Debate: The Diablo 3 Auction House Adds Long Term Content?


The following article was created by an exchange of emails between Flux and Katniss, a forum and podcast regular. In it we debate the merits of the Diablo 3 Auction House and its impact on the game economy, with special focus on whether the AH creates a long term “item game” that adds a content and fun to Diablo 3. (Plus various related topics.)

Katniss has been playing the DiabloWikiDiablo 3 console since launch, and given that that version of the game does not have an Auction House (or any other sort of in-game trading or communication mechanism), and its economy benefits from the much-buffed drop rate of Loot 1.5, he’s an excellent source of information and opinion on how Diablo 3 will play out, post-Auction House. Will we miss the trading and “slow path to riches” provided by the Auction House once it’s gone? Or are we just thinking from a D3V point of view, and come improved drop rates and other new features, our current mindset will prove irrelevant?

Here’s the debate:

Flux:
Blizzard recently confirmed that they’re going to add additional content to the Diablo 3 Console, as a way to make happier the fans who are getting bored already. They didn’t give details and I assumed they were talking about patching in DiabloWikiLoot 2.0 or DiabloWikiParagon 2.0 or DiabloWikiNephalem Trials or some of the other upcoming stuff that’s going to be patched into D3V before RoS. We’ll find out about that at some point, but what I found interesting was the console boredom, which I’ve heard from a number of people playing it. You included, Katniss.

In comments to that console news item I threw out a slightly trolling thought experiment. Is the console getting boring in part since there’s no Auction House and no secure economy or trading system?

So here’s the logic. Console is much more fun to self find and you get much better gear much more quickly than on the PC. Which is great and most people love “Loot 1.5” console style… but there’s a down side. Once you’ve got a high level character on the console, the items you find are 1) amazing and useful, or 2) not upgrades = junk. And since there’s no secure economy or trading system or Auction House, players have very little use for anything they find that’s not an upgrade for their current character. since there’s no practical way to trade or sell it.

This differs a lot from the PC, where you hardly ever find upgrades for well-geared chars, but you find a constant array of gear that’s good enough to sell and add to your gold balance. Here’s my analogy: the great items you find and want and use are “dollar-quality” items. You almost never find those on the PC, but you can find a glittering array of penny and nickle and dime and sometimes even quarter-quality items, which the Auction House allows you to easily convert into gold. Which you can save up for the dollar-quality items you really want.

That’s a play style and long term enjoyment that doesn’t exist at all on the console. Do you miss it?

Katniss:
I agree that because trading is thwarted a bit by there being no AH in console and lackluster community engagement, therefore your hypothesis of people only caring about finding items for themselves holds true. I don’t believe that the “economy” of the console is one of thinking of, “What can I get or trade for this item?” but more, “Can any of my characters use this as an upgrade?”

And that leads me to my first point:

Click through to continue the discussion…

There are essentially two types of players when you break it down: 1) Those who are driven to have one ultimately powerful character and don’t care about the other classes because they’ve made their choice and that’s all they’re now interested in. 2) And the type of player who likes playing multiple classes and could have a main but doesn’t consider that to be the end all be all. For type two, their “main” IS an Auction House and whenever they find anything, it can be hoarded and used on another character.

I think for either type of player, after you surpass a certain gear level, lower quality gear becomes superfluous anyway. The only time it really works is if you have some mechanic taking items and characters out of endgame, such as hardcore mode.

Flux:
It sounds like you agree that the lack of an AH kills the long term item game and “getting rich is my objective” style, but that you don’t miss it. That’s just now, though. how about in some months, when all your chars are geared to the point they can’t find upgrades anymore? Will it be annoying when all you want are upgrades with a .01% chance to drop, and don’t have any AH to sell all the other stuff you find, or to potentially buy your upgrades from?

Katniss:
I think the item game is partly influenced by how the player plays and how they view their character slots. The item game enlarges the more classes you have when there is no AH, and the item game also enlarges depending on how many friends you want to support with item finds, and how active you plan to be about using other mediums to get in touch with players.

The console’s community structures are essentially non-existent. There is no typing and no in-game headset support, so trading amounts to, “throw something on the ground and hope someone needs it” or else you just salvage it and play for yourself.

Lastly, it’s up to the developers to really make us want to value and retain some of the lower quality gear; come Reaper of Souls, if there are certain affixes or passive benefits only available on ilevel 67 gear for instance, maybe that’s something someone might be hard pressed to give up for a pure main stat upgrade or something with a ilevel 70 replacement piece.

Flux:
Slightly OT, but don’t the console type Smart Drops hurt twinking and finding gear for other chars/classes? It’s not identical to the “smart drops” Blizzard says we’ll see in Loot 2.0, but for instance if you’re playing a Monk, almost every good item you find will have +Dexterity, and you’ll hardly ever find anything with big bonuses to STR or INT.

Is that an issue you’ve noticed? Can you effectively item hunt for other classes, especially classes with different mainstats? Or do you get enough legendaries of use for other classes? Say you’re playing a Barb; if you find a legendary wand or source or mojo or xbow, it’s not going to have +400 strength on it, right?

Katniss:
Well, there are tradeoffs to any system, right? The smart drops system does not have the goal of twinking in mind. It is a reaction to people crying out for a chance to self-find their own upgrades. If more items roll with stats customized toward the character you’re currently playing, then the odds of that item being an upgrade are already at least 2/3 better than if they were to roll with one of the other two main stats. Twinking is hurt (that is if you aren’t planning your next character to be one of the same main stat as what you’re currently playing) in that respect, but what this “problem” actually opens up is replayability. It now asks the player to go and explore the game with a new class in order to find gear for that specific class. In the same way that finding gear for other classes to use is exciting, it’s probably even more exciting and rewarding to find the gear for that new character as you progress with that character, rather than holding a bunch of stuff in escrow and feeling like you’re just waiting to unlock level 30 or 50 or 70 so that you can equip all of it.

In my specific experience, I’ve found offhands for other classes that are specific to that class and they roll perfectly well for that other class with no “wasted” stats. I think that’s smart drops at work. One of my first set item drops when I got into farming on console was a Chantodo’s Force (and the Wizard was the last class I finally leveled to 60). It had everything a CM Wizard would need. I think, however, that a twink item found this way only gives you a starting point for that class because when you do then get on your Wizard and are finally able to use that item, odds are that if the same item were to drop again, it will be an upgrade due to the likelihood of a higher Intelligence roll.

Flux:
So where are you on the “it’s getting boring not finding more upgrades” curve on the console? Still finding new gear and getting self found joy? Do you see that state holding long term? Will you still want to play once you’ve got a char super geared and the upgrade hose has slowed to a trickle?

Can you imagine how the console would work if there was item security and an AH for easy trading? Would that change how you play? Would self found be less fun with shopping as an option? Also, would the hypothetical console Auction House be useful? Would you buy and/or sell in it? Or do you think it would it be so choked with fantastic gear for minimal prices that it would totally short circuit the proper game progression and selfie fun?

I’d ask that as a preview for Diablo 3 PC’s future, but it seems likely Loot 2.0 will come in with the shutdown of the Auction House in March, so we’ll never have an AH when players are finding far more quality gear.

Katniss:
It depends on what class I play. There are certain items that I want to find for certain classes to specifically upgrade them (with the knowledge that some of them have very unique affixes such as a Sledge Fist for the Monk or all of the DiabloWikiEHP provided by a well-rolled Vile Wards).

I will be the first to admit that my time on the console has definitely trickled off. Now that I have leveled all classes to the end game and beaten Inferno with them all, that “…what’s next?” feeling has begun to creep in. I think the item hunt and the paragon leveling would still be fun on the console if certain elements like the density changes were included and there was just generally more content. Right now on console once you have well-geared characters, your only goals are to get more paragon levels (which really don’t provide much since the rate of finding Legendaries is pretty steady) and to advance to a higher Master (Monster Power) level. Both of these things don’t exactly change what you do in the game though. So, I’d say the boredom is less from the item hunt, but how you go about the item hunt.

When you say shopping, do you mean actually buying items with real-life money micro-transactions or do you mean using the in-game currency? I guess it’s not that big of a difference when it comes down to it, but I’d say that if the Auction House in any form existed on the console, it would completely undermine what makes the console version have that reaction from the fan base of, “Wow, this is so much fun. Look at all of the ridiculous items I’ve found.”

Because it’s so easy to get upgrades, that means that really good items quickly become trash and if everyone was putting them up on the AH, their prices would be low and make the item very obtainable and you’d wreck the hunt for yourself in the same way that many people who have hacked the game have already done and found out for themselves. The fun of the console would absolutely be compromised.

Flux:
I meant using gold you get from item sales to buy other items. I guess the same principle works for $ you get from item sales that you use to buy other items, but I’ve never done it that way. On the larger issue though, it sounds like you slightly miss the item/economy game that the Auction House allows, but that not really since self finding is so viable on the console. I think it’s interesting that you don’t think “BOTH!!1!” would be an improvement. So I guess the self finding is good so long as that’s the only way to play? If an AH was there, you think it would undermine, rather than enhance.

Any thoughts on what sort of trading system might come in for the PC once the AH is gone? Most PC players think that’s essential, but we’re thinking in terms of the current economy. As you point out, there’s literally no trading system on the console, and you don’t seem to really miss it since self finding is so viable.

How about a trading system for gems or materials or the like? I can’t imagine playing the game now without the ability to buy those since I do way more crafting than I find commodities for. Or is that just a PC mindset, and I only need to craft so much since I can’t self find the way you do on the console?

Katniss:
I think it’s important that any of the future changes promised with Loot 2.0 for PC occur in a world where this is no Auction House to promote efficient trade. Like I’ve mentioned previously, people will always take the easiest route to gain the most power, so if you have the handout system that is the Auction House, you’re going to experience likely what I’ve predicted above if the console had an AH, but perhaps at a slower rate since it seems the shelf life of the PC version is meant to go far beyond the shelf life of the console in its current form.

That said, you need a system that encourages community, socialization, and the exchange of ideas, builds, and possibly items. This seems to be what Blizzard wants to accomplish with guilds/clans. These features have a lot of potential to take the ease of the blow from what many feel the AH represented in access to trading. If they implement a bank or repository, then everyone will want to be part of a clan or guild (but hopefully they will have size limits so that there’s some selectivity) and this way, there will be what we used to see where people named games “FreeEE ITEMZ n0w” and just dumped stuff on the ground. Maybe you do a loot run or Nephalem Trial, get a bunch of stuff, but none of it is an upgrade or only slight sidegrade; you throw it in the clan bank and hope that someone else will find something they can use, go on a loot run of their own, and return the favor.

Now, I used the word “need” before because I see the state of items on console and “need” feels appropriate. I’ve salvaged countless items that I know would be awesome for other players simply because my characters have surpassed that gear level. Now, if everyone is self-finding the same items and the same relative quality, then no one is really harmed by that salvage, but if there IS a little more randomization and specification introduced (i.e. many of these new passive effects), then even items that aren’t necessarily statistical upgrades will become useful because someone might want to take a hit to their DPS or EHP to gain a certain passive effect. And that means means keeping items around that might work in quirky builds will be essential… as would a way to disseminate these items quickly to friends and strangers alike.

Flux:
That sounds like a point *for* my initial argument. That you do miss some kind of trading system (if not the actual Auction House) since you’re finding lots of items that would be useful for most other players… but since they’re 1% worse than your high end gear they are junk. You wish there was a way to “disseminate these items quickly to friends and strangers alike.”

I can think of one… and it’s an anagram of HA! But if that process is too quick and easy, then there goes the fun of finding upgrades on your own, when your rich friends can hook you up. Or rich strangers can sell to you…

It sounds like a total cop-out, but I think we’ll really have to see how the system goes once it’s live. We can only speculate now, with no idea just how good the drop rate will be in Loot 2.0. At any rate, it sounds like starting a new char of a class your friend has been playing is a wise strategy, since smart drops means your friend will find great gear that’s not quite great enough for them.

Katniss:
What I would ask you is whether you believe that there is a replacement system that can balance both maintaining the integrity of a loot system that is supposed to provide the enjoyment of slaying monsters for upgrades and power increases while still enabling robust social features and the possibility of lucrative trading, albeit in a limited fashion. What if you were only allowed to trade one item per week?

Flux:
I don’t think that would work, since it’s just too limited. Might as well not have the system at all. Five items a week? Three items listed at once? Or what if you flip it, and you can list all you want but you can only *buy* one item a week?

I am not against the concept of limiting trading, but I’d do it more with individual items. I pitched this to Wyatt during an interview, but what if there was a self found bonus, and all items had say, 5% higher stats when first found, and that bonus vanished if the item was ever traded. Wyatt didn’t like the idea of limiting trades and thought the concept would confuse players (which it probably would), but I think it’s got potential.

Katniss:
I know Blizzard is less likely to institute things that feel like limitations, but it seems when it comes to trading, we had the extreme example of “Have everything you want whenever you want it!” Everyone wanted it yesterday so they utilized that system. If trading becomes frustrated by the lack of a centralized location for doing so, will people be more inclined to play the game and find enjoyment, or will they be grumpy having to grind for items BECAUSE they have already lived in a Diablo world that knew the ease of an Auction House?

Flux:
Or will they just hit up third party trading sites? I have never bothered with that in D3 since the AH is so efficient, but if there was no AH I’d have been using trading forums and other less-savory options all along. But of course that’s in the current D3V, which is far from designed for successful high end self finding.

The related issue is crafting. I mentioned earlier that crafting seems impossible in D3 without an AH, at least for some players. I certainly craft a vast amount more mats than I have ever found myself, and I like the ease of buying more mats and I like that poor or new players can bootstrap themselves up by finding and selling them. Dealing Tomes of Secret was the main source of all my early Hardcore gold, and I have no idea how I would have built up gold to buy equip without the AH. Or where I’d have bought the items I did. But again, I’m speaking from a D3V mindset. Loot 2.0 will probably change that.

Katniss:
Crafting sits at an interesting place in Diablo currently. There is no denying the potency of the BOA plans on PC, but with the scaling up of low level legendaries on the console, there are potentially some items that STILL beat out those crafted items in their slots. As a result my high end chars are really are on a Legendary-Only hunt. I think that’s bad. I think you need to be able to put together the Best in Slot pieces from different quality tiers. There should be some slots that rares really are the top and best in, and there should be other slots where only the most perfect crafts will beat out anything else.

We will need reasons to utilize the many systems and features they add in, but if they make one any more important than the other, then that’s what we’ll all funnel into. It’s going to be a hard balancing game. If the Mystic is too OP, you can guarantee there will be an outcry for a boost to whatever materials it takes to use her because everyone will constantly be seeking her services. So, I’d say it’s less about needing an Auction House for the materials than it is about balancing how those materials make it into the game and how needed they are.

Maybe you just play normally and you get a nice stockpile of resources from doing the several various end game systems and by the time you really need an upgrade in a slot where a crafted item would make sense, you can do it in a nice big batch and the end result is something that pleases you. Then you go back to whatever activity it would take you to find a new slot upgrade whether that be gambling gold for a chance at a randomly awesome Rare, or loot hunting for that specific Legendary with a specific passive. We just need more diversity and a reason to maintain diversity, and I think many of the other problems will answer themselves that way.



These emails were written for this purpose (we traded some IMs on the topic, realized it was a good one to debate, and fleshed out our original points for this ultimate purpose) and I hope to present more such email exchange/debates in the future. (I wanted to do Azzure and my Gold Value debate in this format, but didn’t think of it until too late.)

If you’ve got a topic to suggest or you want to take part in a similar conversation, feel free to [email protected] your idea. Thanks to Katniss for his insights and finger-music.

Tagged As: | Categories: Auction House, Diablo 3 Console, Economy, End Game, Items

Comments

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  1. I feel like this large set of potential issues can be fixed with a tweak that is unfortunately not very Diablo-tastic:

    Incremental rewards for completing content (basically a rep or reagent grind).

    If people get bored of farming mobs with basically equivalent drop rates for randomly-dropped loot, then just give them goals to work towards. I don’t know if Devil’s Hand, the Bounty system, all the other additions, etc. will work to this end. But the main dialectic I’m seeing is really “stuff to work towards longterm” versus “short-term gains have to feel rewarding as well.” The longer you play, the higher emphasis will be placed on the former vis-a-vis the latter, just because of how the gear curve will naturally work.

    With that said, it is not difficult from a design perspective to create an incremental series of rewards based on achieving specific goals X number of times. If X is not too grind-tastic, and doles out rewards regularly, this isn’t a problem. Then just basically copy-paste this system a few dozen times (variety!), add heavy randomization elements (more variety!), and tune it so there’s no clear winner between pursuing one such incrementally-awarded goal versus another, along the same difficulty plane. That way, people could still mindlessly farm and feel rewarded (via RNG giving them good loot via drops), or do one of these incremental reward tasks, and so on.

  2. I kind of like how it is now. I’ve been very very slowly and methodically building up all 5 classes to 60 on my computer, and I finally got there last night. I only use the GAH to buy things to make the grind to 60 less of a drag, like low level uniques (it’s cheap, too). I’ve found a couple of very good -lvl req weapons that helped too, and knowing I found them myself is nice. But it’s nice to know the GAH is there, I guess. For me, gearing up my lvl60 characters is an extremely slow process that will keep me busy for a long, long time. Which is fine. I do wish tomes of secrets dropped more or they lowered how many you needed to craft a lot of things. The nuisance is, at times you feel like you can’t fully choose your main because of what drops and what doesn’t drop (my Inferno drops across the board have favored DH and I haven’t found much of anything exciting for any other class). That’ll be fixed in Loot 2.0 but it’s not that bad even now.

    Uniques still need improvement… Oh I’m sorry, Legendaries. I’ve found several unique weapons in Inferno and not one has been worth equipping. Not one!

  3. The ah doesn’t add content, just a way to make good items feel rewarding even if they are a downgrade.

    Rpgs are all about progression. The ah gave a sense of progression in gold balance. Without progression, the game is only compelling until you grow bored of the gameplay itself (combat and skills and enemy challenges).

    For me, the ah greatly increased the time I played until boredom. I never traded in d2 because of the hassle and many negative experiences with scammers. It was too much work. In d3, trading was easy and I could make a mp10 character slowly but surely. In d2, I played in few month spurts, never a year+ like I have in d3.

    I guess time will tell if the devs can keep the constant trickle of rewards feeling the ah provides with some other system. They will need to add many new things beyond grinding the same monsters and maps for me to consider the expansion. It will take more than just bigger numbers.

  4. This is a great article and it touches on many things I’ve been wrestling with in terms of economy, loot, crafting, etc.

    One thing that I feel will have major implications is specific affixes. Lets say player A finds an item with a specific affix and makes a very successful build around it. Players B and beyond want to try the build but the chance of finding said item is basically impossible. In order to find them they need to trade and likely need to have a method of searching for the specific affix (not even mentioning the other affixes on the item).

    Players will have a hard time experimenting with builds based on affixes because they may not be able to find the items.

    As an extension to specific affixes, putting items together is like a puzzle. I want to try this build so I need certain affixes in slot A, B and C in order to get another affix I need in slot D.

    I just cannot fathom putting together sets without having a central search/trade location. **Note: even putting together some sets now is difficult. ie. Mara’s with certain affixes, skull grasp, wizard hats, soj, etc…. Imagine throwing some hundred new special affixes…

  5. What it all boils down to.

    Taking away the AH, is a contributing factor for people to choose:
    -Maybe now it’s the right time to stop playing.

  6. Great discussion, I enjoyed this, particularly interesting points from Katniss toward the end when he talks in a broader sense about how many systems they need to consider when balancing the loot. It’s basically what Wyatt refers to, when he refers to “lots of moving parts”.

    AH or no AH doesn’t make a difference, the end result is the same, people are going to hit a loot wall, and they’ll get upset, and hate Blizzard, then go do something else. Better you make them as happy as possible before then, because we’ve seen the other approach, and that just pissed everyone off without even giving them the benefit of a honeymoon period where they freak out over all the loot they’ve found.

  7. How about having something to do w/ the damn gear you find/craft/trade for? Finding more gear isn’t an end game. Defeating difficult content or PvP is. I think for PvE, the Ubers are a good foundation to build up a better endgame, an endgame where the gear is a means to an end. As for rewards, that’s probably the toughest thing to nail down. Banners? Vanity transmorg gear? Exclusive legendaries, rares w/ exclusive affixes? But it all boils down to what is the gear for. The gear being the goal is never going to be good enough for the long term.

    • I agree with your sentiment, but by the nature of this kind of game, finding more gear kind of has to be the end game. Think about it: you create new, super-hard content to pit your character against. Once you beat this content, what happens? You need to get some kind of reward for it. As you noted, the reward is the hardest thing to decide on. However, all of the options you listed (with the exception of the Banner reward, which most people don’t care about) are gear-related: either making your gear look sweet, or amassing better, rarer gear (such as exclusive legendaries or exclusive affixes). The way the game works, loot and end-game kind of form an Ouroboros: you need gear to hit the hard challenges, but the hard challenges unlock better gear to hit them with.

      In terms of trying to solve this problem, I have a few ideas. First, the ever-popular never-ending dungeon. With each level becoming more difficult, the challenge would be in seeing how far you could get, not seeing what drop you get. Second, Unlocking unique skills. The famous D2 mod Median XL had two special skills for each class that could only be unlocked by completing special, extra-hard challenges; D3 could implement a similar system. Finally, a particularly hard challenge could unlock a single paragon level completely once you completed it. Depending on how hard it becomes to get more Paragon Levels, this could be a very lucrative encounter to defeat. By scaling the encounter up in difficulty based on how many times it has been defeated already, this could provide a meaningful endgame. However, due to the debatable usefulness of late-game Paragon Levels (given that they only provide more base stat), this may not be meaningful enough of a reward.

      Ultimately, it’s a tough question you’ve brought up, with an equally tough answer. I don’t have the answer, but I hope that someday the answer gets implemented. However, given the way that ARPGs usually implement these kinds of challenges/rewards, if I were you I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    • I agree also, but the whole idea behind diablo is that it always feels new or different because of the randomization of gear, monsters and maps. this was how d1 played and was sort of revolutionary. You could play two warriors and have very different experience with each depending on rng.

      The problem is that at max level, it does become nothing but a gear grind. You gear to minimise the effects of the randomization, thus sort of killing the appeal of continued play. If you outgear what the rng throws at you, it doesn’t matter anymore. The content is over.

      In diablo, the idea is that randomization automatically generates content. Randomization becomes less noticeable the longer you play.

      Unless they go to an mmo style, or do more expansions like dlc, d3 will always get old eventually. Content costs money to make. ..

  8. I have to agree with Trocadero. Option 1: Content drives the gear game. Option 2: Build variation drives the game forward. If content is not the goal then there needs to be enough gear ‘flavor’ to work towards new and better/different builds. The build driven game seems extremely difficult without ease of trading (D2 trading was the absolute worst part about the game for me).

    It seems like Blizz was hoping for the ‘Content’ approach at launch but obviously had the ‘we didn’t realize people would trade’ mistake.

  9. They appear to still be trying to make a gear(item) driven game work.
    It won’t.
    A game has to have all parts contribute to the whole game to achieve a satisfactory experience for most of the player base.
    Skills, passives, crafting, gems, and content all have to be in the correct portions.
    Marquise gems in a lvl 1 weapon, wrong! same for HF ring and many other RL items.
    Using skills that are available at lvl 10 for a lvl 60 , no way that should ever happen.
    Allowing lvl 60 in a normal game, nope! Exp gains by rushing, nope!
    They just missed the most important things for re-playability, and longevity in the entire design.
    Sure it’s nice to play all the characters to 60 and finish inferno. Once!
    Get 10 chars to 60 in HC too. Run MP10 with several chars too.
    Use mostly all the same gear, and stats for them all. Very poor design!
    So itemization, gameplay, crafting, storyline, content, and on and on.
    They blew it big time.
    I’m not seeing anything all that much different in RoS development either.
    This continues to be a very disappointing game development system.
    I give them much credit for trying and appreciate the efforts of so many people in this fix and repair development process.
    I also commend Flux and crew for really sticking D3 out, as difficult as I know it has been, to keep interest peaked and get the word out about the game.
    We all wanted a better game than we got. It just may not happen With Bliz
    on this one. I can’t see it ever with this designed so flawed from the start.
    Yes, I have played a lot, will continue to play some. I certainly got my monies worth out of the game.
    The AH could potentially provide a great mechanism for trading a very limited number of items, no gold, only gems, commodities, and crafting mats, pages, tomes to start with.
    PTR it for a while to see the evolution for restricted trading, gameplay, skills, crafting etc. Get it closer to right the first time.
    Ok, said that much. There is way too much more, so I stop here on this topic.

  10. The AH is not even gone yet and people seem to be back peddling on the “AH sucks” garbage. So yet again, please leave the GAH.

  11. Great read and lots of topics to build on… but what stood out to me is that noone touched diablo2 endgame! sure you could grind and go into an endless quest to get to level99 and all the ueber gear etc. but the part that made it so much fun over and over again were the ladder seasons! and ladder only content! every half a year or year EVERYTHING would reset! which meant that every one of us got a chance at being the first to beat the game WORLDWIDE! and not only that but it gave you access to ladder only rune words, the hellfire torches (way better than hellfire rings imho) and well pvp, etc.
    so sure the AH will be missed, because longterm it went pretty out of control, but what if the AH was limited to ladder content?
    lets face it d3 is not a long term content game (unlike WoW where each patch brings entirely new content) … d3 is meant for the loot hunt and that thrill is highest when you know it will eventually end.
    would be happy to hear your comments on this.

    • I am not sure I desire ladder at all. Maybe if they do indeed do ladder only gear and content. And if they let us keep those ladder chars afterwards in the non-ladder. At least then its pretty much the normal game.

      Trying to become world first? please…most of us have real lives with crazy schedules. Trying to be top of ladder is impossible. We can’t beat all those that play 14 hours a day. Nor can we beat those that team up and play the chars 24/7. That is what really turns me off of being excited at all for ladder.

      What I really want is for them to add content every other month. I would even be willing to pay for it via DLC. The biggest problem for this is the loot design and large numbers. It just gets out of control. They’d have to do something else to work around that.

  12. Know what also adds long term content?

    Good, strategic gameplay and unpredictable adventures.

  13. screw monster power levels, have monsters scale with your dps output exponentially. THAT would be endgame challenge

    • That’s what I was thinking but the downside is that you’d never feel like you broke the game as on let’s say level 1 or 10 or 60 it would theoretically take the same number of hits/time to kill the same beasty.

      I think they need more content, challenges, deeper never ending dungeons and reward you for your time. Maybe have ‘timed’ drops so you know you have to grind but in the next 10-20 hours of play you’ll more than likely gain a great item you were chasing.

  14. I don’t think the lack of an AH is the problem. The problem is the amount of good items you can find. When you have a strong barbarian in 60 hours, why should you play more? The best thing is when you find only small upgrades with now and then a bigger upgrade. When you find to much strong items, the fun is gone soon.

    I hope they will learn from the consoleversion for the PC RoS.

  15. Diablo 2 (or Titan Quest) does not have end game content (uber bosses is not end game content, it is just a small addition) and lasts till now. The problem with D3 is its core design, not AH or lack of end game content. Great hack & slash RPGs are not played because of the “AWESOME MONSTER KILLING (YEAH BLIZZARD)” or “finding” AWESOME MEGAEPIC LOOT (which D3 doesn’t even have). It is creation (of BUILD) of your own character and making your own journey across the game.

    Q: Why do you want to play as Necro/Paladin/Druis/… for the 100th time?
    A: You want to find your own crazy build (stats, skills and gear), beat Baal on Hell, play PvP, preparing for Ubers or playing a ladder season. You do not need to add another artificial difficulty or band-aid challenges to make your game larger.

    In D3 you cannot make your “own build”, you cannot experiment because everything is tailored to HIGHEST DMG, you cannot create your “own story” beacause every second you are disturbed with some stupid, cheesy NPC monologue which is ruinning the overall atmosphere, and every char is the same (bye bye replayability).

    D3 design team is trying to fix a problem, that shouldn’t even be there in the first place. That’s why many players are playing AH, because they already finished the short and linear game.

    • sorry but that is only ONE part of making the ARPG fun. And that is only for SOME people. I never ever had a desire to come up with crazy builds. I only ever had one paladin, one druid, etc.

      For some of us, the loot is the funnest part of the game. Lack of end game content is also an important issue. This is 2013. Adding new content for a company the size of blizzard should be freaking easy. (it doesn’t even need to have story or cut scenes…just new shit for us to do. UBERS was a really great addition to the game. But they never followed up on it. Some of us will get bored of the game without these kinds of solutions.

      Hitting the things that are fun for everybody truly is a serious challenge. I would love to see them add more customization and character permanence though. Something that starts at lvl 60 and can’t be changed. (permanent skill points that you earn starting at 60) Ya paragon sort of does this but thats just for stats. They could do a lot better.

  16. Interesting debate.
    I’m very much against the AH , but I think the biggest issue here is the whole concept of ‘items being 1% better or worse than what I currently have”.
    The fact you can even ask that question points to the flaw in itemization.

    Stats are so streamlined, so universal to everyone, that you really can ask such a question.

    Now, if itemization was any good, you would find an item that has a value of 100 for your current Barbarian spec (arbitrary number, keep on reading…). Now next drop would only he half as good for your current spec, giving it a value of 50 for your spec.
    On the other hand, it would be awesome for another barbarian spec, giving it a value of 100 for that spec.
    All in all, any item drop with high stat rolls would at one and the same time, be awesome for some build and bad for other builds – within and outside all classes.

    Which in turn means that even if you have found gear in all slots that is valued at 100 for your current spec, and the chance of finding 101 value-items are 0,001% then, you will continue to have a decent chance of finding good items for other specs for your character. Incentivizing you to try something new one day.
    That imo, would help a lot for longevity.

    As Katniss points out, there are different types of players, those who just weant to play 1 character and 1 spec ever. Of course they might not be happy with the above scenario, unless they adjust. It is more interesting for people who want to play multiple characters, or at least multiple specs within same character.
    Tbh, there is absolutely nothing wrong with designing the game for the second group however.

    Playing multiple characters/specs is such a fundamental thing in A-RPGs.

  17. Divine answer is ‘depends’.

    How scarce will be “game-changing” legendaries?

    How effective in build creations will be “game-changing” legendaries?

    Some mortals, apparently, still play the game for nothing but plain, barbaric numbers. Arabic! . The upgrade looks and feels exactly the same, only numbers are different. Yet, the game satisfies them.

    On the other hand, if everyone with their belonging family members found “game-changing” legendary in first two months, than it is hardly so legendary, and indeed doesn’t give much to replayability (utterly destroyed in D3 and probably improved in RoS to some extent – please don’t mix up ‘repeatability’ with ‘replayability’).

    Slaves are apparently driven to work (and, worse for them – to think *rationally*), by unnamed patrician ‘Josh’, so The God expects additional content (apart from expansion) through patches in the future – remember tavern heroes in WC3 patches? Tremendous content, yet made in several day work – and The God knows exactly how long it takes to make new WC3 unit, with a team involved.

    D3X2 would probably be crown of the game, shifting all the wrong paradigms of vanilla, allowing things unimaginable to initial team and removing many game-corrupting ‘core features’. The God bestows a major ‘job invulnerability’ bless, and giving ‘silence management’ spell on unnamed patrician ‘Josh’.

  18. I think you need to look at the goal/audience of the console. The console game is not made to have “PC level” of re-playability. It’s like going through a drive through compared to a nice, long dinner out. I have both the PC and console game and it’s clear the console’s goal is to have you really enjoy getting to 60 and then switch over and try a different class and build him/her up from scratch.

    Right now, I enjoy the 1-60 process on the console significantly more than on the PC (which basically amounts to finding useless gear through Hell and shopping on the auction house for what you really use). However, post 60, I would much prefer the PC as the community is better and there is more trading/MP play as you get to a point of looking for one specific item that could be hard to find.

    My hope in ROS is that the console process for 1-60 can be paired with the PC options for paragon re-playability. To be honest, I don’t think an auction house is needed for that. The idea of using self-found gear all the way through the early paragon levels and then using some kind of guild/trade/community for item trading at that point seems more in the spirit of Diablo. Having an AH where you basically go out and buy the “max rolls” on the gear you want every 30, 50, 60 and 70 level point seems kind of boring to me.

  19. The problem is bnet 2.0 is awful and we need a useful lobby system which facilitates trading, among other things, such as creating custom games.

    Blizzard doesn’t appear to see it this way as they’re going all in on more account bound crafted trash and probably just going to nerf Bnet 2.0 to cut down on spam instead of create an actually useful lobby.

  20. The item progress is very linear right now because it is essentially about getting higher numbers in trifecta stats, main stat and AR. When RoS hits however, the item progression will not be so linear. The new legendary passives leaked so far certainly lead to many new build variations. meaning it will be a much broader and not linear spectrum of itemization which means you won’t suddenly gear up in the 99th percentile like you do in the console. So it is much easier to climb the item ladder right now in 1.5 with console drop rates tuned where they’re practically dropping like candy.
    There is absolutely no argumentation that can justify keeping the AH in the game I am honestly sick and tired of arguing and laying down the reasons over and over about why the AH is bad for this game especially when blizzard has finally realized it themselves.

  21. FONT

    Trading Wisely
    Not everything sells on the Gold and Real Money Auction House. Some items are not worth investing in as they prove to be real money sinks. Flipping gems is also pointless since their price barely covers the production costs. There are a few online calculators that can help the player estimate the cost of crafting gems and the profit margin based on the price of the materials and in 99% of the cases, it is impossible to make any gold out of this.
    There is one category of items that have been selling for decent amounts of gold and cash for some time with almost no variations in terms of pricing and value. All the pieces of gear with minus level requirement still sell well. The prices of these items on the RMAH depend on the value of the stat and the other bonuses of the item. It is highly unlikely to sell one for more than five US dollars but they are in high demand which helps selling large volumes for a constant profit. Even with this high demand, some items sell more than others. It seems that weapons are a popular choice for the ones that are willing to pay real money for a virtual item.
    To get a piece of the pie from this Diablo III Auction House niche, two methods can be used. Players can either farm for the items or buy them for gold and sell them for real dollars.
    Diablo 3

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