Blizzard released Patch 1.0.8 for Diablo III yesterday, but the only topic of conversation has been a gold dupe bug that was inadvertently introduced into the game. The problem was devious -- cancel a gold auction, and you received double your gold back. Did we mention that the patch also increased the maximum amount of gold auctionable, from one million to 10 million gold? Yeah. So, auction 10 million gold, hit cancel, get back twenty. Over. And over. And over.
Player reports indicate that server prices went nuclear in short order. Dupers spent billions to buy up every rare item and gem, then reposted them for higher prices or took them off the market altogether to hoard them against further price increases. Blizzard
leapt to fix the problem in fairly short order (about 12 hours), but has announced that it won't
be rolling back servers. About two hours after taking the AH offline, company representative Lylirra posted the following:
At this time (and after careful consideration), we've decided to not move forward with rolling back the servers. We feel that this is the best course of action given the nature of the dupe, how relatively few players used it, and the fact that its effects were fairly limited within the region. We've been able to successfully identify players who duplicated gold by using this specific bug, and are focusing on these accounts to make corrections. While this is a time-consuming and very detailed process, we believe it's the most appropriate choice given the circumstances.
Predictably, a lot of people are up in arms. It's also a bit unfortunate that this happened with Diablo III
's one-year anniversary close at hand. But the really interesting part is going to be what Blizzard considers "corrections." Rolling back the servers would've solved the problem, but presumably is difficult and time-consuming for other reasons. It also raises the question of what happens to purchases players made on the RAH -- are those expenses refunded?
But going after the situation player-by-player is going to be problematic for its own reasons. What do you do with players who didn't dupe gold, but who took advantage of skyrocketing prices to sell equipment (thereby receiving "bad" gold in the process?) It's easy to tell if someone duped gold or not, but the people who kept using the AH normally and thus received some of those funds could have cashed in without even realizing it.
If you only check the AH intermittently, and level up for awhile in between buying new equipment, it's easy to imagine trucking over with a handful of relatively high-end gear to sell without realizing that prices had briefly skewed way past normal. Alternately, those who overpaid (again without realizing it) just funded someone else's duping-driven cash grab.
What we know, at this point, is that huge amounts of gold was jumped dumped into the economy. Blizzard's solution thus far appears to focus on personal conduct rather than attempting to remove the cash wholesale. That's going to have an inflationary impact on the game, but the size and scope of the change are still unknown. Worst-case, the best gear and items are going to be overpriced for months while players accumulate enough cash to afford them once again.