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Bye Bye Bots: Game Limits Returning To Diablo

Have you got the money? 'Cause I've got the stuff. Welcome to the black market auction house, where we do this shit the old-fashioned way.

I don’t imagine it’s easy managing an economy in which many of your customers are both wizards and basically The Matrix. You may, for instance, think you have everything locked up tight, but then hackers storm your walls, or you remember that fraud exists, or bot farmers see gold in them there hills. So, how do you fight back? Well, if you’re a member of the Blizzard school of thought, the answer is to add more locks, then put locks on your locks, then tell those locks the cautionary tale of both gold and locks that is Goldilocks. At the very least, however, the latest Diablo III restriction shouldn’t affect most of you – at least, in theory.

Game limits, after all, simply refer to the number of games Diablo players have open at once. And while I’m sure some people like to rock multiple monitors and dual wield mice of +10 to click-click-click (actually, is this even possible with only one copy?), I’m going to go ahead and guess that most of you just do things the normal way. Blizzard did, however, offer the following explanation:

“In the near future, we’ll be re-enabling the limit on how many games a player can create within a certain amount of time. We’ve further tuned and tested the conditions that trigger this limit to ensure, as much as possible, that it only affects those abusing the Diablo III game service in a way that violates the Terms of Use – for example, by using bots that create games in rapid succession.”

“The use of bots not only impacts the stability of the game service, but it also has an impact on the player-driven economy. While we regularly take action against accounts for the use of unauthorized third-party programs and bots, this additional measure will help us further preserve and protect the integrity of the game and economy in between ban waves.”

Blizzard further noted that it’ll be watching player feedback very closely once the new limit system goes live, with the aim, of course, being to squelch any instances of legitimate players getting left out in the cold while bots point and laugh from inside hell’s warm, cozy confines.

Time will tell, however, the exact nature of the issues that arise. I could certainly see this impacting players who’ve had connection failure issues or some form of crash error. If that ends up being the case, then Blizzard will have another firestorm on its hands – and rightfully so. Another layer of inconvenience for Diablo players at this stage is akin to hurling a hay bale at a camel whose back has already been thoroughly broken by a piece of straw. But if the hack ‘n’ slash giant can deliver on its promise of a bot-seeking missile, then the rest of us can just get on with our lives. Given the game’s history, I’m skeptical, but also certainly not ready to pick up a pitchfork and torch just yet.

I have to wonder, though, if it’s possible to fully control a market so rooted in a practice that was once expressly forbidden. I mean, this is gold farming we’re talking about. Some people – many of them in dire straits money-wise – make a living off this practice, and Diablo offers them one of PC gaming’s single largest audiences. Where there’s a will (and people willing to flagrantly break the rules because they have to eat), there’s most certainly a way. So is it any wonder that Diablo’s economy immediately toppled over – with heaping stacks of hundreds of thousands of gold going for mere cents – the second Blizzard let people start putting price tags on everything? Long story short: I don’t imagine we’ve seen the end of this issue. Not in the slightest.

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Nathan Grayson

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