A fan used the Death page in DiabloWiki.net to locate a 2010 Bashiok quote about death penalties in Diablo III, which runs in opposition to the higher repair costs added in v1.0.3. The old quote:

    Taking gold away from people, or taking a full level of experience away, yeah, that’s a wake up call. It’s also the quickest way to get someone to uninstall the game. A very select few people will put up with something like that. It’s fine in Diablo II because gold has almost no use, but imagine if it did. You’d be encouraged through the mechanic to grind in easier areas where you’re sure you couldn’t die just so you could earn gold safely. That sounds terrible. Without a gold penalty you can play the content you want to play and meanwhile you’re finding items and amounts of gold that are relevant. That sounds like fun.

    Here’s what the fan said about that, and Bashiok’s reply:

    Quote taken from October 2010… What changed? Why are you guys such hypocrites? Honestly… Repair costs are through the roof. I just finally killed azmodan inferno last night and I am right back at farming act 1 because the repair bill in act 3/4 is IMPOSSIBLE to keep up with as a melee class. I’m a 60 monk that can solo the entire game… but I can’t even make enough gold just PLAYING to pay for my repair costs? I don’t even usually die, and if I do it’s only like 1-2 times per HOUR.

    Bashiok is the community manager, and basically our only direct link to the design team. It is safe to say that at one point, they held the view that when you die you shouldn’t be penalized (financially) for it. As of 1.03 dying can cost you anywhere from around 4-8k depending on your gear’s iLVL….

    So I beg the question… Why the 180 degree turn in philosophy?
    Bashiok: I remember writing that! That was on the old Battle.net forums? Yeah at the time we wanted to avoid any and all costs to death, expect maybe the time to run back. At the time we thought there could be some other solution, or the game just may play better, by not having any ‘cost’ penalties to death.

    Obviously after a lot of play testing that didn’t happen, and we added a durability loss (ie gold cost) to death sometime pre-beta. The cost we chose at the time ended up being far less impactful than we anticipated, so it was increased in 1.0.3. As we added a cost to death (durability loss) in between when I wrote that (2010) and the release of the game, I think calling it a change of direction is a bit late. We definitely made a huge increase to the death penalty we shipped with, though.

    In any case, we’re going to see how the repair cost reductions in the 1.0.3a patch tomorrow work out, and keep an eye on it. Give it a shot and let us know what you think after tomorrow.

    You increased the repair cost to hedge inflation in the gold market because you failed to roll out commodity trading on the RMAH at the same time as gear trading. As such gold is now worthless and equivalent gear on the GAH compared to the RMAH is now 10x+ the gold cost it was originally.
    Bashiok: Nah, good/careful players won’t be spending that much more. At least not enough to suddenly make for an inflation-less economy. There are people still able to rack up tons of gold. I personally haven’t noticed any big shifts in the GAH prices since 1.0.3, which if its goal was to balance the market it seems like it’d make some impact.

    Three thoughts:

    1. I thought their old theory of zero DiabloWikideath penalties even in softcore was a dumb idea, so I’m not unhappy with the change in philosophy.
    2. I’m not upset about the higher repair costs now, since they don’t really begin to matter until Inferno, which is, after all, supposed to be hard (though not impossible).
    3. Nor do I mind the general principle of Blizzard changing their minds on a game design feature, after testing it out and seeing that it wasn’t working as hoped. In fact, there are quite a few other game design theories I hope they experience similar 180s on. Or at least like, 90s.

    So, I guess I’m totally on board with Bashiok here. I am such a sell out. Bobby-lover! Any of you guys disagree with points 1-3? Or do you agree in priciple, but differ on the execution of the repair costs change? (Pending v1.0.3a modifications, obviously.)

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