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Diablo III

Diablo III Will Have Real Money Auction House

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 hate

Before 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.

  • sweet now i can live the dream life dungeon crawling drinking dr pepper all day and getting paid for it , THANK YOU DIABLO 3
  • I love how the majority of people are focusing on the fact that blizzard takes a currently non-descriptive amount out of the sale. Do you not understand how wonderful this is? It's not like blizzard takes every penny the sale is worth. They are allowing YOU the seller, to sell something relatively rare for pennies, dollars, euros, yen, what-have-you and make a fraction of a profit off of something that you'd probably be doing anyway for fictional currency. Running servers will not be free, it never is, and if I do not have to pay monthly to play I do not care if they took 50% of a $1.00 or even a $50.00 sale. Why? because the fact of the matter is you're getting a return on your investment no matter how little or big. If someone buys an item they really want, they get the item, blizzard makes a liaison fee, and the seller gets some money in their pocket. Oh and also : "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." Why the hell are people whining?
  • Black dye, $10!  lol  oh wrong game... ;)

  • Pretty cool, it'd be cool if they had something like this in WoW. It'd make it worth playing at this point.
  • As long as they don't have exclusive buy with cash only weapons/armors/etc. I can this as a positive. Because as many of you have said, I will not purchase anything with real money (I enjoy earning my gear) I will definitely enjoy making some cash playing a game I love and not feel like I have spent X amount of hours of my life playing a game for nothing lol.
  • No thank you! It's lame.

  • Seems like a good idea for blizzard, bad idea for my wallet.

  • I like it. People will do this illegally anyway, so why not provide an endorsed market that will also provide a little extra revenue for everyone? Personally, I hope there's an auction house for using in-game money as well, since I personally don't care to waste real money on in-game items.
  • wow...yep...
    1. They took out my Necromancer for a Voodoo Witch Doctor.
    2. They still haven't added a customizable character base.
    3. They put Real money in a f------ digital game...
    So many problems will exist...
    FLIP SIDE...
    I might get this game and make some money on the side if I am allowed to it seems.
    I Can farm items on the weekend, Sell it on AH for cheap (Like each item is 1 dollar) and make me some funny money. Hell pay for Other games and the cost it paid me to pay for the game itself.

    Will it x-fer to a pay-pal account? Or how will this work? o_o

    And good god....If I make enough to pay my bills....I might never have to work a normal 8-5 again...
  • blizzard is like activision so darn greedy for our money theres no way im gonna give those pansis any more money
  • wow



  • So how many more years til this game comes out and how much is a sparklepony?

  • Blizzard can suck my left nut for this! this is a horrible idea. can you say money pandering...?

  • Blizzard...is creating jobs...

    Something The US Congress has a problem with.

    Maybe Obama will back Blizzard and be like "Look Americans. LOOK at this! Its pretty much an Entreprenuership..."

    Oh god...is Guvment going to tax my earnings on a Digital Game? Please say no....That would be effin garbage...

    I sell a Green Item for 5 Cents, Blizz takes 2, Guvement takes 2...I get one...


  • Whoa, Diablo III is going to be online only???  Hearing this is making my head swim.

  • i never play a diablo game..but if it's free to play online then i would put in the time to collect the items to sell to the many idiots that would use real money to buy fake items..man, i love those idiots, the same idiots that would buy avatar items, finally i can make money off those idiots :)

  • i can see their point cash in on something that already happens and provide a safe way to do it, it just seems like people who don't really want to play the game are going to get unfair advantages if they're rich

  • This makes selling gold for real-world money, something they've been condemning for years, legal. But only now because they get a cut of your profits.

  • This is outright stupid. These games have their own currencies, better known as XP and credits earned through the usual various means. Why bother confusing people and forcing them to waste money on digital nothingness (just like Steve Jobs is making every i(Suck) owner do) is beyond me. Even Microsoft knows better. I would love to see an XP related credit account for the PSN. Real money is for real life, folks. What good is it to feed ourselves when we blow it on junk, eh?