As the self-found / Ironborn style of play (and varieties thereof) grow in popularity, the issues of gold sinks and other in-game Diablo 3 Economy features come in for a closer look. Those systems in Diablo 3 are a sort of hybrid of design, meant to provide gold sinks and expenses for high level players enriched by trading in the Auction House, yet not meant to be totally unaffordable for casual players or the Ironborn. Is it working? Perhaps not:
Grimiku: My characters in Hardcore are mostly self-found (but not completely), and I’ve also noticed that Demonic Essences are rarely the reason that my crafting slows to a crawl. Most of the time it’s because I don’t have enough Tomes of Secrets, or gold. In the instances where I’m short on gold I usually salvage less, vendor more, and try to sell some rares for cheap on the Auction House if they’re any good for new level 60 characters. Are you salvaging everything?
I was entirely and then mostly self found for the first months after release and I remember how tight gold was in those days. All the really useful crafting recipes came in v1.07, but even just affording gem upgrades and repairs was hard early on. Patch 1.03 helped by greatly lowering gem upgrade costs for gems below Flawless Squares, but then v1.05 came along and inadvertently hiked gem costs by making square-quality no longer drop in Inferno. That added expense since Square gems cost almost nothing to upgrade while Flawless Squares cost 30k, and you found twice as many FS in v1.05 and later.
Like most AH-using players today I don’t notice the gold costs of gem upgrades, but I would if I were self found, and I especially would if I were hoping to make a Marquise gem someday from the sweat of my own labor. The 20m to make it and 5m to unsocket it prices leap out, but consider the full cost of making a single Marquise gem:
A typical game clearing all the farmable areas of Act One nets me 40-45 ToS. Say 48.93 just for easy calculations and you’re looking at 100 games (of maybe 40-60 minutes each) to store up enough to make a Marquise Gem. That’s not impossible… but how about finding the gems? Can you even find 2200 Flawless Square gems of the same type? Like, ever?
So how about it, those of you playing self found, or just playing casually and thus not amassing the AH-riches to buy your mats and needs? Is the in-game economy functioning viably, or are the costs simultaneously too low for AH-users and too high for Ironborn? (And what’s your highest Paragon level? Once you’re way up there and rolling along with 400% Gold Find, the economy should feel very different.)
Also, what’s the solution? If D3X brings forth ladders that have some provisions for people who want to do Ironborn and avoid the AH or trading all together, could Blizzard tweak the economy for them? Lower Artisan costs? Higher drop rates for mats and/or gold?