Blizzard has disabled gold and real-money auction houses in "Diablo 3" after a bug was discovered that allowed players to duplicate gold following the release of the 1.0.8 patch on Tuesday.
Multiple Battle.net forum posts and Youtube videos have since been posted, claiming that certain players have taken advantage of the bug to create obscene amounts of gold. A post claims that the average player currently has roughly 500 billion in gold, while one player reportedly used the bug to create 371 trillion in gold.
Here’s a video of a player performing the dupe, courtesy of Youtube:
This gold-duping fiasco has effectively ruined the in-game economy of "Diablo 3." One Battle.net forum poster said:
“Basically, if you were completely oblivious about all of this and, say, you currently have 20 million in gold in your stash, you can just look at that gold as only having the purchase power of about 2 million (if you're lucky). ... Some are saying it probably only has the purchasing power of 200,000 now.”
Other "Diablo 3" players have stated that the game has been ruined, with some claiming that players are leaving en masse. One forum poster said, “Mass exodus from 'Diablo 3.'”
A fix has since been implemented for the gold-duping issue, but the auction houses are still disabled. Some players have called for the rollback of the patch, but Blizzard has declined to do so. This means that while gold duping is no longer possible, for the moment, those who took advantage of the exploit still have the gold that they generated illegitimately in their possession. A Blizzard community manager responded to the issue on the Battle.net forums with this post:
“At this time (and after careful consideration), we've decided to not move forward with rolling back the servers. We feel that this is the best course of action given the nature of the dupe, how relatively few players used it and the fact that its effects were fairly limited within the region. We've been able to successfully identify players who duplicated gold by using this specific bug and are focusing on these accounts to make corrections. While this is a time-consuming and very detailed process, we believe it's the most appropriate choice given the circumstances. We know that some of you may disagree, but we feel that performing a full rollback would impact the community in an even greater way, as it would require significant downtime, as well as revert the progress legitimate players have made since patch 1.0.8 was released this morning.”
This is just another in a laundry list of severe problems that "Diablo 3" has experienced since its launch roughly a year ago. Before it was even released, players felt polarized due to Blizzard’s decision to allocate attribute points.
Once the game was released, "Diablo 3" quickly fell on its “always-online” sword, suffering from massive functionality and account security issues. Certain features like player-versus-player, or PVP, and the real-money auction house were delayed after the game’s launch as a result of the server-side issues.
What’s more, the lack of replay value has been a big problem for "Diablo 3," which was not an issue for its predecessor, "Diablo 2," and its expansion pack, "Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction." Both of those titles enjoyed strong replayability for many years, due to the fact that players were largely forced to be self-reliant when it came to acquiring high-level items. "Diablo 3" changed that, making the auction houses the focal point of loot transactions.
It’ll be interesting to see whether players truly do depart from "Diablo 3" in significant numbers as a result of this gold-duping exploit. We suspect that, while some players may in fact leave, most will be too loyal and attached to the series to want to leave it. After all, if they stuck around after a roughly 11-year wait between "Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction" and "Diablo 3," we're willing ot bet that they'll stick with the game through this disaster as well.
How do you feel about this latest issue? Do you think that this is yet another piece of evidence in the case against “always-on” gaming? Do you think Blizzard should have approached this problem differently? What should they do in the future if and when problems like this arise again, especially in "Diablo 3"? Sound off in the comments below.