Dear Blizzard…

To Whom It May Concern (though it would appear that would be no one):

I am writing in protest of the handling of the BlizzCon sales. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one.

Here’s my experience: Like most people who were interested in attending, I watched the forums to see what time the tickets would go on sale. At 8 AM PDT Monday morning, I was in front of my computer, trying to buy tickets for my husband and I. It was going to be our anniversary gift to ourselves after a rather rough year. The experience was a horrendous failure. Clearly Blizzard didn’t effectively plan for nor provide resources for the sales event. To make it more confusing, Blizzard didn’t communicate to potential attendees in a clear and forthright manner. Two members of my guild were able to purchase tickets over the phone though others, including myself, were told that wasn’t possible. The site didn’t function properly all day. I got to the point of confirmation numerous times, only to be looped back to the same page over and over.

I woke up yesterday morning thinking that I’d be able to purchase the tickets. There was a notice on the website indicating tickets would go on sale at noon PDT. I logged in at noon. The site was down. I logged in at 12:15. The site was down. At 12:30, the site was down. I took a 40 minute break for lunch. When I came back, the site was up. I placed my order, got to the point of confirmation, only to receive a notice that tickets were sold out. Alarmed and annoyed, I contacted the service line listed to confirm the tickets were indeed sold out. The Blizzard representative assured me that they were not, but again claimed to be unable to sell tickets over the phone. At about this same time, a guild member was purchasing his tickets – over the phone. I continued to try to access the site, and finally discovered a post on the forums indicating that they had indeed sold the bulk of the tickets after the late opening of the store and that some small additional amount would be made available at 8 PM PDT. Discouraged but not defeated, I waited faithfully, only to have a repeat of my earlier experience – tickets in the cart, order looped, finally a notice that tickets were sold out.

I am utterly disgusted with the way this was handled. The notification system was ludicrous. There was no consistency in the handling of phone sales, nor was there any system in place to record the phone calls of frustrated customers so that they could later be assured of receiving a ticket. Blizzard should have either contracted a vendor midday on Monday, when the website was clearly not going to be able to handle the traffic, or they should have created a lottery system so that people could have fairly been given a chance at tickets. As it is, tickets are already showing up on scalper websites for thousands of dollars and most people are not going to realize they can’t even use these tickets because the credit card with which they were purchased must be presented at the convention. Blizzard has not looked out for the players at any point during this process – they were simply looking to maximize tickets sales. To suggest that buying the “privilege” of watching the event on tv is some kind of consolation prize is insulting. Conventions are successful because of the social aspect, not because of what’s presented on a screen. Blizzard isn’t getting a dime of my money.

I started my online gaming with GuildWars. I was won over to World of Warcraft because I found the game to be superior in design and in the social aspects. We stayed because we found a great guild – one which now has several disappointed members because their experience mirrored mine OR because they got tickets over the phone but will now be attending without their guildmates. This experience has left such a bad impression on me and my husband that we are quite seriously considering a return to GuildWars. Blizzard has done nothing to deserve our business, so we feel that perhaps the dollars spent on our three accounts would be better spent elsewhere. I hope that Blizzard learns from this experience and that next year’s ticket sales are handled in a more equitable and technologically sound manner. You can bet that I will tell everyone I know about this experience so that they can avoid the frustration and anger I’ve dealt with over the past two days.

Naturally the support sites are down. I’m sending this via snail mail AND in an email. To quote my most excellent friend toasterstrumpet, I am thunder pissed. I wasn’t just buying tickets for Jeff and me, I was hoping to take hewet_ka_ptah along as well.

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