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So I recently asked a question about the new Diablo expansion. I know that the content isn't playable yet, but it's already in the game (files). I personally got a flail which is one of these items (not really useable but available) and I even mentioned in the question itself.

What I don't really get is why it was closed. This post says that

If a "pre-release" question about a game can be asked and answered without speculation because an alpha/beta/early version exists, regardless of the number of people who are/could be in possession of said game, it should be left open. (Unless there's some other reason to close - bad questions are bad questions, regardless of topic/game)

And there was a closed beta of D3ROS for a pretty long time. Now since it was closed for being off topic because the game isn't released yet, I don't really get when a question is closed as off topic because of unreleased content. Also as already mentioned all the files are existent, so a dataminer could really find it out. And even if noone on arqade has ever played the beta, a random beta player could've surfed the web and he could have registered an account to answer this question.

There are actually some other games that work similar with releases, some of them being League of Legends (Champion is available in the client but not buyable) and World of Warcraft (Prepatch of an expansion where you can't access the new regions but they are there). How should such questions be handled in general?

  • Your second link goes to the wrong place. – LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 20 '14 at 13:18
  • Oh sorry. Should be fixed now – Jutschge Mar 20 '14 at 13:20
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    I don't think the datamining argument is a good one, since our expertise is playing games, not datamining them. That said, there was indeed a beta and given that it wasn't limited just to employees and press (which seems to be kind of where we draw the line), the question seems like it should be on-topic. – Sterno Mar 20 '14 at 13:38
  • League of Legends has public beta environment where new champions are added earlier than they are available on the real servers, so that's a weak comparison. – 3ventic Mar 20 '14 at 13:41
  • If only someone had explicitly attempted to address this exact ambiguity and terrible word choice months ago... – Decency Mar 27 '14 at 6:31
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I don't know about Diablo 3, so this is more of a general answer.

If the content you ask about is, or has been available to the general public (usually through a public beta either through sign-ups, a paygate or even completely free and open for all) in a form that they could play the content, it's on-topic.

If the content has never been available to the public to play, it's off-topic.

Additionally, public early access is something that should be mentioned in the tag wiki to allow reviewers to more easily check the question against that particular close reason.

  • sign-ups are a grey area. If it is a private beta only accessible by users randomly chosen, then it is not much different from only being accessible to the press. This format also will generally have a non-disclosure agreement which we would have to skirt around for things like screenshots and certain information. – Batophobia Apr 1 '14 at 15:51
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This now also affects another question, which gets its own meta.

This question should not be closed as "unreleased content"

These questions are getting closed as "about 'unreleased content'", yet this conflicts with our community consensus (When is a game publicly available?):

The most upvoted answer states this:

If a "pre-release" question about a game can be asked and answered without speculation because an alpha/beta/early version exists, regardless of the number of people who are/could be in possession of said game, it should be left open.

And the runner-up agrees as well:

Rule of thumb: If a game can be played by people who are not members of the press/industry without signing an NDA, than it's fair game

In the case of the Reaper of Souls expansion for , there was a perfectly fitting closed beta:

How can I opt-in to the Closed Beta?
In order to be eligible for an opt-in invite to the Reaper of Souls Closed Beta, you must have an active Diablo III license attached to your Battle.net account in good standing (i.e. not suspended or banned).

So, it's a "public" Closed Beta. Not restricted to the press or industry.

Is there an NDA?
There is no non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for the Reaper of Souls Closed Beta test. You are invited to take screenshots, livestream your play sessions, record feedback videos—whatever your heart desires! Please keep in mind that the game is still a work in progress, and we appreciate your understanding when you encounter bugs, graphical errors, or other issues.

And no NDA, so even that (perfectly optional) "requirement" is met.

Yes, these questions are prone to speculation because a lot of people didn't get access, few people recorded and shared that data, and the way this expansion rolls out is kind of murky. But the content was released to the public and the questions do not meet what we defined as 'unreleased content'.

They might not be good questions - in fact, depending on the wording they could well be closed for other reasons ("too broad" comes to mind in our particular case here). But not as 'unreleased content'. That's not what this question is about, and we have clearly established this before.

  • By your own text, "If a game can be played by people who are not members of the press/industry without signing an NDA, than it's fair game", a strict interpretation implies that we can't ask questions about it right now. There's much in there that can be read differently, and still come up with different conclusions. That's what I'm getting at here; just because my interpretation does not match yours does not mean I (or anyone else) is not following community consensus. I find your strawmanning of my position distasteful. Please don't do that. – Frank Mar 22 '14 at 0:04
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So, the Crusader is a RoS only character. That's the first strike against the question. We can't play RoS, so therefore, we can't play the Crusader. However, this can be mitigated if Crusader gear is dropping. I don't know that it is. You said you got a flail, but didn't specify if that was during a closed beta period or not (questions about closed betas are generally frowned upon for a number of reason, including the likelihood of an NDA being involved).

Just because the files exist in the client does not mean it's "released"! This is because loot system is server side, so it's up to Blizzard and the server as to what items drop. I foresee three possibilities here: first, Blizzard is allowing Crusader drops so that players can twink the gear to a new character, second, Blizzard isn't allowing drops because there is nobody playing a Crusader, at least on the public servers, or third, it's somewhere in between, with some items dropping, but not others. Actual item drops is what we need in this particular instance. I don't know what Blizzard has decided, because I haven't been playing since before the latest update, and it isn't something they're going to tell us. Even more important, if it ends up being the third option mentioned, we might not even realize it. This is a problem because we have incomplete information, and we don't even know that it's incomplete.

Assuming that you're on the public servers, we can eliminate the second option. That means either all Crusader loot can drop, or only some of it. We don't know if it's all or just some, which puts us in a sticky situation until the expansion is released. Because of this, I'm hesitant to allow questions on the subject since we might not have all the information, and we know we might not have all the information.

  • Well, Crusader loot is dropping. I've found some myself. But the Crusader himself is not playable. – Frank Mar 20 '14 at 15:27
  • @Frank but there's still my last point. We don't know (and more importantly, can't know) if it's all available loot for the Crusader, or just some of the loot. – MBraedley Mar 20 '14 at 15:43
  • Exactly. I'm agreeing with you; when focused on an unplayable class, we can't address the question. When focused on items that do drop right now, we can answer something or other about it. – Frank Mar 20 '14 at 15:45
  • I'm still thinking we shouldn't allow these question, despite the fact that loot is dropping, since we can't properly answer the question until all the loot is dropping, and we won't know that all the loot is dropping until the expansion is released. – MBraedley Mar 20 '14 at 15:49
  • As the question stands, no, we can't. Which is why I recommended a refocus on things that do drop right now. It doesn't matter if it's all the loot or not; if it drops right now, I don't see why we can't have questions about it. Is it all of the Crusader-specific stuff? Who cares; the question's not focused on the Crusader. – Frank Mar 20 '14 at 15:53
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As I had commented on that question, we don't like questions about games that require guesswork. That's why we don't allow questions about unreleased games. Some of it is speculation, some of it it rumors, and all of doesn't play to our expertise, which is playing games.

Betas and datamining obscure that point, because it might technically be available. If you were asking about the beta, I'd say we could probably answer it. But that's not what you were doing; you were asking about the game itself. Companies changes games all the time. Just because what they SAY will be in a game doesn't automatically mean it WILL be. For a case in point, check out ANY Molyneux game. Huge on promises, small on delivering. For it to be a valid question, it has to be something we can play. If it can only be answered by checking a website, or pulling the game apart, that's not something that plays to our expertise.

That said, I also stated that if you can reword it to focus more on the fact that you have found these flails and shields that you can't use, I believe that's a question we can answer, because that's already in-game, and something people can run into and reproduce. It sort of turns your question on it's head, though, and is less concrete. That's ok. By focusing on something that happens in-game, we can turn it into something that we can actually answer by playing the game.

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    Well the one thing with online games is that they change on a much more regular basis than offline games. In theory it could also happen that blizzard removes the Demonhunter completely (i know this will most likely not happen but you get my point). This would render all questions about demonhunters as off topic and the answer to said speculative. As far as I know Facts that are known to date can be posted and if anything changes the answer can be edited and updated rather than just saying: "It's speculation" becasue in the end everything in online games is "Speculation" – Jutschge Mar 20 '14 at 15:15
  • No, facts that are known to date is whatever Blizzard tells us. We have no way of verifying it whatsoever. At best, all we're really doing is repeating what's already been said. That's not our expertise, in fact, we specifically disallow that, because Arqade isn't a news site. If Blizzard happened to remove the Demon Hunter at this point, it wouldn't automatically invalidate every question we have about them; we couldn't allow any more, but we were able to play them. – Frank Mar 20 '14 at 15:18

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