Diablo III to have online auction house

Players able to buy weapons, armor, and rune stones with real-world money; game also requires constant online connection.

308 Comments

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.

A shot of the Diablo III auction house interface.
A shot of the Diablo III auction house interface.

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.

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DawnBlue

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I don't get people who complain about this real-money auction house. You are not forced to buy anything, and yet you can make sell any rarities you come across. So while playing a (hopefully) good game, I also have a chance to actually earn some real money. What's not to like? The auction houses wont even be flooded (too) badly with items from farmers when when they are split between regions.

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grokh

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the latest news of diablo 3 has made my long wait feel useless. Ive completely lost interest for it as well as any hope that blizzard would grow a soul. That being said im looking forward for Torchlight 2 that wont rape me for all my money.

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nimd4

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@DarthMaximus I gave you thumbs up, even though your post is clearly a rant..;) Anyway, no joke, it's messed up the way everyone is tryin' to make money on everything; perhaps I could even go with it -- if items would cost like $0.10 but fat chance for that. :$

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fillup0

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*Sigh* Time to remove all my debit details from Battle.net to prepare for the upcoming hackathon...

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DarthMaximus

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The auction stuff is really to early to make a call on, it very well could ruin the game completely, only after release will this be known, if to many players feel they have to spend more real cash to play the game at the whatever level it will certainly ruin it for many, like DLC the answer may never really be known because they can not calculate how many sales they lose to balance it against. All that said almost no games anymore have decent co-op models that can played on a lan, which is what I was hoping for in D3 and the always online thing ruined it for me, StarCraft 2 is so slow booting and connecting even with cable connection for me at times that it just collects dust, so D3 which was highly anticipated is a no longer a product our home will be purchasing which only costs blizzard 3 sales, insignificant, however I do have to wonder how many sales like this blizzard will lose with these decisions as opposed to how many new sales they will get because of them, to me, it seems they are actually risking the lose of profits in the long run. In the end I am not one of these people who will sit on a high horse claiming that if I had an opportunity to make more money from my work I would not, so I will not call blizzard greedy like so many others garnering images of a fat white man with a cigar behind a desk somewhere, it is their product, and DUH profit is what they are creating it for, however in this case I will be chosing not to purchase it.

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Steel_Rain777

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A highly anticipated game, has turned into a complete pass in my eyes. Pure Cash Cow just like Starcraft 2 being split into three parts. Seriously, pardon my French, but F$%^ You Blizzard/activision

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1q3er5

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Buy Torchlight 2 instead, that will send a stronger message

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916supermann22

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PC gaming is dying and the developers are the ones killing it...too bad man. sooo much trouble is coming this game's way its unimaginable. I'm not buying and I would strongly caution anyone else from buying or putting any kind of credit card info into it cuz it's gonna get hacked real quick.

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szafto

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not going to buy

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kokonut1971

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wow, so this game is turning into a wow clone or what? so if you want the decent axe, you wont grind for it you ll have to pay for it since all the asset in game will barely be able to sustain you in your fights...is that the general plan now?

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JSusie

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#1 way to ruin friendships? Money. I can only imagine how terrible any sort of public game is going to be in D3. Everyone will hate everyone. Look at how bad people fight over loot in WoW. Now add real money to that, and your problems get multiplied ten fold. This game is going to be a hacker/botter/scammer paradise.

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Philly1UPer

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lol, Rottonwood and Frame_Dragger are ALWAYS going at it. Always.

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FrostBox

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@Rimtutituki Truer words were never spoken

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killrz1

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In the end it's your choice to part with your money. Any developer has the right to try to market and sell what ever product it desires. Will the real money AH be a success? Will the lack of non-online single player damage sales? These are questions to be answered by the market. Blizzard has probaly put multiple millions of $$$$ into this project, and in the end it is their right to sell the product in whatever form they see fit. It is also your choice to buy, or not to buy. Vote with your dollars. .....side note, I'm buying this game.

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Ansem_Rev

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@slysin Yes there will be. they have already stated that....

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Barighm

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@Gravity_Slave It's his wife.

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deactivated-5fd45692418c6

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I'll just quote Shamus on this one: "Over the past few years, I hopefully waited for PC gamers to draw the line, somewhere. Okay, they accepted Steam. Then they accepted something like Steam, except stupid and horrible and broken. They accepted Steam, plus third-party activation. They accepted install limits. They accepted having bits of the game locked away behind day-one DLC. Now they’re accepting a setup with all of the restrictions of Steam, none of the convenience, and the additional requirement that they remain always online. Will the public ever draw a line? I doubt it. They’ve already given everything away on principles. No ownership, no control, no resale rights, no right to return if the game fails to run, no right to install and uninstall at will. From here, further abuse will simply be a matter of degree..."

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Warlord_Irochi

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@holtrocks You know you can get the stuff by properly playing, right?. That you are not forced to buy the items in that AH?

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holtrocks

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O sure i will gladly buy the game for 60 dollars and then have to buy in game stuff sure why not the economy is doing so well we all just have money to burn ( yes sarcastic )

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cycoknob

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they should divide this into 2 domains, "players and payers" and have your character commit to either one, with no way of transfer between the 2 domains. the same with single player.. online or offline play... and everyone is happy.

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Frame_Dragger

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@Rottenwood: None of that has changed in the case of games like WoW, nor is there any reason to believe that it won't be the case in Diablo III. I'm sorry, but like Second Life which thrived on it, this is legitimizing a kind of play that simply ISN'T play. Selling accounts and characters is not going to change here; the only difference is that Blizzard Activision is getting a piece of SOME of the action. This is called abject surrender, when other options exist... once again, a central bank of Diablo is one option; there are others. I'd add, there are people who enjoy MMO's (I'm not one of them), but personally I think the dysfunction you see in them is a result of a flaw in their model as games. Diablo III is tending in the direction of being a MMO, and is suffering those same issues. BBS games went the way of the dinosaur... and 50 mile walk through snow... given time so will these. Online economies are going to become extended beyond the MMO/Hemi-MMO region, and by that time there will either be controls available using market forces and economic theory, or there will be virtual crashes. Of course, you have something (absurdly NOT fun) like Second Life which avoids this by having the "loot" in question be a customer-created object, custom made. Maybe the lesson here is that depending on card-game style trading in what is really a single-player -> small-community-co-op game, on a GRAND scale is not a viable model for a game. Certainly these kinds of gimmicks, and restrictions such as the always-on SP are only viable because of the fanbase Diablo has. @Richardthe3rd: ...Because GS couldn't code and debug a site with over a decade and divine intervention. :roll: There's a workaround, left-carrot s right carrot left carrot forward-slash s right carrot. (carrot being the brackets for any HTML tag) No spaces in what I just described. Just as you'd use those brackets around 'br', what I described works here reliably. Don't forget to have a full blank line below that, and then the text... isn't GS wonderful? ;)

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X-7

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Wow. I am not buying this now. My internet drops all the time and if I lose item durability due to that BS then I wont be buying. It should not hurt your character if you lose connection. It should just save everything for the next time you boot up. When it starts it should be frozen in place until you hit a button to resume so you can see what is going on around you so you DON'T DIE and you DON"T LOSE ANYTHING. Blizzard is becoming a POS company. No Warcraft 4 but we get WoW which is way overated. We also get to pay more for SC2 which is now 3 parts so now we get to pay $60 plus whatever the new chapters cost. I am about to tell ActiBlizzard to shove it.

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Richardthe3rd

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why does this blasted forum remove line breaks? >:(

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Richardthe3rd

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Purists can afford to ignore the RMAH if they want to, they can also choose to ignore trainers, hacks, and duplicated SoJ's as a trading medium. Just because something pervaded D2's community doesn't mean it belongs in the game, nor does it mean it can't be excluded through smart design. If it takes too long and is too much hassle to level to 99, why not just let me buy levels? Or extra stats? These types of discussions could be next on the docket, since they provide similar time saving benefits. You take it too far, and the game no longer has a spine, or at least, you're playing with a bunch of people who've removed it from their experience and the community sucks hard. P.S. @Frame_Dragger: Thanks for the line break tip, one less thing that will make me look like a brainless mongoloid on these forums :)

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Richardthe3rd

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@Rottenwood "With thise move, Blizzard isn't so much legitimizing this style of play, as countering it by simply bringing it to light. " I feel like Blizzard is absolutely legitimizing this style of play, as buying gear through ebay or elsewhere is a pervasive practice anymore. By doing this, they're simply transplanting the market into their own product and certifying it. All business considerations aside, I think it's the game that suffers. As someone with increasingly limited time for games, simply saying that this benefits players like me isn't adequate. The RDAH loosely creates a scalable time comittment, where using cash allows you to dictate the amount of time you commit to the game. Unfortunately, such a tool already exists for every game ever created; the "uninstall programs" operation under control panel. If you've had your fun with a game, that's it, you achieve whatever your efforts gave you and roll it up. If I can only throw the dice so many times on that Baal run and it never pays off, or I can't trade the item I don't need for what I want, well, I walked in the front door knowing this and that's that. As already stated, this is a video game; a completely optional commodity. Why even play if you're going to just modify the nature of it with external influence?

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Rottenwood

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@Frame_Dragger "In principle however, what @Richardthe3rd is saying about shifting the joy of gaming from, "I got X gear to play with," to, "I got X gear I can sell for 10 dollars," is just sad. I think it's an issue that corrodes a game and its experience." Except Blizzard (and other developers) tried this approach, and PLAYERS ruined it. Diablo 2 was an enclosed system of 'earned' loot, but the Internet allowed people to use E-Bay, PayPal, and other systems to sell each other rare items, characters, or entire accounts. EverQuest, WOW, and countless other titles fell the same way. ActiBlizzard is NO saint, but it was the greedy opportunism of our fellow gamers that started this ball rolling. With thise move, Blizzard isn't so much legitimizing this style of play, as countering it by simply bringing it to light. They certainly don't need to concede to the "unstoppable" gold-farmers and continue business as usual. If their product is going to spawn some bizarro mini-economy, it's not only their right but their imperative to take it under control and assume a portion of the profits earned on THEIR software running on THEIR realms. Blizzard is in the entertainment business, and there is clearly a large demand for this service. Not on here, the home of us grungy old-school gamers who walk uphill to work in the snow for fifty miles every day, but in the market at large. It's good service.

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Frame_Dragger

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@Rottenwood: Blizzard has a LOT of experience with gold farming, which has become a valid real-world economy, especially in Asia. They have to know by now that there is no stopping them, so their solution is to BECOME them through normal users as their proxies. The magnitude of the industry in WoW alone (which is Activision/Blizzard) shows that this is not going anywhere with the current model. I have no real issue with people spending money for virtual goods, not in the least because I don't play the kind of games which lend themselves to this model (Diablo included). In principle however, what @Richardthe3rd is saying about shifting the joy of gaming from, "I got X gear to play with," to, "I got X gear I can sell for 10 dollars," is just sad. I think it's an issue that corrodes a game and its experience. Is it optional? Yeah... so is gaming in general, but obviously people who have either a surfeit of money or time have an advantage. The people on this earth with unbelievable amounts of free time, who have always been around in gaming, are a pretty tiny minority. The people who have some cash to spend on gear or gold is a HUGE majority, and that causes inflation not just of gold, but the value of gear. You end up with superweapons in the end, because nothing is good enough when lvl 1 and lvl 99 are just a price-point away. You can't avoid statistical outliers, but what this does is nothing at all to alleviate that; in fact you just create another set of those outliers in larger quantities. There are ways they could have dealt with this that don't involve the AH... that improve the game. Instead, they went for revenue at the cost of the gaming experience; note, it's not the revenue that is bad, it's the the cost that it comes with. Yes, it's not my type of game; I hate MMO's, I've never really cared for Diablo, but it's part of gaming and who knows what the future holds? I'd be a fool to remain unconcerned about a move like this by such a major industry player.

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Rottenwood

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@Richardthe3rd It's an interesting idea, but 'farming' for gear creates its own inherent problems. As I noted in my post, it shifts the power from big spenders to people with lots of free time. This sounds more fair because we've internalized the idea of 'earning' gear via the grind, but I'm not entirely convinced. It sets up a scenario where the 10-hours-a-day crowd has elite gear within a week, and everyone else in their greens/occasional blues is getting stomped into paste because of item imbalance. To level the playing field, the average or casual player gets to spend dozens (if not hundreds) of PVP missions serving as cannon fodder until they can upgrade. I think we both remember the end result of this: a bunch of 'players' sitting in the corner of a PVP battlefield to harvest tokens, and occasionally tapping an arrow key to avoid being kicked out. Because the AH is optional, I think it's the best call. Purists can simply avoid it altogether and only use gear they found themselves. If Pennybags bought himself all-gold elite gear and one-shotted Baal, good for him... it doesn't effect my buddies and I. It can't be any worse than Diablo 2 was, which got so badly compromised that naked players were killing bosses with sex toy weapons they hacked into the game.

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Richardthe3rd

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All RMAH does is allow players to pay to take some of the randomness out of loot accumulation; if Blizzard had wanted to take some of this randomization out they could have. Instead of getting excited about finding a piece of gear you can build a character around, now players will get excited about something they'll be able to sell for $10. Just feels like a cheaper thrill to me; instead of encouraging gameplay RMAH encourages me to exploit my fellow player.

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Richardthe3rd

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@Rottenwood Actually, your point about WoW's PvP gear is interesting, because it offers a solution that could have been implemented to negate the need for a RMAH, or at least marginalize its impact on the game. In WoW PvP, you purchase gear (at least you do now, pretty sure you did in BC also) with honor points that you gain from pvping. So in effect, playing the game gives you access to gear that will make you better at it. Why wouldn't that work here? Create untradeable gear sets for each class that can be earned by accumulating a specific, untradeable currency by performing some related task that basically sets you up for success through the end of the game. There's less opportunity for this pay to win trap, less opportunity for exploitation (unless you can sell/trade characters) and it gives the player a goal to strive for. Maybe it doesn't net you the best gear in the game, but it does take the uncontrollable urge to engage in pay-to play activities, however sanctioned, and sets your character up for a situation where they could farm and earn such gear themselves if the player chooses. I just think more moderate approaches like this would've been better. Of course, you could just say "then why don't you go play WoW" (and I am) but this just works in that game.

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Rottenwood

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@Frame_Dragger Your solution ignores one key issue: ActiBlizzard has no interest in working with or around the goldfarmers. They want them destroyed. Blizzard isn't paying a small fortune a month in servers so that a bunch of shadow factions across the pond can run their illicit quasi-businesses in their gamespace, wrecking their economy and cornholing their atmosphere with spambots. The best way to take them out is to render their goods worthless, and this does that. (Gold will still be needed for day-to-day in-game expenses, but even the gimpiest player will be able to earn that.) The 'pay to win' discussion is a fair one, but that predates the Diablo 3 AH by a long mile. Back when I played WOW (we're talking the Burning Crusade here), the best way to win at PVP was to purchase the elite BOE items for your level bracket. The best way to do THAT was to buy gold, since said items cost a king's ransom on the auction house. Whether it's real money or in-game gold, you can't prevent people from bribing their way to glory. And really, does it matter if someone is using real money, or time that you don't have? Is the rich kid any worse than the basement guy who plays ten hours a day and simply beats you by sheer attrition? As long as the game is playable at any pay level, I think it's kosher.

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lordliberty

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I wonder if we'll be able to dupe items on the ground by clicking a potion in our tray?... Godly Plate of the Whale.... Godly Plate of the Whale... Godly Plate of the Whale ;)

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Shardz7

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I get the distinct feeling that this game will be even more of a letdown than Duke Nukem Forever was during that whole amazing fiasco. I can appreciate their thoughts about the subjects they mention, yet can't understand them, either. The only positive aspect I picked up from this past week is the fact that your characters won't be deleted every 30 days like the old games. I still prefer the vibe and look of the originals from what I've seen and I miss the days when Blizzard frowned upon people paying $240 for Enigma runes.

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Frame_Dragger

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@IamTheBesteva: You're kidding, right? If not, then let me get this straight; you're FOR stupidity and against clear expression? :roll:

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Frame_Dragger

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@Rottenwood: There is no reason to believe that mechanisms which exist in real life to control the value of money couldn't be implemented in a game. One of the lovely aspects of a centralized banking system is that as gold farmers... farm, they reduce the value of their own product. A rare item is still rare and desirable if it's hard to get, you just kill the market for gold. Getting gold from drops is still fine, because you adjust prices in-game (with the required always-on connection) to reflect the real-adjusted value of a gold piece. Farming for gold however, becomes an exercise in devaluing your own product. Is it perfect, no, but I'm not aware of a perfect economic model. One issue here, as was pointed out by Penny Arcade, is the absurd contrast being trying to keep people from cheating, while offering them the ability to buy their way to success. There is no parity in how much player A or B can spend to do that, so gold is still a variable-value item based on how much disposable real-money you have. In-game economic restrictions and structures would keep that from being a factor as well.

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Kooken58

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I hear bobby kotick is the main boss of diablo 3...cuz he is just soo evil.

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Rottenwood

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@Frame_Dragger A 'central bank/money control' type system wouldn't really work. Depending on how you structure it, it either screws the super-hardcore players (because they're only allowed to have as much money as the once-a-week guy) or the casuals, if you go by percentages, who will only be able to make four gold pieces a session and won't even be able to manage repairs. Never mind the havoc that gold-farmers would bring upon such a system. Of course, screwing the gold farmers is probably half the reason the Auction House is being implemented. Any sort of in-game currency is going to be subject to video game inflation or farming/exploits/etc. Real world cash is the only solution that cuts gold farmers off at the knees and ensures a standardized exchange rate.

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IamTheBesteva

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would you guys shut up with the proper grammar ? i feel like im in school.. go talk on msn

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Frame_Dragger

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@Rottenwood: Your point was that this is the only way to maintain the value of gold within Diablo III, and mine is that you don't need to resort to mechanisms which raise revenue. You can't just take that out of context man; resorting refers to the means by which you keep gold a useful in-game currency. Period. Tying the in-game to a real-world economy is in deed an extreme resort compared to something incredibly simply such as having a "central reserve bank" of Diablo III, based on the current number of users. That bank controls circulation of gold, the value of objects at stores, and how much gold is dropped. As for criticisms of this, which I would also make outside of our particular discussion, IMO this is going to harm the experience for gamers. If you can raise revenues without damaging your product, great, but this is not the case IMO.

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Kirintar

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I am going to make so much money off of the kiddies.

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wickdawg01

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Enhanced securtity?! What? That makes no sense. They are making it online for enhanced security......whereas if it was offline we couldnt be attacked by hackers at all.....

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rasputin177

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The sad thing is they know we will still buy the game so they feel they can do whatever they want. Lost my respect Blizzard, but not my money and that's all you care about right?

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jamyskis

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Blizzard of today is a mere shadow of its former self. Of all the atrocious behaviour I've seen from publishers over the past few years, this about comes out tops. This strikes me as just irresponsible and reckless. Blinded by the opportunity to make a fast buck, they do not seem to have given any thought to the problem of introducing a real-world currency aspect to the game. We've all seen what happens when real-life enters the equation. The fact of the matter is that when there's real money involved, there are plenty of people that will go to criminal lengths to enrich themselves. There will no doubt be countless reports about people's accounts being hacked, phishing, fraud and online disputes turning into real-world death threats. But will Blizzard care? I very much doubt it. Every time such a report comes out, Activision/Blizzard will probably crank up the PR machine to spew out some press release on how "regrettable" it is, how "isolated" the incident is and how "great" Diablo 3 is. Anyhow, belonging to the "1%" who apparently has a bad internet connection, I am unable and unwilling to buy this trash anyway. I'll stick with Diablo 2 thanks.

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lithus

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@Gravity_Slave: its probably his BFF! "Shakes come and go but friends are furrr-ever!" lmao loved that movie! what happend to that comment, just saw it? anywho as for Blizz's in-game auction, its just another way to make money while giving gamers an opportunity to get stuff they otherwise couldn't get. seems fair.

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Rottenwood

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@Gravity_Slave Regardless of whether or not Gamer X actually 'owns' the Beheading Sword Of Awesome he buys, I fail to see the issue. It's a voluntary purchase. Not one I'd make, but I don't buy frozen yogurt or golf shoes either, and their existence fails to bother me. If Diablo 3 proves to be an unwinnable game without buying elite gear, I'll retract my support. If it's simply a good business move to capitalize on the 'MUST HAVE!' nature of some of their fans, then who cares? If the helmet means that much to them, it's win-win.

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Gravity_Slave

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@Rottenwood: um no. thru the terms and conditions agreement is the gamer is only allowed to play said game, not copy, distribute and/or sell. There is no user licensing going on or legal obligation for the end user. There IS an actual product being sold, copy or not. With an online auction of fake goods here....they're just selling an "idea" of something "after the fact". Even then, there is no ownership. Just the idea. And you never did answered my question...took the time to alert a moderator tho ;)

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Gravity_Slave

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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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Rottenwood

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@Gravity_Slave Actually, through various legal loopholes, the goods are inherently fake. You're licensing the software; you don't actually own it. Many gamers hate the EULA for this very reason. All you really own is a used DVD.

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Gravity_Slave

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@Rottenwood: Speaking of "awkward". lol Just saying dude. Been wondering about that for a while. Had to ask, but there's just no nice way of bringing it up. Is it insulting? Yes. But its not a direct insult with name calling or anything. Soo... What IS the deal with the pic man? I'd be surprised if no one has asked before. FYI, owning the game disk with a game on it isn't fake goods man. Online bidding? Those are things that should already be in the game and EARNED through actual play. Nice try.

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