Blizzard Provides Update on Hellfire Amulet Exploit

Hellfire Amulet Exploit

Blizzard took to the forums and twitter today to explain a bit more about the Hellfire Amulet Exploit and the actions they took. If you were keeping up with the leaderboards, you may have noticed a shift in placement as the ban hammer came down. Even those who inadvertently abused the amulet had their GR times struck from the leaderboards. Here’s the full update:

While this issue has now been resolved, we know a lot of players may be curious about what happened and how we responded. We’d like to take a moment to discuss a few of the details with you.

Following the launch of Patch 2.3.0, players discovered an exploit that, through a series of very specific steps, allowed them to equip more than one additional passive using the Hellfire Amulet. This was not intended and, while in some cases could have potentially happened by accident, there were some who continued to repeat these steps in order to gain an unfair advantage over other players.

As soon as we were able to verify the exploit and identify its underlying cause, we immediately began working on a fix for PC. This wound up being two separate deployments, as part of the issue required a patch to resolve. The original hotfix was deployed late evening on September 11, which made the following change to the game:

Generate an error if too many passives are active on a character
Added a check for and regular removal of surplus passives

This fix technically still permitted the exploit to occur, but for an extremely limited period of time that was no longer practical or useful. A fix that fully prevents this exploit from occurring is included in Patch 2.3.0a, which deployed earlier today in all regions.

From there, we looked at the complexity and impact of the exploit and elected to action accounts on a case-by-case basis. One of three situations applied:

Accounts which were found to have used the exploit excessively were permanently banned. This includes users who actively promoted the use of this exploit.
Accounts which were found to have used the exploit to a beneficial, but not excessive, degree were suspended with warning.
Accounts which were likely utilizing this exploit by accident were effectively pardoned.

Regardless of whether penalties were applied, accounts that were found to be utilizing more passive skills than intended had their progress removed from the leaderboards.

We continue to see an overwhelming amount of support from the vast majority of players who value fair play above personal gain. We appreciate that so many of you brought this issue to our attention immediately through channels like [email protected], our online webform and ticket system. We heard your concerns on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and these forums too! On behalf of all of us here at Blizzard, from our development to support teams, thank you for taking the time to notify us, and we apologize for any inconvenience caused as a result.

As noted in our original post, maintaining an enjoyable and fair gameplay experience is very important to us, and we’re going to continue to monitor the game as well as take steps to prevent exploits like this from happening again.

So what about the botting? It’s common knowledge among most of the dedicated player base that botting is a problem in game. Blizzard themselves has even addressed this problem in a previous season, as well as sent out ban waves to clear the most egregious abusers. So why so quiet now? Do you care about fair play? Would liked to have seen swifter or more intense action taken against the HF amulet exploiters? Do botters deserve the same? Sound off in the comments!


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  1. This wasn’t all this patch did was it? This morning’s update was about 1.6 gigs on XBone.

    • I’m not sure what the xb1 got, I know they are pretty good at patching the same content, my update was definitely not 1.6 gb’s though. This and some of the lag fixes was all we got today

  2. I don’t know if they could’ve done anything more than they did.
    Their solution was as fair as you can come up with in a population of many thousands (millions) of players.

    As for bot banning, who’s to say that blizzard doesn’t want to tell the botters how difficult it is to detect their bots. Maybe it’s really frikkin’ impossible other than play time. But then where’s that line? Does someone who plays 12hrs a day every day get banned for botting, when in fact they just have no other life besides Diablo III?

    So, it could be their silence is one of security, it’s better to say nothing than to tell everyone, \Hey look, you can bot, and we probably won’t know anything about it, so go ahead and plop your $XX <- how much are bots? down and enjoy the free PL and Loot, go play Hearthstone."

  3. Botters should be banned at the END of each season and simultaneously wiped from the leaderboards as if they never even existed. While this would unfortunately allow them to have their fun for a while and discourage others who play fair and see the progress bothers are making, it would also ensure that they can’t simply go out the day after being banned, buy a new account, a new bot, and get right back up on that leaderboard again.

    • Yeah there isn’t much stopping anyone as long as they can afford a new copy of the game. Still you would think that it dissuades them. Hopefully it does.

  4. Alkaizer, first Paragon 100 – banned today
    Gabynator, first Paragon 1000 – banned today

    shows. I am just happy that Quin wasn’t banned, as I really enjoy his guides and although none of these people “affect” me, its a bit sad if someone who’s opinion on a topic (D3) you value turns out to be a cheater/botter/exploiter.

  5. wow … i kinda find it hard that Alkaizer would ever cheat. I had such respect for him. I signed in, after reading this, to see who was on the top of the leader-boards and Alkaizer is still number 1.

    As is Quinn69

    I thought this cheat was being used by tons of people holding rank on the leader-boards but, I guess I heard wrong. Because, the LBs are basicly unchanged as far as i can tell.

    I don’t think bliz punished very many people.

    someone told me tonight that Gabinator used the exploit but, was only banned for 2 weeks. That just doesn’t seem like much of a punishment to me.

  6. I think these quotes…

    “Following the launch of Patch 2.3.0, players discovered an exploit […]”
    “As soon as we were able to verify the exploit and identify its underlying cause, we immediately began working on a fix for PC.”

    …are pretty much bullshit. Like most exploits, this one was already known on the PTR. I might not have been widely spread, but Blizzard should have been able to know of it’s existence. And, like most exploits, Blizzard choose not to fix them before the start of the season. Which gives us this messy ‘solution’.

  7. verry good
    ban those faul cheaters !!
    the deserve to get banned , focking idiots

    and bring back AH !!

  8. Cheaters deserve to be banned. And who would’ve thought Gabynator was found to be using the exploit? … Now he’s gotta rot without his game, unless he can find a way to get back on. Even then Blizzard will be watching…

    “That’s what you get when you play with loaded dice, people will find you out and run you to the hills, provided they don’t kill you first.”

  9. Yeah Gaby can make a new account. Unless he is IP banned which is doubtful. Kudos to blizzard for responding and restoring the ‘competitive’ nature of seasons.

    Next botting must be combated.

  10. No, don’t care at all about the leaderboards. The only times I even look at them is to see what gear people are wearing since nothing in D3 works like it says it does anymore & you have to use very specific gear, in conjunction with very specific skills, in a very specific order, the whole game feels like an exploit.

  11. The difference between this and botting is detection. They were able to figure out which players used the hf exploit by looking at their logs (I’m guessing), even that is not as trivial to do as one might think. But botting is undetectable. You may be able to detect patterns, but that is even harder to extract from the logs than straight numbers (i.e. how many passives do you have on), and inevitably that would lead to false positives. The bad publicity that would result from that far outweighs the good that it would do.

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