Players of the online fantasy game Diablo II must wait almost a week for their characters to be restored after a hack attack, developer Blizzard Entertainment revealed this morning, Andrew Smith writes.
Hackers reportedly exploited a weakness in Blizzard's servers to gain access to player accounts. By repeatedly attempting to login as another player, they caused the authorisation process to fail, which then granted access.
They then took control of the player's character and stripped it of equipment and bonus items. In some cases the characters were killed.
The hack seems to have been targeted at characters of a high skill level with valuable items and experience points. Such characters will have been built up over many months of playing, often for hours each day.
Blizzard announced this morning: "Monday, January 8, we will be reviving all hardcore characters who died between December 19th and January 1st. The restored hardcore characters will be revived with the experience, skills and items possessed as of Tuesday, December 19th."
This is an embarrassing incident for Blizzard, and follows months of petitions and protests about bugs and unbalanced gameplay in what is one of the best-selling titles of recent years.
In August, changes to the skill system in Diablo II left some players with severely weakened characters. Many complained that hundreds of hours invested in the game had gone to waste.
Blizzard was also criticised for not notifying players of key changes made to the game rules until after they had been exposed by fan sites.
Based in Irvine, California, Blizzard is a subsidiary of Vivendi, the French media giant. ®