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Devil May Buy: Real Money Auction House Delayed Again

Oh my god! Those skeletons had kids! Well, once. They're probably dead now.

Things haven’t been going so hot for the Lord of the Damned lately. At this point, his rocky start‘s probably better documented than, er, Rocky’s rocky starts, and then that whole hacking thing happened. Granted, somewhere in there, Diablo III also sort of became the fastest-selling PC game of all time, but honestly, millions and millions of dollars can only wipe away so many tears. At any rate, the fallout continues – this time with a second delay for the hellish hack ‘n’ slash’s controversial real money auction house.

Blizzard explained in an rather large status update on Diablo’s official forums:

“In light of the post-launch obstacles we’ve encountered, we have made the decision to move the launch of the real-money auction house beyond the previously estimated May time frame. As we mentioned in our original announcement, our goal has always been to ensure everyone has the smoothest experience possible when the real-money auction house launches, and we need a bit more time to iron out the existing general stability and gameplay issues before that feature goes live. While we don’t have a new launch date to share just yet, we’ll have more information soon.”

Even so, the king of MMO mountain continued to severely downplay recent hacking complaints, reiterating that its servers haven’t been compromised and the Authenticator code (novelization coming this fall from Dan Brown) has yet to be cracked.

“First and foremost, we want to make it clear that the Battle.net and Diablo III servers have not been compromised. In addition, the number of Diablo III players who’ve contacted customer service to report a potential compromise of their personal account has been extremely small. In all of the individual Diablo III-related compromise cases we’ve investigated, none have occurred after a physical Battle.net Authenticator or Battle.net Mobile Authenticator app was attached to the player’s account, and we have yet to find any situation where a Diablo III player’s account was accessed outside of ‘traditional’ compromise methods (i.e. someone logging using an account’s login email and password).”

Blizzard also ruled out “session spoofing,” wherein some malcontent nabs another players identity after they’ve logged into the game. So, in short, the crafter of all things ‘Craft (except mines) is putting account protection largely on the shoulders of personal responsibility. In the short term, then, the plan is to hotfix and tweak the game for both stability and gameplay balance issues. Already, for instance, the Monk’s punches are packing a bit less pop.

So that’s where we’re at. It’s still an unfortunate state of affairs no matter how you slice it, and I’m still keeping my credit card far, far away from the real money auction house just in case. But, if Blizzard’s being completely honest about the situation, it’s largely only capable of doing damage control on account compromises. I still think the “always” part of “always online” is far, far more trouble than its worth, but in this specific case, Blizzard’s probably more huntsman than Big Bad Wolf.

Even so, I have to remain skeptical, if only because of the sheer volume of people I know who’ve woken up in a bathtub full of icey sorrow sans gold, loot, and other essential Diablo-playing organs. Regardless, here’s hoping this is the worst things are going to get.

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Nathan Grayson

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