Blizzard denies banning Diablo III players just for using Linux

While Diablo III supports both Windows and Mac platforms, Blizzard has yet to issue a Linux port for its hit action-RPG sequel. However, that hasn't stopped other Linux users from trying to play the game on their rig, using a third party program such as WINE.

Now, some of those players have accused Blizzard of banning them from playing Diablo III with their Linux setup. In a post on the game's message boards, there are a list of recent complaints from players who said they were able to play the game until late June. One player sad that he had been playing Diablo III " ... on my FreeBSD machine now for a couple of weeks and have a level 53 Wizard" before receiving his ban notice.

Blizzard has since responded to these protests, basically saying that while Linux isn't officially supported in Diablo III, that was not the reason why some people who happened to be playing on Linux got banned. Blizzard states:

We’ve extensively tested for false positive situations, including replicating system setups for those who have posted claiming they were banned unfairly. 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.

Source: Diablo III message boards

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

NeoGamr Podcast 026 - July 3, 2012

Next Story

Windows 8 input changes and improvements discussed

29 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Like I said in another post, Agent.exe (or whatever background security processes Blizzard uses) probably flags WINE as a third-party program (which most bots are, obviously) and bans them outright. It's probably just a computing error, not some angry administrator having a bad day.

bjoswald said,
Like I said in another post, Agent.exe (or whatever background security processes Blizzard uses) probably flags WINE as a third-party program (which most bots are, obviously) and bans them outright. It's probably just a computing error, not some angry administrator having a bad day.

I think your bang on the button. Think of the punkbuster shenanigans, it detects Visual Studio as a "hack" due to a lot of cheating apps are written with VS, a pain in the ass pleading your case cos your a freelance dev hence having VS2kx installed. Seen this with a couple of my clan players over the years.

Mando said,

I think your bang on the button. Think of the punkbuster shenanigans, it detects Visual Studio as a "hack" due to a lot of cheating apps are written with VS, a pain in the ass pleading your case cos your a freelance dev hence having VS2kx installed. Seen this with a couple of my clan players over the years.

Thats bull****. I run Visual Studio with Warcraft and Diablo, no issues for the past 4 years.

Guy running freebsd... Just made me thing he might be using SElinux & PAX, and if he is, then the game client wouldn't be able to check anything. And blizzard would NOT have replicated a SElinux setup because getting it setup is a bitch.

I don't think they are intentionally banning them. They probably flag up on Blizzards end as looking suspicious/unusual when data is sent back.

JJ_ said,
Perhaps they should've tried the tried and tested method of 'my brother was playing'

lol! Back when we used to run a game server for Enemy Territory, we had a guy who claimed someone hacked into his computer, just to run the Wolfenstein game, get on OUR server specifically, and play with cheats to get him "banned".

dead.cell said,

lol! Back when we used to run a game server for Enemy Territory, we had a guy who claimed someone hacked into his computer, just to run the Wolfenstein game, get on OUR server specifically, and play with cheats to get him "banned".

"Dude look at all his porn!!" "Nah man we're just here for Wolfenstein!!"

JJ_ said,
Perhaps they should've tried the tried and tested method of 'my brother was playing'
Just to be pedantic: no, that wouldn't have helped at all. They don't care who was playing.

Linux... has players? That's just hilarious. I thought they're still waiting for Steam to port to their open-sources of nerd code so that they can actually play video games... like Doom 3, Call of Duty 2... You know, state of the art video gaming from 2005 and earlier... But only earlier xD

You're so funny I forgot to laugh.

Gornot said,
Linux... has players? That's just hilarious. I thought they're still waiting for Steam to port to their open-sources of nerd code so that they can actually play video games... like Doom 3, Call of Duty 2... You know, state of the art video gaming from 2005 and earlier... But only earlier xD

NyaR said,
You're so funny I forgot to laugh.

Technically he is right. You need way more hardware power to run things through WINE instead of natively. Meaning a Linux gamer has to spend more money on hardware than a Windows gamer to keep up.

ArialBlue said,

Technically he is right. You need way more hardware power to run things through WINE instead of natively. Meaning a Linux gamer has to spend more money on hardware than a Windows gamer to keep up.

No you don't. As the name says. WINE is not an emulator, and thus doesn't require any more resouces than running it natively would.

SharpGreen said,

No you don't. As the name says. WINE is not an emulator, and thus doesn't require any more resouces than running it natively would.


Yes it does. A lot more resources. A bit less than an emulator, but hey still A LOT more than running natively.

There is a site designated for people reporting how WINE runs games. I distinctly remember one guy saying that he gets 20FPS max settings on HL2:EP2 on a NV 9800. Hilarious how you can max out HL2:EP2 on a 7600 on Windows.

Wine is for those that cannot afford a Windows install and NOT for those who choose Linux - cause it would make sense to boot into Windows to play games.

Here is some speculation about WINE: Linux system calls differ from Windows system calls so they must be emulated. Linux is way closer to Mac than Windows actually - AFAIK the 0x80 calls are different. WINE is probably part an open OGL wrapper for DirectX system calls and I bed it doesn't do DX11, possibly not even DX10 natively yet, easy way to test is to get Firefox for Windows and see how well it runs in Linux with D2D HWA enabled and compare that with running it natively in Windows 7/8. I seriously challenge you to do that.

Everything I ran on WINE while testing Linux ran about ~20x slower than its Windows counterpart - A JOKE.

Edited by ArialBlue, Jul 5 2012, 4:49am :

There is DRM and cheating protection. Unless emulations is perfect (WINE is horrible) then these systems *should* detect and ban these users as there is no way to distinguish this from any other dodgy behavior like scanning memory for headbox positions for perfect headshots.

Linux users certainly may not cheat and may (albeit unlikely) own a legal copy of some non-GNU software. But they chose to OPT-IN to the Linux "experience" in as much they should NOT complain about getting perma-banned. Idiots.

dead.cell said,
Yeah, that'd be horrible if they were banning Linux users, even by mistake. They've already got people annoyed as it is.
Ya horrible.. all 27 linux users would stop paying..

Though seriously I bet there's some check that it runs that fails in WINE for whatever reason, thus leading to the ban.. Companies rarely have a vendetta against people paying them to use their stuff..

Ryoken said,
Ya horrible.. all 27 linux users would stop paying..

Though seriously I bet there's some check that it runs that fails in WINE for whatever reason, thus leading to the ban.. Companies rarely have a vendetta against people paying them to use their stuff..

Well obviously.

If Linux users are being banned because this third party software can't run it's checks, that wouldn't be good for the people paying them money. It'd be a different story if the game just didn't work on Linux, but to have your account banned? That's pretty weak, especially since there's no real way of knowing you'd be banned for that, and there is no offline play to top it off...

dead.cell said,

Well obviously.

If Linux users are being banned because this third party software can't run it's checks, that wouldn't be good for the people paying them money. It'd be a different story if the game just didn't work on Linux, but to have your account banned? That's pretty weak, especially since there's no real way of knowing you'd be banned for that, and there is no offline play to top it off...


Linux isn't a supported OS.. the fact that you need to use other tools and hacks to make it run there should be all the warning you need..

You take the risk.. If you don't want risk, play your games on the OS they are designed for.

Ryoken said,

Linux isn't a supported OS.. the fact that you need to use other tools and hacks to make it run there should be all the warning you need..

You take the risk.. If you don't want risk, play your games on the OS they are designed for.

I understand that, but you'd expect something to just not work, not to be banned for it entirely. That's just stupid. If they want to do that, refund his money since his game is no longer playable due to rules that aren't mentioned anywhere.

dead.cell said,

I understand that, but you'd expect something to just not work, not to be banned for it entirely. That's just stupid. If they want to do that, refund his money since his game is no longer playable due to rules that aren't mentioned anywhere.


Rules that aren't mentioned is the same as Purchasing it to play on an Unsupported system.. They wouldn't refund you if you only had a 2mb videocard and a P133 computer.. that's not their issues..

These people used the game outside of it's designed environment.. Just because it didn't fail instantly isn't their fault.
For all you know the check happens every time you launch the game, and continues checking while you play.. It passed the initial check, but while playing something in WINE changed, and then it failed.. Bam..

It's not their responsibility to test how a game reacts in Wine, VirtualPC, or anything else that it wasn't designed for. It IS your fault if you run it in one of those environment, and it stops working one day..

Do I feel bad for them ? Ya. It sucks that it worked and now it doesn't.. But I doubt Blizzard just started seeing people in Linux and decided to ban them.. It would be a software/server check that it failed and it instantly happened.. So there's no malice, and no reason for Blizzard to do anything but once again tell you what it is supported on.

My point still stands that if this is indeed a case of unintentional consequences, that they should at least attempt to find some sort of way to resolve the matter appropriately. Otherwise, it just looks bad, no matter how you spin it. $60 for a banning you didn't expect due to reasons you could not foresee doesn't seem satisfactory, which is why I would expect them to at least be able to get their money back if utilizing Windows isn't an option.

Then again, I guess unless you live in South Korea, asking for a refund is absolutely a no-go, which is also rather sad too.

Of course, we're getting outside of what could have really happened. They could have been cheaters that just happened to be on Linux for all we know.

Ryoken said,
Do I feel bad for them ? Ya. It sucks that it worked and now it doesn't.. But I doubt Blizzard just started seeing people in Linux and decided to ban them.. It would be a software/server check that it failed and it instantly happened.. So there's no malice, and no reason for Blizzard to do anything but once again tell you what it is supported on.

They should have expected a Wine environment though, this isn't the first time this has happened. Blizzard took some heat for banning (and eventually restoring) some World of Warcraft accounts that were used under Linux too. No it's not a huge number of players but it's not exactly something new or esoteric either.

Max Norris said,

They should have expected a Wine environment though, this isn't the first time this has happened. Blizzard took some heat for banning (and eventually restoring) some World of Warcraft accounts that were used under Linux too. No it's not a huge number of players but it's not exactly something new or esoteric either.
Which is stupid, they shouldn't take any heat at all.

They don't release it for Linux, in any way, so they shouldn't be expected or required to test in environments they Don't support.

Nor do I think they should be made to do anything to fix something that isn't an issue for them.. The game works fine[ish] in all they ways they Claim to support..

Not saying they won't... or wouldn't be okay with me if they did.. But no one should be demanding or even expecting Anything..

As much as I hate Blizzard myself.. they didn't do anything wrong, they didn't make any mistakes, there are no issues. If they decide they Want it to work in WINE fine.. but beyond that it's Russian Roulette, and people should just accept that. They got what they paid for, and lost it because they used it in a manner not deemed acceptable. Once which would have been avoided by simply reading the System Requirements. You decide to act outside of it, it's not their fault.. Just like if I buy a Steak Knife, and try to use it to cut down trees.. Sure it may work, but still.. It's not Ginsu's fault it doesn't do it well, or forever.

It's not their responsibility to support it, and that's absolutely fine. But by banning their account, they would be essentially breaking the product the consumer purchased. It's not Blizzard's fault if the user broke it, but this is Blizzard refusing service while still taking the user's money for something they couldn't predict the outcome of. Did they break any sort of license agreement or terms of use here by using Linux? Unless the user has done something wrong, there's no reason their account should be banned.

There's a difference between not supporting an OS and refusing to allow anyone to use a certain OS to play the game. Hell, you said it yourself: it's very doubtful Blizzard has any vendetta against the use of Linux with their products. It's their job though to ensure that this is not the reason they're being banned, just as they overturned the World of Warcraft account bans.

Hence why Blizzard was keen to even make such a statement like this in the first place. It's a smart move to ensure your customers who may be getting Diablo 3 working on an unsupported OS are at least not wrongfully banned. Even if they don't support the OS, they can't just do that unless the person broke the terms of use or something.

Blizzard as a company has been rather anti-consumer lately, but even most of them there would agree with this sentiment. After all, they want people playing their game so they can continue using the stupid RMAH and score their money there, while keeping a good (enough) image with the consumers to keep them buying their games and products.

dead.cell said,

I understand that, but you'd expect something to just not work, not to be banned for it entirely. That's just stupid. If they want to do that, refund his money since his game is no longer playable due to rules that aren't mentioned anywhere.


Where do get that? They are running it on an unsupported OS the rules are plane and clear. No were does the box say the game will run on Linux under Wine! If they get there account banned that is there own fault and should not get a refund period.

bryonhowley said,

Where do get that? They are running it on an unsupported OS the rules are plane and clear. No were does the box say the game will run on Linux under Wine! If they get there account banned that is there own fault and should not get a refund period.

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree here. Blizzard and many gamers don't agree with that at all. As I stated, Blizzard wants their business so the point is moot.