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A lot of people thought that the RMAH would be the perfect cover to launder money or partake in fraudulent activity. This scenario came to fruition this past Tuesday on May 7th, when an exploit allowed users to duplicate virtual money and sell the counterfeit money via the RMAH for real cash. Blizzard finally fixed the problem, conducted audits and will distribute the fraudulent money to charity.
I have no idea how Blizzard manages to run their own financial market without any oversight but they're doing it and a lot of people are enjoying it. It's a sick display of capitalizing on the addictive nature of loot-grinding, but to each his own.
Anyway, Blizzard's production director for Diablo III, John Hight, finally took to the forums to explain what happened and how the company plans to rectify the exploit, stating...
Many people bought and sold items and gold on the Auction House on Tuesday. We're making sure that all legitimate transactions go through. This means that if your account was not involved in the exploit, you will get to keep your items and gold, as well as any money you received from sales on the real-money Auction House. We'll also be donating all proceeds from auctions conducted by the suspended or banned players—including all of THEIR sale proceeds that we intercepted as well as our transaction fee—to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
According to Hight, Blizzard has managed to sift out more than 85% of the counterfeit gold excavated from the RMAH exploit. However, some community members feel as if this is not sufficient, as there was enough virtual gold to fully saturate and devalue the Auction House's current market value. Some have also suggested that those who may be sitting on billions or trillions of gold can slowly sell it off on the RMAH without reproach. In non-nerd speak, it basically means that you can sell a massive supply of goods that don't exist at up to $250 a transaction for several months without having to do any work at all. It's practically free money....REAL MONEY.
While audits may have taken place there's really no way to know how many accounts, dummy accounts and what they call “mule” accounts have already been saturated with the counterfeit gold. So, as mentioned, anyone who has a trillion gold just has to spread it out, sit on it, and sell it at a reasonable market value on the RMAH and they'll have free money rolling in, with less effort and less work applied by professional Diablo botters. That's insane.
Both the Gold Auction House and the Real-Money Auction House are currently up and running once again. This means that it won't be long before we'll be hearing about yet another exploit by someone trying to game the RMAH. Good job, Blizzard.