A Look at the Diablo III Auction House Shutdown
Well, shocking news has recently come out that Diablo III is shutting down the real money auction house and the gold auction house on March 18th, 2014. This is shocking news for many players and is met with mixed reception. For most, it’s actually good news, it removes a lot of the bad stigma associated with the game and actually makes playing the game a much more rewarding experience. For others, the real money auction house was one of the core reasons they’re playing the game.
Let’s look at the main issue that Blizzard is citing with the auction house. That is that it makes it too easy to obtain loot and removes the rewarding loot experience when you can just easily buy good loot. That happiness you get when you randomly find an upgrade sitting on the ground is removed because you’re spending more time hunting for items to sell to get the item that you want vs. playing the game to get loot.
Here’s the real issue. The real money auction house is a “bad thing.” At that sweet spot at the start it paid for a lot of gamers brand new computers as they made thousands and thousands of dollars by selling loot that they could obtain before everyone else. Before long, it became a festering wasteland of random items that people would sell for large sums of money to the few who desired to buy them and created an atmosphere in the game focused more on the real life value of an item vs. The item itself.
The gold auction house on the other hand is nice and I like it. I like the idea of it. Eventually gold losses any value without the real money marketplace and allows players who are leveling up to obtain loot and upgrades to make the game easier to manage. On the other hand, it is true what Blizzard is saying. There isn’t a lot of fun in just playing through the campaign without caring about what drops since you already have best in slot for all of your slots.
This is supposed to syngerize with the release of the “Loot 2.0” system where you’ll get more frequent high quality drops but less loot dropping, with loot designed around your character a bit more. There is also some crazy stuff like rerolling affixes on rares and legendaries.
I’m not exactly sure how I personally take closing the auction house. I like it and I don’t. It sort of kind of makes the game an entirely new game. Its like taking Pokemon and replacing all of the Pokemon with Digimon and then you actually play as them. Its sort of kind of the same game, but it really isn’t. Without the auction house we’re going to pretty much be staring at an entirely different beast.
My biggest concern is this may empower the ner’do’well gold sellers and RMT legions to start buying items and gold en masse and creating a powerful market for gold sellers. I don’t personally enjoy the thought of us returning back to the dark ages where eBay was where you went to shop for D2 loot. The even scarier thing is the framework exists, this seedy underbelly of the Internet is already fleshed it and exists. You can, in many ways, obtain these items through illicit channels and with the closure of the AH these nefarious gold sellers may ramp up production, spam, and their attempts to take Blizzard’s property and resell it for their own profit.
Ah well, I guess we will see how it all plays out in the wash. The AH closes next year sometime, so there is plenty of time to enjoy D3 as it is right now. This does make me wonder can a real money auction house work in an MMO? Would it have to be more like Second Life or could something like D3 pan out? Something to think about.
Speaking of the Pokemon / Digimon swap, that should so make that for the PS4 / XBOX One.