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DiabloDec 11, 2019 2:00 pm CT

Blizzard bans Diablo players exploiting Pandemonium buff to cheat Solo Greater Rifts

In all my years of covering various Blizzard games, I’ve seen “creative uses of game mechanics” come up time and again from franchise to franchise, and it always ends the same way. Someone figures out an exploit — maybe they get an item they were never supposed to, or they’re using a third party bot to cheat in some way. Invariably, Blizzard catches on and starts banning people.  I’ve seen it so many times now I don’t even flinch when it happens anymore.

So when reports started coming in about a means to use a group buff to exploit solo Greater Rifts in Diablo 3 I expected people to get banned, and surprise surprise, that’s exactly what’s already happening. Players who get together and use this exploit (and no, I’m not going to tell you how either) are getting banned and their Leaderboard progress is getting wiped.

Because time is a flat circle, I know what people are going to say. Why am I getting punished for clever use of game mechanics and how were we supposed to know this was something they’d ban us over? Well, Nevalistis already covered these in her post, so let’s look at that first before we continue.

Originally Posted by Nevalistis (Official Post)

It’s recently come to light that there is a method in which players can unfairly leverage the Seasonal buff, Pandemonium, in an unintended and unfair way to progress as a solo player. We wanted to let you know exactly what our stance is and what steps we’ll be taking to correct this.

First, utilizing a group buff to progress in solo Greater Rifts is not intended and will be considered cheating. Players found using this mechanic may have their accounts suspended or closed, based on severity of abuse as well as previous account history. These account actions are between Blizzard and the offending players, so please note we will not be commenting on the status of accounts on a public basis, as has always been our standard practice.

Second, we will be deleting any and all clears from the Leaderboards where we have been able to confirm this exploit was utilized.

Third, we will be fixing this exploit. We ask that you do not make use of this exploit in the meantime while we are working to deploy a patch. Our team is already at work on a solution and, as soon as it’s ready for deployment, we’ll update this thread accordingly. We won’t detail this exploit here, but it takes some planning, know-how, and research to make use of this; this is not the type of exploit you can perform by accident.

Lastly, this is a good time to remind the community of a few things:

  • Third party addons of any kind are strictly prohibited. While any kind of botting software falls clearly under violation of our Terms of Service, for Diablo III, this also includes any kind of overlay software, map hacks, or any other addons or alterations to the client. Addons are not supported for Diablo III and use of them may result in account warnings or permanent account closure.
  • We are committed to continuing to support Diablo III, including taking action against botting and cheating. Please keep in mind that we do routine actions to keep Sanctuary fair for everyone, and we will not regularly provide public notice of mass account actions.

We’re working on resolving this issue as quickly as possible and thank the community for bringing it to our attention, expressing your concerns thoughtfully, and having patience while we remain committed to our Blizzard principles of Play Nice, Play Fair and Commit to Quality.

Thank you.

I think the most important sentence in that post is the following.

We won’t detail this exploit here, but it takes some planning, know-how, and research to make use of this; this is not the type of exploit you can perform by accident.

If you noticed the exploit, got some friends together, and deliberately executed it knowing it would break the way Greater Rifts work for solo play — and there’s no other reason to do this, mind you — then you really knew what you were doing and I don’t understand how you can be surprised when you get banned. Blizzard, as a company, has in the past banned players very vigorously — sometimes over purely cosmetic uses of third party software. The very idea that they wouldn’t ban you for blatantly cheating at Solo Greater Rifts? I’m not sure if that’s wildly optimistic or a reveal of just how little you think of them, to be honest.

Either way, it was misguided.

Frankly, if you’re doing something and the phrase creative use of game mechanics comes up as a defense, you should think long and hard about whether or not you should actually do it. It is a phrase I have seen used hundreds of times, and I have never seen it used in a way that didn’t end up being at the least kind of sketchy. And remember, Blizzard can ban you for literally anything — it’s in the ToS. It’s their game, and they can stop you from being able to play it at any time they’d like, for any reason they choose. So if you find that you can get together with some friends and cheese a major part of the game using a mechanic you know isn’t how they intended you to do it? Maybe do it once, document it, and say to them Hey, Blizzard, this is broken and you should fix it at the absolute most.

Don’t do it deliberately to cheat and just hope they never notice. If you do, you really have no ground to stand on when they catch you — and it’s all but a certainty that they will.

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