Blizzard has been slowly revealing tidbits about Diablo III, with the most recent being a lore book to be released together with the title. The company now has introduced a new feature that focuses on the action role-playing game's new auction house system.
Players will be able to either use in-game gold or real money to purchase, trade, and bid for items with the respective currency; there will be separate auction houses for in-game currency bidding and real-world money transactions. Players can open up the interface within the game, in which they can sell items from a shared stash (essentially a storage shared among all a player's character classes on his or her Battle.net account) or from a single character's inventory. A seller will be charged a fixed transaction fee for each item listed in the auction house. The auction house will also feature a "smart search" functionality to automatically sort out items based on upgrades to tailor a player's in-game character.
Blizzard has said it will not plan to post items for sale in the auction house, as it is meant to be a player-driven system. While a concrete decision has yet to be made, the auction house will only be available to players once they reach level 10, according to producer Jay Wilson. Players using Hardcore mode will not be able to access the real-world currency-based auction house; instead they will use the "Hardcore-only" gold-based auction house.
The real money auction house will be split into different regions, each representing a specific currency. For example, if a player wishes to trade on a Singapore server, they will trade in Singapore dollars in that specific auction house. At this point in time, the auction house is expected to be available in North America, Europe, Asia, and Southeast Asia.
In other Diablo III news, the game will also require a constant Internet connection, even in single-player mode. Wilson said it was a decision the company made to offer persistent characters, the ability to play multiplayer with in-game characters that can be stored online forever, and enhanced security.
When asked about the justification of the decision, Wilson stated that 99.9 percent of gamers have an Internet connection. He added that if a player's connection drops, a player could die but the in-game penalty wouldn't be harsh (specifically a 10 percent decrease in durability for equipped weapons and items) unless the player is on Hardcore mode, in which case he or she loses the character permanently. He also said that piracy was a factor in this decision, but it wasn't "a deciding factor."
Blizzard also announced a banner system for the game, by which players will get to show off their achievements for Diablo III through an actual banner with symbols representing which parts of the game a player has completed.
Much like StarCraft II's server choices, players in Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia will have access to both local and US servers. Further region-specific details about the auction house and Battle.net will be announced later. For more information on a recent build of the game, check out GameSpot's in-depth hands-on preview.