We received strong hints from Jay Wilson’s anti-Auction House comments at GDC, and the fact that the DiabloWikiDiablo 3 console version won’t have an DiabloWikiAuction House at all, but today’s sudden announcement of a major change to the PC/Mac version of Diablo 3 still comes as a surprise.

    If you are an active Diablo 3 Auction House user, read carefully as this will greatly affect your gaming experience.

    When we announced the Diablo 3 Auction House in August 2011, it was a decision arrived at through long consideration and extensive internal discussion. We realized that an Auction House, especially one with a Real Money feature, was a big step and a bold experiment at creating a new type of in-game trading. In many ways the Auction House was a smashing success, with a large percentage of the player population embracing it almost at once. The Auction House facilitated rapid and efficient exchanges of gear, as well as meeting our goal of safeguarding players from the fraudulent trades and scams so often associated with third party trading sites.

    Unfortunately, there are problems associated with the Auction House as well. Chiefly, it’s as Jay Wilson said in his postmortem from GDC — it’s simply more fun to find items than to buy them.

    Therefore, after long discussion with the development team and the community team, and reading thousands of posts worth of fan feedback, we feel there is only one real solution to resolving the current game issues. Effective Tuesday 30 April, 2013, the Diablo 3 Auction House will be taken permanently offline. This goes for all realms, Real Money and Gold, and Softcore and Hardcore.

    To assist with the transition to a post-Auction House Diablo 3, later this month we will be implementing new trade forums with greater moderation from the community team, plus new volunteer “TV”s. These “Trade Valuators” will oversee all threads in the trading forums, offering advice and guidance to players about the actual worth of their items, as well as seamlessly and permanently adjusting unrealistic item list prices, when necessary to reflect economic realities.

    Furthermore, as a special thank you to the players, all items traded during this last month of the Auction House will receive a free graphical buff; a new rainbow-patterned glowing effect similar to, but much more colorful than, the graphics now seen on some of the class-themed Item Sets. Owing to its special beauty, this reward is permanent and can not be dyed over or removed with Vanishing Dye.

    We know this is a big change, and this has been a difficult decision for the Diablo 3 Team, but after careful consideration we think this is the best direction for the community and the Diablo franchise.”

    Big news indeed, but maybe not a complete surprise, given Jay’s comments during his GDC presentation. What do you guys think? Will you be happy to go back to hunting items for their own sake, rather than just as coal to shovel into the furnace that is the Diablo 3 Auction House?

    Update by Flux: This is not a legit news item and was posted as an April Fool’s joke. The concept and rough draft was by Rush, while I edited it to sound more like a press release written in American style. I also added the TVs and rainbow coloration parts, as tip off that it was a joke. Rush didn’t want those; he thought it should be written in totally serious fashion with an aim to fooling people, while I thought that a good April Fool’s joke came from a believable premise, but took enough odd turns throughout to tip off an alert reader. He might have been right, but I worried that someone with thousands of dollars invested in their gear might go insane if they believed this, so thought we’d be better safe than sorry on the joking in the joke.

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