Linux users are claiming to have been unfairly banned for using Windows emulator WINE to run the game. Uproar! Outrage! But wait, Blizzard’s response is a firm hands-on-hips denial and an assurance that Warden, their cheat-identifying Angel of Death, is in perfect working order and that they are “extremely confident” in their findings. That’s uncharacteristically bold for Blizzard, who in the past have happily reversed loot drop rates and lifted demo restrictions on new accounts following player outrage. So what’s going on here?
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“We’ve extensively tested for false positive situations,” asserts community manager Bashiok, “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.”Blizzard haven’t hesitated to ban thousands of cheaters in the past, and they tend not to be shy about it.
If a Linux user on the Diablo 3 forum is to be believed: Blizzard are unfairly treating WINE as an illegal modification to the game files rather than a legitimate and legal means of playing the game. If Blizzard are to be believed, those banned Linux users have been evicted for cheating, rather than simply because they chose to use an unsupported OS. Many other Linux users are claiming to still be able to access the game using WINE, casting severe doubt over the claims of the banned.
My theory: you don’t have to spend very long on a Diablo forum to encounter a wave of unsubstantiated and illegitimate claims of unfair banning. Take every individual such claim from the vanishingly thin sample userbase of a single WINE forum (here’s where the banning claims are coming from – note some users continuing to happily play Diablo 3 through WINE), drop it into a thread on the official forum and it will begin to resemble a blanket ban on specific system setups. Add in the magical ingredient of everybody hating Blizzard and these claims can become incendiary.
We’ll keep an eye on this all the same – it’s likely that, regardless of the truth, as long as Blizzard’s stance is one of unofficial support for legitimate Linux/WINE users, this is where the bucks stop.