The launch of Diablo III has been a big event in the world of gaming, both for the right and wrong reasons. Blizzard‘s highly anticipated PC role-playing game has seen record-breaking sales on it’s first day of release and has gained positive reviews across the board, however server issues and platform compatibility problems (especially for Mac users) have rained on the parade somewhat. Blizzard has responded by releasing hotfix patches to address some of these issues, however the return of item duping to the series is proving far more problematic than anyone expected.

For those unaware, the practice of item duping involves exploiting glitches in a game to create duplicates of items and currency, which is not a practice sanctioned by the developers or the online community. The effects can range from a player reaping a short-term benefit that has a negligible impact on others to destabilizing the game’s economy and devaluing items that were once rare and highly sought after. This was a common problem in Diablo II, and it has once again reared its ugly head in Diablo III, with a handful of online videos giving players a step-by-step guide for item duping. Blizzard has responded by issuing a patch to close these loopholes, which has proven effective in some cases, however the problem still lingers.

The issue with item duping specific to Diablo III is the introduction of an in-game auction house, which allows for people to purchase items found in the game using real currency. By selling duplicated items, those taking advantage of these exploits could make a substantial amount of money in a relatively short period of time. In the case of rare items that a player can legitimately acquire, the auction house being flooded with duplicates can drive the price and the demand down, potentially rendering a once-valuable item worthless. The launch of the auction house has already been delayed as Blizzard addresses bugs and stability issues, and it is fair to assume, in light of these latest concerns, that strict security measures will be in place to curb cheating now that the feature is just starting to go live.

An article published in Cinema Blend, a website that has been following the Diablo III release closely, is now reporting that the item duping fiasco has actually been going on before this news broke, beginning as early as June 3. Blizzard has only just recently become aware of it, taking the reactionary measure of issuing the aforementioned hotfix patches. In the meantime, the servers in Korea have been taken offline for an undetermined period of time. In a chain of posts on the Korean forum (Note: This page is in Korean), Blizzard did not initially give the reason for the shutdown, rather just estimated time frames in which the servers might come back up. Those wishing to access servers other countries are out of luck, as each country has language lock-out on their servers.

So what is Blizzard’s gameplan for dealing with cheaters who take advantage of these exploits in Diablo III? Simple, they ban them. This is not just limited to anyone caught duplicating items fraudulently, but rather anyone who uses cheats, hacks, bots or other means to circumvent what the game permits. As of today, Blizzard has brought down the banhammer with gusto, permanently locking out thousands of players globally who were deemed to be in violation of the user agreement that prohibits cheating of any kind. This ban is also linked to their specific profile, which requires an authenticator, so getting around the ban would likely require purchasing another copy and starting from scratch.

The lesson to be learned here is simple: play the game legitimately. As tempting as an easy exploit to boost your game can be, it can also lead to far-reaching consequences for you and other players, so it’s really not worth it. If you’re still thinkng that cheating is a good idea, consider the thousands who have already met the business end of the banhammer. Don’t end up like them.

via[Cinema Blend,Digital Trends]