Blizzard Admits Diablo 3 Item Duping Is Why Asia's Server Was Shutdown

(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, 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.On June 10, our development team has found some error on the stored items in the database, these errors represent a very small part of the items can not be normal trading or selling. This error caused all less than 0.01% of the items have been copied, the majority of players and is not affected by this problem, but the database before removing these duplicated items, is unable to maintain stable. Therefore, we carried out the maintenance of the server, and perform the necessary operations to fix this problem. The development team is currently working to make the server able to resume service as soon as possible.All original items and their reproductions will be removed from the database, follow-up, we will tell the exact time of maintenance completed, but currently estimated Server recovery services some time in the afternoon of June 11, 8 pm (Taiwan time).We have also noted that part of the players during a short period of the game after the break and suffered back problems. This issue follow-up will be further instructions.Note: to restore service postponed to 20:00

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.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.