Site reader Javazon points us to this interesting thread on B.net that links to numerous player profiles from the Asian realm, all of them Wizards, all of them using a fantastically-good off-hand Orb with the exact same name and stats. It seems like sure evidence of duping (or else a major error in the game’s random name/stat generation engine), and you can view the identical item equipped in the character profiles below:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/liemjunhao-6339/hero/18254046 http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/leej88-1875/hero/14708745 http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/insanity-1884/hero/11671090 http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/mosesyr-1925/hero/8430 https://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/Faetal-1219/hero/22731568 http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/passermeaw-6696/hero/4952195
So, assuming it’s duping… what now?
In Diablo II the answer was easy; nothing, since the game wasn’t really moderated or supported past 2001 once everyone at Blizzard North moved on to work on Diablo III (or the other mysterious, never-completed or revealed BN project), or once Blizzard North dissolved in 2005. That’s not entirely fair, since there were a few “rust storms” when some dupes would be deleted, but the Diablo II client-server model didn’t allow for complete security, and such things were inevitable. On the rare occasions the Bliz mods struck back, everything and anything could be deleted since the characters were on Blizzard’s server, items had no official value, and the ladders were always just a few months from resetting anyway, so no one really cared.
All of those factors are very different in Diablo III. We were promised a secure gaming environment in exchange for no offline or single player mode, and we were promised active server security and a viable, persistent economy. Duping is a blade pointed at the heart of that economy and those promises, so it must be stopped… and yet how does Blizzard decide who to punish?
If they’ve got the diagnostic tools to see one player creating multiple copies of this item, surely they could ban that account and delete any items still on it. But what if he’s been selling them? For Gold or worse, for Real Money? What does Blizzard do then?
Imagine you got on the AH, saw a great item, and bought it. Then a week later, Battle.net security figures that item was a dupe. What now? If they delete your item, you’re being punished for a crime you didn’t knowing commit and couldn’t have avoided. You didn’t buy the item through some janky third party site; you bought it with the official Diablo III Auction House, which is supposed to be secure and safe. If you paid gold for it, Blizzard could theoretically just reimburse your account whatever you paid, since gold is a virtual item they can create in infinite amounts. But if you paid real money for it, the duper has no doubt vanished that money already into his PayPal account. Is Blizzard supposed to refund you your purchase out of their pocket? (Bobby says no.)
It’s an interesting legal conundrum, one created entirely by the online-only DRM and the supposedly secure Battle.net Diablo III economy. D3’s system makes things safe and secure and viable, but that same security makes it more vulnerable once it’s broken, since Blizzard is less able to react without causing harm to everyone involved.
Update: Lots of comments from people who have found or made one dupe (giving them 2 copies) by accident. I’ve done that myself, after a normal play session I was unloading in town and was surprised to see that I had 2 rare belts with identical name and stats. The item wasn’t any good, but this sort of thing happens all the time. But five or six of the same item isn’t an accident.
Others point out that items can be duped by claiming your account was hacked. Blizzard will rollback your characters to an earlier, saved restore point, and cheating players can offload their gear, file a support ticket, and get rolled back to restore their gear. This can only be done once per account, but theoretically if multiple people did it, the same super quality item could be duped repeatedly.