An exploit in Blizzard’s dungeon crawler Diablo III has crippled the game’s economy after some users abused it to gain money.
In reaction to the exploit, which allowed users to double their gold by cancelling transactions before they had finished, the developer has taken the game’s gold and real-money Auction Houses offline as it attempts to fix the issue.
The bug appeared after the that latest patch to the title this morning, and Blizzard currently has no ETA on when the Auction Houses will be back up and running, but said its priority was to fix the issue before considering what to do next.
Blizzard community manager Lylirra said that for now, it would not be rolling back the servers to before the exploit, given that “relatively few players used it, and the fact that its effects were fairly limited within the region”.
She added that the studio had also identified users who took advantage of the exploit, and would be making corrections to that appropriate accounts.
“As you may have already seen in the Breaking News window (or discovered while trying to load up the Auction House once logged in), we've brought both the gold and real-money Auction Houses offline for maintenance,” said Lylirra.
“After the release of Patch 1.0.8 this morning, we found that some players were exploiting a bug that enabled them to duplicate gold through the Auction House. We're working on fixing the bug right now, and bringing the Auction Houses offline helps us troubleshoot in a more stable environment while preventing further exploiting.”
During GDC 13 in March, former Diablo III director Jay Wilson said the auction houses in the game had “really hurt” the title. He said that that company initially felt the auction houses would help reduce fraud and offer a wanted service for a small percentage of players.
When the game was released however, as many as 50 per cent of players used them regularly, affecting how the title’s economy had originally been developed.