A fan asked if we’ll see reduced costs for gem upgrades once the Auction House closes, since trading and item selling is really the only realistic way a player can assemble enough gold and gems and mats to upgrade to the higher level gems. The Blue reply offers hints and reassurances and leaves plenty of room for debate.
Grimiku: It’s true that removing the Auction House will change how easily a lot of players obtain various resources, and some things already have a steep cost. In addition to that, Reaper of Souls is going to have even more ways to spend what you earn. This means there might need to be some adjustments made to crafting costs, rewards for playing, or both, to make sure that players are progressing at a reasonable rate. It’s too early to say exactly what changes will be made, but we’ll do our best to make sure that it feels right.
Two points on this:
1) Don’t gems need a big boost in stats (not on weapons, but certainly on armor) in RoS and/or Loot 2.0? As the OP mentions, the higher levels of gems are in no way worth the amount of gold they cost, except for players at the very highest end of the gear curve, where even adding a few more stat points costs hundreds of millions. And that’s now, when a good item has maybe +100-200 stat, and often less. Loot 2.0 items we’ve seen previewed (or D3 console items now) often have +400 or more to a single affix, or to both Mainstat and VIT. Now a strong character with 2500 mainstat feels a real improvement from another 300 stat points from from 5 or 6 gems in their armor. If that same character has 4500 to mainstat in RoS, that 300 is going to seem pretty paltry. (And wildly overpriced for the benefit given.)2) Speaking of prices, gold costs are indeed high for gem upgrading, but materials are just as bad. Consult the cumulative price table on the Gems article in the wiki (or view the 4 highest ranks of gem in the image to the right) and you’ll see that to create a Radiant Star gem (L14) costs: 15400k gold, 1631 ToS, and 729 Flawless Squares. And most high geared players have 6 or 7 of those in their equipment, plus a Marquise in their weapon.
You might possibly have picked up that much gold during your entire D3 play time, and maybe 16000 Tomes of Secret, but I strongly doubt anyone has ever picked up 5000+ of the same type of Flawless Square gem. I’ve collected almost every FS gem I’ve seen for months at a time and never built up more than a few hundred of each. (Which I then upgrade as far as it can go, and/or sell.)
So are we doomed? I don’t think so; click through for the solution.
The console has no AH, and it cut gem costs considerably. They’re much lower on the gold cost and much much much lower on the gem cost. It only requires 2 of each gem to upgrade on the console, all the way up to Marquise. The PC version requires 2 gems up to Flawless Square, which is the highest quality that drops. From there on it requires 3 per upgrade, and that is a LOT of gems. Cutting it to 2 on the console make a big difference, but you probably don’t realize how much. It’s not a third less, it’s more than 90% less, thanks to the magic of exponential mathematics.
Run the numbers yourself: Going up from Flawless Squares on the console is 2 to the 7th power. That’s 128 (2/4/8/16/32/64/128) total gems to make a Marquis, and just 64 to make a Radiant Star. Currently on the PC version that’s 3 to the 7th, which is 2187 (3/9/27/81/243/729/2187). Really. It requires more gems to make a Flawless Star (L12) on the PC than a Marquis (L15) on the console.
That Grimiku isn’t reporting (and datamining hasn’t found) substantial cuts to gem upgrade costs (mats and gold) makes me think that the devs either haven’t given this any thought, or more likely that they have and there are a bunch of changes coming. Lower costs across the board is an easy fix. Or how about higher level gems or stacks of mats dropping (from special bosses or quest rewards?)?
The other potential fix that I’m also hoping for is some kind of robust trading system to replace the AH. At least to make it quick and easy to buy/sell commodities and materials, which are 1) a great way for poor players to earn gold and work their way up, and 2) time-consuming and annoying to self-gather for rich/powerful players.