A Warning From A Reformed Diablo II Scammer

On the eve of the release of Diablo III, I've been hearing chatter about the great Diablo series from office colleagues who I didn't even realise were fans. It turns out, for example, that Greg from finance not only loves Diablo, but he used scam people in it. Today, the man who pays me is reformed (thank goodness!) and wants to warn you about the kind of shady dealings that occur in games like these.

Future Diablo III players beware. The Diablo universe isn't known for being a friendly and welcoming place. There is a darker side to Diablo and its players. This is your warning.

The series' creators at Blizzard didn't intend for this in Diablo II, but it was inevitable. As players quickly realised that in-game gold was worthless, rare and unique items became the game's currency. This created an interesting economic structure and "class" system, for lack of a better word. I don't mean "class" as in Barbarian or Sorceress, I mean it as in "rich" and "poor".

There was always someone richer than you in Diablo II, which fuelled feelings of jealousy and resentment towards others. This is the real reason Diablo II had so much replay value. There was no light at the end of the richness tunnel and everyone wanted more, more, more. Players became obsessed with obtaining the best items and didn't care what it took to get them. Eventually, the rich saw this as an opportunity and the poor became blinded by hope and desire.

This is what Diablo II was about back then. Am I proud of this? No.

If you log in to Diablo II today, bots will continuously spam you via private messages and public chat rooms to buy in-game items for real money. It wasn't always like this and rare items weren't so common. Early on, the only way to obtain rare items was to find them yourself, trade for them, or take the most devious option and scam somebody for them.

I started playing Diablo II shortly after its release in the summer of 2000. I was 14 years old and had a ton of free time. Once I got hooked, I got a few of my real-life friends hooked and we would play for hours on end. We shared items, made powerful in-game friends, and quickly became rich. Being rich wasn't enough for us. We wanted more, so we turned to scamming. We worked together, very efficiently, to deceive and steal from other players. Long story short, we scammed items, stole accounts and made people very, very angry.

For what? This is what Diablo II was about back then. Am I proud of this? No, but at the time it was acceptable. Diablo exemplifies the greed in people. Everyone wants its loot. There were always tons of scams going on, and anyone who has ever played Diablo II has most certainly dealt with some. Players were doing what they had to do to become the best. Players constantly took advantage of those who had less than them. The most successful scammers in Diablo II were the ones who actually had rare items and flaunted them. They were the ones who gained the blind trust of the poor.

Diablo II taught me an important real-life lesson at a young age: "Don't trust anybody". This post serves as my warning to future Diablo III players. Trust your gut. Many people don't really want to help you and nothing is free. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That was the unintentional beauty of Diablo II. That's what made it so damn fun.

Blizzard will do their best to stop old Diablo II scam tactics from being effective in Diablo III, but that doesn't mean you will be protected from your own gullibility or carelessness. To toughen you up, here are a few of the most popular Diablo II scams:

  1. DND Scam — The scammer will ask you for your "Dueling and Damage" or "Diablo Network Database" ranking, rating, etc, in order to join their clan or receive a free item. They will tell you to type /DND (account name) (password). The trick is that "/DND" actually stands for Do Not Disturb, It is a Battlet.net command that creates an away message. The scammer will private message you and your away message will automatically respond with your account information.
  2. Trade Window Scam — The scammer will show you a rare item in the trade window that they are willing to trade. Before the trade goes through they will exit the trade window and say it was a mistake. When you re-enter the trade window, they will try and trade you an item that looks the same on the surface, but it isn't the same rare item. Always check to make sure you're getting what you are supposed to in a trade.
  3. Rush Payment Scam — The scammer will offer to rush your new character to the end game areas for a price. They will ask for half of the payment up front and half at completion. When you give them the up-front payment they will take it and leave the game without helping you.

Were you ever scammed when you played Diablo II? Did you scam people? Tell your story in the comments, and have fun playing Diablo III, hopefully scam-free!

Greg is the Financial Analyst at Gawker Media. You can catch him on Twitter (@froeylo) and on XBL (fropez).

Photo: Gualtiero Boffi/Shutterstock


    Doesn't that sort of thing disqualify you from being trusted with other peoples' money? Just asking.

    All financial analysts are inherently out to scam.

    Dupe scam - they offer to show you a "dupe", that usually ends up with you filling up your inventory, getting killed then trying to grab your body with an item selected (the item to be "duped") and subsequently popping

    "this is how the game was" isn't an excuse. I was an asshole is closer.


      Reformed or not, he was once scum, and you just can't scrub it all off...

        I played d1 and d2 a lot and while this stuff was out there i always asumed it was like those princes from africa who need a bank account... it was always very obvius and frankly mostly pointless beyound getting a high off being annoying. i didn't think anyoen actually fell for it?

    There were so many assholes.....

      big, delicious, gaping assholes. mmmmm-mmmmm

    "he used scam" - It was super effective!
    Proofreading wins!

    He was 14. I'm 32 and quite a different person to who I was at 14. Hopefully you can say the same. Unless of course your 15, it that case you might only be a little bit different(see pimplier ) with slightly more pubic hair. But gez guys way to miss the point.

    I played D2 offline only. Now I'm glad.

      Yeah, me too. I was too young for the internets.

    The hacking and dodgy scammers ruined Diablo
    It was fun to mess with these fools though
    /DND gof*ck yourself

    All of those scams are so painfully obvious, I hate to be *that* guy but if you fell for that you probably deserved the lesson you learned.

      Nope, no-one ever deserves to be scammed, stupid or not. Unless you're a scammer. Then you deserve it.

    People aren't so stupid anymore. In 2000 the internet wasn't as prevalent, kids are aware of scams now.

      Kids are aware but adults aren't. Current adults are the dumb kids that got scammed at y2k

    All of this sounds like every person with just one lobe of the brain functioning should be save

    Haha. Well looks like I never had/have to deal with this problem since I'm not interested in playing Diablo as an mmo.

      You will be really missing out on what makes Diablo a great game if you dont play the multi-player component!

    People don't understand, that with the removal of 'solid' builds, rather now every character is the same save for skill choices - which can be swapped out without any penalty - the the main difference is GEAR.

    Now that gear has become the only difference between characters, it is now the main focus and greed will play an even bigger part in Diablo.

    "No, but at the time it was acceptable."

    You're not proud of what you did, but you sure as hell aren't sorry for it. Interesting read, though; I never did play Diablo online.

    You have to be absolutely stupid to give into any of these scams. I'd be more worried about account theft from key loggers or forum database hacking (Just don't use same password on other sites to avoid this one). Also, If you have a smartphone, get the Blizzard Authenticator, it's nearly virtually impossible to get hacked then.

    When I played diablo 2, my associate and I had quite a clever scam that made us very, very rich. We would market out Clan to rich players that wanted to wear our tag and "hang" with good pvp'ers. We would then offer to give them a pre-leveled character we had made "special" for them.

    At the time, Blizzard had an account recovery method where if you could email an automated service the CD-key used to create an account, that accounts password would be reset and emailed back to you. We would do this after our new "recruit" put all of his items and valuables on the toon.

    I used to love Diablo 2 for its economy.

    I used to rush level 1 mules to hell difficulty for their hell forges which sometimes dropped nice runes (i had at least 3 sets of cd keys for d2+lod) this was as a result of all the times i'd rush people this way and they'd leave the game once we got to the time for my payment (the hell forge drops) so that they could reap the rewards for themselves.

    In the end you could trade some of the lower runes that dropped for the very highest or rarest ones because they were duplicated, I would then make awesome rune-word items often with good stats and sell them for an even greater profit.

    Eventually I got into botting and had several accounts with Mf Sorceresses killing pindleskin and mephisto every night over and over again and collecting all drops, got some great stuff that way.

    I was greatly successful in the end without being a scamming bastard even though I was cheating with the bots and rushing mules glitch. I also remember the horrible messages i'd use to send people that tried to scam me, they'd get so offended which made me laugh.

    I remember I got scammed on D2 once. Some guy got me to drop all my stuff on the ground for a "duplicate" hack. Then he picked up all my items and left, what a dimwitted noob I was! Luckily I knew one of his friends, and I got all my shit back. He took my prized Buriza crossbow which was a really highly spec'd.

    I actually clicked a Kotaku ad today, that is, to show the Diablo trailer, which actually showed no gameplay whatsoever. Might get this game just for the online shenanigans.

    As for scams, everybody wants to be a Danny Ocean don't they?

    Not a single mention of SOJ, and that's the base currency in d2

    all i remember about diablo 2 was spending countless hours on hero editor then fucking up my computer when every spell in game went off and every enermy was summoned with a swing of my sword. but.
    it was so worth it hahaha

    After 5+ years of EvE-Online you really learn how far people will go.... Though the RMAH could lead to interesting situations (read: IRL stabbings)

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