Diablo 3 "auction house" to use real money

I've been waiting for Diablo 3 for ten years. However, Diablo 3 will now encourage players to buy and sell items for real money, which means I won't be waiting for it any more. [RPS]


  1. “We think it’s really going to add a lot of depth to the game. If I
    have more money than time I can purchase items, or if I’m leet in the
    game I can get benefits out of it.”

    I have an idea. Why not just set it up so that when you make a credit transaction of a certain amount, the screen lights up, stating “YOU WIN!!!!1111!!”

  2. People did this through eBay on Diablo 2, so Blizzard is being extremely smart in doing this to get a little of the action and giving its players the opportunity to profit from their playing legitimately instead of backhandedly.

    Instead of thinking “oh noes, other players will get to waste money to win easier” you should think “I can profit off of my copy of Diablo 3”. I know I will.

  3. Yep… I know where you’re coming from. Spending real money means it steps over the verge from being fantasy to having real world consequences (other than vast amounts of time wastage). Nothing good can come of going down this road.

  4. Considering that it’s not an MMO and you’ll be able to choose who you play with, the fact that such a marketplace exists should have little bearing on playing or not. By making it built-in Blizzard gives themselves control over what would have otherwise ended up on eBay. Also it’s not restricted to real world transactions. You’ll be able to spend in game gold as well.

    I’m not terribly thrilled about needing a constant internet connection to play, but I’ve never bothered try running Steam in offline mode so I’m not sure it matters much anyway.

  5. Probably not a popular move, but definitely a pragmatic one.  It’s been shown repeatedly that banning sales only results in a black market.

  6. I do wonder if this means one can make a half decent living on farming/trading items on this “Market place”. I for one would love to game the whole day and make a living out of it in a fairly easy way (instead of playing pro leagues). If this scenario is possible it will have some serious repercussions on our real lives. And ofc, Blizzard will earn a bit of money too. Ingame purchases are here to stay (at least for a while)! This way the players can earn a bit of money too. Awesome!

    1. I’ve got an acquaintance who still makes an okay supplementary income (relative to time invested) selling items for Ultima Online, a game originally released in 1997.

  7. I don’t see what the big deal is? The only difference between this and the kind of microtransactions you see in many other games is who you’re buying the items from. If you dont like it for whatever reason, then just don’t use it, but I don’t see how it means you “won’t be waiting for it any more” since  it will just be things that players are able to unlock ingame anyway.

    @quicksand You do realise you have to buy the game using real money in the first place right?

    1. The(potentially) ugly downside is that, once the game’s publisher/creator has a direct financial stake in in transactions, they have a temptation to start structuring the game in such a way that engaging in those transactions is “optional” in only the most technical of senses.

      Consider the “freemium” genre, those hordes of assorted, often browser-based, games that are free to play; but more or less quickly make it clear that progress beyond what is effectively the ‘demo’ will either take nearly infinite time, or require buying a variety of items adding up to the real cost of the game. Blizzard is unlikely to be so overtly crass, and they’ll have the purchase price in hand; but that is the style of gameplay distortion that can be reasonably expected to be associated with vendor-controlled transactions…

  8. It’s not a question of whether or not people will trade items for real world money. History shows that this will happen all on its own, whether the company wants it or not. 
    Its a question of whether the companies will recognize that people will do it or if they will send the lawyers after every single “unique item 3 dollar”-auction on ebay. I think it’s better to accept that this is happening then to deny it because some players like Rob are horrified that it will be used against them in some way. I don’t think they decided to go down this road with out considering that it would alienate a part of the audience. But as it was before, they were alienating the hard core segment of their player base. The people who will dump a game because they have the opportunity to buy a rare item for 20$ should come second to those who value the game so much that they are willing to buy a rare item for 20$. 
    That being said, I only intend to play D3 single player, and hope this will not have any real affect on how the game plays for people like me. If micro transactions become unavoidable, then it’s off my wishlist as well. 

  9. “Diablo 3 “auction house” to use real money”

    But not the only auction house.  There will be one that uses in-game gold as well.

    That RPS article is filled with half-thruths and sensationalism.  It’s “gaming journalism” at its finest.

  10. This is all such bullshit.  I want to go back to the days of Zelda.  I bought a game, I played it, it was incredibly fun, end of story.  I’ve been a video game fanatic for the last 25 years, but I have no interest in playing games that constantly bleed my bank account and rely on psychological manipulation for me to keep playing them.  I must be old, the saying “the good ol’ days” actually means something to me now.

      1. It was a general statement.  I don’t like that the game has the potential to constantly bleed my account, it changes the nature and spirit of the gaming experience on a fundamental level.  And if they start charging a monthly fee for being online with the game, which is required, then it will constantly bleed my account, like WoW would.  Certainly many people will be just fine with it, mostly people who don’t mind burning their money on imaginary swords and capes, but when continually spending money becomes necessary to play a game this crosses a line for me.  I’ll say it again, I long for the days of a buying good game, playing that good game, and that being the begin all and end all of the experience, both monetarily and otherwise.

  11. After years of online gaming, I’ve drawn a line.  If you can buy items:
    1) Directly from the company,
    2) That give you an in-game advantage (not cosmetic),
    3) That other people can’t get without real money,

    then I am gone.  So far, I’ve only had to leave an old DikuMUD that introduced the concept of “god-loaded” items.  This doesn’t even come close.  Still excited about D3 :)

    1. Yeah, totally agree with this logic here.  The moment an in-game, super powerful item *requires* real-life, paper money, it becomes altogether garbage.  However, I think Blizzard knows this and will always allow one to acquire in-game goods via hard earned (true, honest, Eddard Stark) time playing the game. 

  12. Honestly, I don’t mind the real money payment at all.  It already exists, and it allows you to try out nifty in-game toys without spending weeks, months, whatever, earning them ‘legit’.  And let’s be honest – the kids might have time to play all day, every day, but people with jobs only have so much time to devote.  And, if you pay for a game, you want to experience what it has to offer.  What’s so wrong with an alternate mechanism to do that?  Besides, it happens already, and clearly isn’t going away.  So what’s wrong with adding in-game elements to make it safer and simpler?

    THAT being said, the lack of single player bugs me.  I hate games that only let you play online, and imagine that you can’t possibly, ever have a reason to play offline. 

    Similarly, no mods kinda sucks.  I always liked being able to set up a private server, with just the friends I want to play with anyways, and play special maps, or have super high drop rates, or whatever, in games like this.  What do they lose if people use their own servers, rather than Blizzard’s, and what do they lose if people get to spend their time adding value to Blizzard’s properties?

    On the other hand, it WOULD be nice if they can ACTUALLY nuke bots.  No fun playing with a bot that swoops into your game, grabs all the good drops faster than you can click, and swoops out again.

  13. this money thing is only a problem for people who have A LOT of INTEGRITY.  

    the real problems are the “no mods” rule and no offline play.  

  14. oh, the QQ going on…

    Thomas Valley is right – there will be TWO auction houses, one gold, one real money. players who choose “hard mode” characters will ONLY be able to use the gold-based auction house. no buying your way to leetness with your credit card.

  15. i think the really interesting question that doesn’t seem to have been considered by blizzard, at least for US customers, is what this will do to the customer-base’s tax burden. There is a significant difference in “micro-transactions” where the game-publisher is earning that income, vs micro-transactions that generate income for the player-base from an income-tax perspective. the player base is now performing “work” that they are receiving compensation for in actual currency. This was already an interesting debate when the discussion was centered around work done in exchange for virtual currency, and now that its “real” currency instead, I predict an interesting debate.

  16. I’m not giving up on it! It just puts me in “hrm” mode for something that I always thought would be so huge it wouldn’t need to get mired in this sort of business. Let them use eBay.

  17. The “always-online” thing is going to be a major issue. You see, my mother, well into her 50s, LOVES Diablo. But she is also as good with the Internet as, well, someone in her 50s. She even bought a high-end gaming rig a few months ago thinking Diablo 3 would be out soon, and was disappointed to learn that it still didn’t have a release date.

    If she finds out it has to be online all the time, that is going to be a major turn-off, and I’d rather she stay excited about Diablo. It’s not like she plays any other non-Mario games. I would like her to still have this.

  18. I’m also A-OK with online-only and no mods. I like the idea of Diablo being extremely secure on those fronts (an opinion I imagine few share) because I played the original way back when and the cheating and general unpleasantness of open battlenet was so awful I just don’t care for it.

    1. “I’m also A-OK with online-only”

      That’s a very first-world internet view. Not everyone lives somewhere where there’s broadband available, you know.  Tying up a phone line can be unacceptable. 

      1. There’s an argument to be made that if you can’t manage to stay online to play Diablo 3 you probably shouldn’t be playing it in the first place.

        1. I don’t get that. I’m English, but working in India at the moment. Got a great PC, and a decent internet connection, but every few days there’s a powercut here. It only takes a second for my UPS to kick in and keep the AC and fridge etc running, but that second is enough to trip the router and lose my connection. Having to play the game online-only basically means I can’t play it while I’m here. Pretty annoying, but in the end they lose my money, and another company benefits. And I lose less of my life playing Diablo

  19. I played Diablo II almost exclusively single player, but always online so the character was ‘saved on the server’ and free to jump into MP games now and again. It was easy to just create games for oneself — just a bit annoying to have to queue now and again.

  20. No mods doesn’t bug me because th history of Diablo mods is exclusively in the realm of “this sword does 90000000000000000 damage” Th real money thing simple legitimises what’s been a major element of WoW for many players. The no offline play bugs me. I want to be able to play my game when i want to play it, internet or no.

    1. Eastern Sun says otherwise, and I know a number of people who’ve been playing that exclusively for the last four years.

  21. @ace0415
    Remember the smell of the “The Legend of Zelda” manual? The NES one. Good memories. I do not have these memories with current day games to be honest. Partially due to digital distribution of course. (-8

  22. Actually, AgeOfConan sort of did something like this a while ago.  They have a split system where if you renew your sub, you get various goodies.  They also have a cash shop where you can buy certain vanity and low-level PVP items as well as unique items.  You can’t play offline, but you do get “offline credit” time once your character hits top level for secondary skills.  It hasn’t wrecked the game (which went from sub-only to FTP a while ago).  And, if anything, I WISH they would ban bots and mods; especially on their new PVP server the instances of weeniedom that could be prevented by this would be huge. 

    So, for me, this move is a non-stopper.  Now, as long as the game doesn’t suck as badly as Duke Nukem Forever…

  23. The problem with letting people use e-bay is that’s a breach of service that can get their accounts shut down. This is providing essentially the same service as e-bay but in a supported way that they control. Also that they make money off of. Later in the interview they said that you would be able to use the in game gold to purchase items as well just that they wanted the choice to be available to the players.

    Anyhow not anything I’m worked up over. This is the evolution of gaming, people want to buy power, so games let them. I won’t ever pay for power, but I’ll sell it.

  24. Hmm, I really don’t like MMORPG games, I like to play for myself, or maybe with a few friends or people I know, but not with some random internet character. For me at least, it’s sad that you can’t just play for yourself… I wanna play, not “make friends”. Anyway… I hope there’s gonna be an option in the future for that. I mean, if they still don’t have a release date, why not introduce some changes based on the public feedback.

  25. “which means I won’t be waiting for it any more”

    Because this is somehow new, and unique to Diablo 3? This was going to happen anyway. Having it out in the open is a good thing, not a bad thing.

    “Nothing good can come of going down this road.”

    We started down that road so long ago, we’re already a state over, having dinner at a roadside diner.

    “1) The game requires a constant internet connection. It cannot be played offline.”

    This, I agree, is a problem.

  26. I like the option to buy stuff with real money. I’ve only played WoW, and only for a few months, but I found that because my play style doesn’t really mesh with the most popular styles (I don’t put a lot of time in, and I like exploring the world and story (finding and reading the virtual books, checking out the sights, etc)), I pretty quickly end up being gold-starved and have difficulty accessing higher levels areas without spending lots of time doing the ‘run there, kill those’ grind, which I don’t find particularly entertaining.

    So I like the idea of being able to just buy more powerful items so I can continue to progress without having to spend my limited play time farming value (I already farm value IRL, I don’t need a job in my games).

    I wouldn’t mind at all if they had classes of items that were powerful against NPCs, but worthless against other players and in raids. That would let me explore and play in the the shared world the way I prefer, but without skewing PvP toward people who buy items. It would even give people who spend countless hours there another way to ridicule me, beyond my abysmal competitive ability.

  27. No offline single player kills it for me.  I didn’t buy Darkspore because of this, and now Diablo 3 loses a sale as well.

  28. No Diablo 3 for me either. Played and enjoyed 1 and 2 both more than once. Only played single player and no interest in grouping.

    Having to put up with using bandwidth whilst playing single player games and having problems due to ISPs overselling bandwidth and using naff old copper adsl. Not a hope for single player

    Yes in an ideal world we would all have superfast, no limit at all broadband, always on and never having a slowdown or problem no matter how many other people in the house might want to use it for whatever they are downloading/watching etc…. But we don’t… and this is JUST to be able to play the single player game side of things.

    Not a hope.

  29. What’s really disturbing (to me) is that it has DRM installed that requires you to be always online.  So no playing on the airplane for example.  Also, no modding.  RMT is pretty low on the concern list compared to those two issues.

    From a good essay at http://whatgamesare.com/2011/08/keeping-players-at-bay-diablo-3.html …

    In short: the game will insist on using always-online authentication, forbid modding (allowing access to the engine or tools), and include a market for the buying and selling of items. The first means you won’t be able to play the game on a plane. The second means that fans will not be allowed to fully express themselves. And the third means that those with more money may progress faster.

  30. Does the whole “have to be online” thing mean that there pretty much ISN’T a single player mode? Or just that you need a stable internet connection while playing single player as well as multiplayer?

    1. You’ll still be able to keep other players out of your games, but you’ll be playing online, and your character information will be hosted online rather than locally. 

  31. From the always insightful Tycho, of Penny Arcade:

    “Blizzard has no plans to sell items themselves – oh no! – but the
    sellers are anonymized, so… hm. Apparently you’re supposed to report
    things like these with a straight face.”


    I don’t care about the real money AH thing.  I was always cool with WoW trying to give some love to the casual gamers (while, of course making a special place for hard-cores only), and that’s what I see this as.

    On-line only might kill it for me.  I got the pipes, but I don’t dig that philosophy.


  32. Assuming the rare game loot are still random drops, and they represent a real-dollar value, wouldn’t this in effect represent online gambling? Swords & Slots?

    1. As I understand it, for it to be considered gambling, you have to wager something. The program costs money, but there is no additional charge to keep killing monster after monster.

  33. I view real money transactions, in this case, as a lot like a decriminalized drug trade. It’s the kind of thing that can’t be stopped- the demand is great enough that a market will emerge regardless of official policy. By officially sanctioning a market, more people will end up buying… but fewer people will end up hacked, and the company will get a revenue stream that can be used to support further game content.

    True, this will allow people who spend money to progress faster and easier than the common schlub. However, Diablo is not, by nature, a competitive game, so it will matter a great deal less than it would in other types of games. It doesn’t hurt you at all to have other people in your game that are more powerful than you, and you’ll never be in a game with more than three other people anyway, so it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to find more pleasant replacements if somebody rubs you the wrong way.

    The change does mean that PvP will start to resemble a Magic: The Gathering tournament, in that only people with significant dollar investments will be on anything near the same competitive level. However, as they have made the design choice to neglect PvP balance in favor of keeping the larger co-op game fun and balanced, PvP matches with even odds were a pipe dream from the get go.

  34. I don’t get what all the crying is about.

    Diablo is not a PVP game.  If some guy you’re not playing with bought all the best equipment in the game… how does that affect you at all?  It doesn’t.  He can’t randomly come over and kill you.  You’re not competing with him.  So who cares what he does?

    As for being online…. it’s the way most games are these days.   I’m guessing it won’t be much of a bandwidth hog, since it’s basically just verifying that you’re not cheating and storing character information online.  If you’re playing by yourself, you won’t be passing much information up to the server.   How about we wait and see how it handles less than perfect internet connections before we complain too much?   It does sound like you won’t be able to play on the plane, which is unfortunate.

  35. This is just one of several announcements (particularly the character classes) and delays that has convinced me that Blizzard doesn’t understand the enduring appeal of D2 and really just wants the players to shut up and get WoW. I’ve stopped caring ever since I got Torchlight.

  36. Does Blizzard get a cut of the sale?

    If they do, then there’s major pressure to tweak the game mechanics (just a little) to make it difficult to succeed without spending extra money.

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