Diablo III Countdown: 2 Auction Houses
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Recently Blizzard announced something new and something very unusual coming to Diablo III. It is something no MMO has actually seen before under legal terms and as you can assume it got a lot of attention. What is this mystery I am speaking off? They introduced the new concept of an Auction House, but it isn’t your typical auction house. This time it is not only possible to buy items with the in-game currency but also with your credit card! Not only items can be sold or bought for real money but even characters can be traded. This seems like indirect support of gold farming to me.
As you might have guessed a lot of bad publicity filled the Internet and a lot of players are actually rethinking whether or not they should buy the game. Gold Farming services have been a pain in the ass for most game companies and the majority of the player base that shies away from their services. Almost every MMORPG that is quite popular or lacks proper moderating gets spammed in the global chat channels with links to gold selling websites. Not only is it the annoyance that made people upset, but also the fact that a lot of little children in China are set up to farm something for days with only a few hours sleep a day and barely enough food to survive. In this article I will be taking a closer look to how this system actually works.
The Auction House mechanism that will be featured in Diablo 3 has two varieties. There will be the gold based auction house where players can sell their items, crafting materials, gear and even characters for gold which is the normal in-game currency. And there will be the RMT which stands for the Real Money Transaction that is the secondary auction house. On this auction house players can sell their items, characters and other stuff they have looted or don’t need any more of for real money. There will be two types of servers you can play on, and the Auction House is restricted between the Softcore characters and the Hardcore characters so it cannot influence any gameplay on opposing sides.
The interface is quite easy and simple to use, every player can open up the Auction House menu at any point in time. The items for sale are categorized for ease of use. There are also some nice filters in place so you can find a piece of gear with a specific enhancement on it. Even better, you can run a scan on your character and be provided with a list of items you could perceivably use to upgrade your gear. I personally find this function really helpful and I can’t wait to play around with it. You can also find a transaction history through the battle.net client to show the player what they bid on, what they have won and what they have lost. All the items that you put up for auction or items that you have purchased from the auction house are sent to the shared stash. The shared stash is a space that can be increased in size by purchasing larger tabs. This is quite helpful since it will not stuff your backpack while traveling or wandering through dungeons.
There is also an auction fee required whether you put something on the Auction House with gold or real money currency. The fee will prevent players from putting useless items that nobody ever wants or searches for on the auction house and thus not flooding the system. There is no real info on how much the fee will be for either versions of the auction house.
It is somewhat good to see Blizzard implementing a system like this. Back in the old days of Diablo 2 and up until now there are a lot of illegal transactions that have been set up by some community sites. One of the best ways to get the desired item you needed for your character in Diablo 2 was visiting one of these sites to trade with fellow players and pay with real money or a ridiculous amount of in game currency which ruined the game. Unfortunately the system also has a lot of flaws and supports some services which have been growing in Chinese basements.
On the upside, by allowing regular players to compete with these large organizations, it should flood the market and substantially lower the real world prices on gear. This in turn might lower the profit margins enough that some gold farming companies won’t bother anymore. It should turn into quite an interesting social experiment to watch. Knowing Blizzard they might be creating something soon to be copied throughout the MMO world.