(Update: The Asia server appears to be back online and Blizzard has admitted that it was due to item duping.)
Blizzard has indefinitely shutdown the Diablo III Asia server. All day Sunday, June 10th, the server has been offline since the reports of item duping has surfaced (you can check out one nasty duping exploit here). The problem has become widespread enough where a hotfix was issued for the NA and EU servers to curb the problem before it got out of hand, but there was already a mass spread of duplicated items on the Asia server which resulted in an indefinite shutdown.
The shutdown is posted with multiple blue posts on the Diablo III Asian Battle.net forums. It's in Korean but there are a number of posts throughout the entire day constantly mentioning the delay of the server coming back online. The official response from the Blizzard Entertainment support staff reads as follows...
Additional inspection time extension information (scheduled for completion in 10:00)
Take note, however, that the server may not be up by June 11th, 10:00 am. Another post follows shortly thereafter from support staff member Aimar, who lays out additional information on the server rollback and maintenance issue, stating that...
Additional inspection time extension information
We reported on the Diablo III item duping earlier, but one thing that became apparent much later on was the fact that this has been going on since June 3rd, which means that some item dupers have been exploiting this and making money for the past week. However, the latest footage that we reported on earlier regarding the Diablo III item duping, wasn't brought to Blizzard's attention until this past weekend, which resulted in the hotfix patch we reported on as well.
Now it's possible the game could be back up for Asian gamers as soon as tomorrow morning as indicated in the original post, but the skepticism of the second post lends itself to favor a much longer delay until the issue can be fully resolved.
I imagine the Asian server's economy is just about ripe with the grubby, dirty molestation of hyper-inflation. There's also a matter of the auction house bug which can let players manipulate which items they cancel and add to the auction house to fix prices at any time, long after the initial five minute limit.
But to make matters worse, if you were hoping to play on a different server from a specific location and use a different language set, you're screwed. Every region is now language-locked. IncGamers describes it best, saying...
"As you can imagine, there are now a lot of English speaking players locked into the Russian language with no way of changing unless they purchase a new EU version, or Russian players who actually want to to play the game in English but from today can’t.
No communication breakdown. The Blizzard moderating staff simply edited their posts and changed the wording around and pointed to the F.A.Q. to indicate that Blizzard can do whatever the heck they please with Diablo III because you signed the end user license agreement and agreed to their terms of service, which basically dictates that they can screw you from left-to-right or from low-to-high and in any orifice they please because they're a billion dollar company you signed your soul over to when you signed the agreements. Also, the game is always-on and you don't own a lick of digital property in Diablo III.
If Mass Effect 3 gamers thought they got screwed with Day 1 DLC and a shoddy ending, and Capcom fans thought they got screwed with disc-locked content (and in all fairness, they really did) that stuff seems to pale in comparison to how much screwing is going on in the Blizzard camp right now.
As mentioned over at Kotaku, the only resolve for people who did not buy the full language edition of the game is to buy the appropriate rendition from the properly designated vendor. Yes, you'll need to get a refund and buy the game again. Good luck with that.
Kotaku also makes the appropriate observation about the technological side of it, saying...
I guessing Blizzard made the change to combat the sale of discount Russian-language keys online, though it’s odd it made the change now, rather than before release. StarCraft II already imposes this restriction, so it’s hard for the developer to use the technology excuse.
One reason could be to combat the gold farmers who were exploiting the Blizzard EU version of the digital store to get free copies, as mentioned in the confessions from a gold farmer article.
I really have to say though, we should all give Blizzard a standing ovation, starting with a slow clap for constantly covering their tracks in this entire mess as if they were a sleazy corp trying to pull a fast one on consumers with this always-on DRM bullcrap. This is the sort of stuff I expect from EA (and yes, EA is doing the always-on DRM crap, too). But, then again, the Activision-Blizzard's CEO was the one in charge of executing Project Icebreaker. So take that for what it's worth.
I genuinely feel bad for gamers who just wanted to play Diablo III. Such a shame. We'll update the post as soon as the Asia servers come back online for Diablo III.