After what could politely be referred to as a rocky start seemed to be put in the past, it’s clear Diablo III is still being targeted by real-world plunderers. This time the issue isn’t surrounding online access, but the all-too-common occurrence of another round of account hacking.

When Diablo III launched last week, it was sick – infected with server shutdowns, and a game-breaking bug that blocked players out of (to which a constant connection is required for play) right out of the gate.

Blizzard attempted to remedy the situation by simultaneously issuing an apology and boarding up their auction house, even offering players free Batteltag changes – and for a while the palliatives seemed to be setting the decade-awaited dungeon crawler on the right track. But they’re not out of the woods yet.

An alarming number of players on the Diablo III forums seem to be reporting that their accounts have been hacked, and thoroughly plundered of gold and inventory. Eurogamer confirmed the situation when one of their own fell prey and saw control of his account transferred to an unsolicited user.

According to the victims (and they’re piling up fast) Blizzard has, again, turned to damage control, this time by “rolling back” accounts. Such a scenario would involve players having their character reset to a pre-hack time period: some progress might be lost, but at least control can be restored to its proper owner.

Diablo 3 Hacking Blizzard Response

Last week’s launch hiccups were embarrassing enough – we suspect that, at this point, Blizzard is starting to believe in the curses some associate with producing a game named ‘Diablo.‘ In any case, they issued a brief response via the game’s official forums:

“We are very aware of these reports and are taking them very seriously. Please keep an eye on the General Discussion forums as Community members will be posting something soon.”

Unfortunately for the hapless Diablo III owners (some of whom, by now, might be flirting with the 30 or 40 hour mark on their painstakingly handcrafted characters) no one – not even Blizzard, it seems – knows how the accounts are being hacked or how to protect them. Blizzard sells account “Authenticators” that are designed to provide an extra layer of security for customers, but even its owners are reporting identity compromises. Some believe that the uptick in hacking reports suspiciously coincides with Sunday’s European server shutdown after an SQL injection attack. Others speak of hackers being able to steal session identifiers – thus unlocking vital account information and proceeding with the thieving.

It’s beyond perplexing to see a company like Blizzard, developer of the ubiquitous MMO World of Warcraft, struggle so mightily in launching a game after 10+ years of development. And just when we thought the worst was behind us, it seems like it might only now be arriving (just ask Sony how terrifying the implications of hacking can be).

The extent of the damage and danger remains unclear, but as surreal as it sounds, don’t be surprised to hear rumblings of a shutdown or a brief PSN-esque outage until Blizzard can guarantee the safety of its customers.

Ranters, have you or any of your peers fallen victim to a D3 hacking. How serious can the implications be for Blizzard – especially after an already-tumultuous Diablo III launch?

Diablo III is now available for the PC and Mac.

Source: Diablo III Forums [via Eurogamer]

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple

tags: Blizzard, Diablo 3, Mac, PC