This is intended to provide some clarification and explanation regarding certain continually mentioned Diablo II topics. The hope is to offer some basic and extended material that will enhance an understanding of the purpose, limitations and other factors impacting these topics. While there are Blizzard citations, please note this is simply offering a perspective, so the contents below should be considered accordingly.
A Ladder Season
Patches and Updates
Removing Temporary Restrictions
Stopping Bots, Spam, and Exploits
Closing Vendor Sites
Blizzard's Participation on Diablo II
Last edited on: January 22, 2012 Special thanks for 4thdimension’s editing contributions
Summaries An outline is being put here, so those who do not wish to read the entire thread may obtain a general idea of what each section is addressing.
A Ladder Season *Purpose is to “refresh the game”
*These refreshes are short-lived due to a variety of issues – including bots, vendor sites, universal gold, restrictions and few gaming and end-game mechanics
*Resets are a quick fix to a broken economy
*Season length is difficult to balance in regard to how Blizzard should sway resets
Patches and Updates *An important key for permitting new content and/or addressing broken content
*After 1.10 patch, the frequency (and perhaps quality) of releases have declined, which some feel should drive a decline in price and is creating mixed views on prevention versus new content
*Many aggravations and issues surrounding the announcement and post-release of patch 1.13
*Diablo II is part of Blizzard Legacy Games (which also includes Warcraft III and Starcraft)
*These games have rotations, smaller teams and a smaller budget, which further dictates the quality and focus of future releases – a feature is not necessarily excluded because they can’t or won’t
*Seemingly simple fixes are sometimes (drawing from personal experience) not so simple
*There are variables affecting why players are not going to know when updates are happening
Removing Temporary Restrictions *This is a temporary IP connection based restriction that cannot be lifted and requires users to adjust their playing styles (or obtain a different IP)
*Typical restrictions are issued through a track and flag system, and a representative usually administers extended restrictions
*Restrictions (first as Realm Downs) were released sometime in August 2004 as an answer to game creation problems found in the 1.10 patch
*This system is not focused on the use of bots, but movements deemed harmful to Battle.net functionality/playability – “legitimate” players also guilty of this
*Restrictions are user driven, instead of being enforced from the onset (unlike other games)
*The system is not going to be removed given what it accomplishes and has had revisions and improvements since its release
Stopping Bots, Spam, and Exploits *Third-party materials are non-blizzard distributed that interact, disrupt, or modify the game while using Battle.net
*Many justify the use of these materials because of a feature not provided by Blizzard and/or makes gaming easier
*Current protocol stipulates closure of accounts (regardless of offense) and 30-day key suspension for first offense, and permanent suspension after that
*Three systems in place to address third-party materials – restrictions, warden and reporting
*Unfortunately, these systems can be circumvented (as any system can)
*A slew of issues exist with combating third-party materials, giving exploiters the advantage
*There are many various proposed interventions, but may not accomplish the intended result and could become more limiting/invasive then the current systems in place
*Addressing various recommendations of More Bans, Harder Areas and Removing Items, CAPTCHA, Pay-to-Play, Volunteers, Ran by the Public, and Battle.net 2.0
*Hard to compare modern abilities and technology to a decade plus game and the measures to remove the ability to exploit may be more invasive, potentially violating privacy laws
Closing Vendor Sites *Use the same reporting method for cheaters when reporting these sites
*Lawsuits require a lot of money and may not even see the money thereafter
*Blizzard’s transactions are not monitored beyond Battle.net so bought items off of a website appear as a free transaction
*Some sites not in the U.S. and do not have intellectual laws and many sites acknowledge the buying of a service…not the item.
*Forum Gold (FG) seems to fill a gap in the trading economy of Diablo II
*FG requires a lot of trust which gives its viability, but could be lost at anytime
*FG allows trading among games, realms, core (hard/soft), etc. which is not supposed to exist
*Because it is viable and can be purchased with real money, can create incentives to exploit
Blizzard’s Participation on Diablo II *Like many things, games reach their peak and demise to lack of interest and exploitation
*Should not be viewed differently simply because of a price tag or the occasional update
*Not really beneficial for Blizzard to announce they are quitting or cannot stop exploits (who is to say they haven’t)
*Can take an aggressive stance and still not achieve the desired outcomes (aggressive doesn’t remove a budget)
*Blizzard is still participating – through email, forum support, patches, ladders
*Although, it would be nice to see them in Diablo II forum boards once in awhile
[ Post edited by Bobertith ]
1. Re: Topics and Explanations 06/22/2011 02:10:39 AM PDT
A Ladder Season The overall purpose of the ladder is to “refresh the game” (1). This is done by moving end-season ladder characters and items to non-ladder, and new ladder characters must be made in order to play the new season (2). To date, there have been eight (8) ladder seasons. The first ladder began October 28, 2003 in conjunction with the 1.10 patch release, but not all ladder seasons are released with a patch. Only two other seasons (5 and 6) have accompanied a patch release (1.12 and 1.13c respectively). Seasons 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8 (9 was had a 1.13d patch release two days later) did not join a patch release. In the past, Blizzard also rewarded ladder season winners (seasons 1 and 2) for racing to level 99, but lately, rewarding these races has become stagnate. A descending order of the ladder season history is provided below. (3)
Season 9 – October 25, 2011
Season 8 – March 23, 2011
Season 7 – September 28, 2011
Season 6 – March 23, 2010
Season 5 – June 17, 2008
Season 4 – June 25, 2007
Season 3 – August 5, 2005
Season 2 – July 7, 2004
Season 1 – October 28, 2003
Refreshing and playing the ladder creates aspects of competition and challenges that separates the ladder from non-ladder play (1). Being the first (legitimately) to level 99, harder monsters, and creating and obtaining ladder-only items are some separating aspects. However, many of these ladder challenges are short-lived causing aggravation among competing players. This is because: 1) Bots level much faster than normal/average players making it hard to compete in ladder racing; 2) Website item vendors are quickly stocked with ladder items that saturate legitimate trade and item creating/finding; 3) Universal gold sites (like JSP) allow transitioning their currency from other supported games, realms, etc., giving an unfair advantage to the new season, because the player is then not starting from scratch; 4) The confines of the restriction system (aka temp restrictions) causing high latency games to drop; and 5) “The game has few gaming mechanics” to stabilize the economy (4) – due to little end game content. Blizzard has acknowledge resetting the ladder is a quick fix to a broken economy system(5) – a limitation (and lack of a better one within the construct) of the current Diablo II and Battle.net design.
While other sections will address these hindrances, this begs the question if whether or not the ladder should even exist or if Blizzard should lengthen or shorten ladder seasons due to these activities. The length of a ladder season is difficult to determine (4) and there has been variation among past seasons (3). Two polls have been conducted to help determine an appropriate season length. The first set of votes concluded the season to be one year (6), but another was conducted due to low participation (2). The second poll had about four times the voters and concluded the ladder season to be 6 months (7). “Right now six months feels like it’s the right amount of time to keep those racing to 99 appeased, and the economy fresh” (1). However, it seems this duration appears was applicable only to ladder season 8 (thus far) (37).
Really, this limitation of “refreshing the economy” is a hard balance and ultimately places Blizzard in a lose/lose situation (5). If Blizzard gives into swaying ladder resets (or eliminates the ladder) because of these hindrances, then those causing the hindrance are controlling it. And, if Blizzard does not sway ladder resets because of these frustrations, it creates more hard feelings and decline among competing users. Perhaps some resolve in the users’ aggravations and steadying the economy would be accomplished by reducing or eliminating bot (third-party) activity. Other sections will address this topic more thoroughly.
Patches and Updates Patches are perhaps one of the most important aspects to updating and fixing this game. Patches have permitted new gaming content, fixed bugs/glitches (exploits), added the ladder, removed the need for a CD and provided the respecialization system. Of course, this is not giving credit to all the changes various patches have made. To date, there have been 27 patch releases (22 official and 5 testing/betas), since Diablo II’s release, now over a decade ago. A patch release history is provided below. (3)
1.13d on 10/27/2011, 1.13c on 3/23/2010, 1.13b2 on 2/23/2010, 1.13a1 on 12/10/2009
1.12a on 6/17/2008
1.11b on 9/13/2005, 1.11 on 8/1/2005
1.10 on 10/28/2003, 1.10b2 on 8/4/2003, 1.10b1 on 7/3/2003
1.09d on 12/5/2001, 1.09c on 11/14/2001, 1.09b on 10/5/2001, 1.09 on 8/22/2001
1.08 on 6/29/2001
1.07 on 6/29/2001 (expansion release)
1.06b on 5/18/2001, 1.06 on 4/19/2001, 1.05b on 2/2/2001, 1.05 on 1/31/2001, 1.04c on 12/24/2000, 1.04b on 12/23/2000, 1.04 on 12/20/2000, 1.03 on 8/4/2000, 1.02 on 8/3/2000, 1.01 on 6/28/2000 (release), 1.00b on 4/3/2000
The longest observed lapse in patch releases is between 1.12 to 1.13 at about 2 years 9 months. Other lapses exist with 1.10 to 1.11 and 1.09 to 1.10 at about 1 year 11 months and 1 year 10 months respectively. Due to this apparent decline in release frequency (and perhaps quality), some feel the current cost to purchase should also decline. Additionally, there are mixed (realistic) views regarding the age of this game. Some feel remaining support should be dedicated to prevention methods (preventing exploitation) over new content (dungeons/levels, characters, game features, enemies, etc), while others prefer new content. There are frustrations from users not understanding why/how third party programs (consisting of bots and spam) cannot be eliminated or even (appear) reduced in number. While third party issues will be addressed later, these concerns do provide an insight (hindsight) to the top priorities some users want Blizzard to have. Users have expectations with features and updates and become frustrated when those expectations are not met (8).
One of the many aggravations players have can be found in the list of issues surrounding the 1.13 patch announcement and after its release. This particular patch was significant in a few ways. First, Blizzard had two testing periods (original Diablo II beta and the two 1.10 testing patches were the others). Second, the patch had a yearlong wait from the patch’s announcement to release. Patch 1.13 was announced on March 3, 2009 (9), and released March 23, 2010 (3). This delay was partly caused from a large Warcraft III exploit (10), (11). Because of this and other delays (and complaints), Blizzard noted (in the PTR forum board) that future patches will not be announced until officially ready. Third, Blizzard asked for user input on their top selection of what this patch should consist of (9), which they derived a stash increase to 12x10 (12). Unfortunately, this increase was not implemented due to the “limitations on trades” (13) – the way users have to trade in trade windows, and the servers not being able to handle the increase (14) – Diablo II’s Battle.net storage design (windows and mechanics). Attempting to increase the stash also delayed the release of this patch (12). The respec feature (resetting skills and stats) then became the most significant content. Lastly, third party programs did not appear affected or limited by the patch’s release and these materials seemed to plague user playability later on (both in spam flooding and disrupted games).
Prior to the 1.12 patch (if memory serves correctly), Diablo II was moved to the, “Internal Legacy Development Teams,” as a part of Legacy Games, which currently consists of Starcraft, Warcraft III, and Diablo II. This means Diablo II will cycle among these other legacy games and teams. Legacy teams are separate and do not work on newer games (15). Unlike other legacy games, Diablo II’s end-game design does not raise any funding or donors through tournaments (only Battle Chest sales). As a result, Diablo II is made a lower priority than other games (despite those games’ decline as well) (11). This means additions, changes, and fixes require more concise planning on a smaller team(s) and budget (16). Forecasts (i.e. wish lists, plans) then become heavily dictated by feasibility as updates progress. In other words, if an intended feature becomes too complicated or requires changes outside of the current design or structure, it may need to be abandoned or delayed for another update. So, try not to think the lack of a feature in terms of cannot, will not or impossible. This also does not mean they will not implement a desired feature either (like a larger stash or prevention method); it just may take more time.
It is also important to further an understanding of realistic expectations regarding the seemingly simple fixes with Diablo II. Several lists have been compiled throughout forums and websites regarding the bugs that exist. Of course, fixes should keep away from personal opinions such as the paladin doing too much damage or Enigma needing to be removed and instead, focus on incorrect formulas, inconsistent ratios and other gaming issues (17). While some things may appear simple, does not mean it is really the case and really something the user cannot fully test given their limited access. Drawing upon personal experience (from working with a multi-informational database software for the state), an interesting anomaly (among others) occurred where a very simple line of code could not be removed or rewritten. The mapping of this code (logically and mathematically) was not tied to any other database, function or otherwise, but if removed, would mess up a transfer of data. Without getting into too much detail, this took a few years to resolve and it happened to be a limitation of the coding abilities available with the developing software and nothing to do with actual programmers – it is how it had to be implemented at the time. The point of this example is to demonstrate that some fixes may remain unattended due to limitations and sometimes, unexplainable situations. Although, this is not meant to imply the reason for all of the simple fixes left undone.
Really, the hard thing is the community is not going to know and there is so much unknown when working on updates. An example can be observed with the attempts to increase the stash (12), and then its removal for release (14). While this will likely be addressed later with Blizzard’s participation, the personnel representing the Diablo II forums are not going to know until the game is on the legacy update cycle. Even when this happens, there are so many variables influencing this knowledge; causing even more uncertainty (11), (16). In the end and given the age of this game, players will need to have and continue realistic expectations of what Blizzard can and will provide. It can be very expensive (again drawing from personal experience) to update software or the functionality of current software (or utilize new development software). Importantly, there are limitations of what Blizzard can produce within the construct of the Diablo II and Battle.net 1.0 design (11). Really, these limitations apply with any game, which continues the need for realistic expectations.
Removing Temporary Restrictions A temporary restriction, also known as a temp ban is a short-term connection restraint from a particular realm(s). Meaning, a player(s) and their external IP connection will not have access to a Battle.net realm(s) for a certain amount of time (18). Restrictions vary in nature and can happen for a variety of reasons. Depending on the violation(s), a restriction can last anywhere from a few minutes for up-to 12 hours (a typical restriction), and then as long as 2-weeks (an extended restriction) (19). Typical Restrictions are obtained through a tracking system, flagging each violation that can increase an hour or so of restricted access to a realm(s) (20). Extended restrictions are usually invoked by a Blizzard representative (19) – often for using invalid cd-keys. Violations will remain on a user’s IP for a “couple of days” (20). Once the user plays cleanly, these strikes will reset/decrease. To avoid typical restrictions, players are often advised to adjust their playing style by slowing down in the frequency of creating and joining games, and is done by spending more time in a game (21). Personally, using a 5-second rule between screens (logging in, accessing a channel or profile, creating or joining a game, exiting a game, exiting account, etc.) has yielded the best results in avoiding a typical restriction. Note that Blizzard will not remove a restriction and cannot tell users the length of a typical restriction, but can inform the length of an extended restriction (22). To see a current list of violations, visit Maged’s guide (33) and
Ultimately, these restrictions have caused aggravation among many players. This is because they affect non-third party users (aka: “legitimate” and is evident by the posts in the technical support board). Many feel that it does not prevent the overall use of bots and many have requested/demanded removing the restriction system. However, the reason this system came to be should be explained. After the 1.10 patch release, many players experienced significant reduction in the ability to create (and in some cases join) games. Some experienced long queues and some were completely unable to create a game. In August 2004, Blizzard answered this problem by releasing a server-side update implementing an automated system known as a realm down (now known as a temporary restriction/ban). Realm downs combated a style of play causing creation delays (23). The culprit of these delays was users and their frequency of creating many games in a short amount of time that flooded/stressed the servers and their ability to function. Bots makeup the majority of this behavior, but this system is set with certain parameters to ban (the appearance of) bot-like behavior (19), which means non-third party users are also guilty of this. Therefore, the implementation and continuation of this system is not because a player may be using third-party programs (although that is one of the parameters for an extended restriction), but (flooding) movements that are deemed harmful (especially if practice by most of the community) to the functionality/playability of Battle.net.
Unlike other games that enforce game creation/exiting restraints (through timers, cool-off, delay screens, penalty points, etc.), Blizzard’s method is only issued when the user has actually violated one (or more) of the parameters (22). Meaning, a user who is abiding by the terms is not forced to wait or will lose access, while those that infringe on the rules will be limited (restricted) for a time. In other words, restrictions are completely user driven and only applied when something is done wrong instead of forcing (all) users from the onset. Unfortunately, it seems many players (at least those that come to the forums) have not taken the responsibility to adapt to this system, where most third-party users have (by adopting waiting in each screen; the 5-second rule). Despite aggravations of being restricted, these are completely avoidable by following the earlier recommendations and ensuring a clean and clear connection (33).
It does not appear this system will be removed anytime soon either – given everything that it accomplishes. Not only does this system prevent movements detrimental to Battle.net (19), it also limits the ability of bot activity (22). This occurs by having parameters flagging third-party use and automatically restricts a player for 2-weeks, which can lead to a potential permanent ban. Bots are also subjected like non-third party users to slow their movements. However, not all instances of third-party use are caught by this system, but the point of limiting use remains, as bots cannot move at their own leisure (or take severe attempts to do so). In addition, this system has undergone some revision since being first implemented, as previous typical restrictions could last up to 72 hours. Other revisions include tracking high latency users whom cause game delays (usually through spell casting), among other changes (22), (23). Realistically, users should carefully consider requesting (demanding) its removal and should consider that any prevention system will require resources (such as including a log/reason as to why someone was restricted) (resources = time, money, and efforts – researching, implementing, testing, etc.). Some of these may be even more limiting and/or invasive to user playability (perhaps even more so than now). Realistic expectations also need to be considered in regard to the difficult balance that enters when combating circumstances or styles that create unfair situations or limit gameplay capability (5), (8).
[ Post edited by Bobertith ]
2. Re: Topics and Explanations 06/22/2011 02:11:52 AM PDT
Stopping Bots, Spam, and Exploits The purpose of this section is not to identify the entire list of exploits available, but to address the activity that is occurring, the measures in place to address it, and explore some proposed solutions and the limitations surrounding Diablo II and Battle.net. It could be wagered that some sort of exploit whether it is a game bot, spamming, or duping, would be at the top of almost every users’ annoyance/aggravation list. These annoyances are all considered third-party materials and unfortunately, directly or indirectly contribute to lag, dropped games, waiting lines, corrupt ladders, the need for restrictions, and the loss of items, accounts and CD-keys, among other things. Third-party materials are non-Blizzard distributed that interact, modify, and/or disrupt normal play, or otherwise, give an unfair advantage to those that play the game while using (closed) Battle.net. Third-party programs range in abilities from: changing text/image colors, automatic movements (from channels and/or around games), automatic item pickup, revealing the entire map (and usually more), running multiple instances on one computer, and so on. Many justify the use of these programs by a lack of a feature Blizzard does not provide and/or claim it makes gaming easier. (24), (25), (26)
Despite these prevention systems in place, third-party users continue to find ways to exploit the game (29). Temporary restrictions can become thwarted by changing the IP address or bypassing it altogether (some use programs). Warden is avoided, some by clientless scripts (so they appear as keyboard presses and mouse clicks), others tricking (using programming hooks) that they are not running a program, and/or switching off/on certain features at specific times. Reporting cheaters can often be done incorrectly and some require “catching in the act” in order to issue any consequence. However, third-party materials are not 100% functional and some have had to take severe measures in order to avoid these countermeasures to maintain their abilities (27). Unfortunately, many users attribute these bypasses to Blizzard not living to their acclaimed aggressive stance (29) and then are frustrated by their expectations not being met (8). While many cheaters meet their ends to bans, the means to exploit this game outweighs the means to fix it (26). This includes a whole slew of issues such as: age (level of Blizzard’s obligation), new technology (which prevention strategies cannot always utilize), limited resources of company (developing software, product still needs to be profitable, etc.), seemingly endless resources of exploiters (boredom included), and the holes that exist within action/reaction and open chat based code (updating has the potential to break something else – creating more exploits).
Many have created various proposals and demands including banning more, creating chat filters, harder areas and remove items, CAPTCHA, paying-to-play, obtaining volunteers, turning the game over to the public to run, and moving Diablo II to Battle.net 2.0. Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive or complete list; just common arguments or stances used to express aggravation and may not even accomplish the desired result. Each will be briefly addressed, but as mentioned earlier, each needs to be considered carefully and could become more invasive or limiting than the current systems in place. It is entirely possible the current systems are the best in the sense of (limitations on) design and being the least taxing on user playability (within that design).
More Bans: A few variations of more banning exist such as having frequent ban waves, more intense ban consequences and/or having dedicated Blizzard representatives physically removing accounts and keys. Ban waves have already been said to not be used and if even exercised, would not remove the ability...only an operator or user of third-party materials. There could be some benefit of extending the bans to all keys tied to an offending account (making consequences more intense). However, it can be common for a home to have a few keys and members who do/did play, but did not cheat. Really, would you want to be punished in this way (if one of your friends/family cheated and every key including yours was restricted, because they played on it)? This is why the offending account and key is closed, rather than all of the keys and accounts associated. Dedicated Blizzard reps banning or physically removing accounts and keys is really not cost effective (who is to say reps are not already doing this) for a few reasons:1) Those banned keep coming back (some easy access to cheap/some illegal cd-keys) , 2) Again, banning is not removing the ability, only the operator and, 3) Money towards a body on programming prevention (removing/limiting ability) goes further than money towards a rep banning. Much like keeping virus prevention software up-to-date, Blizzard has to find the materials (programs) and then load/update it (the parameters) to Warden (29). Some of the success of implementing these updates comes by users (correctly) submitting reports, so they can be investigated (28).
Chat Filters: In patch 1.13d ignore and filter features were added to help accommodate the difficult measures of preventing spam (38). Word filters would be a cat and mouse game of finding new ways to get around the filter, squelch lists could get rather long, and auto-squelch could affect gaming.
Harder Areas and Removing Items: Some have proposed removing Enigma and other overpowered items, while others have suggested making various areas of the game harder – some suggest to the point where the game could not be played without help. Really, game bots have existed long before the existence of Enigma, Insight and other overpowered items. Therefore, it would be a safe assumption that these programs would continue to exist even if those items are removed. It also remains a curiosity as to what would be made harder about the game. For example, would the fact that so many dupes exist be factored into making areas harder, which could encourage more dupes? If not, then those that possess duped items would prevail. Another example would be adding more enemy immunities. Either way, this reeks of driving away more non-third party users. Bots would likely avoid these particular areas, or could encourage more bots to be in a game. So, at what risk or resources are worth combatting this and in the end, would it be effective?
CAPTCHA: Many have proposed variations of implementing this security input such as after every game, after so many games, after a certain time, etc. There are also many different forms of CAPTCHA, but essentially consists of entering observed characters or answers (to images, equations, etc.) in an appropriate field. These are commonly seen before a confirmation to sending emails, making purchases/requests, or submitting comments on forums. The Battle.net forums use this and appear effective in minimizing spam. However, users need realize the incentive to crack a CAPTCHA in these settings (aside from one known circumstance (35)) is minimal (even though many CAPTCHAs, if not all have been cracked to some degree) (30). Some have tried to make the same claim to the lack of incentive in Diablo II. If this is true, users need to understand that many coding issues arise in implementing such a feature and therefore, not much incentive to add one. It is very possible to bypass a CAPTCHA. Even if the CAPTCHA was completely server-side (meaning, the images or letters are generated and confirmed by the server), client-side (from the users’ computer/connection) components such as a borders, frames, and stored protocols are still required. Additionally, CAPTCHAs cannot be made too difficult or they would further frustrate non-third party users, and if not difficult enough, become easier to crack.
Pay-to-Play: Never mind all of the approvals (including law officials and Blizzard parent/sister affiliates) needed to implement this on an already released game, which was lawfully permitted with free and/or limited multiplayer, this could be expensive to implement (with fees, resale boxes, so on). Some are willing to pay, but many are not and could likely drive away sales or future gamers to this Diablo franchise (or it could have reverse effect – still probably something not worth finding out). Additionally, paying to play does not necessarily improve or make it more secure than a free one (it still has limitations) (31).
Volunteers: Some have made this suggestion hinting this would be a low cost effort. This is not the case and requires a fair amount of energy and time. Consider it this way: Blizzard would have to train, process paperwork, increase liability (in case they screw up or compromise Blizzard), and have someone moderate them to ensure they are living up to their agreed obligations (there are power mongers). Then if they do not, this has to be done all over again. This process could get costly.
Ran by the Public: Not only would this take several stamps of approval, it would require Blizzard to no longer own the intellectual rights to Diablo II. It would be illegal for Blizzard to continue selling their game after it is turned over to the community. Moreover, Blizzard would have to decide who gets to run it. To see more laws about this go to http://www.copyright.gov/laws
Battle.net 2.0: This new server engine is perhaps not suitable for Diablo II’s (aged) infrastructure. As related in the earlier personal examples, updating this to work on 2.0 could be very expensive. However, it is possible Blizzard is already converting Diablo II, but this is not something players are going to know until it is ready.
It would seem that the current design of Battle.net 1.0 is a system based on restricting users (like a forum) and likely, no matter the patches implemented, Blizzard can step away from this system without an upgrade to its infrastructure or users being willing to allow even more invasive measures. Many users seem to confuse modern abilities and technology, which are used to judge an over-decade old game and just may not be feasible with how it is currently designed. A continued analogy is trying to design an interactive website with just HTML and comparing it to what you can do with flashscript. The technology and methods are there, but perhaps not the capability without a great cost of resources to make this work. Even if eliminating cost from the equation, there are still limitations in coding (31).
As already said, the limitations of this design in banning an operator of exploitation does not prevent the ability. Really, spam and cheaters exist all kinds of games, sites, etc.; they just come in different forms. This is not to suggest that Blizzard should stop trying, but there is no end-all solution and is a complicated process to effectively remove the ability and keep users from exploiting the game. Additionally, increasing search/ban capabilities in Warden, restrictions, or “Rust Storms” – could further invade users’ ability to access and play on Battle.net (more so than the current systems and exploiters now). It is a very difficult balancing process to keep spam and cheating to a minimum and allow users to play freely (without restrictions or disruptions). Likely, the elimination of the ability to exploit will require more invasive measures, such as being able to continually monitor the computer, access personal information and force users to turn off computer programs when Battle.net is active. However, now this is getting into intellectual privacy laws and many users would not like this invasion, which the issues surrounding Real ID could be used as an example of something users not ready to submit to (36).
[ Post edited by Bobertith ]
3. Re: Topics and Explanations 06/22/2011 02:13:08 AM PDT
Closing Vendor Sites Websites containing dupes, hacks, or cheats fall under the same reporting strategies to report cheaters (28), (29). However, many wonder why websites like item paysites or JSP are not closed or faced with lawsuits. Lawsuits require many resources (money, time and energy) and even if the lawsuit is won, the plaintiffs may never see their rewards (32). With Diablo II, Blizzard is not able to monitor or track beyond the confines of their Battle.net. When a person purchases from a site, as far as Battle.net is concerned, this is no different from a user joining a game or using the trade window to obtain free items. Some of these sites may not be located in the U.S., which several countries do not have intellectual copyright laws. Many sites also have a workaround, that a person is paying for the a service or promise and not an item transaction, which could make it hard to establish intellectual infringement in a court of law. Perhaps this is why Blizzard issued their disclaimer of no-support with online purchases (34)
Universal gold sites should also be addressed here. Some consider universal gold sites (like JSP) to be revolutionary, because they fill a gap in the trading economy of Diablo II (and other games), which makes this forum gold (FG) a viable currency. Viable in the sense that it implies a weighted value, because users are willing to trust an outside currency that could so easily be removed. JSP is perhaps the more successful of these sites. Others have a problem with the use of FG and other outside currencies because these currencies are not meant to exist to barter in the game. Diablo II is meant to be separated by realm, ladder or non-ladder, and the core (hard/soft) of their character. FG bridges this gap, allowing the sustaining of a money that transfers among supported games, realms, and characters. Additionally, FG can be purchased with real money and can stimulate an incentive to further exploit the game for more FG, since it is a viable (trusted) currency.
Blizzard’s Participation on Diablo II It seems the nature of most games (if not all) is to reach their demise due to a lack of gamer interest or exploitation, or both. So, at what point does Blizzard’s obligation to old games start to cease? Few games and software (if any) come to mind that have had the shelf life of Diablo II and yet still receives occasional updates and support. To think of Diablo II different from other decade old games with responsibility to service or participation for that matter is naïve at best. The game should not be viewed differently just because of a price tag. Just like buying a used vehicle, a person is not entitled to a warranty or quality of service. Further, expectations from users should be appropriately educated in the realization of certain issues and those that cannot reasonably be resolved. There are so many variables that influence and limit the availability of immediate (and even long term) knowledge, that there just may not be an answer – other than their previous drawn out statements of being aware and/or working on it.
Some users want Blizzard to announce they are quitting or cannot fix the problems that exist in Diablo II. What would be the point of this and who is to say they haven’t (in so many words) (4), (5), (8), (11), (14), (26), (27), (29), (31)? And really, this is all about as worthwhile as the U.S. government announcing they cannot win the war on terrorism, or a virus company announcing they cannot stop all of the viruses, or a car company announcing their car cannot really compete with others. Plus, one can take an aggressive stance and still not meet the desired outcomes (11), (29). Being aggressive does not remove a budget. Just like new vehicles, new software is developed and released to utilize new features and abilities, because the current ones can only go so far.
Lastly, Blizzard’s participation and support should be kept in perspective, because Blizzard does provide answers and the occasional updates. Users receive an immediate standard reply to emails, and then from a representative some time later. Patches continue and provide new content and try to address broken content about every 1 to 2 years. Ladders continue and are now set to restart every 6 months. If a user posts in the Technical Support forum board (or in their realm channel), will likely receive a Blizzard response or a helpful forum poster (maybe the MVPs will come back). However, it would be nice (not necessarily helpful) to receive more Blizzard responses in the Diablo II forum boards.
[ Post edited by Bobertith ]
4. Re: Topics and Explanations 06/22/2011 02:14:16 AM PDT
References (1) Marlarh (9/16/2010). New Ladder Q and hopefully A (#6). Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(2) Bashiok (3/21/2011). Diablo II Ladder Reset March 28. Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(4) Bashiok (3/3/2011). Reset this Month (#36). Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(5) Bashiok (3/1/2010). What BoE means for D3 (#44). Battle.net Diablo III General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(6) Bashiok (9/28/2010). Poll: How Long Do You Want Seasons to Be? Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(7) Bashiok (3/7/2011). Poll: But Seriously, Diablo II season length? Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(8) Bashiok (2/11/2010). The inefficiency of Diablo3's Development (#55). Battle.net Diablo III General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(9) Bashiok (3/3/2009). Diablo 1.13 – Tell Us Your #1 Patch Note. Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board.
Retrieved from: http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=15443288965&sid=3000
(10) Karune (5/1/2009). Warcraft III Custom Map Security Warning. Battle.net Warcraft III General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(11) Bashiok (6/30/2009). 1.13 Patch - The Myth, The Legend. Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(12) Bashiok (5/12/2009). Blizzard Provide us more 1.13 information (#6). Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(13) Charlesps (9/30/2009). Concerns about D2Loader & Window mode (#5). Battle.net Technical Support Board. Retrieved from:
(14) Bashiok (11/19/2009). Battle.net Diablo II PTR Forum (no longer active). Retrieved from:
(15) Bashiok (4/24/2009). 1.13 released end of April (#7). Battle.net Diablo III General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(16) Bashiok (3/11/2009). ETA: 1.13? (#8). Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(17) Shoggothrancher (10/27/2010). Easier fixes for next patch (if there is one). Battle.net Diablo II General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(18) Martyt (8/1/2010). Temp IP Ban (#1). Battle.net Technical Support Board. Retrieved from:
(19) Martyt (8/25/2010). Temp restriction vs can't connect (#1, #3, #5). Battle.net Technical Support Board. Retrieved from:
(23) Diablo Wiki (2011).Diablo II Lord of Destruction: Critical Responses. Wikia Gaming. Retrieved from:
(24) Datth (5/22/2009). CD Key Disabled (#2). Battle.net Technical Support Board. Retrieved from:
(25) Lucytr (2/26/2009). New anti-bot stance? (#2, #4). Battle.net Technical Support Board. Retrieved from:
(26) Martyt (10/19/2010). Account closed and key disabled?... (#1, #6). Battle.net Technical Support Board. Retrieved from:
(27) Lucytr (2/26/2009). If you are against 3rd party programs... (#1). Battle.net Technical Support Board. Retrieved from:
(28) Bashiok (4/20/2010). Diablo II and Warcraft III Battle.net Bans. Battle.net Diablo II Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(29) Radoslawn (11/27/2009). Ban Hackers: (#4). Battle.net Technical Support Board. Retrieved from:
(30) Bashiok (1/5/2010). About Expansion Characters (#21, #28). Battle.net Diablo III General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(31) Bashiok (2/22/2010). So, if you guys were willing to pay for... (#9). Battle.net Diablo III General Discussion Board. Retrieved from:
(32) RFC Express (2011). Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. v. Alyson Reeves dba Scapegaming et al. U.S. Federal Court. Retrieved from:
It's a shame this will likely never be read, but rather people will continue to make "GET RID OF TEMP BANZZZZZZZ" posts. On the other hand, it will be nice to simply copy and attribute as opposed to type the same thing in a slightly different manner over and over again.
Everyone and their brother wants to have a couple angelic sabers.
6. Re: Topics and Explanations 06/23/2011 06:15:52 PM PDT
That is partly why I did it. I wanted to compile these topics and explain them as I, you and others have constantly explained the purpose or issues (like temp restrictions). Now, as we learn something or new information arises, this gives players a compiled thread to contribute to or read about.
edit: Hopefully people will read this.
[ Post edited by Bobertith ]
10. Re: Topics and Explanations 06/24/2011 07:21:54 PM PDT
One point on the future of Diablo 2.
The lack of morals in the player base is horrifying. I swore off cheating long ago after accepting that my actions online are not separate from my morals in non online activities. I doubt any mass revelation could save Diablo 2. My hope is once Diablo 2 has died, those who chose to ride it viciously find swift correction in their next online odyssey with more modern games.
13. Re: Topics and Explanations 07/05/2011 08:52:30 AM PDT
With regards to temp-bans, despite all the BULLROAR that is in the original post, the ONLY thing that they have achieved is to stop NORMAL people from playing the game NORMALLY.
Runs are NORMAL in Diablo, it is the only way to play. Levelling and gear are only attainable through RUNS. A restriction that results from playing the game this way is simply stupid. Bans have not stopped bots or hacks. They are EVERYWHERE. Bans have only frustrated normal players.
No matter how you justify your system with pretty language in lengthy paragraphs, the result is:
Normal players banned.
15. Re: Topics and Explanations 07/15/2011 04:46:34 AM PDT
Runs are NORMAL in Diablo, it is the only way to play. Levelling and gear are only attainable through RUNS.
This is where I stopped reading...
Love when people try and justify something by saying it's the only way people play the game. Yeah, a LOT of people do runs, but not everyone, and it is certainly NOT the only way to effectively level your character or obtain loot. If you like to do runs, that's fine, just make sure you stay in your games longer. Don't just kill one boss, rinse, repeat. Stay in the game and do other runs. When I was still playing I would make a game with my mf sorc, kill andy, meph, countess, pindle, shenk/eldritch, and maybe clear out the ancient tunnels or something. That would take me about 20-30 minutes usually, and I ALMOST NEVER got temp banned.
16. Re: Topics and Explanations 07/15/2011 10:52:11 AM PDT
1) Just because you see bots, does not mean NO bots are limited by this system.
2) The PURPOSE is NOT removing bots, but MOVEMENTS that this system is addressing and therefore, APPLIES to more than just bots. (Yes this includes you. You are not an exception)
4) NOWHERE does it say you have the right or it really being normal that you get to create many games in a short amount of time. There ARE plenty of things to do in a game and several areas containing good probabilities of obtaining items. So yes, RUNS are normal and there are MANY runs to do in a game.
5) These temp bans are COMPLETELY avoidable.
No matter how you justify your gaming style or how normal you feel you are, the result is: You Failed...there is plenty available on how restrictions work and how they can be avoided.
edit: I am sorry for your inconveniences by a system that continues to make Battle.net accessible, but probably the best answer for you is either adapt or move on.
[ Post edited by Bobertith ]
17. Re: Topics and Explanations 07/15/2011 01:31:09 PM PDT
I actually took the time to read over all of that in detail. An ambitious project. I like your meticulous recordkeeping. There are several grammatical and stylistic errors, though, that I'm taking the time to edit, because some were jarring enough to make parsing difficult. If you're interested in an edit, you can email me through aule.vala over yonder at the gmail.com corral.
My thoughts are a work in progress, so please excuse the mental dust.
19. Re: Topics and Explanations 07/16/2011 09:16:50 PM PDT
Q u o t e: There are several grammatical and stylistic errors, though, that I'm taking the time to edit, because some were jarring enough to make parsing difficult.
Ya, I have been meaning to correct some of the ones I am aware of, but was previously busy with another project. I would be interested in this edit, as it would save me time and further decrease missing errors due to my own biases in writing. I will shoot you an email here shortly.