Blizzard Tech Support

Good news everyone! My hunter just dinged 40 and I am now a proud owner of a fast mount and I’m shopping around for some fine mail armor that I can now use. If you read the above sentence in a Professor Farnsworth voice, please award yourself one free internet.

But I’m not going to talk about WoW today. I want to talk about the excellence that is Blizzard tech support. But let me back up a bit and tell the story from the start.

Every time I log into my account Blizzard gets in my face and tells me that I have not purchased all the WoW expansions yet:

I see this in the sidebar every time I log in.

They are that crack dealer on the corner of the street trying to entice potential customers:

“Hey man, I noticed you don’t have the Burning Crusade yet. You are totally missing out. Seriously, just click here and you could be rolling as a Blood Elf or buying a totally sweet flying mount in Outland. Flying mounts dude! Think about it!”

Normally I just ignore this knowing full well that I will likely get bored with WoW again before I ever reach Outland. But the other day I finally broke down, and decided to splurge some money on an expansion to a game I have been playing quite extensively in the last few weeks. So I clicked that damned button, filled out my credit card information, hit submit and… Got a rather broken looking error message:

Apparently Blizzard does not care that their error messages contain unescaped HTML strings.

I tried this same exercise with two other credit cards thinking that maybe its something on my end – like my credit card company getting tired of gold farming scams started to automatically decline suspicious WoW charges or whatnot. Same results.

Well, I guess the online upgrade page is broken – or maybe it never worked in the first place. I mean, I tried online upgrades with Blizzard in the past, with very similar results so I can’t say I was surprised. Hell, I think this is an improvement.

Previously they just took my money and promptly suspended my account. And apparently that’s their standard policy for online upgrades that don’t follow their pre-defined pattern. This time, instead of taking my money and shafting me they just gave me a broken HTML form. Much better.

So I decided to thank them for implementing this feature crafting the following email:

Dear Blizzarders,

I wanted to thank you for saving me $30 today. I was trying to use your direct online upgrade feature to puchase the Burnin Crusade expansion for WoW. Unfortunately I got the following error message:

“Error 202: We were unable to process your request with the information provided. Please consider purchasing a retail copy of the game or contacting Billing and Account Services for further assistance.”

I think that either your online form is broken, or there is something wrong with my account. I am still willing to give you that $30 bucks so please let me know how could this be fixed. Here is my account info.

Naturally I had to wait about two days for a response because Blizzard is really great with their customer service acumen. This is what I found in my mailbox today:

My name is Alex. I am with Blizzard Entertainment’s customer service department. Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding your current issue.

“Error 202” indicates that, at this time, we are unable to process the requested transaction with the information provided. As an alternative, you may wish to purchase a boxed retail copy of the game to upgrade the account. If you would like assistance upgrading the account, please contact Account & Technical Services by phone.

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say to this. I mean, “no shit Sherlock” while appropriate does not even scratch the surface here. I am left speechless by the depth, breadth and the scope of this support ticket. The fact that Alex took the extra trouble to read the error message back to me totally dispelled all my previous misgivings about Blizzard customer support.

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5 Responses to Blizzard Tech Support

  1. Rob UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    Friends don’t let friends play WoW.

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  2. Pete CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    It’s often easier (less hassle) to just pirate the software. I remember once I got B17 Flying Fortress for my birthday or Christmas and I was so excited to own a RETAIL copy of a game. I have acquired maybe 5 retail PC games my entire life. Anyway I pop it in, install it, and wouldn’t you know it wouldn’t detect the disk so first thing I have to do after installing my retail game is find a no CD patch. I think I ended up downloading an entire pirated version of the game.

    We had a similar situation at a LAN party where a bunch of people showed up with retail versions of the games. We thought this is great, it’s going to make things so much easier and faster that having to deal with typical patches, no CDs, cracks etc. Anyway we ended up having to install pirated versions on everyone’s machines for some reason. I believe it was Starcraft but don’t quote me on that.

    I’m not condoning software piracy but just saying sometimes it’s easier. Like downloading a movie versus getting up to get the retail dvd and stick it in the player.

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  3. sapientidiot Mozilla Firefox Gentoo Linux Terminalist says:

    I cant ever think of a single time when email support has ever been useful to me. Unless you count emailing a software developer directly as support. The only time i’ve emailed companies is to thank them for something, and they tend to be smaller companies and they usually respond with a non generic “thanks back” or (a sometimes generic) “here have some freebies”.

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  4. Alphast NETHERLANDS Safari Linux Terminalist says:

    Aren’t you bored of slaughtering boars by the millions already? Or of chatting with mindleas lusers to get the stuff you are missing? It’s the fact that you are still playing this game which amazes me the most, to be honest…

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  5. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Rob:

    Heh! Well said.

    @ Pete:

    Yup. I’ve been there. I remember that I once bought a game “infected” with Starforce. I found out few days later and promptly cracked the shit out of it, and performed all the proscribed registry edits and surgical driver removal steps that I found online.

    My CD drive died short time later. It’s possible it’s unrelated but it was a weird coincidence.

    @ sapientidiot:

    It’s almost as if the only reason for the existence of customer support was to provide a buffer between the customers and the people who could actually help them.

    Oh, also props for using Gentoo. Quick question – how long does it take to install that beast on average? I never actually messed around with it, but it is on my list of things to do.

    @ Alphast:

    Yeah, I hate slaughtering boars in bulk. I do however enjoy the random dungeon stuff. Some of the higher level ones actually break away from the mold.

    For example last night I ran Zul’Farrak for the first time and there is an awesome scripted battle in there. You rescue some captive prisoners on top of this huge pyramid and a whole army of guards assembles below you. Your party has to fight your way down the stairs facing hordes of enemies.

    There are also some really cool places to see in the game – especially in Outland and Northend. I only know this because I was looking my brother over the shoulder as he was playing.

    The unfortunate part is that the first 30-40 levels tend to be mind numbing grind and drag. Once you get into the 50’s and 60’s all of a sudden there are cool instances to run with a lot of scripted events and actual story lines, set piece battles and etc… Supposedly the Death Knight starting areas are really interesting too but I haven’t seen them.

    The point is, that the game makes you grind to get there. The Cataclysm may actually change that a bit. It seems they will be injecting a lot of new content into the starting areas, reducing the grind and etc…

    I suspect I will get bored with it again soon. I want to see if I can take my main all the way up to 80 without actually grinding or losing interest – just doing stuff that are fun to me.

    Also, I will be taking breaks to play some single player games as well so that I can do reviews. :)

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