The original title of this post was Badgel Royale! But I thought that it might be lost on some that would only get Hunger Games references. With Toucan Blog Updates Regarding Badges, which have been well sorted out by the team at the SDCC Unofficial Blog, we’ve got two very important pieces of information, the first is that pre-reg will NOT be happening as early as the Widely assumed Feb 1st weekend, and the second revolves around just how easy or difficult it will be to get those badges, depending not so much on effort, as perspective.
The basics of it are that Pre-Reg will come down to a lottery system. That’s right, as CCI has sought a solution to the “problematic” “the everyone-push-a-button-all-at-the-same-time model”. Pre-Reg hopefuls will be assigned a time to get into the waiting room, and once there will be “randomly assigned a registration session”, and means that
“There is no advantage to arriving early”
A lot of people have voiced opinions (especially on twitter) ranging from shock to confusion (either with a dash of outrage). And the the SDCC Unofficial Blog did one of the things they do best, they took a deep breath and gave an unbiased breakdown of how this affects potential attendees. As a semi-biased party, who wants her badge, I have very mixed feelings about this whole thing. The primary issue with this is that the randomness has to a great degree “leveled the playing field” as CCI states the waiting room will do. Newbies think that this gives them a greater chance at attending, and seasoned attendees see the odds of an annual tradition diminishing.
As one for whom the last three years in July have included a six hour one way drive to San Diego, an option not only available after getting badges, but also bugging bosses and bribing co-workers (because the company I worked at didn’t allow repeat time frames for vacation each year) I can say that hard work should be rewarded.
Is it more fair than the system where one had to wait in line at the convention, during the convention for the next years badge? Sure. In my opinion that was far too much in favor of those that had already seen SDCC. But by leveling the playing field with pre-reg, is it too in favor of the newbies, who may just be causal visitors?
In previous years, to get a badge meant knowing when to be online, using a friend’s computer and/or internet connection if yours wasn’t fast enough, or even calling out sick from work, because you knew that you’d be hitting the refresh button ten times a second. the folks at the SDCC blog did produce an incredible list of tips, with everything from being adequately prepared to teaming up with others. Even they acknowledge though that when you get down to it, with this new system, you could be doing everything right, and still not get in because:
“When it comes to SDCC Prereg, there are no guarantees.”
Now I’m in a place of “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” somehow combined with “Never tell me the odds!”
So many objections focus on the fact that this new breed of nerds that CCI is trying to let in cares about fads, not fandoms, so why sacrifice your best customers (who have bought badges year over year over year) on the alter of pleasing new comers?
But, even if you’ve been going for decades, you were a new comer to the con once. All of us were, and because this is such a personal issue, it’s definitely a good thing that whatever system used, that CCI is keeping it online, because if it came down to it, most SDCC attendees might be willing to literally fight to the death for these badges.
May the odds be ever in your favor!