Diablo® III

Is Blizzard at risk of a class action lawsuit?

90 Night Elf Hunter
0
03/31/2013 02:50 AMPosted by TheSaint
You are quite new to Diablo, I understand that, but you are talking about things mostly you know nothing about regarding the previous games.


I've played both Diablo 1 and 2. I loved D1--up until the ending, which frankly was stupid beyond all belief. I didn't like Diablo 2, however, and had no intention of playing D3 until I received a closed beta invite.

And so I thought, why not? It's free.

Over a year later, I'm still here.
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Give it a shot. Oh & make sure you have enough money to cover all the court cost.

I'll be the one in the back of the court room laughing my nuts off as they gut you & take you for everything you've got.
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I am not a lawyer, but I am in law school.
There were two major instances where certain individuals could have sued Blizzard for reasons associated with Diablo 3. There are one to two remaining instances where Blizzard might open themselves to liability. The trigger for that cause of action has not yet occurred, but I'll discuss it anyway (#3).

  • Every one of these claims is not worth the cost of hiring an attorney and, therefore, would likely never actually be filed except out of principal (a person that has money and is really pissed off) or Pro Se in a small-claims court.
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    (1) Pre-order cancellation denial/refusal and PvP - Breach of Contract, if it occurred.

    Any individuals that purchased the pre-order of Diablo 3 expecting PvP to come with launch as promised (before news that PvP would not come with launch) and then denied a cancellation request of their order when they heard the news that PvP would not come with launch would have had grounds to sue up until the point at which they accepted the game. Upon accepting the game with the knowledge that PvP would not come with launch, the individual consented to the modified terms (that PvP would not come with launch) and thus relieved Blizzard of the obligation. The damages, however, would be limited to the cost of the pre-order. Hiring an attorney to take this lawsuit would realistically only occur if someone wanted to sue for the principal of it (or if the attorney agreed to take the case for free), because the cost of hiring the attorney will exceed the cost of the pre-order. One alternative would be to file the lawsuit Pro Se in a small-claims court, thus there is no lawyer to pay.

    (2) RMAH's Early Release Lacking a Disclaimer About Item Changes and the Subsequent IAS Nerf - Breach of Contract, Conversion, Theft

    The GAH and, later, the RMAH were released into the game without a disclaimer that warned players of the possibility that item properties may be changed due to balancing. Any players that purchased items with real money had a clear-cut cause of action against Blizzard for conversion of the player's property when it was altered. Further, since gold had a specified real money value at the time of the IAS nerf, ALL players who purchased gear through either the Gold Auction House or the Real Money Auction House that was subsequently detrimentally affected by the IAS nerf had a cause of action for the conversion of their property in the amount of the item's real money value (convert gold cost of purchase through the Gold Auction House to real money value at the Gold-to-Real Money exchange rate of the time) at the moment before the IAS nerf.
  • If Blizzard counters that some term in the EULA provided fair warning and the player accepted the term when they started playing the game, the player would likely succeed in arguing that the term was either unclear (therefore ineffective) or "boilerplate" (and therefore ineffective).
  • The Breach of Contract is a separate cause of action that arises out of the use of the auction house and Blizzard's role in the sale as a reseller. Because Blizzard acts as the reseller in every Auction House sale, each player's contract to buy or sell an item is actually with Blizzard, not the player that is on the other end. In fact, the contract is written and stored in each player's auction house logs. This claim is susceptible to persuasive counter-argument by Blizzard because the buyer in each sale did, in fact, receive the item they purchased - it was simply changed some time afterward. This does not relieve Blizzard of liability on the Conversion claim.

    The Theft cause of action is the criminal side and cannot be acted upon by players, but could have been acted upon by state or federal prosecutors.

    (3) The Remaining, Not-Yet-Triggered Claim which is the reason why Blizzard cannot do a Rust Storm in Diablo 3 to get rid of duped items once the item has been traded via either Auction House and, likely, one reason that Blizzard will not remove the RMAH without glaring forewarning - Conversion

    As explained during the Conversion claim discussion in part 2, because the RMAH exists as a game feature implemented by Blizzard, every item in the game that can be traded has a real money value. As soon as an item is traded via the Auction House, a record of its sale and purchase is logged and the item has a tangible value associated with it (as well as a record of the sale that is easily accessible to a player that possessed the item upon it being Rust Stormed). Upon the item being Rust Stormed, Blizzard has effectively converted the item by depriving it's possessor of their right to own and use it. Duped items that are traded for through the in-game trade window are also logged, but the records are in Blizzard's possession and Blizzard could implement a "one-day retention of records" policy regarding such records that would allow them to destroy most records relating to Duped items traded via the trading window. Thus, even with discovery, the records may be difficult, if not impossible, to retrieve. The damages for this Conversion would equal the real money value of the specific item that is Rust Stormed either at the time of Rust Storm or at the time of the last recorded trade. It's a pretty easy claim to succeed on and Blizzard would likely try to settle it through mediation (with a term of the agreement being a Confidentiality Clause).

  • There is a caveat to this: Blizzard can Rust Storm duped items off the original duper's account and face no liability since the duper violated the EULA in creating the item and the item has not yet been entered into the stream of commerse. As soon as the item is traded via the Auction House one time, it is, essentially, off-limits to Blizzard unless they are willing to face the possible lawsuit by the injured, EULA-complying purchaser.
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    As for the removal of the RMAH, this action would instantly reduce the real money value of every in-game item to $0. Off-site sale values are a violation of the EULA and, therefore, any value associated with them in such a way is invalid for Blizzard to use as evidence that an item has not been converted (except, perhaps, for players who Blizzard can prove availed themselves to breaking this EULA term - not difficult if Blizzard can retrieve records through discovery). A mass conversion on this scale would very likely see a class-action lawsuit as a response, unless Blizzard gives sufficient forewarning to all players to "cash out" if they want to.

    All this being said, it is my opinion based on what I have learned and not legal advice. The rules and laws of each state are slightly (and sometimes drastically) different and could change the way each state treats these claims under their laws.
    Edited by Mike#1867 on 3/31/2013 3:55 AM PDT
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    (2) RMAH's Early Release Lacking a Disclaimer About Item Changes and the Subsequent IAS Nerf - Breach of Contract, Conversion, Theft


    Theres no need for clear disclaimers for item changes. As these intellectual properties are firstly owned by blizzard and are subject to alteration. Even if blizzard remove all your items today, you cannot sue them. I doubt any argument against a patch change will do any good.
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    90 Night Elf Hunter
    0
    03/31/2013 03:29 AMPosted by TheSaint
    I wasn't a big fan of D1's ending either, but that's what they had to work with over a decade ago. They were a new company "Condor", and when you are new you make the best of it, when processing power wasn't half as cheap as it is now, you could only have so much time to render x amount of frames for a story


    Neither Condor being a small company nor the processing power have anything to do with D1's having a stupid ending. That's a creative issue. Max Schaefer has admitted that the storyline was an afterthought in both D1 and D2, and in D1 it showed.

    03/31/2013 03:29 AMPosted by TheSaint
    D2's Cinematics went above and beyond the call, they turned an already great game, into a legendary series.


    I agree; D2's cinematics were awesome, especially for the time. But then, D3's are also awesome. The fight between Tyrael and Imperius is epic, and while many can't get into Diablo's final form, the confrontation between him and Imperius at the Crystal Gate is the best I've seen: "Even in the heart of heaven, angels can still feel fear," sends a chill down my spine each time I hear it.

    03/31/2013 03:29 AMPosted by TheSaint
    I would equate Diablo 3 to be like checkers, while fun, simplistic and straight forward, it has little to no depth, I would equate Diablo 2 to chess, while fun, similar to Diablo 3 in design, offers far greater options, depth, and has so many secrets inside its code, that some I still keep to this day, which I learned after practically reverse engineering the whole game, and it's effects on battle.net. I also was a heavy trader, I knew how itemization worked a Paladin 12% FHR GC = 12 High Runes = 1 Hr = 3 mal's or 2 ist's 2 um's or 3 ist's or 1 mal's 1 ist 2 um's or 6 um's = 12 pul's = 36 lem's = 72 Ko's.


    Actually, tournament checkers is some heavy duty stuff. But in any case, it's obvious you look for different things in the games you play. I want a good storyline, good gameplay, and good graphics, in that order. I don't care about theorycrafting or even having BiS gear (though, I admit, I wouldn't turn it down if offered). However, you do care. So while I think D3 is more than fine, you think it sucks because it doesn't offer you what D2 did.

    And that's all right. Different strokes and all that. It still doesn't mean that D3 is broken. It just means that it's not the kind of game you'd prefer.

    03/31/2013 03:29 AMPosted by TheSaint
    I wish you knew what I knew. (besides my secrets) :P


    That's all right. We all have secrets.
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    03/31/2013 03:48 AMPosted by Starico
    (2) RMAH's Early Release Lacking a Disclaimer About Item Changes and the Subsequent IAS Nerf - Breach of Contract, Conversion, Theft


    Theres no need for clear disclaimers for item changes. As these intellectual properties are firstly owned by blizzard and are subject to alteration. Even if blizzard remove all your items today, you cannot sue them. I doubt any argument against a patch change will do any good.


    This is a very limited, specific, and unique claim that would only succeed for items affected by the IAS nerf and not for any subsequent patch changes because of the implementation of disclaimers. There are now disclaimers about possible item changes due to balancing whenever you purchase items (implemented shortly after the IAS nerf, likely a reaction to a law suit that was settled in mediation with a Confidentiality Agreement or upon a strong recommendation by Blizzard's In-House Counsel). These disclaimers did not exist prior to the IAS nerf. Further, Blizzard availed themselves to, promulgated, and propagated the association of real money values with in-game items by implementing the RMAH. Intellectual Property law, as far as I know, does not safeguard Blizzard because of Blizzard's actions in implementing the RMAH. Please actually read what I wrote. You swept aside the exact reason why this claim would succeed when you analogized this specific nerf with any other patch. Surely any changes in patches occurring after the disclaimer was implemented will not be grounds for a similar lawsuit, as is readily inferred from what I wrote.
    Edited by Mike#1867 on 3/31/2013 4:20 AM PDT
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    Well the op is on ignore but based on the title the answer is No.
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    You are quite the odd guy TheSaint. Did you figure out all of the intricacies you talk about within the first year of D2? Unless you have another account, you have hardly played D3, give it the chance you gave its predecessor and you may be surprised what this game has to show you.

    Like others have said, you have an opinion on D3, nothing more. You are no more right or wrong than anybody who enjoys this game.
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    You are quite the odd guy TheSaint. Did you figure out all of the intricacies you talk about within the first year of D2? Unless you have another account, you have hardly played D3, give it the chance you gave its predecessor and you may be surprised what this game has to show you.

    Like others have said, you have an opinion on D3, nothing more. You are no more right or wrong than anybody who enjoys this game.

    LoL he just a troll now. Put him on ignore he no longer has anything to offer the game. A lot of people don't like me, I can be harse an such but everything I say has fact behind it. He just hates and whines for the sake of it.

    Then mike and his these did not exist bs. Lol Blizzard has been playing that game a long time. They can nerf, buff anything at any time. I doubt any judge would even give consideration to a guy whining about a nerf in a game. People better get used to the idea that Blizzard owns the game and everything in it including them when they are in the game. Once you log in to play you leave the real world and all it's protections and rights behind. They can tell you what you can't say, rename your character if tehy see fit, ban you and restrict access.

    The rmah falls seperate from most of this but Blizzard still gets to make the rules and I'd imagine they have covered all the bases. If they delete your account and you had 20b in gold it is gone. You cannot say I had $ worth of gold.
    Edited by DeadRu#1893 on 3/31/2013 6:19 AM PDT
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    Because:

    1. I have a low tolerance for nonsense presented as fact.

    2. I don't think it's broken.

    3. See number one.


    You are awesome.

    edit: And yes, I played D1 and D2 religiously. If D3 is broken at all, it is simply because they took a loot-hunting paradigm and shifted it to a gold-hunting paradigm, as part of filtering people to the AH to make money; itemization naturally follows. I will agree that some sort of PKing should have been implemented from day 1, but everything else is negotiable, and quite frankly, well done in my opinion.
    Edited by Urthas#1209 on 3/31/2013 12:59 PM PDT
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    lol really?
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