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.