Bashiok on anti-gold economy misconceptions


Today, DiabloWikiBashiok offered a rejoinder to a very detailed post about the impossibility of D3 maintaining a viable gold-based economy when the only thing worth spending gold on is item buys from other players. The OP makes some valid points, but there’s a fairly large problem with his argument: No one on the DiabloWikiD3 team has ever said the only use of gold would be buying items from other players. In fact they’ve always said that there will be multiple things worth spending gold on. (They’ve remained tight with the details, but fan sentiment runs towards respecs and clearing socketed items.)

In fact, Bashiok’s whole point in his previous gold economy posts (which this post seems to be replying to) is that if gold is kept valuable by other mechanisms, it will also be useful to buy items with, and that’s a better solution than the entirely barter-based economy we see in Diablo 2.

As such, Bashiok’s reply to this guy’s lengthy complaint (which you can read below the fold) is both brief and baffled.

This thread is weird.

OP where are you getting your info or what post are you referring to? It seems like you missed something somewhere.

Here’s the original post, to which Bashiok is reply:

Bashiok made a rather careless post about a hypothetical economy with incentives to use gold, which glosses over all of the reasons why people specifically don’t do exactly the things he wants them to do.

Instead of criticizing every part of the post, I will just briefly point out why those ideas aren’t sufficient to solve the economic problem. (Despite being a huge d2 fan I do think the item-only economy is terrible for new/legit players, hence my interest in making sure they ACTUALLY FIX IT.)

I am not sure how much experience Bashiok has with the diablo 2 meta-game specifically, but I have not seen comments from any team member indicating that they understand the problems with the d2 economy. The most glaring error in the admittedly sparse details about the new systems is that the value of gold is not backed up by any valuable resource! If the only thing you can do with gold is buy other players’ items, then inflation will quickly destroy the economy, and players will simply forget about gold altogether and use any auction system for matchmaking, the way multiplayer games in diablo 2 are used for matchmaking.

Essentially, if you have no incentive to collect gold other than to buy items that other players have to put on the market first, no rational member of the system will ever sell their items. If the only necessary pvp items/services drop from monsters, and cannot be obtained in any other way, they cannot be approximated in value with any amount of gold.

I am trying not to be too harsh here since I am very glad that they d3 team is thinking about fixing the problems with the d2 economy, but I feel that you are engaging in wishful thinking and ignoring basic economics entirely. I have played d2 since the day it came out, and the economy of the game is by far the biggest weakness and defect on the game. I really really want blizzard to come up with a solution that allows players to optimize their characters without the economy being built on dupers and bots (wake-up call for those not familiar with d2’s meta-game).

Players need a reason to care about gold. The “possibility” of another player putting their item (that can be obtained only through monster drops) up for sale is not any kind of motivation for me selling my hard-earned item for gold that is worthless unless other players also take this risk. That is just not how markets work.

Again, if gold is just a momentary re-valuation of items for item-for-item trades, no one is going to trade their items for gold. The gold will be come a placeholder and not an actual currency. There must be an independent standard that creates value in gold.

It’s up to you guys how you want to create this value. I think diablo 2 is rich with opportunities for creating this value. Runes could be directly sold for gold, perhaps at unpredictable times, making holding gold very important. You could get rid of the gem-economy and make cubing, crafting, and socketing all based on gold. You could offer respecs, muling, or name changes for gold. The more essential and important the services you provide in the gold-only economy, the more stable and resilient the item-for-gold economy will be. Short of selling unique weapons and armor directly through gold, I think EVERYTHING in the game should be in the gold-economy somehow, which would make the game completely connected, stable, and vigorous.

I hope to see indications from the d3 team that they are taking the economy seriously, and looking at the game from the point of view of the rational (greedy) player, and not just with careless optimism.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Economy, Game Features

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