A newish article from the International Business Times takes an odd point of view with its titular query:
Who’s to Blame for ‘Diablo 3’s’ Auction House?
Gamers usually sneer at anything that lets players circumvent in-game character building with real-world money. They especially dislike it when money can be used to create a competitive advantage in online games. Diablo is all about the loot, and online mutliplayer is extremely popular. A player who spends enough money can deck out their character with some serious gear. That upsets plenty of cashed-strapped gamers.
The philosophy is that games are a means of escaping the real world. If someone with a higher-paying job is “better” than you, they will have to put in the same amount of time as anyone else to beat you in a video game. However, when developers let real-life money affect the game world, that sense of digital equality is destroyed.
The article more or less assumes that no one likes RMT or the D3 RMAH, but that Blizzard can’t be “blamed” for it since it’s just responding to the fact that players were out spending real money on items anyway. It’s also a bit sloppy in not clarifying the differences between cash item shop style “pay to win” games, and the way that D3 is simply expediting player to player trading, for gold or real money.
The irony, if you can call it that, is that while opinions remain divided and we’ve debated it frequently, the majority of you guys are not opposed to real money trading or the RMAH. We’ve run votes on the issue of RMT and the D3 AH, and in both cases those who opposed the D3 system were far from the majority.
Send for a rewrite! “Who’s to Thank for ‘Diablo 3’s’ Auction House?”
Elsewhere, an article on Kotaku Oz points out a trickier aspect of the RMAH… it might be illegal, at least in Korea. The news is about a PS3 role-playing game called Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. It’s a children’s game; nothing violent or sexual, and it received an all ages rating in Japan. In Korea things are different. It’s been slapped with an 18-and-up rating, simply because one area of the game takes place in a casino, where players can hit the slots and roulette wheel and such. Apparently just for in-game gold; nothing with any real life application, but that’s how seriously the Korean game rating authorities take gambling.
Which is a problem for Diablo III, since by enabling an in-game, real-money item trading, Blizzard is essentially turning Diablo III into a slot machine with a potential real money payoff. We saw news on this back in September, when it seemed that Blizzard would have to remove the RMAH feature entirely to release D3 in Korea. We’ve not seen any news about it since, but the issue certainly hasn’t gone away.