Ironborn #7: Why The Item Hunt Is Our Future


If you’ve been following the news out of BlizzCon, you’ll notice the D3 devs have been talking a lot about how they plan to improve the endgame. With Adventure Mode, Nephalem Rifts, and more set to arrive with Reaper of Souls (along with Loot 2.0), the game’s future is looking ever brighter.

While we didn’t hear any concrete details about how trade will be handled (or an SF mode), the dev team dropped strong hints during the event about their thoughts on Bind-on-Account, how it will apply to different items, and their focus on the item hunt as the best way to get the best gear.

High-Level Legendaries, Gems and Crafting Components Might Be BoA

Off the bat, we know enchanting will make items BoA. Kevin Martens, one of the game’s lead designers, also suggested during the final Q&A panel that the very best items in the game will also (likely) be automatically BoA, along with gems and crafting components. The issue arose when a fan raised the question of how BoA will work on legendaries, earning the following response.

I think that when we had the Auction House live trading was a valid way to get items but the scale had gotten way out of whack so the trading became the easiest, fastest, best way to get items as far as efficiency point of view goes. So we want to rebalance that essentially, as such we still do see the value of trading and we want there to be a good social aspect to trading so we are trying to keep the rules as wide as possible. Quite likely, and this could change by the time we ship, probably the very top tier of items, the top tier of legendaries will remain account bound and probably commodities as well. We probably want to avoid having another Stone of Jordan situation where we get an alternate economy going because we didn’t think this through. So we are working on all of this stuff and it’s still being locked down.

It’s not a for-sure thing yet. And even if some legendaries are BoA, that leaves plenty of wiggle room for trading well-rolled rare items. Still, if the devs stick with their current plan, maybe high-level legendaries will become more of a status symbol? Meanwhile, those who want to help friends gear could still share rare items – providing a helpful hand when it’s needed.

(Update: It seems you’ll be able to trade sets and legendaries with friends who are in the same game when the items drops, for a limited amount of time. You can hear Travis Day’s explanation and reasoning for BoA in the vid linked above from 0:33 to 2:49)

High-Level Gems Might Also Start Dropping

During Saturday’s Q&A panel, a fan referred to the feeling of finding a Zod rune in D2, and asked the devs if they might allow players to experience the same feeling by allowing high-level gems to start dropping in D3 (something self-found players would certainly appreciate).

Wyatt Cheng responded that it might be in the works, now that the Auction Houses are closing.

There are some changes we are going to have to evaluate, particularly with the removal of the DiabloWikiAuction House.

I think that the way that gems were experienced by the player is really changed in the presence of an Auction House. If you play through the game self-found you are actually happy to combine a few gems and you never actually reach DiabloWikiRadiant Star or DiabloWikiMarquise. We are looking at what the removal of the Auction House allow us to do, or should we do for gems ….

From Cheng’s comments, it sounds like self-found players might finally start to see those elusive rare gems drop from enemies now and then. (I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to start seeing something other than “Flawless Square” the next time an enemy drops a gem.)

Item Hunt First, Trading Second

As mentioned earlier, the devs still aren’t sure exactly how to handle trading yet. Even so, their focus is on making the game fun to play without players ever feeling like they have to trade to get the best gear.

A fan asked during Saturday’s Open Q&A what sort of “sanctioned trading model” the devs would provide in order to prevent people from getting swindled on third-party sites. One of the devs answered that it was still being sorted out.

Right now we are still in the process in figuring out what trading means for Diablo. There is a
social component that we still but want to retain, but at the end of the day it’s kind of fundamental to our Loot 2.0 philosophy. We feel that finding items in-game by killing monsters should be the most rewarding, most satisfying and the best way to gets your hands on those items.

In other words, whatever form trading takes, the devs won’t allow it to become the game breaking machine that the Auction Houses were. Trading will be allowed, but the item hunt comes first.

The Future Is Bright For Self-Found

We may not have a true self-found mode – or at least a way to enforce BoA in guilds – but I can’t complain. Honestly, seeing all the cool new stuff coming in RoS and Loot 2.0, I’m excited. Blizzard has done a great job of wowing us with new content for the game, and I’m ready to try it out.

I know this is supposed to be a self-found column, but I’d like to ask a different sort of question. Since I know a lot of people like to swap items with their friends in D3, I want to get all of your thoughts on how much freedom players should have with regards to trading.

What do you all think is the best solution to D3 not having the AH? Is some BoA good? Bad? Should some items be hard to get – even to the point where you can’t trade for them?

I wish I knew the answer. Regardless, as an SF player, Loot 2.0 and RoS can’t get here soon enough.


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

Tagged As: | Categories: Diabloii.Net Columns, Uncategorized

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  1. They’re afraid of people hitting the loot wall to quickly. The game doesn’t have any mechanic beyond max level, and no incentive to re-roll. Without ladders in the picture, they need to ensure people play the game as long as possible to get their loot. Anything approaching what happened with the AH, regardless of how minor in comparison, is going to be bad for this game. It would be a minor tragedy for them to spend all this time on the new loot system, then have people hitting the loot wall in a matter of weeks. Especially with the promised drop rates, you can see how any trading of top-tier items would just gut the improved, REWARDING, loot hunt they’ve tried to create.

    I think sometimes the right choice is the unpopular choice.

    • If the rate is even close to console’s legendary rate, then EVERYONE is going to hit the loot wall too quickly.

    • Can we all gather ourselves for a second and take a moment to laugh and the sheer retardation that Blizzard has become?

      • Its because they listen to the squeaky wheels too much. The problem isn’t the AH, the problem is the B.net forums.

        There is NOTHING wrong with having a GAH along with Loot 2.0. The notion of inflation is just ridiculous because you are never going to stop it. Whether its 2 hours or 2 months, its going to happen so just accept it.

        I appreciate and respect self-found (although I don’t know why they hate me so much). The ladders or a ladder should be for self found with no AH access. When the ladder resets, those players will be “forced” to re-roll if they wish to continue this mode or they will have to “resist” the temptation of the GAH/trades once their chars go into the general population.

        If nothing else, because I know the AH is dead, they should have a dynamic commodities trader “in game” which would be a mini-GAH for mats, gems, and the like. I think that could support a trading economy.

        Comments from Cheng make think how can this guy be in charge of stuff. “we want to avoid a SoJ situation”. Well WTF do you think is going to happen Wyatt when you shutdown the AH? People like me are just going to rollover and say “I guess its self found city for me”? Get real. You will either BoA everything or we will develop a market whether you like it or not. Its done.

        And while I have a rant going, the whole notion of trading during the game session is just stupid. Even D2 had a better trade/economy than this. I don’t get this backlash. Is a WoW thing? Do they not have an economy? Is it all BoA there? Don’t know, didn’t play. Ever.

        • In WoW, the gear was a means to an end. It was the tool you used to kill raid bosses, PvP, etc. When you got a new piece of gear, you needed to put gems in it (gems couldn’t be reused), you needed to enchant it. Also, for raids, you needed stat elixirs and special food buffs. These consumables, along w/ other random crafted stuff, was the bulk of the AH. You didn’t buy the gear, but you bought a lot of stuff to make the gear better or to make yourself temporarily better in order to go win the gear.

          Also bags, motorcycles, and Pokemon. Pokemon was where the big money was.

  2. All of this sounds great.
    Yeah, it sucks you cant trade freely with friends, but I think that might be the price worth paying for a better game experience.
    If you want to trade with your friends, then play with them.

    • No, you won’t be able to trade with your friends. Do you really think you’re going to find something fair to trade to your friend for that *BEST IN SLOT* item they just found before it becomes Soulbound? That’s not trading. That’s giving you the item and Blizzard trying to pawn it off as trading. What a joke.

  3. Make all legendary/set items BoA and all rare (good but just not legendary/set) items be tradable in game.

    This way, there’ll still be a lot of trading done, between everyone. But to find the utmost best endgame items, you really have to get in Knees-deep… 🙂

    • I don’t think this would work, or would solve whatever problem they’re trying to solve. Because all you have to do is say, “We have this item, pay me and I’ll meet you in game.”

      • Currently (according to that video link I posted) that’s what they plan on doing (sets / legs BoA, rares can be traded freely).

        • But that’s only within a certain time frame. I’m pretty sure TheMythe is talking about so long as you’re in-game with someone you can trade items with them, regardless of how long they have had it.

          • I believe you have to be partied when the item drops, or else, cmon?

            I mean, cmon… Right?

            “Mini auction ends in 10 mins” “subscribers can bid first”

            Not to mention the public game nightmare – “hey, barb, got a leg for you” – and you’re alone…

        • I asked about trading and binding in my interview (with the same 2 devs, coincidentally) and they explained it clearly. You get to trade with people in your game when you find a leg/set, or for a short time frame afterwards. Which is a nice incentive to co-op.

    • Knee-deep in the Dead 🙂

      • Brings me back to Doom 😉

        Did you know there is a Legendary glove item that has an affix stating *shrine buffs will last for 1 hour.
        Combined with the fact that there is an invulnerability shrine now…

        I call this combination the IDDQD-effect© 😀

  4. TheDestructor, if it is BoA, how can it be traded?
    Waterfiend, If so Blizz is on the right track IMHO.

    • Sorry. I read your post wrong. Derp.

      For some reason I was thinking your idea was: Any item could be traded so long as you’re in-game with someone. Should read slower.

  5. TheDestructor, they should lose that feat. Legendary+set = BoA, period.

  6. On top of loot 2.0 they need crafting 2.0. There needs to be runeword equivalents so you can have extremely powerful extremely rare long term item and progression goals. That way you have a feeling of getting closer to the uber items with just a bit of it droppiing at a time.

    Very rare boa legendaries with great stats every time. Very rare craft items, also boa, that you assemble over very long time dcale into the next tier of items.

    • craezyjim
      I wholeheartedly agree here. More crafting materials (found in random places and BoA), more craftable item slots. It’ll greatly add to the longevity of D3

  7. They’re getting out of the player economy business altogether. I said when the AH went down that they’d have to basically ban all kinds of trading or else d2jsp etc were going to act as the surrogate RM/AH all over again. They came way, way closer to banning all trading than I ever thought they would. Now it’s obvious why they were so hell bent on making sure Rares are utter trash.

  8. Often when I finally had some gold, I had to spend days camping the AH to find a decent upgrade, because every time I saw an item I liked some douche bag would snap it away and flip it for a lot more or put it on the rmah.

    It made the gaming experience so much more negative for me(and probably for countless of others), but I avoided the rmah and hated flipping, because I felt terrible about doing it.

    i was however often tempted, simply because the game puts you in a merciless situation without any hope or option other than the AH.

    So I say to hell with the AH and the trading tycoons. I want to hunt for loot and have fun with my friends. Thank you Josh!

    • As bad as the ah is, trading d2 style is worse. At least with the ah you can get a price check easy by watching items for a few days. Every d2 trade I did felt like I was getting screwed. Yeah flippers in d3 stink, but at least with bidding low a few times you could get a feel for trueprice very easy.

      My thought is either you keep the ah and try to throttle it down somehow so it is not as efficient. Or you outright remove trading by binding most gear.

      If you leave in trading but kill the ah, you force people out of game to progress, which is worse than the current “in menus” progress I see on my friend list.

  9. I think the best way to make this work (at a personal level) is to start a clan – and filling it with a bunch of like minded players – in order to always have 3 people to play with – something like Ironborn bands. Maybe a friend list won’t cut it, unless you plan to play at scheduled times with people on your list.

    It was interesting, all in all – they took the ironborn idea and mixed with what they wanted (us, playing co-op). I hope it works.

    • I do, too. Personally, I’ll be joining (or starting) an SF group as soon as they’re available. It would be nice, though, if there were MF buffs for those who play in clans – would definitely encourage co-op, even if you never trade.

  10. If they made legends/sets/gems BoA they can start to dig they greaves, cause nobady will be interested in this game. BoE its however different way, but they need to think about it – its their job.

    • Bart, if the legendaries aren´t going to boa, most people would sell them on 3rd party sites for real money, and then we are back to square one.

      In a perfect world they could definitely have included trading, but given the greedy nature of many humans with selfish intentions you can´t have this, without some negative consequenses for other people.

  11. For someone like myself who doesn’t MP or craft items and now with trading being effectively ended, add to that the fact that there still is no sign of an expanded stash, there really isn’t any point in picking up items at all. Hell, I cannot even scrap the items and give away the crafting materials.

  12. To be honest, it is a bit weird to start out saying you don’t do X and Y, and then complain that you have no use for the features that are meant to support X and Y. Of course not, but that is hardly the games problem.
    Would be like complaining that lvl 60 items exist, because you only play Normal.

    Supposedly you would at least want to pick up new legendaries?

  13. QUOTE

    To be honest, it is a bit weird to start out saying you don't do X and Y, and then complain that you have no use for the features that are meant to support X and Y. Of course not, but that is hardly the games problem.
    Would be like complaining that lvl 60 items exist, because you only play Normal.

    I’m not saying it’s a problem, just it’s not going to be something that will excite me to rush out and buy the expansion.

    Supposedly you would at least want to pick up new legendaries?

    Yes, but if I cannot store them or trade them I’ll just have to sell them at a vendor or leave them on the ground.

  14. Doesn’t BoA just totally degrade a players sense of wealth? I don’t want to just trade low tier items and commodities. I like knowing I could if I wanted to take my awesome “whatever” and trade it for “other character awesome whatever”.

    I understand what they are trying to do with it all, but it seems so harsh of an implementation its as if they did it just because they couldn’t think of something better than an AH.

    I don’t have the answers, but I can flat out say I really don’t like everything worth something being BoA.

    I like Josh a lot, and I think he has a lot of passion for turning this game around, but this just isn’t the answer D3 needs.

  15. QUOTE

    Yes, but if I cannot store them or trade them I'll just have to sell them at a vendor or leave them on the ground.

    I certainly agree the stash needs to me A LOT larger for what Blizzard is proposing.

  16. I absolutely love the AH. Really the only reason D3 has been loaded in the last 4-6 months. Every couple of days I repost what hasnt sold and buy up the market in the item I control. Still is paying off. Controlled the same market for a verly long time. Not job quiting like was discussed on many website before launch but fun and profitable. I have found 1 upgrade in my 1000 hours of play time and Im ok with that. Still tried to sell it before deciding it was just too godly.(trifecta gloves 9%crit, 34%crit dmg, 9% ias, +75~str and +150~vit, 16MF).

    What I really wanted to talk about was that in d2 I really didnt find any god like items until I started botting. I traded for the godly items for my smiter and then used all the keys for endgame. Thats all I wanted to play anyway. Didnt even keep the torches. Gave them away(too hard to trade) Just wanted to kill the bosses most of the time. I would check to see if it was better then the one I had or if it could be used for any other char.

  17. BoA to me sucks because you’ll get frustrated most of the time when a legendary item finally drop. I feel that most of the time, it will be an item that just isn’t good enough for you to keep — now you can’t trade it. Not being able to trade it away is so irritating.

    I like making rare drops non-BoA and make it the most powerful items in the game. If you make it easy to obtain something, even good chance of finding them for casual players…well shortly, for players that like to continue playing for years will have them all and get bored. Focus on end game mechanic for players to continue grinding for years to come to find that elusive rare item…after all, powerful rare should be “rare” to find. Add good social aspect into the game i.e. guild, PVP, etc and you have a winning formula. Oh yeah, I really hope they make the social aspect awesome because there’s nothing more depressing than having this sense of a ghost town in public games. But the social aspect is for another topic…

  18. @Sulle there will always be a way to sell items in Diablo. If not nobady will play this game. It’s a simple truth.

    LOL I have found a nice legendary item and I can’t trade it ? BYE blizz game and welcome something else where I can. They can stop duping and boting, even AH selling but not a TRADING. It’s a basic funcjonality – and in Diablo 3 trading is so much cut almoust in a half – only 4 ppl games and you dont have a bigger chat like ger-1 you just have #24152623621 chat with small amount off ppl. You cant even name your game like “I want to sell dex ll skorn”

    So all will be usisng 3party sites for sure (they always did, and now with AH remove… well just watch d2jsp or similar).

  19. QUOTE

    There is NOTHING wrong with having a GAH along with Loot 2.0.  The notion of inflation is just ridiculous because you are never going to stop it.  Whether its 2 hours or 2 months, its going to happen so just accept it.

    BOAing pretty much everything will stop inflation just fine 🙂

  20. QUOTE

    BOAing pretty much everything will stop inflation just fine :)

    Slow it, not stop it. That’s the thing, they only need to slow it down long enough for them to work on a new expansion/gear reset. The only permanent gear sink was Hardcore, and even that would eventually inflate up (as people got better and better, less and less hardcore deaths to sink the items). W/ binding and an RMAH, they could have a very stable long term economy pumping cash into their coffers that they could use to hire some goddamn COMPETENT developers. But they ruined it all, first one way (runaway inflation) and then the other (getting rid of any economy whatsoever). So far, the best possible system they could have had:

    -Bind on Equip
    -Bind on Sale
    -Full Gold/Real Money Auction House

    That would have given them enough cash (and profit incentive) to keep adding content to the game to keep people playing and to keep people trading. But then that would have required non-morons to work, and we see how well that’s worked out so far.

  21. Having been through trade spam and AH hatred I personally like the idea of limiting legendaries to the group currently in the game they dropped in. I think Rares can act as a good starter for people to start item hunting better on their own, but that’s all they should end up being unless the stats are right to completely replace the need for a legendary in a slot. Rares=more traditional solid stat desires, legendaries= unique slot affixes and effects. I’m more than happy to see trading to be limited basically to rares and lower. You still have crafting mats remember.

  22. QUOTE

    You still have crafting mats remember.

    It looks like they will become BoA too.

  23. yeah, but if rares are any part of baseline craft mats for good craftables I guess they might have very limited value…

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