Billion Gold Items: What Are People Paying For?

You hear a lot of player comments and gossip about crazy Auction House prices, and I’ve heard players believably claim to have sold items for 50m, up to 100m. How about the higher prices, though? You can find items selling for 500 million and even one billion in the Gold Auction House. Are they for real? Lots of players think not, and believe those items never sell for those amounts and that their prices were set by gold farmers to try to create inflation and more demand for their gold. There’s probably some truth to that, and there’s certainly truth to inflation from gold botting, but that’s all open to debate.

Still, there are items in every slot priced at one-billion (or more) and while some of those prices are obviously fantasies, lots of them are in fact the BiS items… but only by a few percentage points. What differentiates 20m from 50m from 100m from 500m, and on up, when you’re talking about the same item? What makes an item worth 5 million vs. 50 million? There are a lot of factors, including item type, relative popularity (Barb gear currently sells for far more than Monk gear), item scarcity, and more. When you get into the really top end gear though, there’s a weird progression where the smaller additional improvements equal the largest price increases.

Before I list the specific examples, a couple of disclaimers.

  • There’s no way to know how regularly these items actually sell, and quite often items have absurdly high prices that no one is going to pay.
  • I’ve you’ve been doing high end GAH pricing for a while, you probably know all of this already. I didn’t do any AH until August and have only recently started eyeing the top end stuff, so it’s still new and interesting to me.

  • Prices Vary with Stats

    As I mentioned in the Rethink Your Build article earlier this week, top items in Diablo III are a bit like those joke charts where you can have two of the three points of the pyramid, but never all three. There are generally more than three (desirable) item mods for any item, and you *can* have them all, but the odds of rolling them on your own item find are horribly tiny, and the prices for items that did roll them are horribly large.

    Click through for specific examples, including a case study starring my new rare gloves that might be worth 2m, 20m, or 200m, depending on who you believe.

    <h3The Manticore

    One easy example is the Manticore . It’s currently the most popular Demon Hunter weapon since it rolls big damage and huge critical hit damage. Top quality Manticores sell (or are priced at) one billion gold, while a Manticore with poor seeds isn’t even worth selling at all. (Hover on the link for the item’s stats; the top DPS is about 1400 if you roll a random mod that adds to it.)

    The ideal Manticore’s triangle has four points: 1300+ DPS, 170+ Dexterity, 95%+ Critical Hit Damage, and 2 sockets. If your Manticore rolls big on all of those you’re going to be rich or have a kick ass Demon Hunter. If you get terrible rolls on more than one of those, you’ve got a Fiery Brimstone. If you get 2 or 3 of the 4 with middling seeds… you’ve got a pricing challenge and you can only compare to comparable bows and try to guess what or if someone will ever pay for yours. (I’m currently trying to get 1.5m for my Manticore: 1010 DPS, 2 socket, 75% crit, 150 Dex. Priced to sell!)

    The DiabloWikiRNG is an unforgiving and cruel mistress when it comes to once in a lifetime legendary item finds. I’ve found about a dozen of the most wanted legendary items, (and dozens more crappy legendaries that wouldn’t have been good even if they had rolled well) and thus far only one (Ice Climbers) rolled with mods that put them near the top of the potential heap. Of the other 11, 2 or 3 were good enough to use but not to sell for more maybe a million gold, and all the rest went right into the salvage heap.

    It’s an *interesting* system we see in Diablo III, where getting lucky with the proper type of item drop is only the first step in a very treacherous journey to obtaining a great item. I don’t hate it, and I like some variability, but I don’t entirely disagree with the fans who and think that the quality range on Legendaries should be a lot narrower. IMHO, super-rare legendary items should at least be as good as a 90% percentile Rare… rather than junk, as they so often are.

    Mage Gloves and Millions

    The Manticore is like most Legendaries; a pretty simple value equation given the limited variables. With so many more affixes, it’s much harder to figure value on Rares. (Well, there is one thing that we can all agree on — that everyone else prices *their* Rares much too high.)

    The specific case that spurred me to write this tutorial is a pair of gloves I found last night. They’re spectacular; far and away the best Rare I’ve ever found in Diablo 3, since they hit every point of the “great gloves” triangle. Unsurprisingly, their value is still very difficulty to determine. For now, I’m keeping them and they’re currently warming the hands of my Witch Doctor. (They took his unbuffed DPS from 85k up to 99k, and would do much more if his gear was really optimized with higher INT stuff.)

    The big four affixes for gloves are CHC, CHD, IAS, and +mainstat. The Pickup Radius is a great mod as well for a WD, since a high radius is essentially to properly use Gruesome Feast and Grave Injustice. The seeds on all of those rolls aren’t perfect, which is why this isn’t a billion gold item. It’s apparently about a 25m item, since there were two pairs of gloves with virtually identical values for the CHD,CHC, IAS, and Int (though neither had Vitality) for 20m. What’s needed to make them *worth* 100m, or 1b, though?

    Nothing, IMHO. Just because there are some mage gloves with 1b prices doesn’t mean anyone’s ever going to buy them. When I searched this morning there were only 10 pairs of gloves in the entire Americas GAH with IAS, double crit, and 150+ INT, as well as +plus pickup radius. (My gloves were clearly better than 3 or 4, and about equal to 2 or 3 with wildly-varying prices.) There were two gloves with by far the highest prices, and it’s worth taking a look at them.

    720m buyout for these.
    One billion buyout for these.

    Yes, they have almost exactly the same affixes as each other and as my gloves — the only thing that varies is the seed. Is that worth it? Would you pay 980,000,000 more gold (that’s about $350, at the current 10m/$3.60 RMAH conversion price) to gain 2% Critical Hit Damage, 3.5% Critical Hit Chance, and 1% IAS? God, I hope not. If so, I’ve got a bridge you might want to purchase.

    Seriously; if you took a Wizard or WD with uber gear, BiS candidates across the board, and put one of these three gloves on their hands, do you think the player would even notice the difference in performance? I doubt it. And that goes for almost all of the top end stuff; for most items in the GAH, the difference between 20m and 200m and 1000m is just a couple of percentage points to this or that.

    So why are top end items priced like this? When no one in their right mind would pay 10 or 100x the price for such a tiny increase in stats? Well, no one said we Diablo players were in our right minds. That aside… I don’t know. I’m not at all convinced anyone actually does pay those prices. Assuming someone does, I can think of two reasons:

    1) The Donald Trump type (except actually rich, not just an over-leveraged celebrity douche) who wants brand names and will gladly pay 1000% higher for 1% better. Near-perfect seeds are Diablo III’s Brand Names, even if the only real value he ever gets from them is looking at the tooltip and gloating.

    2) The truly uber-geared. For most characters, the difference in quality between 25m and 500m items isn’t going to really matter. It’s meaningless to put that much importance and expense on a few points more Dex from a ring, or 3% more CHD from a weapon, when all the rest of your gear could be upgraded for 10m or 20m per slot. If your character is truly mega-geared though, to the point that your only remaining challenge is trying to get another 2 or 3% CHC, then sure, it’s worth it. What else do you have to do, until the next big patch or expansion when all new tiers of items come in and everything you’re wearing is suddenly B-grade?


    A related issue that I’m not going to delve into here; the fact that D3’s “simplified” item system makes the same gear useful for every class. The lack of modifiers like +spell damage, +casting speed, +elemental damage, and many others seen in Diablo II and other item-based ARPGs makes for a much more basic system in D3, where a great Barb ring is a great WD/Wiz ring is a great Monk/DH ring, with only the main stat varying. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in D3X if the developers give the item system some more depth and complexity and create real differentiation in gear choices between the character classes.

    So, where are you guys on the item gear scale? Do you obsess over tiny differences in a min/maxing frenzy? Or do you think good enough is good enough and don’t understand why anyone cares so much about negligible improvements to X and Y?

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    41 thoughts on “Billion Gold Items: What Are People Paying For?

    1. Players who made a ton of gold flipping items or finding multiple high-selling items are willing to pay the exponential difference between items. Let’s say on a 1-100 scale of useful gloves (1 meaning the cheapest non-vendor trash gloves you’ll see at AH, and 100 meaning absurdly statistically unlikely flawless gloves), your gloves are probably a 75. The Crit % isn’t above nine, the int could be higher, etc. They’re terrific, terrific gloves. But dudes sitting on 1.5 billion, or willing to blow their actual salary on an item, will pay exponentially more for a 85 or 90 quality item. Those 95 and up type things that you see for 2 bill or even more over on JSP forums, well, I don’t even consider them a reality!

      Specific to your gloves: the difference in crit chance is a big deal to any min/maxing rich player. Just look at the difference in price for Mempos and Lacunis with and without crit chance.

      Regarding finding high-priced items: I had never sold an item over 10 million until a IK Chest dropped with 195+ str and vit. It sold for 450 million at AH – I got 385ish. It financed a very effective WW Barb, and that terrific multishot mp0 runner DH guide has since earned me another 100 million or so of profit.

    2. It all comes down to supply and demand. The 1B+ gold items are an upgrade for just about everyone playing the game. If they don’t roll perfect in multiple categories, then there are many other imperfect items that provide comparable boosts in character power in overall dps, health, and protection. Your 25m gloves may be unique, but there are relatively many other gloves out there that are similar – rolling more crit and ias, but less crit damage, etc. Those 1B gloves cannot be out performed, so everyone wants them.

      My main character is at the point where 100M gold per item is needed for substantial upgrades to damage, protection, and life. At this point, it actually starts becoming ‘feasible’ to find small upgrades between item purchases. It takes a long time to build that gold up, so in that process I have actually found some marginal upgrades, thus moving the cost to upgrade again.

      So it is a little odd. By using the ah I made a farming machine. For a very long time, I could never find anything better than the stuff on the ah. But now, it takes so long to save gold for stuff on the ah that my character is actually 50% self found now.

      • This is the same experience for me aswell. Ever since I spent around 1-7mill for almost all of my items, it takes so long to save my gold past 10-20-50mill that in that time I end up finding rares that are actually better than a few of my armor pieces, now im like 50% self-found aswell and in the time its going to take me to get the pieces I want/need, I probably will end up improving my gear through self-found aswell. Its interesting how the AH keeps switching between afordable substantial upgrade to unfeasably difficult to obtain upgrades, and your more likely to get self-founds faster.

    3. Yesterday I found and sold a Chantado’s source for 85 million. A few days before I found an Immortal king armor that sold for about 60 million, and a week before that a Witching Hour that I’ve not sold yet, but should fetch around 55 million. I’ve also found a few items of lesser worth and sold them.
      I feel really lucky over these drops the last weeks, especially as I haven’t had that much playtime over this period. With this gold I could’ve bought something quite expensive, and I definitely believe that some people buy things for 500-1000 million gold. Those amounts are insanely high, but considering how many probably play this game and some people being paragon 100… (Im 70 now) there are bound to be some people with an insane amount of gold to spend.
      I do however not spend this much, instead Ive been selling some gold over at the RMAH as I’m not really sure what to buy atm when most upgrades cost 50-100 million. Just doesn’t feel worth it atm!

      Btw, concerning those small extra stats. If you have really good gear, one extra crit% gives you several thousand extra dmg and for many builds a more consistent procc rate. It could be a quite good upgrade then πŸ™‚

      • Yeah, to echo windstriker, all stats in d3 are multiplicative. So each boost to primary stat, crit damage, crit, ias are all multiplied together to increase overall damage. On top of that, you get other nonlinear damage output behavior with barb and wiz especially – where more crit and more ias give you more resource to spam abilties (that are doing more damage per cast) more often. The power gains are very noticeable and exponential in nature,

      • “I don’t play that much” and “Im paragon 70” don’t really work well togethor, but hey, maybe you’ve been playing a single character since launch, I have 90% of my play time on my barb, whos paragon 26, and I thought I played a decent amount, with over 250 hours played.

    4. I know that what people like to price items at varies wildly, as does many players level of experience with the game. That being said I find that every time I am trying to make a big sale, because I have found some superb drop (only happened twice, but still,) and am asking what I think it is worth, the trolls come out and just go nuts because you are asking what you think is fair value. To be fair I do not always get the asking price, often I will start high and see if anyone bites for a few days and then progressively lower the price until its in what I consider to be a competitive price range and then it usually sells pretty quick. Sometimes however I have gotten 500m for a single item, an item many of my friends would have sold in a matter of minutes for 30-50m bc they are not willing to put any effort into advertising it, and they would have been happy for it. Me I take all the time in the world needed to find the buyer I am looking for: Everything is what someone is willing to pay for it, and you only need to find one person that wants to buy it, so screw the masses if they dont agree πŸ˜›

    5. We saw the same phenomenon in D2 with perfect items. The difference here is that the likelihood in D2 to get a perfect item(while still ridiculously small) is much higher than in D3. I would say it would be near impossible to get a perfectly rolled item in D3. Does anyone remember the price difference from 200%ed gore riders and 199%ed gore riders? It was huge. There’s no way that 1%ed made any actual difference in gameplay, but people paid 10x for the perfect ones.

      Now with things like and stuff where you can track your global rankings, I think the very top items have even more demand than in D2. The #20 wizard in the world may pay 2billion for a pair of gloves that will bring him to #18 or something like that.

      • Not sure if trolling… but it’s an interesting point to debate. Your comment was probably true in like… June. And it might still be true for Barb/Monk gear, at least to some extent. But I’ve done a lot of searching on DH and Mage gear lately, and res all is not a valuable mod. It can add a bit to an item that’s got other good stats, but the really sought after gear is all about the double crit, ias, mainstat. Res All is just sort of a throw in, which you can find on every sort of item, and which you don’t really need for farming.

        I’d been happily farming Alkazier on MP0 or MP1 with my DH running around 250 to all res, and having no problems with survivability. Then I switched around some gear, putting in Vile Ward and different boots and amulet, mainly to up my DPS but it also raised my res up to 480ish. And I didn’t really notice any difference. I wasn’t dying at 250 and I didn’t die at 480.

        Now that would be a lot less true at like, MP7, so I’m sure at the highest end res all is more necessary, but I think it’d still be much less important than the bigger DPS stats.

        • Try searching for all res high int Witching Hours, the most expensive items are those that got all possible +dmg rolls and still manage to roll defensive attributes.

          • Obviously it’s going to vary from item to item. Res all isn’t that sought on gloves and jewelry since you can get so many damage mods that are more valuable than resistance or armor. But on belts you can’t get IAS, crit, etc. (Witching Hour an obvious exception with the CHD, which is why it’s one of the most expensive legendary armors in the game.) So certainly the value of Res All differs between say, gloves, hats, and belts.

            True of many other mods as well, I’m sure.

    6. In the absence of the GAH, I’d have little problem believing items could sell for a billion gold. It’s fake money. If you’ve got it, spend it.

      But the GAH exists. It’s one thing to ignore the dollar equivalent of 10-100 million. That’s $3-30. But if you’re sitting on a few billion gold, I think most people would have a hard time rationalizing buying a pixel item when they could cash out for $1000 instead.

      It’s not about whether you’re rich enough that you don’t need $1000. It’s couldn’t you find something else to do with that $1000 that would give you more pleasure than +1 more strength on your armor? I think even the loser-iest loser would usually say yes. Yes, I could find something else to spend that $1000 on.

      I just don’t buy it. A billion just seems highly implausible.

    7. From the very beginning, I’ve told players to STOP LOOKING AT BUYOUT PRICES AND COMPARING, and to look at what people are actually bidding on as that is CLEARLY a true reflection of what people are willing to pay for an item and said item’s worth- not some exorbitant buyout price set by an all-too-common Diablo player engorged with greed.
      It’s as easy as hitting the bid button (if you’ve got the theoretical spending money) and seeing if your default bid amount changes from the original number. But you all know this, so stop goin “cheapest in AH is 500m/^1!#@!”

      KK THNX

      • This isn’t as perfect a system as you might think at first glance, simply because items that are priced properly will be Bought Out very quickly and so disappear from the AH search results relatively quickly. Those with bids on them will be the ones that are overpriced, so bids reflect their true value better; on the other hand, sometimes items can be bought for bids well below their ‘true value’ if not many people saw the item before the time was up. I’ve won a few auctions at bargain-basement prices, to turn around and flip them for 10x the price on a buy-out.

    8. I didn’t think anything actually sold for the absurd prices, but a friend of mine sold a trifecta ammy with strength and res all for 1 billion yesterday. Yes, this ammy boosted my base dps 23k (I’m at 107k without it), but still–1 billion gold? Prices like that are a clear indication that botters have won.

      • At least that bitters do affect the economy. I’ve picked up a total of 72 million gold according to my account, and I’ve ofc sold crap for a few million. But I must’ve sold stuff for many times that amount! Where does all the gold come from? πŸ™‚

        • I was going to mention the gold pick up issue, but the article was getting kind of long already. But since you bring it up, anyone can check their gold picked up in the achievements; just look in the general tab under the 100m gold pick up achievement and it’ll tell you exactly how far along you are.

          I’m near 30m after playing a lot more than most, but far less than some with 400% GF and crazy fast farming. But say someone’s earned 10x my gold… that’s still less than a third of the price of really top items. Thus it’s obvious that a huge amount of gold is being pushed into the economy to float the base of such expensive items up so high. And yeah, seems like it has to be botters/farmers.

          • To see the amount picked up you can actually just take a look in your profile, you do not need to check the achievement.
            Weird thing is though, achievement and profile show two different sums. According to the achievement, I’ve “only” picked up 50 million gold. Might be that the sum on my profile also count items sold or something like that, I really do not know.
            Same conclusion in the end though! It’s small potatoes compared to what you sell items for!

            • Yes, the profile shows your total gold income, including item sales to vendors and quest rewards, etc. That’s not a lot higher figure, though. Mine is like 29.5m vs. 33.1m. I’d imagine the numbers are even closer for people who have been doing heavy farming for months.

              My gold income has increased dramatically of late, as I’m farming faster with my DH, and she’s got over 300% GF now, so those constant 2500 piles really add up.

    9. Best I sold was 50mil, and I sold it like 10 minutes after, because it was a 90mil item πŸ˜› Lol, it’s still about 15 bucks in gold, not THAT much. I’ve sold a 20 bucks item back “in the day”.

    10. This article kind of hit hard for me as I read it right after a play session where I got a Vile Ward. Since I’m self-found it was pretty exciting, but it was a +dex roll and both my Monk and DH already have better shoulders. Sure, it’s got 195 dex and 75 all res, but that’s it (the random rolls were an individual resist and MF), and I have better rare shoulders that add a better combination of dex, vit, and all res as it is. I wasn’t as disappointed with my other crappy legendaries because they generally aren’t considered “good” — junk Madstone, meh. But I know Vile Ward can be pretty godly with the right rolls, and luck didn’t strike twice for me.

      • Vile Wards with basic rolls are almost always better than all the rates still.
        Do you really have better shoulders on both monk and dh? Shoulders with high mainstay, high armor and high allres?
        The thing with the vile wards are that they’ve made most rare shoulders worthless as they ALWAYS carry the three most important stats on a pair of shoulders! After those, vita and life% are the only ones you’d want and perhaps some extra health from globes and pickup radius

    11. I have been one of those lucky ones. I sold some ice climbers for around 900 million gold, after cut it was 785 i think. So at least some of those deals go through πŸ™‚

    12. Sold 2 double socket manticores with 200+ dex and high 95+ crit dmg for 400 mil each. Of course the only godly legendaries I get are for the one class I don’t play.

    13. This just reminds me of diablo 2 when a perfect item would go for a ton more then an item that was just 1-2 points off.

    14. AH prices aside, the goal of D3 endgame is to farm as fast as possible on as high an MP as possible. The only thing that will let you farm MP(x+1) as fast as MP(x) is that next tiny little percentage on your stats. Therefore, a percentage point of difference on IAS, CHC or CHD is exactly what you are looking for and that’s why they are priced so high.

      A billion gold? Probably not realistic, but multiple tens-of-millions more than an item that is a percentage point lower, yes, it is worth it.

    15. It’s an interesting article and a good point of view. I can debate many points here but I just want to add something: pickup, on endgame items is highly valuable. right now, using wiz: you can get pickup on vile ward, lacunis, witching hour, or either zuni armor/boots. The best pickup is likely lacuni/vile ward or witching hour because they have 3 random mods (vile has 2 but it can roll int/vit + pickup). Other slot is the gloves, where pickup is 1 of the better optional mods… I wish my gloves had pickup.

      Also, it’s interesting to note that most legendaties have 1 mod that’s most wanted and will increase price 100x fold.

      For example: movement speed on ice climbers is #1 mod, resist all on zuni boots is #1 mod. crit chance on mempo or lacuni is #1 mod and so on.

      manticore is very pretty slow. I’d rather use something else:)

      Anyway, this is a nice article, but I think there as your gloves had 250 int instead of 162, price on those would have been 500m:)

      Oh, btw, I was watching a sword which was 100m start bid 1b buyout. It was +8k for me, so I bid 100m to watch it. After 12 hours, it was at 115 mil (3 bids), then 30 min later I look and it got BINNED for 1b… but database didnt update, so I still waste it start bid 100m, end bid 0 = binned πŸ™‚

      question is: who would bin a sword at 1b with current price of 115m.

    16. An obvious reason to NOT pay prices that high is the constant threat of Blizzard changing gear in a not to distant patch. One or two changes can turn all that gear into vendor trash no problem.

    17. Yes, friend sold near perfect dps socket chantodo orb for 1.2 bln, he got 1.02 bln after 15%. A near perfect str echo sold for $125 on the RMAH and then was flipped on AH for 40bln, thats $8000 worth in real money. (it was a hot topic last week)

      The very very perfect rolled legendaries like witching hour, lacuni, mempo, blackthorne pants, vile ward can all fetch 1 – 3 bln. You guys should search for king kongor’s youtube channel and see his video of the interview he made about his gear, the story behind it and how much each piece costs, etc.

    18. An interesting corollary is that certain mainstats are prized more highly than others right now.

      For example, I found an item with 150 STR, and comparables on the AH were starting at around 500K buyouts. I flopped that over to DEX, and the lowest buyout was 2 million.

      • Different items have different max mainstats, e.g. shoulders go to 300 str, only 200 dex except Vile of course.

    19. what a shitty items insane how much gold people ask for.. i cant imagine there are too many items selling noway near that much gold….

    20. I dont know if the items i bought in AH were overlooked, are just people looking for the Main stat and VIT? If you look at my DH’s gloves, i only bid and bought it for around 2m. It has 3 perfect rolls in it, (9)IAS, (50)CD, and (20)MF. Add up a 7.5 CC and 14 GF and that’s more than i paid for. Funny no one noticed it or bother to “flip” it. Check it here
      Also, the bracers she’s using were sniped for 13 mil, its cheaper than I imagined, since all the stats in it are VERY nice, IMO.

    21. Just put a fee on all transactions, regardless of whether they complete or not. Like in WoW. This way people won’t list stuff for outrageous prices for weeks at a time and eventually prices will reach an equilibrium.

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