Patch 1.08 brings the drama, I guess I'll do the coverage!

#1 Edited by Griffinmills (133 posts) -

Patch 1.08 hit today (05/07/2013) and it contains quite a few announced changes.

It also contained unannounced changes to the Real Money Auction House that could not be tested and were not discovered on the Public Test Realm due to lack of RMAH functionality there. One of these changes was an unintentional gold duplication exploit that has lead to trillions of illegitimate gold being introduced into the game.

Players were posting YouTube videos of the exploit, using twitch.tv to streaming duping instructions and to host billion gold giveaways for about 4 hours before Blizzard was rousted into bringing the in game Auction House offline. Blizzard has publicly stated they are considering a server rollback to undo the damage but they have yet to make a decision one way or another. In the mean time they have already begun issuing bans to accounts that exploited the duplication bug including some of the streamers and YouTube posters.

As of right now the gold dupe bug has been patched but the effects on the economy have been staggering. To understand how amazingly this impacted the game you must understand that there were minimum and maximum amounts implemented by Blizzard for both the Real Money and Gold Auction Houses. These included a 25 cent USD minimum for 1,000,000 gold and a 2,000,000,000 (billion) gold maximum for any one item. One of the poorly announced and untested changes in patch 1.08 was to remove the $.25 minimum for 1 million gold by changing the minimum to 10,000,000 but not to change the 2 billion gold maximum. Overnight the price of gold as of 1.08 went from $250 to $25 for 1 billion gold when using the in game AH. Items, though, are still stuck with a 2 billion gold limit per auction.

This change has invited the 3rd party gold sellers (gold farmers or whatever you prefer to call them) to list their gold in game. Previously, to take advantage of ridiculously low 3rd party gold prices, a player needed to do the purchase outside the game which was often deterrent enough to scare off a large portion of players, even with their prices being nearly on par with the new minimum. Now they are able to use the in game AH to add an air of legitimacy to their, oft ill-gotten, gold. Even with the gold dupe patched Diablo 3 is going to see a huge influx of gold and with items capped at 2 billion this isn't looking very good.

(There is a lot more to this, Gem flipping for cash/gold, outside game sales for items, and the biggie that all of this pretty much benefits Blizzard since they get a cut of every auction but I thought this was getting long enough as is.)

#2 Edited by BisonHero (6051 posts) -

Should GB do some coverage, compared to how much other sites are covering this story? Maybe.

Should GB do some coverage, given that they usually only cover topics that at least one of them give even a single fuck about? In that case, no.

Maybe Alex will write up a story about it or something, since he seems to be the guy writing about general game industry news while Patrick does original interviews and stories. But that's it. None of the staff gives any sort of a fuck about Diablo 3 at this point.

I'm not saying that's the right way to do it or anything, but it's how it goes here on Giant Bomb. None of the staff has any personal interest in any of this gold duping drama, so I'd be surprised if they really covered it in any significant way.

#3 Posted by StarvingGamer (7918 posts) -

I don't know what they could possibly cover other than to say, yeah, that happened.

It sucks but I'm sure they'll get things back under control soon.

Online
#4 Edited by myketuna (1644 posts) -

I kind of wish the RMAH never happened. I wish Diablo 3 was a bit more like Torchlight. I would keep playing it. Then again, Torchlight 2 crashes on my PC, so you win some, you lose some.

#5 Posted by Rorie (2530 posts) -

I reinstalled Diablo III recently, played for about 15 minutes, and promptly uninstalled it again. What a weird game. I really enjoyed playing through it the first couple of times, but it lacks some weird ineffable spirit that Diablo II had that drove me bonkers.

Staff
#6 Posted by StarvingGamer (7918 posts) -

@myketuna said:

I wish Diablo 3 was a bit more like Torchlight.

If this was true then I would have put 2 hours into D3 instead of 200. Let me have my game, you can keep yours.

Online
#7 Edited by BisonHero (6051 posts) -

@rorie said:

I reinstalled Diablo III recently, played for about 15 minutes, and promptly uninstalled it again. What a weird game. I really enjoyed playing through it the first couple of times, but it lacks some weird ineffable spirit that Diablo II had that drove me bonkers.

Is it perhaps that everyone gets super into their first loot RPG, but then after that you're inoculated to the genre? That has been my experience. I've tried a few, and none have really grabbed me anywhere close to how much I was into Diablo II. Also I'm no longer a teenager with too much free time, so most loot-based games are no longer appealing to me.

#8 Posted by NickL (2246 posts) -

That interview estimated that botters make 72 billion gold a day worldwide. Assuming that has stayed somewhat constant and the game has been out for almost a full year, that makes 25,632 billion gold generated by just botters. What exactly did blizzard think would happen?

#9 Posted by Ares42 (2556 posts) -

They'll probably talk about it during the news section of the next bombcast. As for some major news coverage ... noone cares about D3 anymore.

#10 Edited by Griffinmills (133 posts) -
@bisonhero said:

Should GB do some coverage, compared to how much other sites are covering this story? Maybe.

Hey good enough for me!

Does @brad not care about D3 anymore? Like, at all? I feel there is plenty of decent meat on the bone for this story that could entice the gang in any number of ways. They seemed awfully interested in how crazy Eve online got with people blowing up planets to destroy the in game economy, well this economy just got in a decent car wreck at least! Is there a decent angle to take for writing an article on Blizzard's decision making process here when they have a direct interest in drumming up sales on their RMAH since they take a cut on every sale, no matter how small? Maybe reporting anything would just play into some tin foil hat style plan by Blizzard to drum up interest in the brand for the PS3 launch. :)

In this response I feel like maybe I touched a sore spot by asking they consider covering it at all. If I did then I apologize.

#11 Posted by Winternet (8002 posts) -

@rorie said:

I reinstalled Diablo III recently, played for about 15 minutes, and promptly uninstalled it again. What a weird game. I really enjoyed playing through it the first couple of times, but it lacks some weird ineffable spirit that Diablo II had that drove me bonkers.

That seems like a waste of 15 minutes. At least, give it a full hour or something.

#12 Posted by Ares42 (2556 posts) -

@griffinmills: EVE is a game about economy where actual intended gameplay mechanics affect the in-game simulated free economy. This is just people abusing a poorly tested patch and proving again that the D3 RMAH was a bad idea. If you're implying that it's not a completely unintended mistake from Blizzards side you're probably edging a tad too far into a realm of news-coverage GB wouldn't touch with a 10' pole :P

#13 Edited by BisonHero (6051 posts) -

@griffinmills: Sorry if I came across angry, I was going for more of a Louis C.K. "tellin' it like it is" tone. Basically: should they mention it/talk about it? Yeah, probably. Will any of them play Diablo 3 in the next month? Fuck no. Will they talk about it on the news section of the Bombcast? Probably.

And no, the wild Brad is a fickle creature, flitting from game to game, and generally calling only Starcraft 2 or DotA 2 his home, in terms of multiplayer games he has actually stayed with in the past say 2 or 3 years.

I doubt you could entice Patrick either, because whether it's true or not, I could see him writing off this whole situation as kind of a mundane "whoops, patch added an exploit for infinite gold, they'll fix it, whole issue will be forgotten in a few weeks". It's not quite on the scale of massive player revolt in EVE Online, or "oh god, Sim City is so super fucked for over a week, and even after that it is fundamentally broken in several ways".

#14 Posted by StrikeALight (1112 posts) -

I still can't believe how naive Blizzard were, implementing a RMAH and thinking the game would be a runaway success.

#15 Edited by Griffinmills (133 posts) -

@ares42 said:

@griffinmills: EVE is a game about economy where actual intended gameplay mechanics affect the in-game simulated free economy. This is just people abusing a poorly tested patch and proving again that the D3 RMAH was a bad idea. If you're implying that it's not a completely unintended mistake from Blizzards side you're probably edging a tad too far into a realm of news-coverage GB wouldn't touch with a 10' pole :P

Nah, definitely not anything more than a mistake intended. I honestly tried pretty hard to try and just point out the facts in the original post. Not sure if I did or not but I tried.

I'd also contend that many game play decisions were designed and implemented with the idea that there would be an in game economy present in Diablo 3. Like the, often misappropriated, Blizzard post about how drop rates were affected by the Auction House existing. I can't link to the original post as it was deleted but this works well enough I hope. I will fully grant that D3 is nowhere near as free form in its economy as EVE of course!

@bisonhero said:

@griffinmills: Sorry if I came across angry, I was going for more of a Louis C.K. "tellin' it like it is" tone. Basically: should they mention it/talk about it? Yeah, probably. Will any of them play Diablo 3 in the next month? Fuck no. Will they talk about it on the news section of the Bombcast? Probably.

Oh good! I hoped I hadn't stepped into some kind of awful Giant Bomb meme about coverage. I can see what you mean about fickle tastes as well. We could do worse than to share a common like of Louis C.K. :)
#16 Edited by MachoFantastico (4477 posts) -

Having recently started playing Torchlight 2, I honestly don't care for Diablo 3. To be honest I wasn't blown away by it like so many were when it was released, it always felt like it lacked something for me.

#17 Edited by Griffinmills (133 posts) -

Having recently started playing Torchlight 2, I honestly don't care for Diablo 3. To be honest I wasn't blown away by it like so many were when it was released, it always felt like it lacked something for me.

Heck yeah duder, I'm actually playing Torchlight 2 in the background while I tab in and out. Just got my 1st Engineer to 54! Trying to get my buddies from D3 to buy it and co-op with me.

#18 Posted by ShaggE (6295 posts) -

I really should reinstall D3 sometime and see how different everything is since... 1.04, I think is the last I played? 1.05, maybe?

I love D3, but I was really getting burned out there. I've never been the type to go hundreds of hours into a single game.

#19 Edited by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

This really brings up the issue of bans because of exploits a game has in it. This happened before with Diablo 3 didnt it?

#20 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5177 posts) -

@griffinmills: So, bad economy got worse, what else is new? Funny though.

#21 Edited by MildMolasses (3211 posts) -

@rorie said:

I reinstalled Diablo III recently, played for about 15 minutes, and promptly uninstalled it again. What a weird game. I really enjoyed playing through it the first couple of times, but it lacks some weird ineffable spirit that Diablo II had that drove me bonkers.

Is it perhaps that everyone gets super into their first loot RPG, but then after that you're inoculated to the genre? That has been my experience. I've tried a few, and none have really grabbed me anywhere close to how much I was into Diablo II. Also I'm no longer a teenager with too much free time, so most loot-based games are no longer appealing to me.

This is what I'm thinking. My only Diablo experience prior III was one run of the sharware/demo version of the first game. I went into D3 with little expectations and had a blast with it. I would like to play it more, but it doesn't seem to like my wireless set, so until I get a wired connection, that ain't happening

#22 Edited by EXTomar (4450 posts) -

Meh, when "serious items" start at 10 million I find "the effects of a bug on the economy to be staggering" to be a laughable statement.

As for the actual event, I don't see why GB should not cover it but I also don't see why they should make it a priority either. Ultimately it is an editorial decision that is up to them. Personally I would rather they do not since a bunch of other places can do it as well. Unless they are going to do further analysis I don't need a "copy & paste Soandso reports that it happened" news.

#23 Edited by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

Its like office space, except not funny because there is no ftp report meme.

Also remember that, having not played diablo 3 at all. Blizzard still needs to convert all this gold unto real money. and if they cant roll back the servers they will be paying out thousands of dollars.

#24 Edited by Akyho (1585 posts) -

We need a man on the ground, we need Patrick and Drew to be sent into Diablo to talk to the people of Diablo 3 and how this effects them.

How should we do this? Like Inner space or like Tron? or Tron legacy?

#25 Posted by EXTomar (4450 posts) -

Who would be Dennis Quaid and who would be Martin Short?

#26 Posted by Griffinmills (133 posts) -

@extomar said:

Meh, when "serious items" start at 10 million I find "the effects of a bug on the economy to be staggering" to be a laughable statement.

As for the actual event, I don't see why GB should not cover it but I also don't see why they should make it a priority either. Ultimately it is an editorial decision that is up to them. Personally I would rather they do not since a bunch of other places can do it as well. Unless they are going to do further analysis I don't need a "copy & paste Soandso reports that it happened" news.

Yeah, that's about all one can ask for, I agree. Just a little light shined on the event happening. Not asking for an endurance run length expose of coverage or anything. As to the seriousness, I can understand how one might not see anything involved with Diablo 3 as serious at all once it leaves the realm of, "It's just a game." Within the context of the game and its economy this is definitely a rather sizable event though, of course.

We're about a day into things at this point and I thought I'd give a small update Both auction houses, real money and gold, are still offline. The ability to trade gold, at all, is disabled entirely as it is now "Bind on Account." Blizzard has announced they plan to try and manually trackback all the duplicate gold on a person-to-person account-by-account basis. They have no announcements about what they plan to do for gems and other in game items, like weapons and armor, that were purchased or sold. Blizzard stated that the bug was limited to North American servers although the Asian servers are currently offline for an update leading to wild speculation, of course. There is currently no estimate as to when they plan to reactivate the real money and gold auction houses, reactivate the ability to trade gold player to player or when they will finish their attempts to undo the duplication of gold via yesterdays exploit.

#27 Posted by Griffinmills (133 posts) -

An update on the current goings ons as of 05/09/2013

All Auction House functionality and gold are still in lockdown. Large reports of suspensions, and sometimes subsequent banning, came initially the evening of the patch and continue to do so in smaller waves as Blizzard strives on with their manual process. There are also reports from folks that admit to exploiting the gold duplication bug and have yet to be suspended or banned but they may simply be in queue awaiting their day in court as it were.

Some suspended accounts that have gone through the manual Blizzard review process and been restored. A few have reported they were found not guilty of exploiting the gold duplication bug directly but were somehow touched by it, whether they sold an item that was bought with duped gold or something similar. In these cases they claim to have been restored to their pre-1.08 patch state using the automatic account restoration process. One side effect of the Blizzard automatic restoration service is that all equipment on the character become account bound, unable to be traded or sold.

There is significant debate about the decision to make all of the gear a player owns account bound (BoA) after being found, essentially, "innocent." This BoA feature was introduced to the automatic account restoration service as a means to help prevent using this rollback mechanic to duplicate in game items. As the automatic system is now being used in place of a server wide rollback the side effect is essentially penalizing cleared players. Blizzard has yet to comment on this and presently are taking a stance that directly discussing disciplined accounts is against their forum codes of conduct making discussion a careful dance of talking around any specifics.

The ongoing manual process of account policing is slated to take, "...at least another 24 hours."

#28 Edited by Fearbeard (823 posts) -

@bisonhero said:

Should GB do some coverage, compared to how much other sites are covering this story? Maybe.

Hey good enough for me!

Does @brad not care about D3 anymore? Like, at all? I feel there is plenty of decent meat on the bone for this story that could entice the gang in any number of ways. They seemed awfully interested in how crazy Eve online got with people blowing up planets to destroy the in game economy, well this economy just got in a decent car wreck at least! Is there a decent angle to take for writing an article on Blizzard's decision making process here when they have a direct interest in drumming up sales on their RMAH since they take a cut on every sale, no matter how small? Maybe reporting anything would just play into some tin foil hat style plan by Blizzard to drum up interest in the brand for the PS3 launch. :)

In this response I feel like maybe I touched a sore spot by asking they consider covering it at all. If I did then I apologize.

If anyone would care about it, it would be Brad. However as others have said, this will probably be mentioned in a Bombcast and talked about briefly. It's always possible that Patrick will get interested and write up in an in-depth piece about it, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.

#29 Posted by HaltIamReptar (2029 posts) -

Is this thread not coverage enough?

#30 Edited by MiniPato (2714 posts) -

I don't really see how this should prompt a quick look. Would it just be 30 minutes of them milling about in the auction house? Sounds like it would fit a news article format more than a quick look. Unless Diablo 3 gets a new class, dungeon, or any kind of significant DLC in general, I doubt they'll be revisiting D3 in quick look form any time soon.

#31 Edited by EXTomar (4450 posts) -

Even after that, what are they going to look at? I haven't checked it out but I suspect if you click on the Auction House it doesn't do anything which is far from a compelling Quick Look.

#32 Edited by Griffinmills (133 posts) -

Great ideas folks. Heck I'll even edited the thread title to reflect that! =)

Update for today. Blizzard says they have found 85 percent of the duplicated gold and are wrapping up their efforts and calling it a success with the remaining 15 percent to be handled if they can. Blizzard also announced they will take all money from accounts they have suspended and banned, plus their own standard percentage cut of those transactions, and are giving it to Miracle Children's Hospital charity. Not much else to say and they traditionally don't communicate much on their forums over the weekend so don't expect an update until at least Monday.

#33 Posted by buft (3300 posts) -

I just got back into D3 after a few months off, I rarely use the AH unless its for kitting out a low level character with +exp items, things just cost way too much to be viable to buy for someone who doesn't spend real money on gold or farm enough to have a high amount of gold incoming.

#34 Edited by MrCaptain (363 posts) -
@griffinmills said:

Great ideas folks. Heck I'll even edited the thread title to reflect that! =)

Update for today. Blizzard says they have found 85 percent of the duplicated gold and are wrapping up their efforts and calling it a success with the remaining 15 percent to be handled if they can. Blizzard also announced they will take all money from accounts they have suspended and banned, plus their own standard percentage cut of those transactions, and are giving it to Miracle Children's Hospital charity. Not much else to say and they traditionally don't communicate much on their forums over the weekend so don't expect an update until at least Monday.

They are just taking the proceeds from the cheating accounts. So if the guy put in some real money into the game himself, I guess he would get it back?

Auction House is up now and I think Blizzard did exellent damage controll this time, but Im glad I play on the European server, where none of this happend.

#35 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5177 posts) -

@griffinmills: @mrcaptain:

Here's a few threads from a cursory glance

http://forums.d2jsp.org/topic.php?t=67296847&f=68

http://forums.d2jsp.org/topic.php?t=67297101&f=68

http://forums.d2jsp.org/topic.php?t=67289349&f=68

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8796360289

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8796090407

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8796450567

Of course D3 has been mediocre to poor for a really long time so hard to feel bad for anyone in this, really fun to laugh at though; D3 already lost 95% of its playerbase so losing another 4% isn't really that huge. I'm sure the remaining 50,000 will tell you what an amazing game it is and how every patch is the bestest patch ever, 1.08 being the best one so far.

#36 Edited by Hailinel (23680 posts) -

@extomar said:

Who would be Dennis Quaid and who would be Martin Short?

Which one would be more adept at piloting high-tech pods through the human body, and which would be more adept at madcap adventure?

Online
#37 Edited by EXTomar (4450 posts) -

Drew seems more adept at handling tech. Brad seems more like the "straight man" he clearly has the range to wacky as well.

#38 Posted by jakob187 (21640 posts) -

I played Diablo 3 a couple of weeks ago. I had about 20 minutes to kill.

They made that game easy as fuck now, and the economy is WAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of control. Glad I jumped off that train and headed to "Torchlight II Ville" and "Path of Exile Avenue".

#39 Posted by Ben_H (3294 posts) -

@jakob187 said:

I played Diablo 3 a couple of weeks ago. I had about 20 minutes to kill.

They made that game easy as fuck now, and the economy is WAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of control. Glad I jumped off that train and headed to "Torchlight II Ville" and "Path of Exile Avenue".

Torchlight II Ville is a nice town. I've been there too. Nice people and not boring as hell.

#40 Posted by EXTomar (4450 posts) -

As opposed to before when you can get attacked by 5 champions and their groups with combination of effects that are impossible to beat.

If there was anything wrong with Diablo 3 it was that it was absurd and too short.

#41 Edited by MrKlorox (11198 posts) -

A buddy of mine recently bough the first Dead Island, which got me curious about Diablo 3 again since I hadn't played it in over a year.

The first time I ever went into the real money auction house was just after this patch came out, before the gold dupe thing had really spread, and I was shocked to see 10mil gold for 33 cents a pop. That seemed incredibly low, even though I'd never tried to look at the conversion rate before. I wanted to buy some but I had no evidence that was actually a very low rate compared to normal. I waited around for a few minutes to see if it would drop in price at all since it still said the average price was 25 cents. But after around 5 minutes I went back to check it and the whole AH was down. I was bummed because I could have bought a 600+ DPS Spectrum for $2 USD worth of gold.

Now that things have panned out like this, I'm pretty certain I'll never buy anything with real money.

#42 Posted by Ben_H (3294 posts) -

@extomar said:

As opposed to before when you can get attacked by 5 champions and their groups with combination of effects that are impossible to beat.

If there was anything wrong with Diablo 3 it was that it was absurd and too short.

I remember playing as a Barbarian against a group of wasps that had both vampirism and that green poison effect that made it so wherever they moved was poisonous. (so both their ranged attack and the green stuff would gain them health whenever I was hit). They were literally impossible to beat because they healed every bit of damage I did. I ended up having to quit the session and start again because of it. I faced stuff like that a few times. It was very annoying.

#43 Posted by Griffinmills (133 posts) -

@griffinmills: @mrcaptain:

Here's a few threads from a cursory glance

http://forums.d2jsp.org/topic.php?t=67296847&f=68

http://forums.d2jsp.org/topic.php?t=67297101&f=68

http://forums.d2jsp.org/topic.php?t=67289349&f=68

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8796360289

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8796090407

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8796450567

Of course D3 has been mediocre to poor for a really long time so hard to feel bad for anyone in this, really fun to laugh at though; D3 already lost 95% of its playerbase so losing another 4% isn't really that huge. I'm sure the remaining 50,000 will tell you what an amazing game it is and how every patch is the bestest patch ever, 1.08 being the best one so far.

Yeah duder I totally agree with you, I don't get how Blizzard is getting away with handling this so wrong but it is absolutely fun from a drama PoV. I bet your percentages are fairly accurate too.

I've put in for a few comments from old friends still working at various video game development and publishing companies and will update if I get any bites.

#44 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5177 posts) -

@griffinmills: Here's an interesting one: http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/jay-wilson-says-the-diablo-3-auction-house-hurt-the-game

The article implies there won't be an AH on the console version alongside better item drops; makes me vaguely interested once the price tanks to 20 or so; Blizzard game or no console games almost always drop rapidly in price.

#45 Edited by RenegadeDoppelganger (406 posts) -

Yeah the RMAH has kinda fucked the auction house portion of the game. I currently have a 60 which is fairly well geared so I dont expect to have to buy any new gear anytime soon, but would I want to start another character now? Fuck no.

Some of my friends still play but they're exclusively hardcore. Maybe that's the way to do from now on. D3 is still fun for me. I like the paragon system and the changes they made to co-op in 1.08 make me want to group up with some buds again, beyond that though I'm not sure.

#46 Posted by Griffinmills (133 posts) -

@griffinmills: Here's an interesting one: http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/jay-wilson-says-the-diablo-3-auction-house-hurt-the-game

The article implies there won't be an AH on the console version alongside better item drops; makes me vaguely interested once the price tanks to 20 or so; Blizzard game or no console games almost always drop rapidly in price.

Absolutely interesting. Once Jay Wilson moved off Diablo 3 it didn't take him too long to put up that blog and he stood by those statements during a presentation at the San Francisco based Game Developers Conference. The tweaking of drops for the offline capable PS3 version have caused the ears of many a player to perk up. A decent amount of requests that these changes, both offline mode and drop rates, be back ported in some way to the PC version have hit a bit of a wall at Blizzard. On the topic of porting changes from one platform to another, Blizzard has also stated they've no plans to port controller support to the PC and that the PS3 version will not support keyboard and mouse. Doesn't seem to bode well for the long standing interest being shown in offline mode for PC.

Some of the other interface changes of the PS3 version, changes in bag space and inventory management UI, have got me interested in that port out too. Like you, I'll probably wait for a ~20 dollar version.

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