There are a lot of people right now crying, moaning and whining to the high moon about Diablo III. No it's not your typical gamers...the so-called "entitled brats" of the gaming community, it's the fancy-pants video game journalists. That's right, some of the very people who bemoaned the "whining, crying" and "wailing" of gamers are now doing the very same thing because their Diablo III accounts have been hacked.
Eurogamer's writer Christian Donlan was on the receiving end of the hack-attack, having his account hijacked by a crafty hacker. Donlan wasn't the only one, though, Examiner writer Tara Swadley also was on the receiving end of having all her items and loot digitally stolen thanks to some nefarious individuals.
We reported on the growing number of Diablo III hackusations earlier and also offered some ways in which to safeguard yourself while playing online. But I think it's safe to say that this really does prove that Blizzard needs to consider an offline mode as soon as possible.
While an offline mode removes players from having to deal with a Real-Money Auction House, it at least offers gamers the security necessary to play the game in the comfort of their own time and leisure. What's more is that an offline mode completely removes any worry about single-player gamers having their game being intruded upon and hacked.
This is how Trendy Entertainment treats Dungeon Defenders; they have official secure severs with achievements and rankings, and then the standard non-secure servers, as well as offline modes and local play. Playing locally, offline, never even puts gamers in harm's way. What's more is that Trendy made it where offline characters cannot be used on the secure servers and online characters from the secure servers cannot be used offline. Everyone is happy.
As it stands, players are not entirely safe no matter how you swat through the custard. If you turn on the private option in Diablo III where multiplayer becomes invite-only there's still no guarantee that your character is safe. If you leave the public option on there's a possibility some no-life hacker will join the game and ruin your life. What's worse is that there's no telling how much access a hacker has once they get hold of your account.
As reported by Rock, Paper, Shotgun, even individuals heavily latched onto the authenticators are still reporting their accounts being hacked.
One thing this proves more than anything else is that always-on DRM is absolutely horrible. People who just want to play what they paid for are now subject to hackers and account rapists. Your loot, your gear, your info is never going to be safe once you login.
Considering that the hackers have breached accounts by joining players on public games (and please avoid allowing the following individuals into your games: “leyiong”, “Nevin”, “SBJunkie”, “luckllezz”, “McLeast”) there are rumors and conspiracy theories circulating around that the hackers may have breached some part of Blizzard's Battle.net and can infiltrate someone's account simply by joining your game.
Skeptics believe that users are just being careless and giving out passwords or allowing their information to be siphoned from keyloggers. It's a possibility but I would at least like to think that Eurogamer has smarter writers than that.
Regardless of the methods hackers are using to steal information, you should be very wary when playing Diablo III, even if you play alone. Unfortunately, your biggest enemy is the always-on DRM and the necessity of logging into Blizzard's servers.
I don't know if the hackers are trying to make a point or are just being greedy, but this blatant intrusion of consumer trust instantly vies heavily in favor of Blizzard at least considering an offline option for those who would rather play the game without the worry of having their account's digital orifice penetrated by gold diggers.
The only upside out of all of this is that Blizzard has delayed the launch of the RMAH (mostly probably in lieu of all the hacked accounts) and they are also providing consumer support by offering limited rollbacks and restorations for hacked victims. However, if your account is hacked more than twice you will be automatically banned from utilizing the upcoming RMAH. I don't think most gamers would mind being banned from the RMAH so long as they have an option to play offline.
More than ever I think this is a legitimate case where gamers should keep the pressure on, keep the issue in the spotlight and continue to let Blizzard know, with both cupcakes and love, that Diablo III really needs an offline mode.