Real-Money Profit From Diablo's Fake-Money Exploit Going To Charity

The illicit, real-money profits made from a gold-duplicating bug in Diablo III have been confiscated and will be given to charity, the game's publisher said yesterday. Blizzard says that just 415 players -- all of whom have been sanctioned -- used the exploit in this way.

Earlier this week, a glitch in Diablo III's latest patch update allowed players to multiply the in-world gold held by their account. Trillions of dupe gold flowed into the Diablo economy, threatening to destroy it. Some were able to use it for profit in the game's real-money auction houses, which were taken offline for about five days.

John Hight, the game's production director, explained yesterday how Diablo was fixing the mess. Those who exploited the glitch for personal gain either were banned outright or had their accounts reverted to their state before the glitch-bearing patch rolled out -- losing all progression since then. Blizzard said it has identified and intercepted Auction House transactions based on the exploit and will be donating all of the proceeds to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Legitimate transactions will remain unaffected.

Despite the massive amounts of gold dumped into the game's virtual economy (85 per cent of which has been recovered and eliminated, said Hight), Blizzard decided against a comprehensive server rollback in North America. "A rollback would mean bringing the servers down for a lengthy period and a loss of all progression since [patch] 1.0.8 was released," Hight wrote. "Many players made significant accomplishments in the game that required time and dedication, and we felt it was worth the work involved to try to preserve these efforts and go after the exploiters instead."

Auction Houses Up and Running [Battle.net]


Comments

    I'm always sceptical of post-screwup charity donations. They're like a PR 'get out of jail free' card, immune to criticism, to cover up something more foul. But there's nothing really foul here to cover up - it's just icing.

    For me, the noteworthy point is that they removed the source of the problem, the extra gold, and were able to target the few hundred involved without making anyone else pay for their dickery. The charity was basically just an obvious footnote. What does anyone do with ill-gotten gains that can't be returned?

    Won't break boycott for it though. Game's still got shitty itemization pushing you toward the AH for progress, with the Always-Online DRM and rudely shoving you into chat channels in a desperate bid to make you play your single-player game with other people to try and boost retention/peer-pressure sales. A blatant example of publisher first, customer second.

    If they can drop THAT, I'll be impressed enough to consider being a customer again.

      I don't think they were trying to cover anything up, they just didn't want the game world to think that they were keeping the money, which is still a good move.

      And they really don't care if you are a customer. No company has ever drastically changed its game becuse one person complained about something.

      Ok, maybe once.

      I would have killed for quick join in Torchlight II. Just saying.

        Oh yeah, an enhanced multiplayer platform option would have been kickass. Options are great. I love that Torchlight 2 gives you options, and adding more (without removing other unrelated options) would be even better.

        Options. It is actually possible to have the benefits of offline single-player/LAN AND the benefits of an online multiplayer option. Removing one was calculated, protectionist bullshit, which not only sacrifices customer experience for publisher security, but insults our intelligence by pretending there were any other reasons for it.

    "We overlooked a glitch that allows players to duplicate a virtual currency in our game, people took advantage of the unintended feature and sold the currency for real money to other players, and now we're giving the profits from these actions to you!"
    I don't see it as "charitable" to be honest. They didn't want the players in question to keep the money, it would have been bad for them to keep the money for themselves and so the only way they can save face is to dump the cash into a charity that doesn't know any better. It's win-win all around, but Blizzard escapes responsibility.

    What will happen to all those losers who actually paid for gold with their monies now feeling duped because they paid overpriced 'gold'?

    Nothing because the gold was probably sold cheaper than normal since it was obtained more easily through the exploit and the buyers likely get to keep their gold so they won't even know if their gold was legit or duped.

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