Okay, I stopped playing Diablo II after Blizzard nerfed the Necromancer character and after getting tired of finding new ways around the copy protection on the game CDs.
Now the suckers — I mean customers — who kept on playing the game are witness to more Blizzard nonsense. Okay, the original version of Diablo online was hack central, so this time around Blizzard used a client-server model with characters being stored on Blizzard’s servers. They said this would give greater security, and it did.
But then somebody within the past couple weeks figured out how to hack the system. The hack lets someone login and take control of another player’s character. The hackers are going through and systematically killing characters that people worked hundreds of hours to get to high levels by simply taking control of the character and then intentionally getting it killed.
No system that can be accessed publicly is safe from hacking, and Blizzard did a pretty decent job considering it took about 9 months for someone to figure out this particular vulnerability. What is not excusable, however, is Blizzard’s complete reticence to talk about the issue. To my knowledge they haven’t issued a single statement saying “This is what’s happened, this is what we’re doing about.” They’ve stuck to the modus operandi they established when people had problems shortly after the release of the game. Blizzard staff simply post “Servers will go down at XXX” and “Servers are back up now” messags without ever explaining what they did.
This apparently burned a lot of people who assumed when the servers went down last night and then back up today that the bug had been fixed. It hadn’t, and people who had been hiding high level hardware on mule characters were victimized by the hackers.
And based on what’s been happening the ladders that rank people, Blizzard didn’t have very recent backups of their servers. Ouch.
As a customer, I have come to expect that there will be bugs and problems with software. What separates good from lousy experiences with companies is their willingness to be up front and provide detailed information about problems and possible solutions with software. Blizzard’s tight-lipped approach really sucks.