Event registration for GenCon '11 has come and gone. Now, the real planning begins.
What to say about registration? It could have gone better - but it wasn't a complete waste. GenCon LLC has instituted a new "wishlist" system which I am still on the fence about. basically, you go through all the various events, rank them, and then when reg begins, you submit your list and hope that you beat out all comers. There were three of us that I know from my group that submitted our wish lists within half a second of event registration opening and we all ended up with more than 1,000 people "in line" before us. Really? 1/2 a second and I'm 1322? My buddy, Brad, was right behind me at 1350 and Eric, my other buddy in Europe was 990-something.
On one hand, this new system makes it a lot less stressful and allows for some planning ahead of time. In this case, my buddies and I worked on getting one of the TerrorWerks live action games thinking it would be great fun to do as a group. Alas, it was not to be. We had two of us working in coordination (across Skype) and still couldn't come up with an opportunity to get us all in the same slot. Within two minutes almost all of the blocks for TerrorWerks were sold out. Dammit.
Worse yet, even one of the seminars was sold out. I've never, ever seen a seminar sold out on the first day... much less the first five minutes. I've been to seminars by the same group and while they are popular - they have never been that popular. The only real change is the new wishlist system, so I blame it for me losing out on a bunch of events.
In the past, when registration opened, you logged on and we all raced to get each event one-at-a-time. maybe because I had better success with that system is the reason I like it better. This new wishlist system left me incapable of prioritizing on the fly. It got even more complicated when I was trying to buy tickets for multiple people - if even one had a conflicting event then you couldn't get tickets for all of them. Suck. So, all those extra events I signed up for because they simply looked interesting made it so the few opportunities I had to nab the TerrorWerks events. Boo!
In the past, if you had a a buddy with a conflicting event, it took a couple seconds (as long as a page reload) to drop that particular event and look for another or drop your buddy from the event. Now? With the new system you had to put it into your wishlist, reload, and wait in line for the computer to tell you that one of your buddies had a conflicting event - and in the mean time someone else grabbed the last good spot.
I dislike this new system for a couple reasons:
1) The guy that gets lucky and has his wishlist in first gets ALL of his games. In the other format, that (fictional) guy and me were competing at the same time, so he got some and I got some. In this case, because I was milliseconds late I got left in the cold.
2) Its nigh impossible to buy tickets for a group due to the mutual block-outs that occur due to scheduling conflicts. The added wait time of the wish-list aggravates an already existing problem.
3) I really dislike picking an event after registration has opened just to have to wait a minute or more for the computer to tell me there is a conflict. Event registration is a competitive environment, and having to sit on my hands sucks.
So, this year it looks like I am foregoing gaming in official events and focusing on the auction, loot room, seminars, and gaming with my buddies. Honestly, thats the way it usually ends up... so its not a total loss.
92 days to go (or so the countdown times on the GenCon page tells me).