Last week’s disatrous money-duplicating bug in Diablo III seems to have a happy ending. The bug has been fixed, the Auction houses are back online, and any ill-gotten gains are being donated to charity.
John Hight, production director on Diablo III, explains that the bug was accidentally rolled out with last week’s 1.0.8 update. A coding error was exposed when gold stacks were increased from 1 million to 10 million, leading to an overflow on cancelled auctions. Long story short: 415 Diablo III gamers cancelled auctions before they’d ended, exploiting the system to double their cash.
Once Blizzard had confirmed the activity was taking place, the American auction houses were taken offline and all gold trading was suspended. The resulting fix was developed, tested, refined and released to all regions before the end of the day – meaning that only one region of the game was affected, and the rest of the world got 1.0.8 without the bug.
All accounts that “appeared to be exploiting the bug” were locked, as well as anyone seen to be collaborating with the exploiters (by holding gold or items for them). These accounts were either rolled back or banned outright, depending on what they’d actually gotten up to.
Hight explained the whole process in a new Diablo III forum post, where he goes into some detail about why the team didn’t decide to roll back the entire game.
There is some additional good news, too:
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.
The team also explains that it has done a “full audit” of all Diablo III code, to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.