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Blizzard Denies Banning Diablo 3 Gamers Playing on Linux

By - Source: Blizzard | B 58 comments

Blizzard is denying rumors that it's banning Diablo 3 gamers because they're using WINE for Linux. Blizzard's numerous banned Linux customers say otherwise.

On May 15, 2012, Blizzard launched Diablo 3 for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The highly-anticipated action-RPG had a rocky start, but Blizzard has seemingly ironed out a good deal of the bugs that cropped up at launch. Now almost two months later, Blizzard is focused on balancing and other technical issues while swinging the banhammer on proven and potential cheaters.

The current drama surrounding Blizzard's latest release stems around talk that the company is banning gamers who are playing on the Linux platform. Officially, Linux isn't supported as specified -- the game was developed for Windows and Mac OS X. But Linux gamers are running Diablo 3 using the third-party software WINE which is technically classified as "Unapproved Third Party Software" in Blizzard's eyes. This supposedly shouldn't be a problem.

But on the Diablo 3 forums, Linux users are claiming that Blizzard has banned them from the game because they're using said software -- the same Linux non-emulator that Blizzard customers are using to play StarCraft 2 on their Linux boxes. These Diablo 3 players swear they haven't been cheating (no bots, no exploits, etc), and was able to play Diablo 3 on their Linux boxes up until last week.

So what's the deal? Blizzard says nope, there's no Linux-related banning going on here (despite using an unsupported platform). However there's speculation that it's a bug in Warden's detection. For the uninitiated, Warden is the company's anti-cheating tool integrated in its games. While Diablo 3 is running, Warden scans the user's PC for specific software and sends the info back to Blizzard. It's possible that Warden may suddenly be reporting WINE as a cheat tool, causing the bans.

But Blizzard reports that it's banning users because they're cheating. "We’ve extensively tested for false positive situations, including replicating system setups for those who have posted claiming they were banned unfairly," stated community manager Bashiok. "We’ve not found any situations that could produce a false positive, have found that the circumstances for which they were banned were clear and accurate, and we are extremely confident in our findings. Playing the game on Linux, although not officially supported, will not get you banned – cheating will."

Case closed? Probably not. This isn't the first time Linux has fallen under Blizzard's Banhammer. Back in 2006, the company publicly unbanned a number of World of Warcraft Linux-based players that were banned for running the MMORPG client using Cedega. Could it be possible that the recent Diablo 3 patch is causing an issue with Warden detecting WINE correctly?

It doesn't seem possible that all these WINE users are cheaters too. To make matters worse, these gamers can't even play in offline mode. Does Blizzard have the right to scan your computer? Honestly, Warden sounds like spyware.

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  • 28 Hide
    aevm , July 4, 2012 4:15 AM
    "scans the user's PC for specific software and sends the info back"

    I thought searches required a warrant to be legal...
  • 21 Hide
    jhansonxi , July 4, 2012 4:12 AM
    Warden IS DRM spyware and this wouldn't be the first time it has generated false-positives for cheating, even with Windows users. However, I know someone who is playing D3 daily on WINE without problems so it may be a problem with a specific version of Wine or specific Blizzard.net servers. The servers are not all updated at the same time so it may only be specific regions that are affected.
  • 18 Hide
    Pennanen , July 4, 2012 4:55 AM
    It amazes me how willingly people are giving out their rights, mostly blizzdrones.

    Just so you know, eula and tos are toilet paper when it comes to the law.

    In the land of the free, america that is, corporations and their user agreements might rule over the laws of the state but in europe we have laws that actually work and prevent stuff like random banning etc.

    And yes there has been a case here already where a guy got banned by blizzard for selling his account on web auction. That person sued blizz and won the case.
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    jhansonxi , July 4, 2012 4:12 AM
    Warden IS DRM spyware and this wouldn't be the first time it has generated false-positives for cheating, even with Windows users. However, I know someone who is playing D3 daily on WINE without problems so it may be a problem with a specific version of Wine or specific Blizzard.net servers. The servers are not all updated at the same time so it may only be specific regions that are affected.
  • 28 Hide
    aevm , July 4, 2012 4:15 AM
    "scans the user's PC for specific software and sends the info back"

    I thought searches required a warrant to be legal...
  • 14 Hide
    vilenjan , July 4, 2012 4:19 AM
    Aevm have ever read the ELU of any game that you play? You pretty much sing your right away by accepting the ELU contract. Welcome to 21st century gaming.
  • 13 Hide
    wildkitten , July 4, 2012 4:26 AM
    aevm"scans the user's PC for specific software and sends the info back"I thought searches required a warrant to be legal...

    While I am no fan of Blizzard in the Bobby Kotick era, if someone plays the games Blizzard makes that means they pressed that Agree button to the EULA and TOS which gives Blizzard permission to run Warden.

    If someone doesn't want Warden, and I can't fault anyone who doesn't, it is intrusive and has been known to cause problems, they can simply choose not to agree to the EULA and get a refund.
  • 12 Hide
    wildkitten , July 4, 2012 4:27 AM
    jhansonxiWarden IS DRM spyware and this wouldn't be the first time it has generated false-positives for cheating, even with Windows users. However, I know someone who is playing D3 daily on WINE without problems so it may be a problem with a specific version of Wine or specific Blizzard.net servers. The servers are not all updated at the same time so it may only be specific regions that are affected.

    Could be even more than that. Could be a certain version of WINE with a certain distro or distro's of Linux that cause the problem. Not every Linux distro is the same as every other one.
  • 3 Hide
    rantoc , July 4, 2012 4:31 AM
    Well "warden" should not be the issue here, what it does is basically compare what tasks is running in
    the computer vs a list of known cheats and then send a positive (if your running a listed item) or false if no known cheat is running. I would not be surprised if most were running a known cheat and got busted and now blame blizzard for ruining their poor sportsmanship.

    Blizzard should be blamed when they do mistakes like the overly f-cked up Diablo 3 releasem servers, repair prices patch ect ect. (worst release ever in the history of gaming?). I dont think they are to blame here thoo.
  • 8 Hide
    nukemaster , July 4, 2012 4:37 AM
    vilenjanAevm have ever read the ELU of any game that you play? You pretty much sing your right away by accepting the ELU contract. Welcome to 21st century gaming.

    Sure are right.

    Quote:
    THE SERVICE IS PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS FOR YOUR USE, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE, NONINFRINGEMENT, AND THOSE ARISING FROM COURSE OF DEALING OR USAGE OF TRADE. BLIZZARD DOES NOT WARRANT THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS OR USE THE SERVICE AT THE TIMES OR LOCATIONS OF YOUR CHOOSING; THAT THE SERVICE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE; THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED; OR THAT THE GAME CLIENT OR THE SERVICE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.


    AND

    Quote:
    YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR ANY DISPUTE WITH BLIZZARD IS TO STOP USING THE SERVICE, AND TO CANCEL ALL ACCOUNTS REGISTERED TO YOU.
  • 18 Hide
    Pennanen , July 4, 2012 4:55 AM
    It amazes me how willingly people are giving out their rights, mostly blizzdrones.

    Just so you know, eula and tos are toilet paper when it comes to the law.

    In the land of the free, america that is, corporations and their user agreements might rule over the laws of the state but in europe we have laws that actually work and prevent stuff like random banning etc.

    And yes there has been a case here already where a guy got banned by blizzard for selling his account on web auction. That person sued blizz and won the case.
  • 11 Hide
    alcalde , July 4, 2012 5:03 AM
    rantocWell "warden" should not be the issue here, what it does is basically compare what tasks is running in the computer vs a list of known cheats and then send a positive (if your running a listed item) or false if no known cheat is running. I would not be surprised if most were running a known cheat and got busted and now blame blizzard for ruining their poor sportsmanship.Blizzard should be blamed when they do mistakes like the overly f-cked up Diablo 3 releasem servers, repair prices patch ect ect. (worst release ever in the history of gaming?). I dont think they are to blame here thoo.


    WINE (stands for WINE Is Not an Emulator) is an implementation of the Windows API on Linux that allows many Windows programs to run on Linux. Warden can definitely be a problem because it's going to need to access WINE's Windows API commands to determine the running tasks, and WINE does everything it can to never let a program realize it's not running on Windows. Warden may be considering some of the returned values "odd" and thus triggering the ban. I'm not an expert on this, but people in the know have been saying that no known "bot" program or related cheats are known to work under WINE on Linux, which lessens the odds that they're being banned for being legitimate cheats.
  • -2 Hide
    pawnstorm , July 4, 2012 5:30 AM
    Not that I'm a minor or anything, but I always wondered if EULA's are legally binding in the states if you're a minor, especially in a case that could be considered infringing on someone's rights to privacy. AFAIK it's considered a contract which cannot be legally binding until at least the age of consent, not sure if consent is considered 18 or the age of consent set by state laws. All said this is a pretty minor case of that right infringement, and in the case of this story, most minors wouldn't be running linux.
  • 9 Hide
    wildkitten , July 4, 2012 6:13 AM
    nukemasterSure are right.AND

    What point are you making? Are you backing up Vilenjan or trying to contradict them?
  • 12 Hide
    suture , July 4, 2012 6:20 AM
    Never saw so many blizzard (more specifically D3) news in tomshardware site.
    What the hell is going on?
  • 1 Hide
    wildkitten , July 4, 2012 6:22 AM
    pawnstormNot that I'm a minor or anything, but I always wondered if EULA's are legally binding in the states if you're a minor, especially in a case that could be considered infringing on someone's rights to privacy. AFAIK it's considered a contract which cannot be legally binding until at least the age of consent, not sure if consent is considered 18 or the age of consent set by state laws. All said this is a pretty minor case of that right infringement, and in the case of this story, most minors wouldn't be running linux.

    Actually a minor can not sign up for an account for Battle.net, or isn't suppose to. It's suppose to be the parents.
  • 0 Hide
    wildkitten , July 4, 2012 6:34 AM
    pennanenIt amazes me how willingly people are giving out their rights, mostly blizzdrones.Just so you know, eula and tos are toilet paper when it comes to the law. In the land of the free, america that is, corporations and their user agreements might rule over the laws of the state but in europe we have laws that actually work and prevent stuff like random banning etc.And yes there has been a case here already where a guy got banned by blizzard for selling his account on web auction. That person sued blizz and won the case.

    That may be, but at the same time, there is no law that says a business has to do business in a certain country and sooner or later when the rules of their game are not respected, they merely won't offer it.

    The fact is, the EULA is a contract. Software is not owned, it is licenced. The company still owns it.
  • 14 Hide
    martel80 , July 4, 2012 7:04 AM
    nukemaster...
    Even if you physically signed that EULA/TOS in my country, most of the stuff would not have any effect as it is in direct contradiction of the law. In most of EU, it's impossible to sign away rights granted to you by laws unless those laws explicitly permit it.

    E.g. if you gave someone a signed permission to kill you and they did, they would still end up in jail for murder. The reasoning behind this concept (which US apparently isn't capable of) is that you might have been forced/tricked into signing such material and so you still need to be protected. There are some downsides to this (legal euthanasia is almost impossible in EU) but the positives outweigh the negatives, IMO.
  • -6 Hide
    kinggraves , July 4, 2012 7:32 AM
    Blizzard sure is a popular target. Pretty much every single online game with the slightest effort into it runs an anticheat engine that checks your system for cheat wares. Without such engines those games would be so full of players using hacked clients no legit player would compete. If you don't like it, don't play online games, and don't buy D3 since it's an online game.

    Cheaters claiming they didn't cheat? So what? Criminals that are caught red handed still claim they're innocent. The idea that they're purposefully banning players that could buy goods off the real market just because they use Linux is absurd. Why would they intentionally exclude customers?

    They have no responsibility to fix it, Linux is not listed as a supported platform. There is no guarantee that it will work with WINE. You're using an unsupported platform. Figure it out by yourselves and report the EXACT combination back to Blizzard and they'll probably fix it so they can continue taking your money. Just don't expect them to troubleshoot an unsupported combination for your benefit.
  • -6 Hide
    amuffin , July 4, 2012 7:41 AM
    You should be happy you made a profit from them.
  • 13 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , July 4, 2012 7:47 AM
    Not on Linux, but D3 has been a waste of time and money for me. $60 for the low entertainment value and high frustration level was just not worth it.
  • 15 Hide
    Pennanen , July 4, 2012 8:04 AM
    wildkittenThat may be, but at the same time, there is no law that says a business has to do business in a certain country and sooner or later when the rules of their game are not respected, they merely won't offer it.The fact is, the EULA is a contract. Software is not owned, it is licenced. The company still owns it.


    Maybe in america. In europe if i paid for the game, its mine. There has already been precedent case about that and the customer won it.
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