After some 400 suspensions, a temporary suspension of specific services, and a quick-fix patch, the Diablo 3 auction is back online. Blizzard was forced to take the auction house online after a gold duping exploit began circulating the Internet.

While the exploit required players be in possession of a sizable sum of gold already, those that could use the exploit sent Diablo 3 into a tailspin for a short period of time. And without any way of knowing who was guilty and who was innocent, Blizzard began handing out suspensions to any suspicious parties.

The gold duping exploit isn’t something gamers haven’t seen before in previous MMOs and Blizzard-developed games, but the fact that Diablo 3 also offers a real money auction house put some serious pressure on Blizzard to respond fast. And rather than punish everyone involved with a server-wide roll back, Blizzard is choosing to go over Diablo 3‘s economy with a fine-toothed comb in order to separate the hard-earned gold from that earned by exploit.

Through targeted audits and account actions, Blizzard discovered that of those players who had the billions of gold necessary to use the exploit, only 415 actually used it for personal gain. Those players have not only been hit with the banhammer, but the revenue generated from their auctions as been donated to charity.

Here’s a brief blurb from Blizzard’s official statement:

The vast majority of players did not participate in the exploit and we didn’t like the idea of punishing them for the bad behavior of a few people. A rollback would mean bringing the servers down for a lengthy period and a loss of all progression since 1.0.8 was released. Many players made significant accomplishments in the game that required time and dedication, and we felt it was worth the work involved to try to preserve these efforts and go after the exploiters instead.

With this in mind, we elected not to roll back the servers in The Americas and are instead working to remove duplicated gold from the economy through targeted audits and account actions (as indicated above) without taking away progress that our players rightfully earned.

This is just one of any number of headaches that have been brought about as a result of the real money auction house in Diablo 3, which is headed to the PS3 and PS4 later this year. Luckily, the auction house in the console version will deal solely in digital gold.

Hopefully, moving forward Blizzard has learned some meaningful lessons from Diablo 3, specifically about real money auction houses and always-online requirements. Both can be harmful, and both could have been easily avoided if Blizzard was a little more trusting of their audience, and a little less interested in making money.

Were you impacted by the gold duping exploit? Do you think Blizzard appropriately responded to the exploit?

Source: Diablo 3 Forums