Auction House Turns Players Into Slaves?

If you’d like to read a wildly-biased rant against the business practices of the Diablo III Real Money Auction House, you’re in luck, since one has just popped up. The author structures it like an unethical lawyer offering a vicious closing argument; it’s close enough to the truth that you can’t point to any outright lies or errors, but he shades everything away from objective reality, puts the worst possible interpretation on all events and motivations, discards all mitigating facts, etc.

For bonus points the comments are full of haters who lap it up and shout at anyone who points out some of the dubious claims. A quote to give you a taste of things, and you can read the rest if you feel the need. Thanks to Paul for the tip.

In other games, where black market trade is rife, bots are obviously frowned upon. In D3, where there’s a minimum price for gold — where Blizzard always gets at least 15% of every transaction — bots don’t matter. They can’t ruin the economy — they just stand to make Blizzard more money. The best bit, with regard to bots and gold farmers, is that they’ve known from the start that the RMAH would come — and so they’ve saved up billions of gold and awesome magic items for one truly epic payday.

Blizzard even gets its pound of flesh from quitters: If you quit, of course you’re going to sell all of your items on the RMAH. Furthermore, Blizzard has said that, in the future, you’ll be able to sell entire characters on the RMAH.

…Finally, just to tip you over the edge, think about this: What if Blizzard itself started selling gold and items on the RMAH? The FAQ states that “at this time” Blizzard doesn’t do this — but in the future, who knows? The Diablo 3 auction house is anonymous — the seller is never listed — and so Blizzard could easily sell gold and items without anyone noticing. What if Blizzard decided to sell special items on the RMAH? Uber-fans of games and franchises will pay almost anything for unique or exclusive items.

Ironically, the DiabloWikiAuction House remains one of the more popular features of the game, with lots of disenchanted players spending more time in the AH than in gameplay. This despite the fact that (IMHO) the AH has done more than anything to ruin the gameplay experience for thousands of fans who played too much, too fast, too easily, thanks to too good of equipment (courtesy of the GAH) and have thus already grown bored with the game.

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    42 thoughts on “Auction House Turns Players Into Slaves?

    1. STFU and Farm me my money!

      Oh and we are selling items and gold – did you really think we that stupid to ignore this great cash cow? It is so easy for us – click click and just made this perfect stats 200 everything amulet for 250$. Sold in minutes.

      RMAH – Your fake dreams come true!

    2. High Paul tx for the tip.

      You took it from that forum post on I presume. The webste that has been preaching Blizzard hate for years now in their unmoderated forums.

      It shows that 437 forum trolls can break a game on the internet for good.

      I am done with you guys.

      Have fun destroying the games I enjoy.

      Black days over you all.

      I just hope Blizzard will launch their first month sales and stick it down these haters asses.

      • Oh my, did somebody hurt your feelings? Did the negativity sway your opinion about Diablo 3? Maybe you weren’t so convinced about it being good in the first place? Nonetheless, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

        Also, no matter what the sales are… It’s still chump change in the eyes of the suits in Vivendi. 🙂

        captcha: good riddance – couldn’t be more fitting.

      • Nah, I don’t read mmorpg or any other mmo sites, and I certainly don’t have time to read their forums. I had the article open in a tab from seeing it on google news search yesterday, with plans to write something about it for overnight, and late in the evening some guy named Paul emailed the link as well. So I added him as the credit.

        It’s funny with Thrall FRISTING!!!1! his trolling crap on every news post, and now saying he’s done with the site (as if he’d be so kind to the rest of us). I got a PM last night from someone asking if we could ban him since they’re tired of his post stalking and whining. I’d never have considered that, since I generally find trolls amusing. Even really annoying ones like Septar and Hideo (and his 5000 aliases) in the forums.

        I really enjoy human psychology and trying to analyze and figure out other people and their motivations. What drives people to act in socially-inappropriate ways purely for attention, the way Thrall does. I don’t think it’s as simple as the usual, “bored 13 y/o bullied at school needs some place to feel powerful and important” explanation. Especially when they can spell and use decent grammar.

        But it is interesting that Thrall refreshes the page constantly to usually get in one of the first comments on every news item, and that he has no actual opinions or values of his own. He’s an Internet construct who exists only to criticize or complain about anything we post on this site, without any internal consistency.

        And yes, I’m breaking the first rule of dealing with a troll by acknowledging that his antics have been noted. Oh well; it’s something for me to laugh about while I’m typing this in my dad’s living room on a short vacation.

          • In 5 words you said 10 times more than the owner of this site on a full page.

            Odd that people want to personally insult or ban a visitor of their site if he doesn’t agree with the usual Blizzard trash talk.

            i never insult an individual, only talk about obvious signs of disbelief in humanity and honest opinions.

            Bobby Kotick jokes is one thing, but taking it seriously is not very funny.

            Btw it took exactly ONE hour before that article above made it to the official forums and upped again and again. By now it must have served a 1.000 times to be pissed on by the hate trolls over there.

            I can’t believe you even feel something for this game Flux. You certainly can’t understand a fan trying to find decent info on this game.

            • i didnt want to say that your not trolling. i have no idea.. i think this is the second post i read from u. at least i dont remember others

    3. Has anyone actually seen gold for sale on the RMAH? I haven’t, and I want to sell some. This is because commodities and currency aren’t open yet. So, that demotes this ranting to “speculative ranting”.

      Also, if you look at the items available on the two AHs, the GAH invariably has better items almost across the board. I can’t afford any of them because they cost billions to hundreds of billions of gold, but that is beside the point.

      I keep hearing the RMAH is breaking the game, but I haven’t seen it – particularly not with people who have no idea how to price their items and are trying for hundreds of bucks a pop.

    4. I dont think RMAH is what is ruining diablo3. Its the game itself that is bad. Gold should be as worthless as it was in d2. And items should be traded to items, not using gold. Drop rates are bad, uniques and sets are super rare and often bad. Think about how impossible is to gather lets say any full set in d3 just by grinding. In d2 you could actually complete item set by drops. And if u were missing one piece of the set, you got it with trading. Not buying with gold. Its the opposite of D3 that made D2 fun. You did couple of memphisto runs and it dropped all the time uniques and sets etc. Not that they were all good but somehow it kept the grinding interesting. Now when i join game im 99% sure that i wont be getting any good drops. Well, actually im not joinin any games cause I uninstalled 😥

      And btw, prolly the number #1 thing that is ruining d3 is the famous “ghost town” effect, you just play single player all the time. 8 players cowruns and baal runs were freakin fun. And the chat rooms in D2, well, you cant even compare d3 shitty chat rooms to them.

      • Well, after the RMAH went live, GAH prices skyrocketed 10 to 100 times what they were. Granted, this is what you see if you search without setting filters, but still, a lot of people are asking 10 to 100 times what they were before the RMAH. I presume these people are looking to cash in when/if gold becomes available for real money. (I don’t, and never will, use the RMAH so I don’t pay any attention to when/if gold will be available for real money, though I can say, I hope not.)

        As to drops/items in D3… yes, they both suck. No one is ever going to be able to put together a viable Hell Act 2 and beyond gear-set without using the AH. Hell Act 2 and beyond, you need gear with a certain set of affixes that you are simply not going find on your own. Then there are the impossible to find sets/legendaries, which are not even worth finding anyway, save for a select few — countable on one hand. I’m on my way to having my 4th level 60 character in Inferno. In my entire play time, I have found zero set items and 3 crappy legendaries. 2 of the 3 were crap simply because they were crap. The 3rd, may have seen some use had it dropped at an appropriate time. Dropping a legendary item that is useable at level 35’ish when I’m level 45’ish and in a area of the game where I need to be using level 45’ish equipment to continue moving forward, especially when there is ZERO reason to ever roll a new character of a class you have already played, well…. makes the drop/item system completely idiotic.

        Finally, I don’t like the “ghost town” effect either. I want to play with other people and be able to pick games that are full, not be put into some random game that only has one other person. I hate having to switch games until I find one with 2 or 3 others, especially when the system sometimes puts you right back into the you just left. Having said this, the auto match-making seems to be improved of late, putting me into fuller games and not putting me back into a game I just left. But I still prefer to pick and choose myself.

        • “No one is ever going to be able to put together a viable Hell Act 2 and beyond gear-set without using the AH. Hell Act 2 and beyond, you need gear with a certain set of affixes that you are simply not going find on your own.”

          Too funny 😆 Tell that to those people who have made it to inferno using selffound items only. You can progress without AH – it only takes more time.

    5. I think ‘haters’ often make good points, but for me when I read phrases like ‘cash cow’ I just stop reading because I know it’s just another essentially meaningless and immature label that is purely for the purpose of being a pejorative term that the writer just assumes will make people nod in agreement. That said, on both sides these terms exist (and yes… ‘hater’ is one I… hate). These forums (and comments) would be a much more enjoyable and insightful read if a list of terms was created whereby use would result in automatic deletion.

      Off the top of my head:
      – haters
      – fan boys
      – cash cow
      – whiners
      – troll (an amazing amount of people resort to calling people trolls just for not agreeing with them)
      – Blizzfail

      • Your post could also be viewed as trolling. However, this does not have to be negative per se.

        Troll (internet): “Commonly, what is meant is a relatively gentle inside joke by veteran users, presenting questions or topics that had been so overdone that only a new user would respond to them earnestly. For example, a veteran of the group might make a post on the common misconception that glass flows over time. Long-time readers would both recognize the poster’s name and know that the topic had been discussed a lot, but new subscribers to the group would not realize, and would thus respond. These types of trolls served as a practice to identify group insiders. This definition of trolling, considerably narrower than the modern understanding of the term, was considered a positive contribution.”

        • Agree with Gatsby’s post. Everyone regurgitates the same tired, repeated internet terms over and over, using them as rhetorical devices to make their argument somehow seem stronger. People call each other “trolls” in every single back and forth as a way of saying “your opinion is so stupid/wrong that I wonder if it is actually a serious opinion or if you are just messing around, i.e. trolling.” You will never, ever read a controversial thread without someone resorting to this lame tactic on this or any other forum, and it’s really tired, obnoxious, and only detracts from meaningful discussion. Time to retire these usless terms. I vote we add the terms on Gatsby’s list and “rage” and “sense of entitlement” to the list of words that are auto-sensored by the forum’s filters.

    6. Its not slavery, unless your trapped somewhere and force to play D3 and collect stuff for Mr X to sell for cash. And all you get is in return is somewhere to kind of live, some basic food and water.

      Anyway most botters etc sellers will be using their already existing gold selling sites to bypass the drains on there return.

    7. While I’m not gonna bother reading someone’s rant, I did have a really crazy idea about the auction house that I wanted to share with you folks.

      I do believe the auction house ruins the game. It sounded like a great idea. But what ended up happening is people overused it. Diablo is an item hunt game. If you buy your items, you just removed the main game objective. (or skipped a good bit of it, by narrowing what better gear you have left to find) Playing the auction house is not a game. Some people enjoy it, but they are being distracted from what should be fun game time.

      As a result of the auction house, we also have super low drop rates on what should be the funnest items in the game. (legendaries and sets) I played diablo 2 for hours on end simply to find those items. I could get on for 1-2 hours and always find at least one unique/set item. This is no longer the case and a really bad decision.

      So what’s the solution? Well, short of ripping the AH’s out of the game, what about this. Make randomly placed auctioneers. (note: not f’ing spawn points where they may or may not be) If you happen to find them, the interface would be EXACTLY like normal vendors. It would pull a set amount of random items from the auctions available. And the items should be nearish your clvl. (+/- say 3)

      In order to post auctions, you simply sell to this auctioneer like you would a normal vendor.

      Items would no longer be biddable. People should not be sitting in front of the auctioneer for hours seeing if they need to raise a bid. It should simply operate like any vendor does.

      How to set the price of the item you sell would be tricky, but surely that could be brainstormed out.

      The key thing here, is that the auction house is a rare thing to find and you also shouldn’t be allowed to just search and buy your way thru progression. It should be roll of the dice luck on what you see. Items in this AH would expire after a few days and returned to you.

      What do you guys think? Crazy bad idea or interesting?

      Other than this vendor, we send the game back to what many of you liked. Trading and communicating with other people.

      • The whole auctioneer thing isn’t even necessary. The only way to fix things is to drastically increase unique (sry, legendary) and set item drops while improving them so they are semi desirable over rares. If the AH was truly only made to combat 3rd party site scams (riiiight) then Blizzard should care less about market saturation of legendary and set items. People would still use the AH for the best of the best legendary, set and rare rolls. 3 chars to lvl 60 and only finding 4 legendary no set items is just stupid. I agree that what made D2 so great was finding all those set and unique items even though most of them you didn’t really want.

        • More legendary and set item drops would be great, but it seems to me that the AH is the reason we see so few of those items, and why their stats were so lame upon launch. Since Bliz knew if they were as common and good as they were in D2, in a month the entire AH would have been jammed with Windforces and Grandfathers and all the rest for very low prices, since there were so many of them in circulation.

          I think Bliz decided to put sets/uniques into their current condition about the time they decided not to do any sort of item binding. In retrospect, I wish they’d gone the other way on those choices. more common sets/uniques, better quality, but all BoE, or some BoA or even BoP, to encourage people to actually play the game for items, rather just as a way to get gold they can then AH for top gear.

          • I am for any system that would allow me to find items myself, though some means of trading would still be necessary. For example, take a 5-item set, I would want to find all 5 pieces myself, but once I have found 4 of the 5 pieces, if hours and hours of further farming doesn’t yield the 5th, there is going to come a point where I’ll want to trade to complete the set. So there needs to be a means of trading set/legendaries.

            At this point, I want drops to be the way they were in D2. If a BoE/BoA (bind items to your account once equipped) mechanic needs to be added for this to happen, I would welcome it, though I certainly do not want items bound by character.

          • I agree with you Flux. I feel like they are sooo focused on keeping a good AH economy that they are forgetting to make the game actually fun to play. I haven’t hit 60 yet, but I am anticipating the item hunt to come to an end at some point much sooner than it should. I’m not going to have as much fun hunting legendaries/sets when the drop rate is so damn low. Not to mention the opinions I form reading all the other comments that say they’ve quit because of nothing to do.

            I am hoping right now that this will all sort itself out. Once blizzard sees active players drop like a rock, their hand will be forced. I feel there will be a breaking point where they will simply have to re-evaluate certain things. It is still kinda early tho. We are still < 2 months from release. Plenty of people still just getting into the game. The only ones we see leaving so far are the ones that blasted their way thru to 60 and then thru inferno. This breaking point is likely a few months away. The PvP release might delay it tho as I'm sure many will come back to check it out.

          • Agree Flux. I just don’t believe the Bliz statement that the game was tuned to be played without the AH. Maybe if you can play the game full time for a few months and have mad-hamster-farming habits. I found one set item in 120hours played (that is three full working weeks!). It was the Natalya’s chest piece and I play a DH, so I was happy at least – gave me the first item thrill I miss so much in D3. All other items are easy. Sell or disenchant when ilvl >= 60. Oh yeah, and 1 out of 1000 items is actually useful.

          • Completely agree. I said something similar last year on the forums.
            Just having an option to play on a server that allows just for this type of play. BoA with a higher droprate maybe and an ability to only trade with the people in your game at that time. Drop the prices for crafting as well and you’ll actually have a fun game. I honestly don’t care much for trading, but that’s basically what the entire game is balanced around now.

            Let people who want to trade and make cash have their servers. But apparently they don’t want to split the player base 🙄 . As if they aren’t already doing that with people who actually quit playing the game or never even start.

    8. I just tried to post this link concerning the history of Blizz and why the AH really exists :

      (edit: i forgot to mention I found it on the bnet forums, but it has since been deleted..)

      Yes it is very conspiracy-ish sounding but an interesting read.

      I also wanted to realy an idea I posted on the bnet forums that I think got deleted simply because it was too amazing. The idea is this:

      ACCOUNT BOUND STAT BONUSES FOR FOUND ITEMS. +200 Int? Damage reduction? Dmg bonus? Chance to freeze? Cannot be vortexed? The stat bonuses or attribute bonus would disappear if traded or auctioned. A patch should buff that Legendary sword that you found but were holding onto because it had crappy dps. This encourages the item hunt AND would make the AH less significant—it wouldn’t be inflated because players will be more likely to keep items.

      The way it was marketed, the AH was never meant to be such a crucial part of the game anyway, but look at the controversy it has sparked.

      I really love this franchise, which is why I read these forums and post. I really want to be constructive and not straight out cynical, but nowadays I can’t help it. Trolol

    9. I started a big thread on this topic:

      Needless to say, I agree with the author. The Auction House in its various forms has been a disaster in terms of the “feel” of the game. I just don’t really *want* to continue improving my character in Inferno, because I hate the idea of “buying” my way into gear. I hate the idea of grinding in-game gold to purchase items off the AH, and I *abhor* the idea of spending real money on it. 

      I think the combat mechanics in D3 are a lot of fun, and I’ve leveled two characters to 60 for that reason (more possibly on the way), but the end game is nothing short of a disaster from my point of view. Totally screwed up the loot-hunting, character-building core motivation. From a lesser developer, I wouldn’t have been disappointed, but I was hugely anticipating this title to scratch the ARPG itch for the forseeable future. A title that, unlike WoW, would have an action-oriented, enjoyable small group end game. Oh well. 

      Frankly, it’s got me extremely concerned about the direction Blizzard is going. Nobody gives a shit if Zynga puts out a bunch of cash grab bullshit, because their games aren’t fun anyway and nobody would buy them if not for the addictive gambling-like qualities. I expect more out of a top tier PC developer with cash leaking out their eyeballs. 

    10. A lesser developer? Blizzard already is a lesser developer ever since they joined with Activision and fired all the original D2 staff. You really expected D3 to top or even approach D2 with none of the original people working on it? I never did, and I was right.

      • Those 4 guys left Blizzard in 2003 … And vivendi bought activision in … 2008 ….

        So what’s your point ?

        Besides since then most of these 4 only succeded in falling from one failure to another.

        Bill Roper is just an excellent example of this.

      • Do yourself a favor a wiki Flagship Studios and Cryptic Studios. Kthnxbai.

        Thank the lord for the Schaefer brothers and Hu… though if that team worked on Diablo III, we can all safely assume that it would be even more cartoony, more hacked from mods, and the endgame would have consisted of an endless dungeon.

        I welcome any arguments that make the false assumption that Blizzard North did anything right after 2001, especially after seeing the Diablo 2.5 screenshots from 2003.

    11. For me the GAH did quite the opposite. Did not make me get “bored of thei game itself. Every time I think “It’s been too long wihtout a new very good item” I just go to the GAH and voilà! A lot more fun back to the game with my shining new item. 😉

    12. “Ironically, the Auction House remains one of the more popular features of the game, with lots of disenchanted players spending more time in the AH than in gameplay. This despite the fact that (IMHO) the AH has done more than anything to ruin the gameplay experience for thousands of fans who played too much, too fast, too easily, thanks to too good of equipment (courtesy of the GAH) and have thus already grown bored with the game.”

      that paragraph summed up my entier d3 expierence, you hit it right on the nose

    13. Wow. Now I’ve seen it all. Slaves would imply we are being forced to do it. So… um, yeah. Apparently Blizz’s games are so good, even people who hate them still end up playing them for years on end, seemingly tricked into it through some devious trickery from Blizz CORP where the player has too much fun to notice their just a cog in a money making machine! Incredible!

      As for Flux’s final paragraph, I got into Inferno at just the right time, when patch 1.03 hit, making gold a lot more scarce and item drops a lot more plentiful, pushing more toward actually playing the game than buying things on the AH.

      Unlike many players who had nothing better to do than play 80 hours a week, I didn’t amass 20 million gold in the first 3 weeks and buy up all the best stuff. I only have one million gold and I’m currently farming for items. I’m also restricted from spending much on the AH right now since repair costs are so high — which I’m fine with, by the way.

    14. Another Diablo III is dead article…

      In other news, the internet is a fad, and PC gaming has been dead since 2000.

      I can’t help but think that these people’s ancestors were standing in front of Henry Ford screaming “no, what people need is a faster horse!”

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