With the Blizzcon behemoth behind us was lucky enough to interview our very own Azzure from diablo3markets.com about the economy we’ll find ourselves in. Will gold be stable enough? Will our economy be stable? Could we see third party sites in hardcore? Will we see an RMAH in hardcore? All those and more after the bump.

    What is your hardcore experience? Do you plan to play hardcore in d3? Why or why not?

    I have played Hardcore casually in Diablo 2, my highest HC character was a level 85 Sorc who got PK’ed in a tragic set of circumstances. I was 16 at the time, it was a very traumatic experience. I still have nightmares about it. I plan on playing Hardcore casually again in D3, but my main character will be Softcore. The main reason for this is that I need to be involved with the RMAH, and I plan on exploring the Economy in detail in Diablo 3. As there is no RMAH in HC, this leaves SC as the only option. Though I will definitely have HC character(s) at some point.

    Do you think the economic split between hardcore and softcore is a good idea?why?

    Not only is it a good idea, it’s completely necessary. HC must have it’s own economy so it is not trivialized and “contaminated” by SC “free-reign” farming. HC is hardcore because you risk permanent death in the process of acquiring items. This makes good items in HC very prestigious and is a huge reason why HC is what it is. Allowing SC items in to HC will negate a lot of the prestige and awesomeness of having a uber HC character, as well as trivializing the whole concept of Hardcore.

    Another reason why HC having it’s own economy is a core attribute to HC is the fact that when you die, your gear is lost forever. If you could fish out gear from SC, the effect of dying would be far less “hard core” than Hardcore is supposed to be. It would kind of negate a lot of the reason to play HC, and reduce the desirability of Hardcore.

    Do you think we will see a RMAH for hc? Why?

    As you know, Blizzard have already said No RMAH in HC. However I’m not convinced this is set in concrete. The reason why Blizzard doesn’t want RMAH in HC is so that it reduces the “slap in the face” effect you encounter when dying in HC. If you spent $2k on gear and you die the next day from a lag spike, you’d probably quit the game in a rage. Blizzard don’t want to put HC players in that situation.

    However, I’m almost certain Real money trading will occur in HC regardless of whether it is sanctioned or not. With the SC RMAH in the game, it will become much more “socially acceptable” to buy and sell items in HC. The framework is there. All it will take is people to do it privately, through forums, or through another service. So I think it’s 50/50 that there will be an RMAH in HC. It’s a double edged sword in a way.

    Will there be enough gold sinks to keep gold as a valuable currency? Or will something else take its place ? I.e gems, runes etc.

    I might be able to answer this question a little better after Blizzcon. At the moment we don’t really know how far the Artisan gold-sinks go, nor do we know if there are any OTHER gold sinks in the game. If I was to judge based solely on what I saw in Beta, than the answer is “we need more gold-sinks”. Though that’s not an accurate answer, since there IS more gold-sinks in the game. We just don’t know how effective and how far they go in the end-game.

    End-game is where the true gold-sinks begin. Leveling up to 60 is typically an individual affair that doesn’t involve too much gold and buy/selling. Most people just power through it and will ignore the RMAH until they are level capped, and the real item-mastery game begins.

    Did the AH panel shed any light on anything for you? As in what the economy will look like?

    No not really, the biggest thing we saw though was in the Advanced Search UI of the RMAH, there was an option to “Show Completed Listings”. This is significant because it means players can look up what an item sold for, which acts as a price guideline. Apart from that, nothing really new came out from Blizzcon.

    What effect will the lack of corpse looting in hardcore have on the economy?

    Losing all your gear on death, and having no way of someone looting it has a HUGE impact on the HC economy. This is mainly because those items vanish forever, and typically they are good items because you are equipping them! This means that the amount of good items in HC will be lower than SC, and they will be more “valuable” then their counterparts in SC. HC’s Economy will be very robust, it will suffer a lot less from “Item-inflation” due to items being deleted from HC deaths, and also because people can’t farm as effectively due to fear of death, and have to play careful and slowly. In my opinion, HC’s Economy will be much more “fun and interesting” than SC’s due to the out-flux of items brought upon by death.


    With corpse looting gone, and the degree of difficulty in hardcore inferno do you think we will have a large third market influence in D3 or will it just not be viable?

    I firmly believe that HC players will be very willing to spend real money on their HC characters, and will do so regardless of Blizzard’s sanctioning. Remember, having good items in HC increases your survivability rate. Plus the fact that good items in HC are much harder to get for the reasons mentioned above, will make for good items being very desirable in the HC game. I implore Blizzard to reconsider their position on not allowing an RMAH in Hardcore. People will turn to 3rd party sites, and risky trading if they don’t.


    With the ease of the auction house and the inability to name games, what do you think will happen with trading?

    Assuming there is no RMAH at ship, I think people will resort to using the GAH (gold as currency), and then use third-party gold selling sites to purchase gold from. If you can picture this cycle: Third party farming sites will sell their items in the GAH for gold, and then sell that gold (and gold they farmed themselves) to other players for money outside of battle.net. The GAH is far too convenient and easy to use for both buyers and third party sites to not use as a primary trading platform.


    Do you think the market for hardcore will focus a lot on the midlevel range as opposed to a massive influx of Inferno quality? I had a hard time investing in new items 10 levels above me for fear of death,but the shared stash always being there may assuage that.

    Mid level items in HC will be far more important than in SC, by far. This is because in SC, leveling to max level is trivial and is no more than a stepping stone before the “real game” starts. In HC, the entire game is significant because if you die in nightmare, your dead and have to start again. Therefore you need to care about gear and items from start to finish, unlike SC where you only really care about items at max level. This is further the case with the fact that the median and average level of characters is far lower in HC. There are more mid level characters in HC then in SC, due to players having to restart after death.


    Speaking of which will the shared stash for hardcore affect the economy?

    It will. But not hugely. It’s no different to muling your items in HC to another character. It’s just more convenient.


    What class do you think is the best suited to survive in hardcore?

    Summoner witch doctors. The more targets, the less probability you’ll get hit. Especially when you lag out.

    With an auction house, and what appears to be a push towards single player experience what will happen with trading between players? Will it still happen or do you think the auction house will kill it?

    I don’t think it will necessarily kill p2p trade, but rather render it irrelevant. It’s a bit like real life. Society moved away from the Barter system (where people traded goods for goods, ie 10 sheep for 20 baskets of corn) and moved to a currency system. It’s just a more convenient and superior way to exchange goods.

    With that said, I’m sure that there will be the odd case where a DH and a barb find themselves playing with each other and a good sword drops for the DH and the barb has a similarly good bow in his stash and they end up swapping them.


    What auction house features do you think every hardcore player should be aware of?

    The AH itself doesn’t really offer many tools features outside of finding the item you want. Exchange rates and commodity prices (on diablo3markets.com) and the new “search completed listings” on the AH advanced search UI will all be very useful for trading effectively.


    The RMAH or lack there of is pushing some into playing hardcore; do you think people’s convictions are strong enough to stick with it after a few deaths?

    That’s a tough one. Hardcore mode attracts hardcore players. Hardcore players in general are more likely to view rmt as “cheating” or at least “ezmode” since you get items from money rather than natural gameplay means.

    I think it would be inaccurate to assume that RMAH alone drives people to HC mode. I think hardcore players will play hardcore mode. And a few others will play HC until their first death, in which they will never touch HC again. RMAH won’t play a big role on this decision in my opinion.


    With hardcore being gold based do you think we will see a push towards gold find builds for players trying to enhance their purchasing capabilities?

    They probably will but remember: items=gold=items. So realistically people will equip whatever is the most efficient route at the time. If everyone goes nuts with +gold-drop gear stats, than the price of gold vs items will drop because there is loads of gold in the economy. This will then make MF gear more profitable. So then everyone gets MF gear, and then suddenly the ratio of good items vs gold swings in the other direction, and gold-find becomes more valuable.

    It will eventually settle into balance. Rule 1 of economics.


    I know it’s hard to say now, but what do you think items will top out at in d3 price wise? Will people be spending in the hundreds or in the thousands?

    Hundreds for really rare end-game items (think windforce, grandfather) possibly thousands for mega-rare near-perfect stats rares. (the 1 in tens of millions rare item rolls).

    It’s been a big week in Hardcore news. We saw that we will have a our halls of the dead, and sadly we saw that we may have to go through soft core to start our hardcore adventures. I can’t stress how bad this is. I want to play hardcore, and hardcore right from the start. I made mention of this in a previous post, and still feel as strongly. Jay has stated it is still a possibility we won’t see it, so perhaps if we made ourselves heard it won’t make launch. What do you think?

    Next week: class impressions from the beta.

    One Live to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly.

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