Diablo 3 Auction Houses to remain offline for 'at least another 24 hours'

Diablo 3 developer Blizzard Entertainment was hoping to bring back the game's gold and real-money Auction Houses sometime today, but according to the studio's most recent estimate, they'll remain offline for "at least another 24 hours."

Blizzard took the Auction Houses offline earlier this week due to a gold duping bug that surfaced on May 7, when it patched Diablo 3 to version 1.0.8. The studio was able to fix the bug that night, but decided to put the servers into maintenance mode so it could perform a complete audit of all transactions made since the release of the patch. The team believed that to be a better choice than having to roll back everyone's progress.

"We feel that this is the best course of action given the nature of the dupe, how relatively few players used it and the fact that its effects were fairly limited within the region," said Blizzard community manager Lylirra in an update posted at 3 a.m. ET yesterday to the Diablo 3 forums. "We've been able to successfully identify players who duplicated gold by using this specific bug, and are focusing on these accounts to make corrections."

The studio kept the Auction Houses in maintenance mode so existing auctions could expire as it continued to review all transactions, and estimated that it would be able to bring the Auction Houses back sometime today. But in an update posted at 3:10 p.m. ET today, Lylirra said the process is still ongoing.

"This audit is a time-intensive process, and to make sure that we can do a thorough job, we're going to keep the Auction Houses in maintenance until that work is complete," said Lylirra. "Unfortunately, our previous estimate was incorrect, and for that I personally apologize. We don't have a new ETA, but we anticipate that the service will be unavailable for at least another 24 hours."

During a talk at the 2013 Game Developers Conference, Diablo 3 game director Jay Wilson said the real-money Auction Houses "really hurt the game," and added that Blizzard is still figuring out how to fix them.

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