A few weeks ago, South Korea's Fair Trade commission 'raided' Blizzard's headquarters in Seoul following complaints about the availability of Diablo 3 on launch night. Now, Blizzard are offering affected South Korean players a full refund - with a few conditions attached.
The announcement - which was originally posted on the Korean Battle.net blog, and subsequently translated by the Wall Street Journal - says that players up to level 40 can apply for refunds, and those still below level 20 can also return the game.
Diablo 3 has been causing controversy with South Korea's ratings board for ages. Diablo 3's real money auction house has been the main source of the problem. The idea of playing for financial gain conflicted with South Korea's stern anti-gambling ethos, but the problem has now been resolved. Dualshockers noticed the appearance of an official 18 rating for Diablo 3 on the South Korean game rating board site. Blizzard have had to make concessions to guarantee the rating, however.
Sure, the devil himself, Lord of Hell and probable pioneer of the Snuggie, is a pretty bad dude, but you know what's even worse? Gambling. Or at least, that's how South Korea's Game Rating Board sees it. And so, the board's opted to delay making a definitive statement on Diablo III and its controversial real money auction house for a third time. Without a rating, even the baddest big red monster this side of the Kool-Aid man is out of luck. Obviously, this doesn't exactly bode well for the game's eventual release.
The New York Times report that five people in South Korea have been arrested on suspicion of organising a gold farming operation under the instruction of a North Korean government agency.
Seoul police say that a group of 30 young hackers deployed an army of bots to amass huge amounts of in-game gold in popular Korean MMOs like Lineage. These funds were then sold on to gamers for real money. They made an estimated $6 million in two years. A portion of those profits were wired back to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.
According to a senior officer at the Seoul International Crime Investigation Unit, the team of hackers “regularly contacted North Korean agents for close consultations.”
Next week those of us living in the United States and the United Kingdom will finally get our hands on the retail version of StarCraft II. Included in this version will be cigars, blood and the occasional curse word, but folks from other countries won't be getting that same, authentic experience.