We where 7 friends planning on going to The International this year. 30 minutes before the tickets went on sale we got ready, filled up our Steam wallet to get tickets and simply talked about how awesome it was gonna be. Everyone had heard with work for the opportunity to get vacation the week TI3 was being held and was gonna order plane tickets and hotell the next day.
3, 2, 1! Tickets is available! Or wait... Shop is still closed, error messages start popping up, timeouts happens. "Okay, okay. Just give Steam som time and they will open the shop, we are still ready, plenty of time." So finally the shop is open. We try to get our ticket. Some try on dota2.com, some do it ingame. On dota2.com everyone gets logged out everytime we log in, and ingame the cart is empty even though we click the ticket. "OH MY GOD! I GOT ONE! I JUST CLICKED CHECKOUT AND IT'S PROCESSING!" No one, had gotten this far when this was shouted out. All of us only had gotten empty carts and error messages up until this point. "Bah, nevermind. All I got now is a blank screen ingame..."
All in all, this ticket sale was purely based on luck who got the tickets it seems. I see some people have suggested a lottery for next years International tickets. I feel like this year's ticket ale already was a lottery, a lottery whit a lot of frustration to it.
I have been in queues for a lot of popular concerts/festivals. Even though those sites also gets timeouts and error messages I like their system a lot more. When you are finally able to click a ticket, put it into your cart they are there for around 15 minutes. You then have 15 minutes to fullfill your order or they get pushed back into the ticket pool. This way you know when you have a ticket or not. 15 minutes generally is enough time to have some more error messages, but still be blae to pay in time. With the International tickets noone knew when they actually had a ticket. Most of the time I pressed "Add to cart" on the ticket, but when I got to the cart page ingame, the cart was still empty. And when I finally got it into the cart I only got a blank screen when I had pressed checkout. I would like to see a similar system next year, so I at least know if I have reserved a ticket or not. This year I just felt frustrated. "Do I have one or not? I guess not..."
It was clear that Valve had underestimated the pressure their shop would be under during this sale. Few tickets, fairly cheap tickets and a LOT of people wanting to get one. I had hoped they would see this coming and added more servers for this day, but even if they had it was not enough. I have no idea how many servers Valve got or how easy it is to scale the number, but I hope they at least consider having scalable number of servers for next year's ticket sale in order to cope with the pressure.
As soon as some people had gotten tickets it was clear that some of them only bought them to sell them for a higher price. Of course this is bad, but this will always happen with popular events, concerts, sports, festival, The International. However, this time they were being sold with Valves own market. I like the market in itself, but in this case the Tickets should not have been marketable. As many I was planning on going with other people so we where planning on bying 2-3 if we got through, so I don't like the idea of only allowing 1 ticket per account, but letting people sell the tickets on the market for a higher price is giving the people wanting to sell at the black market a free place to do so. Tradable, yes, be allowed to sell on the market in Steam, no. I know that the people buying to sell for a higher price still woulod have been able to do so, but now they also had a place to do so. Let them at least struggle a little, and not make it so obvious...
All in all, shit happens. There where few tickets avaiable. I hope they consider getting a bigger venue next year. If not I hope I have some more luck in the lottery next year, if it's a frustrating one like this year or an arranged one or any other way Valve choses to do it. I just hope that they have learned from it and see what a huge fan base they actually have. There is a lot of people wanting to se DOTA 2 live. And I guess that's a good thing! For the rest of us we'll have to keep our eyes open or settle down with watching The International 3 online, with the Compenidum or not.