One life to live #25: The elephant in the room

I’ve written about a lot of things over the past few months( six to be exact( really six months and still no game?)) some have been pressing, some have been minor but one in my opinion has been left out. The RMAH is in softcore and a gold based auction house is what we will find in Hardcore. With this Blizzard has closed the door on item selling sites but has left the window open in hardcore. My analysis and more after the bump.


I’ll start this out by stating: I have never bought virtual items with real or “fake” money. That is to say I am not opposed to the idea, it may work for some people. If they chose to do it I’m fine with it. What I don’t like is a system that is set up that you have to do it in order to play on the same level with others. Thankfully Hardcore does not have a real money component in it, however the lack therein creates a whole new world of problems.

The Window

Eventually all the gold in the world is not going to be enough. That Windforce in soft core could make you a cool $50 and you are already not picking up gold anymore. What do you do? You’ve been sixty for weeks, have been struggling through Inferno and playing the AH to no avail to upgrade your armor. What do you do?

You will do what so many in Diablo 2 now do, D2jsp or forum gold.

What is forum gold? It is an online currency that can be exchanged for goods and services. It rose to prominence in 2002 and at this point basically runs the Diablo 2 economy. You can use forum gold to buy a Windforce, get rushed to hell, or have players killed ( I do like the bounty system). Unfortunately, the D2 economy falters as a result and you must buy into the system in order to be competitive.

Forum gold has devastated the Diablo trading community; you almost can’t get the items you need without it. Even the simple tasks like getting a rush in Normal are charged for. Which I suppose makes sense, why help someone for free when you can profit from it?

Which ties into the larger problem, Placing a value on those actions deteriorates the community. If we measure everything in dollars and cents we would never hand over that Windforce to the low level Amazon, or help with the ancients because we would be taking money out of our own pockets. Do free stuff games still exist? and are people still kind? Of course but the quantity of such acts has diminished.

But Xanth that was Diablo 2, there were dupes and bots and no real way to trade effectively. Surely D3 won’t have a need for this right? I’d love to say yes imaginary person questioning me, but You can already see d2jsp has forums up for trading in Diablo 3. In fact right now you can use your forum gold to buy items in the beta!

I do not see a way for forum gold to not creep into Hardcore D3. The conditions are eerily similar to what prompted it to start in D2. No real effective way to trade, gold which will over time become deflated, and items that will be rare enough to justify it. Plus it will make it much easier to recover from a death, just load up your stash with the gear you need and start leveling. The path of least resistance is always easier, and with no viable alternative I won’t be surprised to see it.

One of the large reasons Hardcore doesn’t have an RMAH was to “save us from ourselves” and I imagine it’s is a customer service nightmare. However, sites like d2jsp show us there is a market and a desire for it. And that market now has a window. So what can Blizzard do about it? I don’t think much, aside from implementing a RMAH in hardcore. Unless there is a unified system everyone can rally around then people will turn to the alternative. Hardcore has risks, and each player going into knows that( or at least they should) as a result you want to best set yourself up against that failure. If spending a few bucks here and there will keep you alive and help you reach inferno, people will do it. Ultimately the reward is greater than the risk. D2 is old and dated yet people are still sinking money into that game, still rushing through content and farming monsters. D3 will be fresh and new and the chance to be ahead or have an edge on your colleague will be a large enough temptation for some to buy in to whatever system they can find.

One Life 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.

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3, Diabloii.Net Columns, Economy, Hardcore


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  1. They should not allow trading in hardcore
    and make items vanish if tossed on ground (if you even can do that now) to rid of all the 3d party selling sites and all the spam that comes with it.
    Maybe not allow AH in hardcore either.
    In the end it will be more fun for the players if it’s your own achivements that counts and not buying a ticket to the cake walk.

  2. “You will do what so many in Diablo 2 now do, d2jsp or forum gold” No I won’t and I never did in Diablo 2 either. Weak argument to justify RMAH.
    If you don’t like d2jsp then I don’t see how you could want a RMAH. The RMAH is d2jsp made easily accessible to everyone, except you can’t buy powerlvling etc yet. I want neither, sure it may be inevitable to have something like d2jsp but atleast it’s not as easily accessible as the RMAH so it’s not as bad.

    Keeping the value of gold up is just a matter of having enough meaningful goldsinks.

    • I think the advantage of a HC Rmah is that it levels the playing field and doesn’t force you outside of the game itself. D2jsp will be present in D3 and its lack of accessibility could be a boon to the newer players creating a dichotomy between those who use it and those who don’t.

      • I could see that argument coming from Blizzard since they can make money, but not from someone who doesn’t like d2jsp.
        I think they will be able to keep gold valuable, like in WoW. That may mean we’ll see sites selling gold rather than items, like in WoW, or both. I prefer that to a RMAH though.

  3. Gold has a value as a currency, unlike back in D2. What else do you need?

  4. Even more evidence is looking a the hardcore trading forum on this site, compared to jsp.  jsp uswest hc almost always has 20+ people viewing, at peak 40+.  I personally have never paid for forum gold directly to jsp, but I have bought from item sites as it was the cheaper avenue to profit in FG.  The main reason for that way to pay pack a loan a friend gave me to get my hammerdin geared and baalable.  

    But since then, I have profitted around 20$ worth of forum gold over time, and eventually lost it in betting.  you can make FG without buying it, just have to be patient and some times willing to undercut the current value of items.

    Ultimately, for this time in Diablo2 playing hardcore, it is the most efficient method of getting the items you want/need.  It appears softcore there still is a trading venue on this website.

    If people on a regular basis trade items for nothing, and the phrase “t4t” is said a lot, that is probably that jsp was involved.  It would suck to get banned for going outside the current method of trading that Diablo3 will have, but it is probably in the terms of use somewhere…  And d3 is blizzards baby and will likely be closely monitored.

    And yes I know talking about jsp can get you banned… at least linking to it can.  This comment is in relation to a main wall post, so no rage plz mods 🙂 

  5. d2jsp, is not what i was, its now full of scamers and corrupt “mods” that run scams them self on multi accounts.
    use d2jsp as a ground to find the trades and use paypal/ebay for the service insted that way you can get the protction d2jsp ones did provide in there serivce.

  6. I’ve also never been scammedon JSP. Just need to be smart. I think there will be huge item sellers for d3 hardcore. D2legit, forum gold from jsp.
    I don’t really know what the solution is, because I imagine implementing RMAH is a big problem too. Probably just let the bad stuff happen

  7. Blizzard should just try to get every site closed, which tries to set up monetized trading.

    • Past legal cases in the U.S. has shown they could do this (or at least shut down bot sellers), but, like illegal drugs, it might be too costly if there is such a demand that others will rush in to fill the gap as soon as one supplier is shut down. And this is assuming the seller will be based in a country that is suable by Blizzard

    • Shutting down sites, at least the ones outside US jurisdiction, are not easy at all. There is a reason The Pirate Bay is still up and running despite losing their court battle.

  8. The funny part is how fanboys think item stores/forums will not succeed because of the RMAH. Blizzard tried to fool the average player of Diablo by referencing these sites with the term “shady”, but if they were real shady they wouldn’t succeed so much because a scammed will never turn into a regular costumer, for obvious reasons. There was a lot of scamming in D2, but most of it was made in-game and not by the item stores.
    Another thing encouraging item stores is the fees. Why would players spend 1.25 extra dollars every time they want to buy an item? And why would a store use the RMAH with so many cash out fees both from Blizzard and Paypal? The casual player will want to use the RMAH for safety and commodity but the serious players willing to pay for items will continue to buy things in the same way he grew accustomed in D2 and these players are the ones that really affects the game’s economy.

  9. The TL for DR about how stupid author is.
    – Author is really dumb
    – Bliz made it right
     – D3 will be fine
    – Forums will die
    – There is no need to buy anything but possibility
    – Ppl who cant play without buying virtual items for real money is cancer of sickness
    – Ppl who thinks so other ppl cant play without buying must be killed with fire ASAP
    – Blizzard never ever before made bad or good games, only the best – just trust em one more time, they earned it

  10. TBH i would expect most people in HC will use the gold AH for trading, the big reason 3rd party sites where used in D2 IMO is there was no way to trade in game out side of chat spamming, and then you have to wait for ages to get someone who willing to trade with you. Due to the guys who would trade being off line or busy playing in a game.
    With the gold AH you can just bung you item on it and forget about it until it either sells or times out, as for buying an item well that just as easy find it in listing and click buy/bid. Even if gold devalues massively it still be used for this, why because it’s really convenient (unless Blizzard really messes up the AH structuring but that would mess up there RMAH as well).

  11. Since we cant name our games, how will trading be done outside of the AH?   Just curious, will we have to add every person we trade with to friends?  

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