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Diablo III cleverly lessens the blow of blatant problems by providing users with an official error code and a brief summary of it (though it's oft non-descriptive). Seeing as there are over 300,000 errors (not really), are questions of the form: "What is Error ###?" useful?

The vast majority of the "popular" errors with some arcane description are bound to be totally outside the control of the user—it's all Blizz. As Day[9] might recommend, they should go write a forum post, perhaps about how bad the service is and how they're going to "unsubscribe" from Diablo III and never buy another Blizzard game until the next Blizzard game comes out.

Would one question to Rule Them All™ work? In this case, the developer/publisher has their own KB article on it which would make a nice concise answer. For future games (not that I could see any online, centrally-hosted games being nearly as popular) this might be a clean solution, but applying it to the current mess seems tricky.

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    I'd support this, especially since as time goes on the errors should be rarely and possibly occur for different reasons. – Matthew Read May 18 '12 at 16:19
  • The problem with catch all answers is that we can't ensure the same (or any) level of usefulness for all questions we would close and point to it. Sure there is a list of common errors, but what if we get a question asking about an error not listed on that page? Do we close it as a dupe? We can't just add more info to that blog like we do in other cases where a dupe was asked to insufficient info in the original question. – user9983 May 18 '12 at 17:20
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My position is: let them go. It's fine.

As a subtopic of technical support

I don't think these are really separable from other technical support questions. Actually, in many cases, I think these are better than other technical support questions.

Most tech support questions are along the lines of "game XYZ crashes with this Windows error and here's my configuration... blah blah blah" - they're relatively localized, effecting typically only a tiny percentage of the population of players. Occasionally they are solvable via expertise, but usually it's a matter of finding the right patches and knowledgebase articles, alongside the one forum thread where on page 36 someone fixed the problem (and then again on page 45, where they fixed the fix), and then posting that as the answer. And that's OK! That's good! (I think Jeff Atwood specifically stated this was something that frustrated him and was something he wanted to solve with SE)

Here we have errors that a ton of people are sharing, and there's a lot of interest around. They're far less localized than most requests for technical support. There's a finite number of them (as opposed to the somewhat unbounded number of errors that can be generated by crashing games or blue screens).

"You can ask technical support questions. Unless the game is centrally hosted and the error that occurs appears to be server or service related." What kind of rule is that?

Towing the Company Line

Sure, there's a Blizzard KB article about it, and it's like 3 sentences long and not particularly descriptive. In many cases they just say "go complain on the forums" (literally... that's kind of sad, honestly...). There's probably at least some additional information we can gather in these types of instances - ie, here's the server status page, or here's where regular maintenance is announced, etc.

BURNINATE!!

If we ban them outright and remove them, we're going to be swatting them down constantly, since they're on-topic here, and they're crazy hot issues. Why would we want to make more work for ourselves, alienate new users, and create an arbitrary subdivision of technical support that we don't allow?

Dupes and Frankenquestions

That many of these questions have a similar solution - "Blizzard screwed up, so wait" - doesn't really make them duplicates. Same answer != same question.

Making one giant question for all of them and closing the rest as dupes is something I also am kind of starting to hate as a solution. It discounts any unique situation that the asker might be in, or any specific details they need help with. It makes it hard (especially for new askers) to find the duplicate question. It puts a burden on us to maintain the accepted answer or let the question devolve into one broad answer with a bunch of mini-answers for special cases.

  • +1 for not bring to create a canonical answer where one doesn't exist. I've always kind of hated that solution. – LessPop_MoreFizz May 19 '12 at 12:22
  • +1 good answer. I know in my case I asked the question because the Bliz forums have a high noise:signal ratio that makes it very hard to follow the help from the whining. – Tharius May 19 '12 at 16:50
  • @Stephen - that's true of the blizzard forums in general, but the tech support forums are, in my experience, quite good, and have a fairly high signal:noise ratio. Both blues and MVP's have been very helpful. – LessPop_MoreFizz May 21 '12 at 0:31

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