You’ve probably heard the news. Simply put, almost no one expected Blizzard to kill the DiabloWikiAuction Houses.

    The response on the forums has been a mix of praise for Blizzard, cynicism toward the return of trading sites, and confessions from players that – while they enjoyed having the AHs – they are looking forward to getting their gear from monsters instead.

    Last night, I asked the SF group I’m a part of what it means for the game…

    “I think it’s going to bring back millions of people who got turned off by the Auction Houses,” SirRight said. “We’re bringing back what Diablo 3 is supposed to be about – finding and making your own items.”

    We are fired up over how it will affect gameplay, and are crossing our fingers that it will shift the discussion around items back toward finding them. Of course, we also talked about the last time we played a Diablo game without an Auction House.

    Trading: Then And Now

    If we learned anything from Diablo 2, it’s that players will find a way to get what they want if its possible to do so. SirRight voiced an idea that we all shared: even without the AH, it will be tough for Blizzard to create a stable economy without binding items to some degree.

    Trading is still fundamental to Diablo – and something the devs strongly support. Our feeling is that the devs will allow trading, but find ways to limit its influence on the economy. That would also apply to the console versions of the game, which will face similar economic issues as time goes by (to say nothing of how easy it is to duplicate items in those games).

    We had previously discussed how ladders might affect the economy, and they seem more relevant now than before. If all items will be BoA during ladder seasons, as some have suggested, we felt it would be great to have an endless ladder season for SF players, since none of us really care to trade anyway.

    BossDogg made a good point, though: we don’t know enough about how the game will work without the AH. Blizzard has assured players that we’ll have more info at some point.

    Will Self-Found Feel Less Special?

    Flux asked me in an e-mail if I thought SF players would feel bitter or less special as people return to finding items themselves.

    Nah. Many of us have played SF in some form since Diablo 2. Back then, we were all solo, “live off the land,” Ironman, or what-have-you. Simply removing the Auction Houses won’t suddenly make everyone want to play self-found – though we’d love it if they gave it a shot.

    The difference now is that we know there are others who like to find their own gear, and who will grind no matter how long it takes to find an item, because they love finding things themselves. We’ve learned that it’s fun to search for our own gear, together.

    Still, it’s ironic that what we despise as SF players (the Auction Houses) ended up bringing us together. It galvanized us. While there still isn’t a true self-found mode in the game, per se, the end of the Auction Houses certainly seems like a good place to start.

    Whatever Blizzard decides to do with trading, we hope it will create a community that is encouraging of others in finding their own gear, rather than critical of them for not having flipped, botted and wielded their credit cards to the point where the game is no fun.

    Waterfiend is a writer and avid gamer who follows Diablo 3 news religiously. Say hello at his forum profile.

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