Well that didn’t take very long. Even though it’s only a week old some Diablo 3 users have already seen their accounts hacked. There’s no way of knowing yet how many accounts have been compromised, but considering Blizzard already has a press release out in front of this, I’d say quite a few. But fear not, apparently it’s all part of the plan. According to their press release Blizzard says this type of behavior is not new, in fact it is almost expected as this is typical of any newly released title, “Historically, the release of a new game — such a World of Warcraft® expansion — will result in an increase in reports of individual account compromises, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now with Diablo III.” So if you’ve been hacked and are unable to play you can take solace in the fact that it probably isn’t only happening to you. Feel better?
It seems that having online only single player may be a good way to reduce piracy, but it also has the unhappy coincidence of increasing the number of compromised accounts. There’s no point in pirating a game that requires login information, so that gets stolen instead. It may just sound like one problem was traded for another, and it was, but while piracy is bad for Blizzard only, account theft is bad for Blizzard and players alike. By moving to an online only model, Blizzard has essentially shifted the theft risk away from themselves and onto players. This is usually how anti-piracy measures behave, they may accomplish their goal but at the cost of innocent players.
They are at least attempting to mitigate the problem as they have a “Help! I’ve Been Hacked!” tool on their forums for those unlucky enough to have been compromised. Still, I’d much rather exist in a world where players pirate the single player version of a game and leave my account alone, but I think those days are over. While I appreciate the steps Blizzard is taking to help those who have lost gear and/or in-game progress to theft, this is really a symptom of having the game be only online and I don’t like to give anyone credit for fixing a problem they caused in the first place.
So if you haven’t bought the game yet you may want to see how this all unfolds. Sure Blizzard will probably plug the holes in their security, but in the meantime innocent players are going to be the ones to pay where no one else has to. If you’re going to play the game, at least buy an authenticator or download the app, some may say it doesn’t help, but so far most reports are from people who didn’t have one.