Despite the frequent reports of server issues, hacking and other controversies that have plagued the game since its launch in May, the popularity of Blizzard’s Diablo III remains incredibly high . The Asian market has been particularly keen on this game, with Korea and Taiwan having a high volume of users who have logged countless hours on their servers. Gamers in China have also been eager to get their hands on Diablo III, however tight restrictions and censorship laws have delayed its release indefinitely. Undeterred, people are turning to illegal means to obtain this game, and a new “cracked” version is currently their avenue of choice.

The term “crack”, as it applies to gaming, involves the use of modifications to disable or circumvent software security measures.  In the case of Diablo III, the cracked version that is currently popular in China is modified so that the game can be played offline, something that legitimate copies do not allow. In addition to limiting piracy of the game, the requirement to be constantly connected to the internet also serves as a regional lock-out that prevents those in unauthorized countries from playing the game. Skidrow, a hacking group, has found a way around this by emulating a live server in the game, thus “tricking” it into thinking that it’s connected to a Blizzard server. This cracked version can be accessed by downloading a torrent, and it works despite the game being in the beta testing stage. (Editor’s note: No. We will not tell you where to get an illegal copy of Diablo III ^MF.)

Surprisingly, the Chinese media has been heavily promoting the Diablo III crack in its gaming publications. The gaming channels for sites like People’s Daily and Tencent have written prominent articles on it, some of which seemingly support the practice. In some of the articles, they point out that the beta is not 100% operational, however they hope that it eventually will be. This raises a few legal issues, not the least of which is that pirated and unapproved software is illegal in China. Video games released in China must be approved by the Ministry of Culture, be distributed through an authorized domestic publisher and censored for objectionable content. The media supporting illegal practices, as well as activities that violate Blizzard’s software usage policies, is surprising indeed.

As of this writing, there is no confirmed release date for Diablo III in China. Imported versions of the game continue to be sold under the codename “Big Pineapple”, which is a name phonetically similar to Diablo III in Mandarin. Hopefully, they will see a legitimate release sometime in the near future.



  1. Diablo 3’s popularity must be mostly an over seas thing if the North American servers are any indication. Also I was shocked to hear China’s backing a pirated hack of an intellectual property. That must be an aberration. 

    • I’m sure the horrendous launch failure and lagging that plagued the game for weeks after launch didn’t help its popularity. They eventually fixed it but by that stage a lot of people had moved on. It’s still popular enough though.

      And what they (the ‘crackers’) have done is created a fake server. Since all the AI logic and loot logic etc all sits on Blizzard’s (real) servers they have a _load_ of stuff to recreate before they have anything close to a real server that’s worth playing on. All you really install on your machine is a bunch of art assets. Everything else is from the servers. They basically need to redesign the game.

      If they put all that effort that’d be required into creating a new game instead of trying to guess at how the Blizz servers do it then they’d probably have a decent diablo clone that they could sell legitimately.

  2. “Having always-on DRM with Diablo III will prevent hacking and overall pirating of the game.”

    Thanks Blizzard for making the lives of honest gamers more difficult and not slowing down the bad guys one bit.

    • It’s not about piracy. It’s about protecting the real money auction house. All of the stupid decisions are there to protect the RMAH because suddenly hacking in a solo game has monetary impact.

      Diablo 3 is a good game but it’d have been better without the RMAH and the limitations that’s caused (imo ofc).