Along with the game’s “always on” DRM, Diablo 3’s in-game auction house, which lets players buy items with real money in addition to in-game gold, has always been one of the game’s more controversial features. The auction house was taken offline today following the discovery of a gold duplication exploit that completely destroyed the delicate balance of the game’s economy.
The exploit was introduced in the game’s 1.08 patch, which went live yesterday. Within hours of the patch going live, players had discovered the exploit and had flooded Diablo 3’s economy with trillions in duplicated gold — the exchange rate for real money for gold dropped from $0.25 per million to a whopping $0.25 per ten million. One player even managed to amass 371 trillion gold within the day.
Blizzard says they’ve already discovered a fix for the bug, but they’ve decided to take the game’s auction house offline until the issue can be resolved. While the fix has already been implemented into the game’s servers, Blizzard says they will keep the auction house offline until they can eliminate all the duplicated gold from everyone’s character data. Instead of doing a server wide rollback, Blizzard is planning on removing the duped gold one account at a time, a process which they admit will be time consuming. It’s currently unknown if Blizzard plans to punish players who took advantage of the exploit in any way.
Following the game’s original release last year, Diablo 3 suffered a sharp drop-off in the amount of users playing the game online. The 1.08 patch was originally supposed to entice people into playing the game’s co-op multiplayer by adding a number of exp. bonuses, the ability to search for specific game types, and other general improvements.