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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.

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

    I thought searches required a warrant to be legal...
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • wildkitten
    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.
    Reply
  • wildkitten
    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.
    Reply
  • rantoc
    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.
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    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.

    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

    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • alcalde
    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.
    Reply
  • pawnstorm
    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.
    Reply