@Diablo on Online-Only Diablo 3, Item-Binding, and More

With all the real news for the past week+, it’s been nice to simply ignore the non-essential noob-themed filler that @Diablo sporadically coughs up. (I harbor similar desires for the impending irrelevance of the “old info with new words” that makes up the majority of blue forum posts, but that time won’t come until release, or perhaps the beta.)

That said, now that the rush of new interviews and hands-on reports, and the big blue forum posts expanding on the new features, have slowed, we might as well catch up with @Diablo. Clap along, kids!

Does the game allow private games as well as game searching? (like Diablo2) — MaxwellZierath
Yes, yes, -and- there’s a matchmaker that will automatically help you find games with people on your same quest. —Diablo

Is 10 characters per account still final? Or rather, more final than anything else Blizzard is doing right now? –grug16
Less final than the witch doctor is a class, and more final than what happens to hardcore characters when they die in the arena. —Diablo

so @Diablo 3 will require a constant internet connection? Another game I won’t be getting. And I was really looking forward to it… –notdix
Correct, it’s a client/server based architecture (not too unlike World of Warcraft) so it will be online-only. —Diablo

Diablo 3 required to be online to play, so much for solo questing, @Blizzard the mmorpg model does not fit the rpg model for gaming… –neotericity
It’s online-only, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play alone. And in fact it’s the default setting. —Diablo

where will the servers be located? playing diablo 3 on a wow like ping for Australians will be #unplayable — duanedibly
We’re looking to follow the StarCraft II server locations currently: Australia would default to SEA but have access to NA. —Diablo

rumor has it this game is catered towards toddlers. i.e. no skill tree development. –dontplacateme
Toddlers loved skill points actually (clicking the shiny button). We removed skill points because it makes sense for adults. —Diablo

Whats taken the beta so long if its just a short demo? –drhighlen
Amount of content is just one part of delivering, patching, and running a game. We’re working on it! —Diablo

I remember reading a Bashiok quote once upon a time that said load times were so fast that they were close to nonexistent, much like Diablo 2. I don’t have the exact source but I think it was a few years back. Is this still the case? –Kloud135
On my rather meager work computer, load times are very, very fast. —Bashiok (This is actually a forum post, but like a mean girl, I”m grading on length.)

this is a good start, but also make items soulbound on use. Economy is going to end up just like d2 –foldberg1
Don’t forget the Diablo II economy was largely affected by dupes. We don’t intend for that course to repeat itself. Assuming we’re up on our game on that kind of thing, and we believe we are, there shouldn’t be a huge glut of Windforce bows, etc Even 10 years later items that should be insanely rare among all Diablo II players are completely common due purely to hacks.–Diablo

but over time won’t the best items always become saturated? Regardless of hack control? Won’t binding them on use resolve that? –foldberg1
Absolutely, but let’s be crazy and say 1% of end game items are awesome. So if we have soulbinding we’re only taking 1% of drops out of the economy. 1% is ridiculous because the best items will be far, far rarer that 1%. 1% is common in how many drops fly out. But anyway… Of course keeping in mind 1% is a silly high number. —Diablo

I’m not exactly despondent over the lack of soulbinding in D3, but that 1% figure is pretty irrelevant. Of course the very top items that might have been BoE wouldn’t have been1% of drops — more like .00000001% of drops, going by D2 drop table math — but since those are amongst the best items, they’re like 10% of the high level trading economy. Which is why giving them some kind of binding would make a big difference in keeping the softcore economy from stagnating over time. (I think Blizzard’s plan is to defeat that through a constant influx of new/better top end items, via patches and expansions. The same way that rare Executioner Blades and Gothic Bows became irrelevant the day D2X shipped.)

A topic of debate during our RMAH DiabloWikiDiablo podcast recording last weekend deserves mention here. What effect would DiabloWikiBoE (so you could trade the item many times, but once it was equipped, it was never tradeable again) have had on item values in the Auction House? It seems like it would have had to drive up the value of those items, since would have been leaving the economy once equipped. On the other hand, would you pay as much (gold or DiabloWikiBobby Bucks™) for an item if you knew you could never resell it to recoup your investment?

For the conspiracy minded, how about this? Blizzard removed item binding since they wanted to encourage more trades and lower prices in the RMAH, since they take a flat fee on trades, not a percentage.

  • Step 1) no item binding

  • Step 2) more trades of the same top items
  • Step 3) PROFIT.
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43 thoughts on “@Diablo on Online-Only Diablo 3, Item-Binding, and More

  1. “Toddlers loved skill points actually (clicking the shiny button). We removed skill points because it makes sense for adults.”
    I imagine some CM at Blizz HQ stood up in their cubicle and triumphantly shouted “Zing!” after typing that response.

    • When they have no actual defense, they resort to snarkyness.
      (Not that there isn’t an actual defense, but they don’t bother with it half the time in favor of being snobby)

    • I really liked that reply. 🙂

      Nice to see that Blizzard hasn’t lost thier sense of humor. Troll question spawns fun response.

    • Yep they giving a lame reason in about 2 seconds I can come up with a far more convincing argument for the change.
      The argument is this: we find that in order to make skills balanced at all stages of the game we have to make the power of skills increase with level, and skill points mess up this balance and as such there no reason to keep them.

      ^ what do you guys think?

  2. It’s going to be interesting to see how the economics will work since all the good loot will stay alive circulating forever. No one is going to throw away a valuable item.
    In Diablo 2 regardless of dupes the ladder reset making the 3d party sales of an item stagnate.
    I don’t see how a “Windforce” equivalent should stay the same value in time since there will be an exponential number of that item around. The more logical outcome should be that the value decrease over time til a point where Blizzard either needs to push in more items via updates or come up with a new plan to make mo’ money.

    • Loot won’t necessarily stay alive forever. I think after a while Unique items like Windforce will be salvaged for rare crafting component after the AH will become saturated with them (they may even be bought solely for salvaging). So they will be used to create rare craftable items and because a lot of those will have unlucky rolls on their random stats a lot of them will be vendored or salvaged again. Same with runes.

      The way I see it, only the best Rare items will stay in circulation for a long time, since thanks to their random modifiers, they will be the most rare.

  3. BoE goes against the nature of diablo. Even just having top endgame items BoE, restricts the economy somewhat.

    What was wrong with the original gold auction house? It’s not like anyone actually suggested the RMAH, and everyone liked the idea of a normal (Yet more advanced) auction house. I think they just assumed a rather large chunk of the diablo fan base bought items.

    Flux, maybe a good poll to have for the reflection of the RMAH would be: Did you ever buy items in diablo2?

    • “What was wrong with the original gold auction house?”
      nothing, its still in the game
      but the option of using the RMAH allows you (and Blizzard) to make RM

      • I have a strong feeling that the RMAH is going to take precedence over the gold auction house. After all, why sell that sweet item for an in game currency?

        I’m just bringing up the point that you, along with 99% of all of us were content with a normal in-game AH.

        There are pros and cons on each side, but this is fairly risky. An in-game economy mixing with a LOT of different real-world currencies, and giving players majority control over this market could very well end up sour.
        Or I could be entirely wrong. Guess we’ll find out soon enough though. 😀

  4. I kinda agree with Flux here. Creating souldbound items will defeat the purpose of RMAH.

    The rarest items in-game are the bait for us to join the RMAH craze. Without it, nobody would probably even pay real money for something as common as gold.
    Also, his 1% arguement is wrong. Indeed, for one player, the chance of getting a less than 1% drop is ridiculously hard. But it is only the case if there is only one single person who will play the game.

    Assuming that D3 will have 5 million players and imagine all of them are farming for the same 1% item, and without the restrictions of having to wait for a dungeon lockout and being able to do runs over and over again, isn’t it logical to assume that the chances of getting that 1% item from the economy is high? Even taking into account that we are gonna be divided by servers, still it is fair to assume that the supply of rare items isn’t as scarce as everyone thinks.

    • If you have 5 million people looking for something 5 million people want, the supply will still be scarce with respect to the demand, even if the absolute supply is higher than if you were looking on your own.

      • Obviously, but that’s not what the Blue question is asking.

        The point that was made is “over time, the best items in-game always become saturated”

        It is true that 5 million players would all want the same item, so the supply is still ridiculously high. But you fail to realize that over time, meaning when we are probably 2-3 years into the game, those rare items isn’t quite as demanding anymore because most players have accessed end-game and a lot of them had their own lucky drops already (because they have played for 2-3 years of doing nothing but PVM). And because they are all tradable, once that item dropped in-game, it will be permanently available in-game (meaning no one could actually own it to make the item “ungettable” again)

        No matter how low the chances of drop are, when you have enough time to try and try again, you’d get the drop. Both luck and time are the factor here. That is why the dude thought that one day, rare items won’t be as demanding anymore so he thought to make them soulboud to keep the scarcity of those items in its extreme high no matter how far into the game we ll are. If items are soulbound, only then we would have the necessity to farm for our own drops and put the economy out of the equation.

        • “And because they are all tradable, once that item dropped in-game, it will be permanently available in-game (meaning no one could actually own it to make the item “ungettable” again)”

          That’s not actually absolutely true. Some players will play the game for a while, get good items on their characters, then stop playing. Possibly with the intent to come back and play in the future, but never do. 

          However, anyone who is going to leave the game permanently, probably would put up their items to make some cash off them. And you can apparently sell characters too, and since there’s no permanent character building in the game any more, BoE items if they existed could still be sold anyway.

        • If the best items at release are still the best items 2-3 years later, the problem isn’t with item binding.

  5. Hrm, so a toddler likes skill points but adults like having their skills assigned for them?  It sounds stupid just saying it.

  6. While Blizzard will not admit it, or use pretexts, they have a focus to monetize Diablo 3 somehow. Of course, offline play or item binding will not fit into that well.

  7. If there was item binding then the case would have been: “But this is not the Diablo way QQ”

  8. They can do that ~1% of finding very rare item not by a player’s luck.. but by the server’s ).Server will judge who and when will find it. like a gambling or electronical roulette

  9. I still don’t understand how they will combat runaway item inflation. Sure, items with undersirable stats will be salvaged, but most desirable items will go down the food chain once the original owner acquires an upgrade.

    In essence, players entering the game 6 months from launch will find such a saturated market that selling loot they don’t need will yield very small returns, and they’ll find entire starter sets at such depressed prices that they joy of actually finding loot will be greatly diminished. 

    I’m  worried about a what happens to a loot-driven game without loot sink, but hey, In Blizzard We Trust.

    • They said some crafting recipes require salvaging of some of the best items in the game in order to craft better items. So will probably be an item sink there, but not sure if that is enough. Eventually, one would think item inflation would hit, regardless.

  10. I don’t understand the rationale behind “binding rare items will fix the economy.”
    The US  has big economic problems now.  Can we fix them by saying, “Diamonds are rare and valuable, let’s make it illegal to buy or sell them?”  I don’t  think so.
    If people are still playing D3 10 years from now, the economy will be a mess.  That isn’t because “Windforces” won’t bind.  It’s just a fact of life in a computer game economy.   The only realistic solution to that is something like D2’s ladder seasons.
    The only two games I’ve played with worse economic issues than D2 both  had item binding.  The problems had nothing to do with binding, and binding did nothing to control them.  There’s just no relationship.
    All binding will do is make a certain  subset of items really annoying to find and use.

    • Just because the D2 black market is flooded with Windforces doesn’t mean the D3 legit RM market will be flooded with them.  This is all a big bet by Blizzard that through online-only they can control dupes.  If they fail at that the whole thing falls apart like a house of cards.  Here’s how I see the plan for maintaining longevity with D3:
       – online only controls dupes
       – legendary items are impossibly rare
       – top-end enchants require almost impossible to obtain mats, such as from legendarys
       – they treat D3 endgame like WoW now – frequent (3-4/yr) patches add new runnable content to keep players going after items in new ways instead of 1,000,000,000,000 cow runs
       – expansions add new levels, new items, and a new endgame.  Lather, rinse, repeat.
       – result: it’s nearly impossible to max out your character’s gear, so you keep playing on and on and on ad infinitum


  11. Perhaps *currently* means Blizzard havent written off the possibility of future servers in Australia.

  12. The only reason they don’t have a ladder, or item binding or singleplayer is exactly what Flux is trying to say. This doesn’t require any form of conspiracy theories or random assumptions, just logic thinking.
    My problem is they’re not giving people options because of their greed. And covering it up with reasons that don’t make any sense to anyone who has half a brain to think (i.e. kids who aren’t mature enough to realize what they’re doing). Can I blame those kids for that? No. Can I blame Blizzard for it? Yes. They are the ones who are destroying this game, not the kids who play it. And if that’s what Blizzard wants to do, that’s their descision. But it’s not something I want to be a part of.

    • In all honesty, Blizzard might not have a choice. Their big cash cow is WoW, but WoW is getting old and is probably going downhill from now on. Their next MMO is years away, and it’s probably risky for them to release games in between (StarCraft 2, Diablo 3) which have no steady inflow of cash. So they do what’s necessary, trying to monetize Diablo 3 somewhat (make it online only, prepare for RMAH and possibly other systems later on). It remains to be seen what actual net profit (if any) the RMAH will produce for them.

      Thing is, Blizzard is a big company, and is public with shareholders. There is only one way forward for them, and that is to make sure they continue to have a large inflow of cash with their games. After all, they produce real quality games and we should be happy they are around.

    • You haven’t even played it yet. How could you know they destroyed it? Anyone with “half a brain” would probably want to play the game before passing absolute judgment.

      • I’m sorry I might have not made myself clear enough. I’m talking about them destroying the online experience. I don’t doubt for a second that the gameplay itself is top notch. But that’s just my opinion.
        And the only reason they’re destroying the online experience and singleplayer is because they’re greedy.

  13. I like the questions from people who still don’t know what Blizzard means by online only. “My brother’s friend said that Diablo III is an MMO!”

    “rumor has it this game is catered towards toddlers. i.e. no skill tree development. –dontplacateme
    Toddlers loved skill points actually (clicking the shiny button). We removed skill points because it makes sense for adults. –Diablo”


    • I loved that the toddler’s comment was made by someone with “dontplacateme” as a handle, and Blizzard’s response was totally written just to placate them!

  14. they will not let the pc version be offline because they want to force you to use the rmah.
    anyone who has a crappy connection they want to force to buy the inevitable crummy console version.  the console version would never get away with a rmah so they do not care if it is offline as long as they get you to buy one version or the other. though of course the pc version will be better off since it will actually be updated.

  15. “Is 10 characters per account still final? Or rather, more final than anything else Blizzard is doing right now? –grug16
    Less final than the witch doctor is a class, and more final than what happens to hardcore characters when they die in the arena. –Diablo”

    This seems to suggest that the 10 slots for characters is less than final based on the witch doctor being a definite class. It also suggests that the 10 slots are more of a final idea than the permanent death for a hardcore character who partakes in the arena.

    A hardcore player who doesn’t permanently die after death occurs in the arena, hmm?! o.O

  16. Encouraging to see that the 10 character limit isn’t final-final. Ten plain isn’t enough.

    • Attributes auto-assigned, skills that can be swapped in and out at any time…

      Besides the name (or if you want one of each gender I suppose) why have more than 1 of each class? (and even then you may be able to pay real $$ to get that changed ala WoW)

      I think 10 will be more than enough.

  17. RMT will cause initial inflation as everyone wants to make money selling the top items right after release, but deflation with the gradual saturation of items. But because Blizzard is making money off the RMT they actually have an incentive to create new and better content/items. Its the angel on one shoulder and the demon on the other.

    Want that great sword now? 20$. Can you wait 6 months? 10$. Wait 18 months to the expansion? Get it for 0.50$. It’s like so much else in life if you want it now you’ll pay a premium. You can get it cheaper later, buy therell be something better then.

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