Went down a youtube hole today and learned about the Diablo II project which renewed my interest in one of my favorite games, Diablo II. It also made me realize that I had a very unique experience with the game, as it was the first and only video game I can safely say I had close to mastered for my goals. IE I was interested in getting the best loot, doing meph runs, and building side characters off of said loot. Generally just screwing around in the game, seeking more loot, and doing runs with my best friend. I eventually made some relationships through a computer camp I went where I learned to program, and then I eventually worked there teaching kids how to program. This was where it all started, summer of 2002 at Ursula College outside Cleveland Ohio, at a computer camp that the school hosted.
It was there that duping was introduced to me by another camper. I remember him being very resistant to share it, but for whatever reason he eventually did ( I think I just bugged him like crazy). The method I used was done through exploiting a glitch where you had to create many many new characters to get a bugged account, and then create many many games until you had a glitched game. I don't totally remember the exploit beyond it required a specific type of new account, then a specific game, you'd essentially repeat the process over and over until I think you could dupe. (Again I was 16-17 at the time, so this was almost 20 years ago, so my memory is a bit foggy) But it was incredibly repetitive and time consuming, but once you got it going, oh man you would just sit there and dupe for hours (I think it was literally you'd just drop the item on the ground and it would stay in your inventory)
Before I get flamed a little by the purists 😉 I should preface this by saying before I got into duping, I already had a maxed out MF Firewall sorc, with a Shako, Skullders Ire, Oculus, etc… It was only after I had maxed out my sorc that this was all introduced to me. It was around this point too that bugged items were showing up, which further muddled the economy. You could say I broke the game for myself though, as now it turned into a job and took a lot of the fun out of it, as farming items was basically pointless now. I'd say my motivations though were mostly out of a combination of curiosity, boredom, and eventually a desire to make money. I wish I could recall more on the history of this in general. I know there were other duping methods in the past and eventually bugged item exploits too, but I don't remember a lot of them. In terms of where the duping market was, I think I got to the duping scene towards the end, as by now LOD was kinda on the decline as a result of rampant duping/bugging items/exploits etc. I also think maybe 2-4 months after I started duping, the exploit was patched. Eventually other ones came out though and you had some really wacky bugged items with insane stats that were kinda ruining the game too. I think this all led to the introduction of clone diablo to help combat the endless SOJ's and IIRC they eventually had a patch in 2003 or 2004 that cleaned house for good.
Once I realized the worth of the items and the ease of duping, my sole goal here was to make money, so I turned my duping into a small enterprise where I sold items individually on ebay, and also had several buyers who I would sell to outside of ebay in mass quantities. I primarily sold SOJ's, Unidentified Windforces, and unidentified Grandfathers. They were all perfect stats, I actually had a lil gimmick in my ebay listings where I'd sell them unidentified and promise if they weren't perfect stat's you get your money back. I had a system in place for how I stored my accounts and transferred them, it was so specific that someone I sold items to once figured out my naming secquence and password (it was all sequential, like Barb120 pw 120, barb121 pw121) because I sold so many items, I had to keep track of them and my buyers, and a couple times someone figured it out and looted items from other accounts before they got to their intended buyer.
At a point I had two CD Key's and through some workaround was able to run two copies of the game at the same time so that I was able to better handle my duping/ebaying/moving of items too. I could be mis-remembering this though and just running a second computer as my neighbor gave me an old dell that barely chugged along, I don't totally recall by now.
Had I been a bit more enterprising I could have made tens of thousands of dollars, some of the other hackers that taught me this, made much more money than me. I think one of them got into some prescription drug scam, I'm not sure but a couple of these guys were really shady. For me it was a bit of a hobby, I made maybe 2-3k over a summer which allowed me to buy my first laptop, it was a toshiba satellite pro or something, I think it was a 2k laptop Which was pretty ludicrous in 2002.Tit had a moble nvidia chip and at the time was just an insane laptop. I'd bring it to school and it kinda wowed everyone, I was pretty proud of it too because I paid for it with my own money. I actually wanted to buy a car but my parents highly discouraged me (not sure why)
While I grew up middle/upper class, my parents didn't really teach me how to handle money, I didn't have an allowance and they actually discouraged me against working because they thought it'd interfere with my schooling. And any money I made from jobs i had, my mom made me save and wouldn't let me access, and they wouldn't spend money on me for "frivilous things". So in general, I was kind of scared with the amount of easy money I was earning, so I never really took it to an obscene level. It just felt a bit weird, and wrong.
As more and more people got into duping the market kept saturating, especially after you had bugged items totally devalue SOJ's and such. So at this point it didn't make a whole lot of sense to keep selling, if I remember, the market might've only really been hot for 6-8 months max. The prices kept plummeting, and other sellers kept getting more and more competitive, it was a good lesson on inflation. For me this was just a fun way to make money playing around in one of my favorite games, and eventually do a bit of trolling.
Trolling you say? Well, one of my favorite things to do, was to go into random games, and act like a total noob with one of my level 1 accounts, I'd tell people I found this bow, or sword, that I wasn't sure if it was any good, and that I left it in town, something to that extent. Basically that I didn't want it, and someone could have it, most of the time people would ignore me or think I was trolling. But eventually someone would go and find the item, and realize I just dropped a windforce or a grandfather, the reactions were generally priceless. People almost ALWAYS would immediately rage, calling me an idiot, insulting me, just going ballistic, now these were almost always the people who DIDN'T get the item, who didn't believe me that I even had dropped something, ignored me in the first place etc. So generally the item ended up the hands of a curious noob, or someone who actually trusted other people etc…
I used to do this a lot actually, I had so many duped items that I don't think I was ever able to sell them all before Blizz caught on and wiped everything. I honestly gave away countless items, while sure you could argue I contributed to screwing up the Diablo II economy, I can promise you I was a small fish, and I really liked playing this innocent guy who just wanted to give away something for free, or get rid of an item I didn't think was valuable. The good part though was these items generally went into the hands of decent hard-working gamers, who almost always appreciated it. However I do think a couple people even tried to report me for it, either because they were salty, or because maybe they thought I was duping? (However I never disclosed this with anyone. Ever. But I do think my CD key was eventually banned much later after I stopped playing)
I think I covered a lot here, wish I remembered specifics like how much items sold for, how the market worked, I remember selling accounts full of hundreds of SOJ's or WF/GF for 400-500 lump sum, my best friend sold with me as well. We both had our own thing going on, but I brought him into duping, he once got scammed on a paypal chargeback for 3k worth of items that he sold outside ebay like me. I remember him telling me about it when he first made the deal, he was so thrilled.
There's probably a lot more I might remember if asked the right question, I've actually never talked about this in the gaming community, only with close friends and stuff growing up. Also yeah my parents had no idea what I was doing, and yes probably thought I was sellling drugs or something. I think if my dad tried to understand or connect with it more he probably could've helped me understand the economics of what I was doing and I could have made much more money. I didn't have the best relationship with my parents then though, but luckily I do now. It was just very interesting how we'd price against each other, and someone would always undercut you, I don't think there was a huge market of sellers on ebay if I remember, however we were all competing with each other and the price wars eventually got brutal, I mean you're selling a virtual item with almost no cost beyond time, and your electric bill!
Had we been able to collude we likely could've all done much better. But the instant someone dropped the price, you basically had to match or drop as well, given nothing differentiates you as we all offer the same product.
Diablo II was probably my favorite game in so many ways, especially given it helped me buy an insane amazingly fast laptop back when most adults didn't even have one, and most kids didn't even have their own computer, remember this was 2002! Up until then I only had my own computer from a summer job where I saved up all summer to build it, and slowly upgrade it over the years.
Hope you guys enjoy reading this and I'd love to hear what ya'll think!
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© Post "I was a Diablo II LOD duper in 2002 and bought my first laptop as a teenager thanks to it! AMA" for game Diablo 3.
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