Another Jay Wilson interview from his Australasian press tour earlier this month is available from MCV Pacific. They presented and , with about five questions in each. Nothing real ground breaking, but Jay was in an expensive mood and gave some nice replies.
Here’s a quote from part two, with an extended analogy explaining why they structured the Auction House / trading system as they did in Diablo III. As usual, thanks to fmulder for the tip.
The decision really came from looking at Diablo 2 and what players did there and what players want to do.
I think one of the things we try really hard to do at Blizzard is not make a lot of assumptions. We’d say: ‘Don’t go against what your players are trying to do. See if you can find a way to enable what they want.’
A great example is the quest system in WoW. In most MMOs before that, you just grinded to level up, and we didn’t think that was very fun, so we wanted people to do questing. We could’ve hardwired players into that, but instead we wanted to include it while allowing grinding, giving players appropriate rewards. It just made questing more beneficial.
What we’re really doing there is embracing what the player wants to do. We found that the player is looking for efficiency – they’re doing the most efficient thing even if it’s the least fun thing. So we just decided to make the most fun thing also the most efficient thing. And that’s making sure we’re following player instinct.
It’s the same thing with the Auction house. People want to trade. They traded in Diablo 2 (for real money) – they just did it outside of the game. And players want to buy items. I can’t tell you how many hardcore Diablo players I know who pay money for high-level items. I also have a lot of friends who went to pay real money for in-game things and got ripped off. It’s a game about trading items; it’s a game where trading is the best path to getting the best items.
But Diablo 2 didn’t facilitate trading at all, so in doing the Auction house we really want to facilitate trading, and we really wanted to embrace what players were doing, and what we knew players were going to do regardless of whether we did real money or not.
Has everyone accepted the Auction House now? It was very controversial when first introduced, especially for the Real Money Trading aspect of things, but I haven’t seen a lot of complaints about it lately. Some people still take umbrage at the RMT aspect, but it seems like even most fans who dislike the real money intrusion into the game have grown more accepting of it, if only because $$ will just be another type of currency required to trade.
You find a good item, you sell it for gold or $$, and then you spend that gold/money on another item. It’s not “real” money unless you deposit into the system, or withdraw via Pay Pal. So long as you leave your Bobby Bucks on your account, they might as well be another type of gold; just one you can’t actually use in the game to train Artisans.
So there are no ethical problems then… right?