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:
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!