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Blizzard to remove real-money auction house from Diablo III

Blizzard to remove real-money auction house from Diablo III

Tue 17 Sep 2013 6:39pm GMT / 2:39pm EDT / 11:39am PDT

Developer acknowledges that it "ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot"

The idea of a real-money auction house in a Diablo game has been a controversial and divisive point for many gamers since it was first announced. While Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime first defended the idea, noting that it was being included "to provide convenience and peace of mind for those players who might otherwise turn to third-party services to buy items," the studio has now backtracked, saying it undermines Diablo III's gameplay.

In a post on the official Battle.net website, Blizzard has officially announced its decision to remove the gold and real-money auction house system entirely. The auction house system, which saw multiple delays before finally being implemented last June, will shut down on March 18, 2014.

"When we initially designed and implemented the auction houses, the driving goal was to provide a convenient and secure system for trades. But as we've mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot. With that in mind, we want to let everyone know that we've decided to remove the gold and real-money auction house system from Diablo III," said Blizzard's John Hight.

"We feel that this move along with the Loot 2.0 system being developed concurrently with Reaper of Souls will result in a much more rewarding game experience for our players. We're working out the details of how the auction house system will be shut down, but we wanted to share the news as soon as we made the decision in order to give everyone as much advance notice as possible."

9 Comments

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

287 182 0.6
Player did turn to third parties anyway and gold inflation went pretty crazy. The removal though may not change much in a positive way as third parties will just head back to what they are used to and/or adapt new strategies.

Maybe what was wrong in the RMAH was the very concept of nearly unlimited auctionning, encouraging "greed is good" in a collective and irresponsible way.

Controlling ingame economies and parallel markets in online multiplayers games and the consequences in real world's economy is obviously still a very lively challenge that will require from whichever publisher Who seriously wants to tackle the related issues to actually give up fighting over the money to have a more philanthropic and ethic oriented approach. Maybe then, after some time there will be a ROI and even profit, but first you need some sacrifices because at this game you cannot beat organisations and individuals who have infinitely more cynism and reach than you do by attempting to outplay them by acting the same while having "respectable business" constraint and definitely not a culture of policing and enforcement (nor any solid support provided by the legal context on those matters).

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 17th September 2013 10:19pm

Posted:A year ago

#1
I refused to ever use it... the fun is in bashing monsters and THEN getting the random loot... it amazes me sometimes that there seem to be people who, if given the chance, would pay just to press a button that would put them at the top of a leaderboard or give them the best equipment rather than go through the process of earning it.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,097 1,058 1.0
The auction house is nothing but a machine which converts unwanted loot, into wanted loot. In its core form, it is no different to certain crafting mechanisms which D3 received in the past, where players would salvage unwanted loot to then get materials to craft, hopefully, useful loot.

If Blizzard can address the issue of loot being divided in 1% maybe useful loot and 99% junk loot, then the auction house is, indeed, useless and can be removed. However, how does the program know what a player considers helpful loot in the first place? How does this affect the value of loot that it creates in the pleasure center of the brain upon dropping? It takes some time until you are a hardened pessimist about your drops. How will players react, if loot then is only another time gate which prevents them from progressing to the very end, hell monster power level 10? Remember, junk loot might have been junk loot, but it was still progress, since the auction house could convert junk into good items. If that catalyst is missing junk loot is junkier than ever.

A game such as Borderlands has shown how the absence of an auction house is not a bad thing for a loot driven game. It will be fascinating to see where Blizzard will take cues from Gearbox and where they will go another route. Not to mention seeing how the consumer reaction will be in all of this.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

287 182 0.6
Remember, junk loot might have been junk loot, but it was still progress, since the auction house could convert junk into good items. If that catalyst is missing junk loot is junkier than ever.
One man's junk was another treasure as well. Some builds (to optimize the skills) required to get your hands on very specific items that where pretty unpopular to most players going for more frequent/common builds. In example some specific Witch Doctor build required to be optimized that you go for Damage Return, Health Regen p/second, Stamina, Res to all and Intelligence on ALL ITEMS. The chance to drop as many items as you can equip with all those 5 stats and of course with reasonable values is pretty low for one player. What made those build viable, for the gearing part, was the support of the whole community as those items where often considered by most players as more or less junk. The disappearing of the AH, if done in full, will then make it much more difficult for the player who had those more or less weird builds to gear them up.
A game such as Borderlands has shown how the absence of an auction house is not a bad thing for a loot driven game
Although, if Blizzard removes the AH in full, since in-game direct trading will still be available that will mean (at least there is a big chance) we will see D3 trading site flourish and this including real currency transactions. While Borderlands2 is still on my wishlist I haven't played it yet, but I was wondering if there was any way there to trade loot (by trading built-in interface or simply dropping items) and obviously there is and whenever it is popular or not it is still happening.

Again, I believe trading interfaces are needed, social trading interfaces even more. But a fully liberalized economy where one can actually put any price on any item is only going to drive inflation on whatever currency becomes popular (should it be the in-game base currency like gold in D3, or player valuated items like Stones of Jordan unique Rings in D2) and the problem is not the trade interface but rather the principle of the auctions and the fact you give a full control of the economy to hardcore gamers and well farmers which may generate a quick unbalance or split with the experience of more casual (talking about the time they are being able to invest) gamers.
If Blizzard can address the issue of loot being divided in 1% maybe useful loot and 99% junk loot, then the auction house is, indeed, useless and can be removed.
Definitely, there was a sort of broken issue with both drop rates, itemization and well inventory management which Blizzard attempted to address through multiple patches. Additionally, unlike in Diablo2 where for example many Amazons used (mainly for pvp) some crappy gloves of a low level set because of their unique stats (slow+knockback) that could only be found on this item and were still viable gear for this class, this can hardly be done in Diablo3 as 80%+ of the character statistics (without Paragon levels) came from gear instead of level. There has been countless threads about the flaws of Diablo3 itemization and of course drop rate related concerns, which was actually more 0.1% usable items for 99.9% junk loot.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 18th September 2013 5:42pm

Posted:A year ago

#4

Edward Buffery
Pre-production Manager

149 96 0.6
I was very disappointed to see all the negative feedback regarding the auction house. It seems that a lot of players were complaining that it's necessary to use it heavily in order to progress, which is rubbish, frankly. I was never particularly interested in the auction house for the first 75% of my playtime, but after taking 1 toon halfway through inferno I did start just selling off a small minority of my loot, and by placing lowest bids on a few mediocre items I won the occasional bargain. I never felt compelled to buy anything for the buyout price though and definitely never felt that I NEEDED to use the ah. I'm confident I could have completed inferno with no ah use at all, it would have taken me a while and involved a lot of dying but the same goes for ANY game I attempt to complete at the highest available difficulty level, which is why I generally don't bother, along with getting bored of the repeating the same content for the nth time, which is actually the main reason I stopped playing.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
No Auction House!!! Yay!!!!

Posted:A year ago

#6

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,175 1,124 0.5
Well, the console version sure plays wonderfully without it. And in co-op with people in the same room, it's lovely...

Posted:A year ago

#7

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,097 1,058 1.0
The gamescom demo might be far from what is released in terms of loot 2.0, but it is interesting to point out that the same boss seemed to always drop the same legendary each run. Minor variations on the stats of course.

Eric pointed out that players required trade to go get the gear for specific builds and was right. However, if Blizzard took this process of finding the right gear and turned it into "finding the right boss" by eliminating random drops, then nobody needs the auction house, they only need to farm the right boss until the item drops. Much like Borderlands I might say (e.g. farming a Bee shield)

Posted:A year ago

#8

Axel Cushing
Writer / Blogger

104 130 1.3
Now all they need to do is get rid of the always-on connection. Without the AHs, their stated reason for always-on goes away.

Posted:A year ago

#9

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