A software glitch found in the online game Diablo III has allowed players to amass trillions in digital currency, sparking a crisis in the game's internal economy.

Diablo III auction house glitch
Diablo III launched almost a year ago, in May, 2012. (Credit: Blizzard)

A new patch released by Diablo III developer Blizzard has created an exploit in the game's real money auction house, an area which players can use to sell digital currency for real cash. As explained by TyroPyro, a user from Reddit, the glitch means that no matter how much digital currency or "gold" is put up for auction, only a maximum of 1.7 billion gold will be deducted from a player's account. However, if the player cancels the auction, the full amount as originally listed will be returned to him.

In practice, this meant a player could start an auction for 6bn gold but only have 1.7bn taken from him to be put up for sale. Once he cancelled the auction, the game would return not only the 1.7bn that was deducted, but also 4.3bn in "dupe" gold. This process could be repeated indefinitely.

According to a post on Battle.net, Diablo III's official forum, one player used this method to accumulate 371 trillion of in-game currency.

Blizzard says it has now fixed the exploit and will not be instigating a "rollback", a reset of Diablo III which would revert the game and players back to their states before the patch was implemented:

"Maintenance has concluded, and the fix has been implemented," the company said on Battle.net. "At this time (and after careful consideration), we've decided to not move forward with rolling back the servers. 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.

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. While this is a time-consuming and very detailed process, we believe it's the most appropriate choice given the circumstances."

The patch, named patch 1.0.8 was originally intended to improve Diablo III's cooperative mode and implement fixes for general bugs.