMe? Google chat?), and how you will handle repaying your fellow group members. You don’t need each other’s badge IDs – you only need your own to log into a registration session.

Check your credit limit.

If you are the lucky member of your group who gets into a registration session, you’re responsible for paying for all the badges you purchased. You can’t split the payment in a registration session, so that could mean over $600 on your credit card. (Comic-Con doesn’t take PayPal; your choices are debit, Visa, MasterCard, and AmEx.) In the past EPIC has allowed a 48-hour grace period to contact them if your credit card is declined or has an error – but if you’re already stressed about ticket buying, that added issue might give you a minor heart attack.

Double check your time difference.

The U.S. just went off of daylight saving time last weekend, which means the difference you were used to all summer is now an hour off. Even if you live in the U.S., if you’re in a state that doesn’t observe daylight saving time, you’ll be off. So if you don’t live in the realm of Pacific Standard Time, do yourself a favor and double check!

Check your browser settings.
A successful browser check in Chrome on Android, but with a warning for mobile users.

A successful browser check in Chrome on Android, but with a warning for mobile users.

Do yourself a favor and check all the browsers on your computer, in case one of them fails Saturday morning. Better to know what settings need to be fixed now than at 8:55 Saturday morning. Check them here.

CCI explicitly says that mobile browsers are not supported; although some of them may pass the browser check, they do come with a warning. Only use a smartphone, tablet, or iPad as a last resort – but do a browser check on them now, since they’re better than nothing.

And your computer settings.
Have some fun with it.

Have some fun with it.

CCI recommends changing your power settings to ensure your computer doesn’t fall asleep while you’re in the waiting room or while being randomized. You should also check your browser add-ons and extensions, in case you have any kind of script blocker that might interfere with the pre-reg system. You can survive three house without AdBlock or NoScript turned on, we promise.

Have your (and your whole group’s) info at the ready.

We recommend keeping a copy on paper and a copy in a text file that you can use to easily copy & paste. You’ll need the full names and member IDs of everyone in your buying group, plus your own badge ID (which is listed on the Registration Info tab of your member ID account). Remember that you’ve only got 15 minutes to get in and out of your registration session, and in the 2014 pre-reg sale many of the pages within the registration session took a while to load. Expect your registration session to take about 10 minutes to complete, even if you’ve got everyone’s info memorized. Fortunately EPIC will hold your badge inventory during your session, but if you’re a slow typist being able to copy and paste your info in will be very helpful.

Screenshot everything.
What your registration session will look like (though hopefully not entirely sold out!).

What your registration session will look like (though hopefully not entirely sold out).

This includes but is not limited to: the Member ID page showing you’re pre-reg eligible, the browser check showing that everything works, the landing page once you’ve logged on – and of course, any and all errors you encounter in the process. We know – this one does sound genuinely paranoid, but Comic-Con has a history of helping out people who are screwed out of a ticket by technical issues caused by the system. There’s no guarantee they’ll continue to do so, but if you have proof of problems beyond your control that kept you from getting a badge, they may be able to help you. (Don’t tell us you don’t know how to take a screenshot on your computer.) But if you’re going to post those screenshots to social media, please remember to obscure your personal information. Every year there are far too many people tweeting screenshots with their full credit card numbers in view. Don’t be that guy.

Go to the bathroom before 9:00am.

There is nothing in the waiting room showing you where you are in line, or how long it will be before you might get to buy a badge. There’s no audio alert once you’re let into a registration session, either. Brace yourself for up to 2 hours of starting at your screen. That means making sure you’re set to sit in one place for two hours – or else be prepared to drag your laptop into the bathroom with you.

Know what days you want.

New for 2015 is a restocking/return fee of 10% on each badge you ask to be returned or refunded. This is still better than many other conventions’ policies, which is usually “no refunds, no returns.” But if you can make the decision now, save your money.

Get a timer ready.

You get 15 minutes in your registration session, and there isn’t a timer on screen. Since the pages often take a while to load, those 15 minutes will be up before you know it. Grab a kitchen timer, pull up a timer app on your phone, bust out that old stopwatch from grade school – you’ll be grateful you did.

Don’t panic if what you want is sold out.

Only a fraction of the total badges available are sold during pre-reg, and you are allowed to try again during open registration (which will be sometime early next year). If you wanted Friday, Saturday, and Sunday badges and only Sunday is available by the time you get into a registration session, buy Sunday and try for the rest later.

Here is the approximate timeline from 2014 attendee pre-reg (all times Pacific):

9:00: waiting room closes to new entrants

9:10 – 9:15: sorting concludes, registration sessions begin

9:35: Preview Night sells out

10:15: low ticket warnings for Friday & Saturday

10:25: Saturday sells out

10:30: Friday sells out

10:45: low ticket warning for Thursday

10:50: Thursday sells out

11:10: Sunday sells out; attendee pre-reg ends


The rest is up to chance, so be prepared, stay calm, and keep an eye on Twitter for updates; we’ll be on at 7am PST to tweet along with you. Good luck!