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(Update: It looks like the Asia server has recently come back online.)
The fiasco continues to unfold and amidst all the fuming and cajoling from consumers for Blizzard to come clean about what's going on, Blizzard has finally folded and described briefly why the entire Asia server is offline, admitting that item duping was the official cause.
If I recall correctly, one of the main reasons for punishing legitimate consumers with an always-on DRM atmosphere in Diablo III was to prevent hacks, exploits and item duping. Am I wrong?
In an interview with MTV, Robert Bridenbecker, the Vice President of Online Technologies at Blizzard, explicitly mentioned that...
"Internally I don't think [DRM] ever actually came up when we talked about how we want connections to operate. Things that came up were always around the feature-set, the sanctity of the actual game systems like your characters. You're guaranteeing that there are no hacks, no dupes. All of these things were points of discussion, but the whole copy protection, piracy thing, that's not really entering into why we want to do it.
Wow, really? No hacks? No dupes? Man, bro, dude...you could have fooled me.
The exact reasons why legit consumers can't play the game in certain parts of the world are directly tied to why Blizzard wanted to implement always-on DRM...or at least tied to their PR statement, as indicated in the MTV interview.
What's worse is that all estimated downtimes have been exceeded by the staff and Asia's server is still offline, as of the writing of this article. Blizzard support staff rep Murloc Chef took to the forums once more and offered a complete admission of the item duping exploit as well as a minor time frame in which gamers could expect to see the service restored, saying...
First of all, we are deeply grateful to you for your patience waiting for the development team during this maintenance time in order to restore the service as a whole.
Take note that in Taiwan time it's currently Tuesday, June 12th, 3:39 a.m., which is well beyond the June 11th 20:00 p.m., postponement estimate.
Basically, as we mentioned in the original article about why the Asia server has gone offline, the Asian virtual marketplace in Diablo III has become ostensibly flooded with duplicate items and hyper-inflation. This has been going on since June 3rd, so even if only 0.01% of the items have been copied, there is no telling exactly how many players have been partaking in the item duping exploit and just how many of the same items have been duplicated. This is not to mention that there is also a huge issue with bot farming. However, there are speculative rumors that Blizzard's security protocol, Warden, has been updated to deal with most of the botters.
It would probably benefit everyone if Blizzard at least considered a restrictive offline mode so players who just wanted to enjoy the game could do so, because at the current rate it really isn't fair to all the players who bought the game legally and are being punished for exploits beyond their control.
We'll continue to keep you posted on the progress of the server status.