SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2018

Greed Wins in Diablo 3 1.08 Patch

With the release of the newest Diablo 3 patch, 1.08, there were very high hopes that the update would invigorate new interest in one of the most anticipated games of 2012. Unfortunately for Activision/Blizzard, there was a major oversight in the RMAH gold sales code that allowed thousands of players to dupe gold.

On the afternoon of 5/7/13 I watched the drama unfold, as twitch.tv’s GoodIdeaGaming streamed how to dupe the gold not once, not twice, but three times.  At first, it seemed to be a mistake, and he thought he lost nearly 5 billion gold. However, once he collected the 1.2 billion from his cancelled auction, he was almost 8 billion gold richer.

As soon as it happened, I thought, wow, this is huge. The servers will shut down any moment for a rollback, players will only lose maybe 4 hours of progress.

Over an hour passed before Activision/Blizzard took action, and shut down the auction house. They did not shut down the servers entirely for a rollback as expected.

First, some background on gold and the state of the RMAH before patch 1.08. You could only sell gold at .25/1mil if you wanted to sell gold directly, but almost no one would buy it because it is worth more like .05/1mil.  So for months the Diablo 3 community has been using high-level gems as a method of buying and selling gold. If you wanted gold, you would pay around .75-.80 cents for a gem, and sell that gem on the GAH for around 20 million.  The change they made in patch 1.08 is that instead of a minimum of .25/1mil, it became .25/10mil.

You see, one problem is that because of the gold dupe, any item of value on the GAH was bought out. Duped gold was also being used to buy thousands of gems, and then they were selling them on the RMAH for cash. Honest players were buying the gems on the RMAH, and then selling them for at first 60mil, then 80mil, 100mil, 140mil, and finally hitting 200 million before Activision/Blizzard pulled the plug on the AH. With the gold dupe it didn’t matter what the price hit, the dupers would buy the gems on the GAH. Alternately, so many dupers were trying to cash out on the gems that what normally was a stable .80 cents / gem was dropping, almost as fast. It was a win/win for the exploiters.

To try and cover their tracks, billions and trillions of gold were spread to different accounts in the form of items, gems, and of course, gold itself. One streamer, D3_Inigo_montoya, started buying out the 2billion auctions in the GAH at random, which is the max you can list an item for.

The damage is done, a rollback is the absolute only recourse on a mistake of this magnitude.

The problem is, Activision/Blizzard has already announced they will not do a rollback, and I speculate the reason is simple: greed.

For all those people that spent money in the RMAH, Blizzard makes a 30% cut. Yesterday was probably one of their most profitable few hours in quite a while, but that is purely speculation. Their lack of leadership in not making the right decision to roll back is just stunning. Absolutely stunning.

UPDATE 05/12/13: Blizzard has announced that they are donating proceeds from the people who got screwed over spent money in the RMAH to charity.