Being a reviewer during Big Game Season often feels like being chased through a massive, winding building in a serial killer movie (or possibly Until Dawn). You gallop shrieking and blundering round a corner and are confronted by a series of ominous doors with labels such as “Baldur’s Gate 3”. You only have a few seconds to pick one and dive through, sweating in the knowledge that each door leads to a confusing network of corridors that exist wholly apart from each other – that each door not opened is a route to an Elsewhere you are doomed to never know, unless you’re commissioned to do a, haha, “retrospective” 10 years later.
This summer, in my previous dishonourable capacity as a freelancer, I barged through the doors marked “Zelda” and “Final Fantasy 16”, then spent a frantic moment trying to force the “Baldur’s Gate 3” door to open, before giving up and throwing myself under a heap of unedited features. Now, in the relative lull before the monster named Starfield crashes through the ceiling (yes, I know, I’m mixing my scenarios – it’s the end of the day and I’m tired), I emerge from the heap reborn as RPS News Editor, and peer back fearfully at some of the doors I left unopened. By far the grimmest and grandest of these is, of course, Diablo 4.
Diablo 4 was reasonably well-received at launch – in our own Diablo 4 review, Alice B described it as “a beautiful, frictionless grey toybox that puts nothing in the way of you playing it for hours and wondering what you’ve done with your life” – and has many bajillions of players. I get the impression that a large number of people absolutely adore it. But it hasn’t been having a good time of late. The game’s Season 1 patch went down like a barrel of parrot droppings, with Hayden concluding that “Diablo 4 just became an even bigger slog”. Ed Thorn called his time with the game “the equivalent of those Subway Surfers clips that run underneath the priority sludge, an outlet to discharge my unreliable attention span.”
All this and now Diablo 4’s in-game player-trading market has exploded – or rather been taken offline as Blizzard investigates the rise of certain gold exploits and item duplication glitches linked to real money transactions.
“We’ve suspended player trading in Diablo IV until further notice due to a gold and item duplication exploit,” a Blizzard community manager wrote on the game’s forums this week. “We are working on a fix to amend this issue and will update you once we’ve reinstated the ability to trade. Once that is done, we will continue to monitor this activity to ensure a healthy playing experience for all.”
“Engaging in exploits such as item/gold duping or real money transactions with third parties can result in account actions,” the company added in a statement to Kotaku. “We are currently investigating all reports.”
Seasoned Diablers will probably get a sense of deja-vu from all this. Back in 2014, Blizzard took Diablo 3’s legendary Auction House offline for good, after hordes of fans accused it of, in Nathan Grayson’s words (RPS in peace), “gunking up a crystal clear loot stream with the suffocating tar of commerce”. I don’t get the sense that anything similarly momentous is underway here, but again, I’m still picking my way back through the videogame reviewer horror mansion, tracking this complex and befuddling demon to its lair. If you have any advice about tackling the beast, please share. If you don’t, and you’re equally alarmed, here’s our Diablo 4 guides page.
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