Blizzard's use of "always-on" DRM to prevent cheating and hacking in Diablo 3 has not worked out as planned, with new evidence of an item duplication exploit, thousands of compromised accounts, and tens of thousands of accounts being banned already
Game maker Blizzard's main justification for using the controversial "always-on" DRM system has been challenged, with news that hackers have found a way to duplicate valuable items in the game, items that can be sold for real money in the game's yet to be launched "Auction House" feature.
Blizzard's use of draconian DRM technology was supposed to prevent these sorts of cheating, as the game's real money exchange system, the Auction House, can only ever work if cheating and hacking are prevented from happening. Auction House is Blizzard's attempt to bring the hugely lucrative grey market trade in in-game items, in-house.
But videos have emerged of users in South Korea duplicating in-game items, and the country's game servers had to be taken offline to limit the damage of this potential exploit. A hotfix was issued shortly after to address this exploit.
The use of bots and hacking programs have also been recorded, despite the harsh DRM being used. Blizzard announced this week that thousands of players have already been banned for cheating or hacking, and that more bans are on the way.
There has also been reports of user accounts and virtual in-game gold and items being stolen. One hacker last week boasted that up to 10,000 accounts have been infiltrated, and that up to 4 million in-game gold can be harvested from compromised accounts every hour.