So this year, Blizzard is doing yet another new thing with their Virtual Ticket: Allowing the purchase of the Goodie Bag.
And oh, the grumping that started. So let’s break this down and really consider what’s going on here.
First off, the goodie bag in question has traditionally been the domain of those who attend BlizzCon. You pick up your badge and goodie bag the day before (or day of) and it’s filled with a half dozen or so things you can ONLY get in that bag at BlizzCon. But this year, those who buy the Virtual Ticket ($40) will get the option to purchase the goodie bag. We don’t know in quantities or how much, so for this exercise, let’s assume it’s ~$100 with shipping, and you can only purchase One per virtual ticket.
Why people are happy: They get the chance to buy the goodie bag, even if they aren’t going to BlizzCon in person.
Why people are upset: The goody bag is chock full of exclusives and those attending in person are grumpy their exclusive isn’t so exclusive anymore.
Both sides have valid points. Those who can’t attend are getting the chance at something they wouldn’t otherwise. They can get the loot, and have a cute little murloc or whatever figure, which they wanted, without having to travel to Anahiem. They are fans too. Just maybe not with lots of money, ability to travel, or vacation time. For those who can attend, it IS nice to get something that is exclusive. It’s nice to feel like you have something special, that you have shown your dedication and gotten a reward.
This all breaks down though, when you see the arguments from an empathetic view. First off, assuming people who “really want” the goodie bag had the chance to get one. Well, no, they didn’t. I tried to buy BlizzCon tickets for 2 years, failing both times, and finally got to go when I won a contest. The fact that not everyone who wants to and can go – gets to go is the first point where this shows that the exclusive is a “feel bad”, meaning something that makes people feel crappy for no good reason. If I want to go, but lose the “spawn in at a low number” on the website attempt, I already feel like crap because I can’t be there in person, but on top of that, I am denied exclusives I WOULD have had to the chance to get (and likely would have). It would be very different if even up to the week before there were still tickets available and people could go.
Now, take a moment to consider those who CAN’T attend. Here are some reasons of people *I* personally know who would LIKE to go to BlizzCon and can’t.
- It’s always the first weekend in Nov, the same weekend as their mother’s birthday.
- They have 4 kids, and no one to watch them for a weekend.
- They can’t afford the ticket, airfare, and hotel.
- They have severe anxiety issues and being in a convention center with that many people would be damaging to their health.
- They cannot walk, so things like Cons are very taxing on their physical abilities.
- They are immuno-compromised and a convention is pretty much asking to die.
- They only get so many vacation/sick days per year.
- Their spouse doesn’t like Blizzard games and they don’t wish to travel alone.
A more heartless person would say – oh well – but really, that is a very privileged (and in some of these instances Able-ist) view to take. Especially considering, what are we talking about here? $100 worth of chochkies and such? Does someone else having an item you have lower it’s value to you? If something’s uniqueness is all that matters, better to pass up that thing that over 6k other people have and craft something of your own that is truly unique!
The *only* true affect this would have one someone who attends the con is that it lowers the resale value of their goodie bag. Ah, so now we see a real reason. The only avenue people who can’t attend the con have of getting something from these bags if they really want it is eBay. (Or some other resale method, but let’s use eBay for ease of understanding.) My first time to BlizzCon someone said they “paid” for their ticket and trip every year just by selling the stuff from the goodie bag (this was during the statues time, not the Funko Pop time). I remember looking at him horrified at the concept of being willing to part with it. My last BlizzCon, I heard someone talking about how they bought a box of the pins, just so they could sell them on eBay and make a buck. They proceeded to talk about how much money they were going to make off all of us “nerds”. I got the impression they didn’t come to the con for the event, but rather to buy things to resell.
It’s also worth noting the people who attend in person are getting exclusives that will never be able to be replicated on the virtual ticket – meeting people, meeting devs, selfies with statues, the rush of being there, the demo stations, anniversary beer, seeing the movie trailer, etc.
What is the point of convention exclusives? To point to my title, someone once made that comment about Comic Con. At the time – I didn’t really get it, until I had to wait in like 3 hours at PAX to buy a t-shirt, only to get up to the booth and they were sold out.
It is absurd. To pay a few hundred dollars on a ticket, a few hundred more on a plane ticket, then a few hundred more on a hotel, for the CHANCE (if they don’t sell out, or you don’t have time) to spend even MORE money on an item? Talk about a racket! Especially since the only other way to get many of these items is to go to eBay and pay 2-5x the standard price.
Personally, I think convention exclusives are a terrible idea and should be completely removed. Yes, the idea of getting something exclusive is fun, but at what cost? Instead of seeing and talking to artists, you spend a weekend waiting in line. Instead of watching panels, sitting in line. Instead of playing demos, sitting in line. It turns a convention from a place to gather with thousands of others and geek out over something to a really expensive version of Black Friday.
Someone brought up the point that they liked exclusives because it was a thing to show that person had been there, and experienced it. But… it’s not. By that logic, I have been to 3 Comic Cons, 4 Emerald City Comic Cons, and no Wonder Cons. When really I have never been to the first two, and to the third one once! I used to agree with this stance, until the year I missed out on my PAX prime t-shirt because they ran out the first day. Instead, I have given an awful lot of money to people on eBay for my alternate Funkos, my one off prints of t-shirts, and my Blizzard stuffed animals.
When it comes down to exclusives – there are two potential ways it could turn out for me:
1. I get a thing I want, and I feel happy. There is a minor “addition” to this happiness with the feeling that something is rare.
2. I feel like crap because I didn’t get the thing I wanted.
Does the offset of the “rare” addition make up for the knowledge that someone else feels the second? If I had to pick, I would rather feel the first, without the rare bonus feeling than the second, ever. Hands down. More than that, I would prefer that Blizzard, and it’s artists/devs get the money for me wanting to buy a thing as opposed to some reseller.
The concept of wanting something that no one else has is a selfish one. To be clear, it’s not inherently BAD. It doesn’t make you a bad person. There are many instances when being selfish is not only a good choice – but also the right one. But that doesn’t make you exempt from people calling it out as selfish. It’s also the moment to take a look at how having that thing from the goody bag really makes you feel. Is it having the thing itself that makes you feel awesome, or knowing that no one else has it? If it’s more the second than the first, that is a thing to consider and perhaps decide if that’s a feeling you are okay with having.
All of this, for me, is not just limited to things bought at Conventions, but even in game. I HATE that I don’t have Murky and likely never will. I am one of those nut jobs that spent $2600 on the Vanilla Collectors Edition and if TOMORROW they announced that they were making those 3 pets available my response would be “Oh thank goodness.” I would rather EVERYONE have something than be one of the people who wants something but can’t get it because it’s intended to be “rare”. I’d much rather have mounts and achievements never go away (and pets, not to leave out the Vampiric Batling) and let the dates of those achievements stand for themselves. (Or just have the separate Feat of Strength with the “Ahead of the Curve” name, that rewards nothing other than the ability to say you did it when it was “hard”.)
While I am on the subject though, can we have the statues back instead of the Funkos? I mean, I love Funkos but STILL. Oh and maybe “themed” bags? Not to *raspberry* Starcraft or Orcs, but I would much rather get something with one of the ladies or Tyrael than Diablo or yet another Thrall. *thumps her mega blocks Thrall across the office*