Blizzard Denies Banning Diablo 3 Gamers Playing on Linux

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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  • aevm
    "scans the user's PC for specific software and sends the info back"

    I thought searches required a warrant to be legal...
    28
  • jhansonxi
    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.
    21
  • Pennanen
    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.
    18
  • Other Comments
  • jhansonxi
    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.
    21
  • aevm
    "scans the user's PC for specific software and sends the info back"

    I thought searches required a warrant to be legal...
    28
  • vilenjan
    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.
    14