Diablo 3’s RMAH = The Lesser Evil?

There’s an odd editorial on PC Gamer that takes a critical view of Diablo 3’s end game, mostly as an excuse to offer some generic opinions on the Auction House and other such features publishers are including in games to (attempt to) create a long term revenue stream. Quote:

In the run up to Diablo 3?s launch, Blizzard painstakingly detailed their thinking behind the late alterations they were making to Diablo 3, providing a fascinating insight into the design process. They tore up many of the accepted action RPG elements that Diablo invented. Teleportation scrolls were deemed extraneous, so they went. Unnecessary stats were thrown out, skills were altered or dropped entirely to ensure that every ability had a purpose. NPCs were culled until only the Blacksmith and the Jeweller remained. The end result was finely pruned, impactful and addictive, supported by a levelling system that favoured experimentation over the incremental stat progression and sparse ability options offered by traditional skill tree set-ups.

And yet, this carefully honed and, in many ways, brilliant action RPG finds itself swamped by a bloated final quarter. The climactic rewards of an action RPG – the best loot and the toughest bosses – are hidden behind layers and layers of plodding gold-gathering, Paragon levelling and bargain hunting. The systems designed to fuel ongoing auction house trade and develop a cross-game economy have stretched Diablo 3?s longevity beyond its natural breaking point. Blizzard continue to release major updates that may yet turn things around, but for now it looks as though quest to keep players playing forever has backfired.

We haven’t seen the last of the auction house. I think we’ll see similar ideas popping up in future releases. A full price game supported by ongoing microtransactions will seem increasingly ordinary as time passes and major studios start looking harder at the techniques free to play games have used to make a fortune over the last few years. Guild Wars 2, Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed 3 and Diablo 3 are a few of this year’s big examples. What will be next?

I say it’s odd since the whole piece reads like it was written in June, slightly updated in August to mention some of the DiabloWikiPatch v1.04 changes, and yet it’s got November 5th for a date. Perhaps it was written a couple of months ago for the print magazine, and just posted online now? That’s kind of a fatal flaw, since the major features in last month’s DiabloWikiv1.05 patch, like DiabloWikiMonster Power and the DiabloWikiInfernal Machine, were introduced to fix (or at least alleviate) exactly the problems mentioned in this editorial.

RMAH or Else?

That issue aside… yes, publishers have a desire to continue to earn money from their games after release. Duh. And since WoW seems to be the last profitable monthly-fee MMORPG (at least in the West), they’ve got to find other ways.

Prior to Diablo 3’s release, I was like a lot of fans, and opposed in principle, to the DiabloWikiReal Money Auction House. However, that principle was based in reality, and as Blizzard talked more about the system, it started to grow on me. Not to use myself (I’ve never bought or sold anything in the D3 RMAH) but since it was a fairly painless way to provide ongoing revenue so we’d keep getting patches, Battle.net support, etc. Basically, all the stuff we wanted from D2 and didn’t get.*

So, how do you guys feel about the RMAH now? I still see some players blaming it for all the evils of Diablo 3, though that’s a lot harder argument to make now that v1.05 has largely recreated the economy and difficulty balance we saw in D2 (albeit with still much less common unique drops).

You’re free to scream and shout about the RMAH, but what would you replace it with? What other system could D3 have implemented to provide ongoing revenue to support patches and support? A monthly subscription fee? Cash item shop? Micro-transactions to buy more stash space and resurrect Hardcore characters? Personally, I’d much rather see an RMAH that doesn’t affect my gameplay in any way, and is a useful tool for players who want to use it, than other revenue-generators I can think of, most of which would be far more intrusive into the overall play experience.

D2 Support Footnote

* D2X launched in June 2001 at v1.07, and was quickly patched to v1.08 to fix some big bugs, and went to v1.09 a couple of months later. And that was it for D2X support until late 2003 when v1.10 was released. That patch, which was developed almost single-handedly by Peter Hu before he left Blizzard North for Flagship Studios, brought huge changes as well as making D2X much easier to mod, which enabled his successors to create more big changes in v1.11.

And yes, D2X v1.10 was awesome, but it was like 2.5 years between v1.09 and v1.10. There’s no comparison from the D2 days to the amount of support and big patch changes we’ve seen post D3, with big patches almost monthly, and they haven’t even added the PvP system yet, which will be arguably the biggest change of all.

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57 thoughts on “Diablo 3’s RMAH = The Lesser Evil?

  1. RMAH/AH is fine.

    The only thing which was problematic with it is that many players were not comfortable with an instant reflection of what others had (i.e. seeing all the powerful stuff found by others in the AH), as opposed to what they had. In previous games, we all knew that there must have been others who were way ahead of us, but did not really care. But when someone finds a seemingly good loot that is actually worthless thanks to being 1000+ other, more powerful items already in the AH, that can be food for thought.

    But with 1.0.4, and especially with 1.0.5, the AH actually became a good trading tool. Any new character can very easily find powerful items to gear up, and they can, and this is a safe assumption, get a full MP0-1 compatible gear under a million gold (or around that), then join the club soon with the increase of paragon levels.

  2. Is this a joke ? Do you really think the \quality\ of recent patches support is due to RMAH revenue ? After a +10 million copies sold within a week ?

    I don’t mind this feature anyway but it has nothing to do with the efforts Blizzard puts on \fixing\ its game.

  3. The D3 patches only added features which should have already shipped with the finished game. Now that there is an actual endgame (MP and Paragon), we’re only missing PVP and the D3 beta is over woohoo

    • Spot on.

      I’m surprised people still play this and call mediocre patches a FIX. If anything they encourage more AH/RMAH use.

      Where is PVP?

      Where is end game?

      Where is fixed loot?

      Where are the loot synergies?

      Stack more hp and resistance and fuck all. Dumbed down pile of dog shit.

      And Yes I come here for the giggles.

  4. I think both Auction Houses have re-oriented the game in a negative direction. Finding loot upgrades from fighting is exciting and rewarding. Buying loot upgrades feels completely unrewarding like I’m play SimDiablo. I wonder if I can buy a guild house and set the wall paper to One Direction Posters. Blech.

  5. While I don’t use the AH, if it continues to bring in revenue and help support the game, I’m more than happy to have it included in the franchise. Prior to patch 1.0.4 and 1.0.5 I felt the balance was off and that it was basically needed to use some form of the AH to advance, but with the recent patches I’ve been able to happily progress without using the AH.

    But there are many sides to this arguement. Without the AH there wouldn’t be a need for online only, but then we wouldn’t have the security or online features. Personally I feel they should have an offline and online version. As a huge fan of the Diablo 2 Mod, Median Xl, the saddest tale of D3 is that there won’t be any mods for it.

  6. Never had an issue with the RMAH/AH

    used both, that is my business.

    diablo 3 was not the first game to implement pay options.

    most online games have been doing that forever. look at kabam games, or evony, farmwhatever etc etc the option has always been there.

    those that do pay for these services DIRECTLY ASSIST in supporting the game for everyone, EVERYONE. look at the steps diablo 3 has come out with, argument-ally if they shoulda had it or not, it is irrelevant. The fact they are pushing these updates is all i care. the time and effort they put it. by more than 1 person too!

    if there were not the rmah and the ah within diablo there would just be 100 times more black market operations doing the same thing. happens with anygame. I rather be able to buy 2 mil gold directly from blizzard anyways then going to some shady place on the side and giving them my personal information.

    Diablo 3 tried to do something new, they might not have please everyone, but they tried something new.

      • The issue is that I do not believe Blizzard’s claim that drop rates and item design are unaffected by the existence of the auction houses.

        I think the auction houses heavily impact drop rates and item design. There is a big difference between designing those systems to work well for players finding all their own equipment vs. working well with massive auction houses with supply/demand/uniqueness requirements.

        As a result, I believe it is very difficult to acquire Inferno level gear without the auction houses, *forcing* many people to use them.

        • I guess you are right to some degree. Having an AH provides another means to source items. It would be fair if the only way to purchase said items was with in-game gold, requiring players to actually play D3…

          But, one can use real money to bypass the playing and skip straight to the farming (or beating your ass in pvp when it arrives). How is this not pay to “win”? The only answer I can think of is that there is nothing to gain from playing D3 in the first place, which is no consolation.

        • I am a 100% self found gear person. What you say is true pre 1.05. I was stuck in act 3 and upgrades just weren’t coming. That has completely changed. I was able to beat the game in MP1 and am now farming MP4 & 5.

          The upgrades seem to have come to a halt tho. I do find items that would up my DPS but at a cost of survival. So I pretty much don’t use those. I am finding 1-2 legendaries a day now tho so I’m at least hopeful and encouraged to keep playing in hopes of finding good upgrades. (the legendaries really do need another review tho)

          That said, I’m not expecting to be given items easily to get to MP10. That is the end game. Loot has always been the only Diablo end game. (oh and ubers..forget about that as I never played D2 on battle.net) Now however we have 4 goals. Reach MP10, reach paragon 100, Infernal Machine, and the classic: loot, loot, and more loot.

          Finally, the AH is here to stay I’m afraid. But I don’t use it so what harm does it do me? I was a bit bitter about it pre1.05 as the more I played the more I felt that I couldn’t finish inferno without it. But that is no longer true. I am happily living with it now. And as Flux states, if it keeps the patches coming and the servers running, great.

          • Great post! I’m glad to hear it is possible now. I built my first character using the gold AH, and although it was very effective I wasn’t having much fun. I am building my second character with self-found gear and having a lot more fun. I was just worried that I’d hit a wall in Inferno based on lots of other people’s comments. If you didn’t need it, then there is hope for me.

  7. RMAH was never a problem to me tbh.
    What is a HUGE problem to me and what basically made me stop playing is the absence of ladder and its reset.

    For someone like me, only playing the game and not playing 24/7 on the AH to make profit, there is just absolutely no way to get decent gear or farm the amount of gold to get there.

    Any decent item is now worth well above 100M, it’s just stupid.

    Ladder resets would allow any player to just buy items from gold he farmed up. It’s just no possible now and it won’t ever be possible again.

    But then again, with the limitation to the amount of chars / account, i don’t see how blizz could manage ladder resets.

  8. I don’t use rmah but do use ah. Getting an upgrade from the ah is quite thrilling. I just want my monk to feel godly and don’t care where the power comes from. Not using either ah is gimping myself and I don’t subscribe to that view. The game isn’t ruined. Last patch has been good and hopefully pvp will be great.

  9. So… the fact that all these Diablo 2 patches came out without a single drop of micro-transactions a decade ago, or the many patches put out by various game companies without micro-transactions, or the map and content patches for various FPS games like BF1942 and Call of Duty… means nothing?

    Companies, for YEARS have been able to survive and make changes to games after having gotten a single cash infusion – release day. Why the economics has suddenly changed these last 3 years baffles me. In that it is suddenly just ACCEPTED that it is impossible for a company that releases games multiple times a year HAS to have a revenue stream FROM a particular game in order to make changes TO that particular game.

    • “All those Diablo 2 patches”. Uhh….what? D2 received barely any support at all, and that took years. The amount of change we’ve gotten on D3 in 5 months has been staggering. If we have the RMAH and those fools who are willing to spend real money on items to thank for that, then awesome.

      • Exactly. 3 patches in 9 years with an occasional ladder reset or rust storm, with zero chat moderation, no community support, etc. Rose tinted glasses for D2’s game features is one thing, but we fans were raging about the non-support and lack of anti-hacks efforts back in 2001. People just came to accept that non-support and stopped complaining after 4 or 5 years of it?

        Besides, the reason D2 was supported even as much as it was, for all those years, was thanks to WoW. That cash cow kept Blizzard running and allowed D2 support to last for years while D3 dev was dragging along. If other games hadn’t allowed Blizzard to remain profitable and functional, where does anyone think the 10 years of free D2 server hosting would have come from?

    • The point isn’t that they NEED the money to put out patch, it’s that the money they make out of people playing Diablo 3 is incentive to them to try they hardest to keep people playing.
      The whole point Flux is making is that RMAH is a non intrusive way for Blizzard to make money, in the sense that we don’t have to spend anything if we don’t want to, and at the same time the more Blizz makes money out of it, the better for everyone. If Diablo’s RMAH turns out to be even more profitable than wow’s subscriptions, it’s diablo that would get the huge developpment team, which means lots of new content and improvements.

      As for those who complain that the loot’s been made to work with the AH and makes it too hard to play without it, I’d say that Diablo 3’s loot system is pretty much the same as Diablo 2’s. Very wide ranges of items from utter crap to the holy grail, with the very best items (and I mean the very best, not just good ones) being so rare you have more chance of becoming the richest man in the world one day than finding them. In diablo 2 you didn’t need to trade to get through hell, maybe farming a little if you had bad luck but it was fairly easy to get through. Diablo 3 is the exact same, the only difference being that Diablo 3 has an additional difficulty, inferno, which is meant to be super tough to get through. Now with monster power everyone is happy as long as they set realistic goals for themselves. If you want everything in MP10 to melt as soon as you get close, you will need to trade, probably for a really long time, before you reach that kind of level, but if you simply want to play without trading, you can still have access to anything the game has to offer on a lower difficulty setting.

      Really there’s not much point to hating RMAH, Diablo 3 is designed as a Diablo game, the RMAH and even the AH are optionnal, you are free to do whatever you want. If you want a game that gives you the very best items you can potentially get fairly easily, play wow.

      • My observation about the D3 economy (and why it’s been less fun than D2) is that the devs wanted it to be stable. i.e. no ladder resets. D2 had those and therefore the loot could pinata out like mad. Or to turn that around, since the loot was so plentiful, they *had* to have ladder resets to break up the entropy now and then.

        D3 wanted a stable long term economy, hence quality items had to drop much less frequently. That combined with a much harder top end difficulty, the extreme difficulty of finding a top rare, and the unfindable and underpowered legendaries (at launch), to create a system where the end game that was unplayable w/o obtaining gear from the AH. Which was, I think, a poor design.

        The real kicker is that they didn’t have to do it that way. D2’s 3rd party item sales sites were their inspiration for the RMAH, but for some reason Bliz thought they had to make a WoW-style incremental improvement item economy, which doesn’t work in a random loot game like D3. As they should have learned from D2, mega-loot dropping fun can work fine with an RMAH… that’s what all those item sales sites should have proved. There was no reason they couldn’t have had loot like D2 in D3, and ladder resets or seasons or other reasons to keep resetting the economy, AND a profitable RMAH. D2 did, after all.

        We’ll never know, but I figure they wanted a thriving player community with tons of regular trades going through the GAH, and the RMAH existing to skim a % off of the top on all the high end trades. Basically a luxury tax. But the game at launch had a terrible economy, which caused player retention to hemorrhage, and must have sent trading volumes plunging. Be interesting to see the RMAH and GAH stats and see how much $ and how many trades are going compared to Blizzard’s projections, but alas, they’ll never give us a hint of such data.

        • Well, don’t forget that the “Ladder Seasons” were a 1.10 band-aid for the completely broken economy, and even that didn’t really help since Blizzard never bothered fixing the duping problem.
          And the loot was so plentiful because of dupes, not drop rates. Sure, I found like 5 gazillion mid level uniques and had fun doing that, but speaking as someone who played mostly self found, in nearly 10 years of playing I haven’t found a single high end unique like Windforce or The Grandfather, not to mention any high runes.
          Then there’s also the fact that D2 was such an easy game that you didn’t actually need any high end equipment to play it.
          Diablo 3 isn’t perfect, but it made tremendous improvements since launch, especially with the legendary drop rate. And I have a feeling that by the time the first expansion comes out (hopefully sooner rather than later) it will be an outstanding game.

          • Exactly what I meant, I’ve played D2 a lot, in all aspects (solo, mods, self drop in hardcore, pvp, legit trading…), I’ve even been running bots (as this was the only way to be competitive in the high spheres of trading) so I know very well how rare the really valuable items were ^^

            Still I’d say I agree with your thoughts Flux, but only the way D3 was when it was released. The last few patches have been great steps toward fixing the problem and I believe that when you see things in the right perspective, they’re mostly solved already. We’re now very close to how D2X 1.10+ was, with good “uniques” dropping and rares being worthless 99% of the time but still there’s the chance of getting that super insane roll that will make the item priceless.

            Sure there’s still a lot that can be done to further improve the game, and a lot of content to add to make it way more interesting, but yeah D3 in 1.05 is a legitimate Diablo and is very very promising.

  10. I was a big opponent of the RMAH before release, and to a degree I still am. I just don’t like the fact that people can buy ingame power with outside resources, I never will. It’s not bothering me as much as it used to though, now that it’s much easier to progress through the game without having a big budget.

    As for Blizzard’s financial model, I don’t really buy the argument that the RMAH is responsible for the support this game has gotten so far. It’s clear that D3 was in a bad shape at launch and needed a lot of major patching. Even if the game had barely sold, Blizzard just couldn’t have afforded it to outright abondon the game. They would have taken a huge reputation hit and lose lots of customers. Considering they’re one of the wealthiest development companies out there and D3 sold an astronomical amount of copies, I don’t think Blizzard finds it very hard to support this game for a long time.

  11. I hate the RMAH.

    – Getting upgrades from the AH is not thrilling
    – Seeing upgrades in the AH that you yourself will never find, statistically speaking of course, is not thrilling
    – Seeing upgrades in the AH that all have 500+ million to 3 billion price tags is not thrilling

    The AH is one big ad, showing you what you can get when you get out your wallet. Statistically speaking, the game has been designed so that you will never find the good stuff on your own nor ever be able to farm enough gold to make a purchase. You either have to get extremely lucky and have a double lottery win (first to get the right drop, second to roll good affixes) or get out your wallet to get into the market. Barring this, you are out of the game, sitting at side lines, staring at the gear you are never going to have.

    • I have the 100% opposite opinion.

      RMAH does not affect me, since I don’t use it. I don’t care if others do..its their money.

      Look, if blizzard did not do it, there would be 1000000 3rd party sites selling gear. There was for D2…did you really think D3 is the first game to have people spend real cash?

      GAH: With the addition of 1.05, you really don’t need the AH to progress. It just takes some time.

      Don’t have the time to spend and want to be insta-godly? Sorry, you’re out of luck.

      Here’s what I decided: I would bargain shop the AH for gear for ONE character who would be used to supply the rest. I think the most I’ve spent on an item is 10 million and I easily roll though MP 2-3.

      I constantly get little upgrades for my other characters and i like that its taking forever to fill them out.

      Do I need to spend 100M for an item? Nope. Its just not worth that much money for minimal gain. Let the rich folk chase their perfect 2 Billion items…I’m busy having a blast.

      • Forgot to mention that I’m finding Legendaries/rares on a frequent basis that sell for 50k to 5-6 million…

        What else do you want? I swear some people would not be happy no matter what Blizzard does.

        If the game bothers you this much…you should do yourself a favor and just quit, seriously

      • One, I would bet I have more hours played than you. Two, almost all of my gear is self found. Three, at a certain gear point, they only way you are ever going to get an upgrade is via double lottery win (explained above) or 500+ million to 3 billion purchase from the AH. It is statistically impossible to get upgrades any other way. Four, the ridiculous 500+ million to 3 billion gold prices are due to people being able to buy gold from the RMAH and spend it on the AH. Five, I have never used the RMAH and never will. Six, I have never had more the 10 million gold at once and probably never will. Any double-win lottery item I find, I’ll keep for my own use on one of my 5 level 60, Inferno-capable characters. I have one of each class. Seven, the 50K to 5-6 million legendaries you find frequently, those are garbage/downgrades that I cannot use. For me to improve my characters, I need the stuff I’m statistically never going to find, nor be able to afford due to the RMAH.

        And yes, eventually, I will just quit, just like everyone else that has already gone. It’s no fun seeing what’s available and not being able to earn it by simply playing the game. In D2, given enough play time, everything was findable on your own, barring high runes/tyrael’s. In D3, it’s open your wallet or go home.

        • 100 x 5-6 Million = half a billion to buy what you want. Sell those ‘garbage’ rares and buy what you want.

          Anything on the Ah is findable…how else was it found?

          I played d2 for ten years and found 2 high runes. One Soj. Zero tyreals or Tal rasha chests. Don’t tell me everything in D2 was ‘findable’ and easy to get.

          If you don’t like the AH goodie list, don’t look at it?

          Honestly you just sound really angry over a video game.

          • And this “open your wallet or go home” comment is really ignorant.

            Does “Go Home” = not facerolling the game? What are you expecting here?

            I have minimal use of the Gah and I’m happy as a clam

          • I agree with you, you could easily get garbage uniques from d2 easily, the good ones took time, leveling to 99 took time.

            I even pindlebotted and meph botted and still didnt get all the good things in my bags.

            now on a side note, what i spend my own money on is my business, so what I spent 22 bucks in the rmah.

            the level of support for d2 sucked balls. how many patches before the expansion did we get, how many patches after the expansion did we get. how many bugs did we get forced to live with. how many times did the actions of others cause of great discomfort.

            thank you diablo 3, and all your flaws and greatness. you made the game so much more enjoyable to play. I know you will get better because that is what you are meant to be. and with expansions coming out in the future i know that you will give me a great investment in the money i put in.

        • You know what is your problem? You (and other 1000s people on the forum)are bitching about how expensive are the best items. Do you get it? You wanna upgrade to maximum possible level but you bitch about it? Seriously? And there is so many people like you…

          Hi my name is Timmy I have second best axe in Europe softcore..it costed me 100M..well but I want the best one..and its on the AH for 1000M! I dont have money but I think I am entitled to have it or have a good(?’) chance to get it as drop.

          Hey Timmy, you know what? Go fuck yourself, these are the best items and they should be more expensive not less, not everyone is fucking entitled to have best gear. And if you dont have money for it, well you just found your max level, you are not good enoug to get the best items. Its simple as that. You are farming slow, you farm bad farming spots, you use wrong build, your gaming skill is shit. You reached your max level, be happy for your “1%” you are not good enough for “0.1%”

  12. I think that as far as ongoing monetization of the game is concerned, the RMAH is a relatively painless way to do it. Many monetization schemes set up the game so that it’s difficult to play and/or you can’t enjoy many of the features without sending in a constant small stream of money — so basically the entire game is designed to pump as much money out of the player as possible. And of course reminders that you can send them more money pop up as often as possible?

    Compared to that the RMAH is unobtrusive, VERY optional, and actually potentially benefits players (who can potentially make money on the RWAH, not just constantly spend it).

    As to whether the game should have had ongoing monetization in the first place — well, that’s another question. But if we want ongoing improvements and support of the game, there pretty much has to be ongoing monetization to go with it. (Yes, I know there were patches, etc. for D2, but, what, 14 big ones over a 10-year period?)

    • ^This. The lame developper’s cash shop are a real pain for players. The RMAH is much less intrusive and far more optional that pushing “pay X $ to see more content or buy weapons from OUR shops” mechanics.

      Games like Lotro are a pain in the ass with such mechanics./

  13. The game shouldn’t need a constant revenue stream to support the minor patches we have seen.
    Pretty much all the new content we have seen has been reskins. Which is not a complaint, but it surely isn’t enough to argue that the game needed more revenue streams than it makes from selling the box.

    Even if it needed more revenue streams, I’d much rather pay for DLC than having the RMAH.

  14. If we pretend that without the RMAH Blizz couldn’t afford the server costs long term (which is a flagrant untruth, but let’s go with it) I’d rather them just close down the servers than having the decisions they made to accommodate the auction houses. Then we could play on community servers, or even just peer to peer. And mods would be possible again, greatly extending the game’s lifespan. I’d like that much more than an AH.

    • BS.

      You talk about times LONG gone.

      These internet times you need structured and server controlled policies and centralised activity.

      This is the age of the internet game play: you will need structured server set ups or your game will die after 2 months playing: Watch the activity these days in D3: it is being played 30 times more than TL2 (which lost almost all activity after 6 weeks).

      In times where games are launched and forgotten in 6 weeks time, your idea of the ideal game structure is no longer valid.

  15. Recent Xfire activity proves it: Diablo 3 has much more long live in it than GW2, BL2 and certainly TL2 … I am quite conviced that when the PvP patch will come D3 will be played much more than GW2 for instance.

    That’s because the patch 1.05 was already awesome (hunt for “the” ring and modable monster play) and of course the AH’s.

    Rob Pardo said it in August 2011: the AH/RMAH will keep players in, once they are used to it and you’ll play this game much longer after being gear and level capped.

    Not all went well of course, but from ALL the cash shops I know the player controlled RMAH is the lesser of the evil things to come with “free to play” games.

    I hope we will see it in future projects too.

  16. I don’t and won’t use the RMAH, but I reckon on balance it’s a good idea. Mostly, because it gives Blizzard more incentive to stomp on gold farmers, chat spammers and sundry scum that made D2 a fairly unpleasant experience.

  17. The AH short circuits a critical aspect of the game. Instead of loot drops being a major source of your items, you’re enticed to use this other system that most of us don’t really find fun, but end up using because it’s so much more efficient. Also, the AH is the main reason why the blacksmith is pretty much useless (with a very few exceptions).

    I think the biggest problem with the AH is that there are no real item sinks. Items bought on the AH end up going back into circulation after they’re no longer needed. I don’t think items should be bound on use, because I’m fully in favour of a player trying an item they’ve had drop before deciding they want to sell it. However I think the system would be much improved by preventing the listing items on the AH if you originally aquired them through the AH. You could still trade it to your friends or people you met though.

    In terms of the RMAH, I’m guessing it ruins a lot of the fun for those who buy their items that way. However for me, because I only use the gold AH, I think it actually improves the system by making the gold AH less appealing (because it removes the top items and jacks up the prices on the remaining good items).

  18. The implementation of RMAH can actually add end-game content. What happens when the day comes and everyone runs around with godly items and the AH activity goes down? They add more items to keep RMAH running. Yes please, give me more items to hunt for Blizz.
    Fairly good items cost nothing now, which means that all players can get a decent character with very low investments. To get there quickly, use the AH. I don’t think that is a bad thing. Everyone can feel powerful with low effort, but to build the ultimate killing machine should take time, and it does.
    I played the crap out of D2. I probably found 30 shaftstops. In D3 I have found 4 Andariel’s visage so far. I never found a zod rune and I will probably never find a Mempo with crit chance either. To me the loot is similar now. Godly items hardly drops, but decent does. At least the AH makes it possible to get those godly items with a few clicks. In D2 the trading was a pain.

  19. It’s not that simple, because the game does not have an offline version. If the loot or anything else is influenced by the AH, it means that your gameplay is influenced by it, even if you have no intentions to use the AH.

    Sure the CMs tend to deny this, and a lot of players do believe that the AH has no influence at all, none of them, not even the game’s developers could ever assure me it really is this way. I’m not saying, that the AH MUST BE influencing the game, but over the years, months, I just because too suspicious about this whole thing.

    It just feels weird for me to play in a system I basically don’t know anything about. Obviously, the CMs are just like puppets, they only say what the devs tell them (a lot of blue posts are just like \oh wait, gotta ask the devs, brb\).
    I feel unconfortable, because I don’t know exact numbers. I don’t know anything about the drops at all. I got no clue about the base drop chance of a legendary item.
    And since the game is all online, it could take only seconds to lower or increase the drop rates in favor of the AH (obviously not only drop rates, a ton of server side stuffs can be changed). And it bugs me (and apparently a ton other gamers too) A LOT.

  20. Again, people have no clue just how many players are playing Diablo 3.

    If you would go by the Xfire activity THESE DAYS and take it as a small sample, you would see D3 has around 50% of present day WOW players.

    Today D3 even catches up with the new launched GW2 on that Xfire sample.

    So anything above 2 million players world wide is the minimum.

    With 2 million hardcore players still playing this PvP less game almost 6 months after launch, I think the RMAH brings in at least 60 million dollars on a yearly basis or 5 M per month.

    That’s MORE than a new game would make with 1.2 million copies sold in ON LINE mode (taking retail revenue, that would mean D3 brings in the equivalent of 2.5 million copies sold of a new game).

    BTW: Very few PC only games can make this revenue and the RMAH is just a bonus.

    So Flux: explain why D3 “failed” to keep players in. A 20 to 30% retention rate WITH both AH’s is pretty good for a modern day video game (as WOW trial accounts only have a 30% retention rate too).

    The reality is now setting in that in the RPG field D3 with the PvP patch could be the second most played game after WOW in 2013.

    Go figure.

      • Well that’s more than 20% of the initial 10.000.000 players after 6 months.

        If you play a game for 6 months you can be called a hardcore player of that game, whether you play that game for 30 minutes a day or 10 hours a day.

        What that Xfire sample DOES show is that quite a LOT of people in that western sample are still playing Diablo 3 on a daily basis or you wouldn’t have 5 times the number of EVE players or half the number of WOW.

  21. I’m fine with both the GAH and RMAH. I use the GAH all the time, but never the RMAH. The games drop rates were obviously designed (as blizzard confirmed) with the existence of the AH in mind. That doesn’t mean drop rates are tied dynamically to it. It just means that bosses can’t poop out sets and legendaries like a pinata or everyone would have a full set of near BIS gear for a pittance six months into the games lifespan and everyone here would be complaining about the economy in a different way.

    The RMAH controversy is laughable. Blizzard is just providing a secure way to do things that were done in D2 by third parties. Nothing in the game was designed around it or any other kooktard conspiracy theories. No one is doing anything in Diablo 3 with real money that wasn’t done in Diablo 3.

    I also think some people have some very silly memories of drop rates in D2 because of how widespread duping was. Some of the top end rares were like 1 in 9000 chance just from hell baal. They were then duped and everyone told themselves theirs was a legit copy. /snicker.

  22. Players will not invest $ in items in a game they perceive as boring or with no future. I do not think the rmah directly provides patch revenue, but it does motivate blizzard to continually improve the game and make the game stay fresh and make gold and item purchases feel worthwhile.

    The rmah is a double edged sword for blizzard.

    The ah was never necessary to beat the game, but it certainly is a superior trading system to what exists in d2. The difference between d2 and d3 ‘gear’ is that there are difficulty levels in d3 that do require best in slot, very rare gear. In d2 you only needed the exceptional uniques and a good weapon to feel powerful in hell. You did not need the rarest of items.

    • I don’t exactly disagree with you, but I think you’re trying to interject too much rationality. It’s like someone saying, “don’t get a tattoo since you’ll regret it when you’re 50.” Well yeah, but that’s meaningless to a 22 y/o in the tattoo shop.

      By the same token, people bought (and probably still are buying?) items for D2 since those items made the game much more fun to play, and they loved the game. Even a decade after release, with D3 coming up, and knowing D2 had regular ladder wipes…. people still spent real money on items. If they’re not doing that as much in D3, it’s not because of some logical, rational evaluation of the game’s future and pros/cons. It’s because they’re not enjoying the game and don’t think those items would make it more fun.

      I have no idea which items in D2 sold for the most, but there were so many uniques and runewords that enabled whole play styles that couldn’t be touched otherwise. Items with skills for another class, enigma for teleport, etc. Those seem like things someone would pay money for, since you absolutely had to have them or you just couldn’t do X.

      Where as all the D3 uniques are just slightly better rares. *sigh*

      D3 still has such an unimaginative item system in D3, and it’ll probably stay that way until the expansion. Alas.

      • @flux – I agree about the items generally being lackluster in d3, and that is putting it mildly. D3 itemization is patterned more after wow with incremental power gains through stats. All the interesting affixes were removed and put in the skills themselves. I don’t see how they can ever make items like they were in d2 without drastically changing the skills system.

        D2 content was all about the items and assembling sets to enable builds. D3, all builds are enabled once you pass certain thresholds of crit and ias.

        So the only way I see the rmah to stay active long term is to keep adding actual game content. Adding new items will actually anger people. Its quite a conundrum and pretty surprising how d3 has turned out. Its a very fun game to play, but the item metagame is so much worse than d2. The items traded in the economy are very dull and do little for the actual gameplay, yet are still essential.

  23. Also, to follow up, the problem with release d3 was that the game dumped you into inferno at level 60 without explaining what it was – it was an area designed for hardcore gamers that everyone had easy access to. It felt like you were supposed to be playing there.

    Now they hide the elite difficulty levels and the rewards for playing higher levels offer marginal gains, so marginal in fact that even high geared players will play lower mp, except when farming keys/organs. So you can select whatever level feels good and be happy playing without feeling your character is missing out.

  24. “Prior to Diablo 3?s release, I was like a lot of fans, and opposed in principle, to the Real Money Auction House. However, that principle was based in reality, and as Blizzard talked more about the system, it started to grow on me. Not to use myself (I’ve never bought or sold anything in the D3 RMAH) but since it was a fairly painless way to provide ongoing revenue so we’d keep getting patches, Battle.net support, etc. Basically, all the stuff we wanted from D2 and didn’t get.”

    Diablo 2 got plently of patches, an expansion and bnet support without the RMAH…

  25. I’m all into the “purist” point of view… but what is the price point when it becomes foolish not to buy goldz??? 50 cents a million sounds about right..

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