The lights are on
Blizzard is taking a wildly unconventional step with its upcoming action/RPG. Diablo III will allow players to buy and sell items from each other using real money.
Each currency region will have its own auction house, accessible in-game. Players must pay a flat listing fee per item (though Blizzard is leaning toward giving everyone a small number of free listings per week), and set initial bids and buyout prices. Buyers can set their bids to automatically increase up to set levels rather than paying the buyout price, if they wish. When the item sells, Blizzard takes a flat cut of the sale, and the seller can choose to cash it out via a third-party payment processor (which will charge a percentage fee) or to leave it in their Battle.net account to use on any Blizzard digital product. These purchases could vary from full games to World of Warcraft subscriptions and sparkleponies.Once you transfer your funds to Battle.net, though, you can't choose to cash it back out into currency. Getting money out of the system is a one-time opportunity at the time of the sale. Blizzard says that this is for legal reasons; apparently if the company lets players withdraw money at will, it would face many additional legal requirements just like a bank.Any item in the game can be put up for auction, and you can set the price wherever you like. Blizzard expects prices to stabilize in the single-digit dollar range for most good items, with perhaps a few exceptional ones making it to double digits. That sounds about right as a back-of-the-napkin estimate, based on what we've seen in secondary markets for other games.Blizzard says it will not sell items directly. The auction house is strictly a player-to-player market – not that players would have any way to tell if the company slipped a few items into the economy, since the auction house is anonymous both ways. You'll never know who sold you an item, or who bought one of yours. There is no reason to assume bad faith on Blizzard's part here, but the fact remains that there is no transparency.All cash transactions must go through the auction house. You can still trade with your friends and give them items in-game just like in Diablo II, but you can't make any trades involving cash outside the auction house.A parallel in-game gold auction house will function identically with gold as the currency instead of dollars, euros, or pounds sterling. All of the functionality is shared between both markets.Hardcore characters – in Diablo terms, characters that are deleted upon death – are excluded from the real money auction house. They can still use the gold auction house, but all hardcore characters are permanently barred from the real money side.We all know that the gold farmers and other grey marketeers will look at this as an opportunity. Blizzard's stance is that they would do that anyway, and it intends to police cheating and botting as aggressively as ever. In fact, you can only play the game online (see the gameplay preview for more details) – every single Diablo III character is stored on Blizzard's secure servers.To hate, or not to hateBefore you fly off the handle (trust me, that was my first reaction too), consider the fact that the secondary market will exist whether Blizzard sanctions it or not. Heck, people still pay cash for Diablo II items. At least this way you're not giving your credit card to a shady gray market operator in China.That said, I wish there were a way I could flag a character to ignore the real money transactions and only play with other non-RMT heroes. Hardcore characters are like that already, but I don't always want to play hardcore style.Ultimately, Diablo isn't about competition nearly to the extent of World of Warcraft or a competitive shooter or RTS – game director Jay Wilson flat-out stated that he's not worried about achieving any kind of e-sport-viable balance in PvP. As long as I can still co-op with my buddies and have a good time taking down the prime evils (which is a question I'm not worried about the answer to, as my gameplay hands-on preview reveals), I'm not going to throw a huge fit over the RMT auction house.
and this is the start of the fall of mankind... and their wallets.
Lol, look at it this way... at least now you can quit your day job and earn money by playing something you love instead of working everyday :P Now you REALLY have no excuse not to play D3 24/7
The only thing that bothers me is that I will have much harder time trading items at the moment. Let say I have certain runes and would like to trade them for Windforce, will I find a trader with one willing to trade with me rather than getting money for it ?
they should just do this with in-game money.
Blizz is right, this kind of stuff would happen anyway, so why not try to embrace it and run it in-house, where there's some security and control? I wonder how the price market will end up shaking out. I'd be amazed if 6-8 months after release we're reading an article about someone who has turned selling digital items into a full-time job...
Good thing I don't care enough to buy items with real money.
This really is just a way for Blizz to make money off us without charging us to play per month.
I mean, everypony should be kind of angry about this (If that is okay... with you, of course... I mean). It is a cheap moneymaker for Blizzard and it will cause many people to spend too much money.
Well Blizzard is an awesome company back when I used to play WoW, and I think this is a new idea. I'm pretty sure no other company has tried this yet, and if I'm wrong, then never mind. But there are a bunch of gold farmers in WoW, and I agree that it would be more secure doing a transaction in Blizzard's servers. At least this way, gold farmers won't profit, but they'll still find a way.
I'm certainly not going to use a feature such as this in any game (For one I don't have the money. Two, I agree that it feels like cheating) but I suppose it does make sense, though it's certainly not the system I would've endorsed (business ethics is out the window apparently). I believe the term is gold farming? And it's been going on for a long time. At least now lazy players' transactions will be a little safer (and legitimate).