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I find it funny that every single thing that an always-on service is supposed to be prevent is now plaguing that very service. It's almost like allowing Government to issue a 24/7 police state to stop terrorism, thieves and murderers, but terrorists, thieves and murderers just keep doing what they do best and that's terrorize, steal and murder.
The exact same thing is happening right now with Diablo III. The always-on DRM is supposed to protect users and allow for safe trading and gameplay, however, previous issues that we've covered here have proven that to be false and a few more scams and exploits help to verify that.
The trade scam is not new. In fact, trade scamming is very persistent in Diablo III and has been happening since the game's launch, as reported by smaller blogs like Diablo 3x. However, public reports about trade scamming hasn't been deemed that important because it's something that can happen in a lot of games, but one thing that you probably weren't aware of is that Blizzard's solution to the problem is to trade via the auction house instead.
A Battle.net user contacted us to share his story about the trade scamming, something that you see rather frequently on the Diablo III forums. While wishing to remain anonymous, save for his Battle tag id of AK47, the user let loose a back and forth between him and Blizzard's customer support, and quite naturally it doesn't look good.
AK47 recounts the events of the trade and what went down with account ticket US28914626. Blizzard's support responds that the trade scam is not rare and they have been receiving regular reports on it. You can check out the exchange here.
The interesting part about it is that support representative Joshua W., also known as Game Master Traeslinz, refers AK47 to the game's auction house as a better and safer alternative for trading, stating...
We are tracking an issue similar to this and hopefully will have any issues that may exist with the trade window resolved. For now though, I would recommend using the Auction House instead of other players in game to make these kinds of exchanges. The AH is much more secure and has much less risk involved than trades.
There's no tinfoil hat theories here folks, the support is literally telling this player that it's best to just use the auction house instead. Let me repeat that real slow: Blizzard's support is telling a player that to avoid scams to use the auction house instead.
Realistically, player-to-player trading is supposed to be the most secure way to trade in the game, it was the main reason a black market existed for Diablo II. However, Blizzard is admitting that the one feature to cut down on black market trading is not secure enough to prevent scamming. Instead, the auction house, where Blizzard takes a 15% cut is the preferable and more secure method of player trading. This ties directly into the conspiracy theories that Diablo III revolves around the use of the auction house.
The support members also stand by not interfering with item or money restoration, something they continue to reiterate even when real money has been lost in failed transactions.
Blizzard's support later acknowledges the trade-scam exploit and says that they will be forwarding the issue to tech support, you can read AK47's first response and his follow-up response right here.
Now this is common with a lot of MMOs and trade scamming is nothing new. However, let's not forget that items in Diablo III have real-world money value, so if you get trade-scammed those items can be used on the real-money auction house for real-world money.
But the scamming and exploits don't stop there. Another exploit has also become available to check the ID of items without identifying the item the legit way. Check it out in the video below.
Awesome right? The reason you're always-on and required to deal with strict security measures in Diablo III is to prevent things like the above from happening...even though they're still happening.
Here's the reality of the situation: The Real-Money Auction House will keep attracting nefarious types because real money is on the line. These scams, exploits and hacks will never end. The only people who suffer will be legit consumers. Gamers will continue to be scammed, lose REAL MONEY and have to deal with strict protocols such as the game creation limit as Blizzard wages a never-ending war against thieves, botters, scammers and hackers.
Hopefully AK47 can get some sort of reimbursement or restoration for his situation. You can't blame the guy for trying to avoid the in-game auction houses for item trading but it appears even player-to-player trading isn't safe.
And remember, if you have an unresolved issue don't stay silent about it. Blizzard is counting on people to not report their problems. If you've lost real money or were banned and denied a refund, contact your local press, gaming media or the Federal Trade Commission.