If you’re a serious RMAH user or plan on becoming one, then you may want to take a look at a new article on Gamasutra called The psychology of Diablo III loot. In the article the author looks at three factors that make up the RMAH experience and how Blizzard could tweak things to make the RMAH experience more useful and exciting, based on advanced understanding of human psychology. Thanks snipeattacker for the tip.
Here’s a quote relating to one problem with the Auction House; that it makes obtaining good gear so easy that the joy of finding a better item in the game is diminished. (Since you’ll never find better than what you’ve already bought.)
The reason is that the auction house is actually a far more effective but much more predictable way of finding better gear for your character than hoping for good loot drops from fallen enemies or treasure chests. In my experience it was super easy to buy equipment so good that the magical “ting!” sound soon lost its effect because the loot that dropped was no longer a reward. It was just gold in a slightly more inconvenient form, destined to be sold to a vendor or at best on the auction house for a little more. In effect, the auction house system excised the entire dopamine rush, loot drop appeal of the game. Yes, high quality items still mean big returns on the auction house, but the whole process of listing, selling, and transferring the money is too far removed to elicit the same dopamine rush.
This is basically a scientific explanation (the article cites numerous psychological studies, with footnotes) of the, “Auction House has ruined Diablo III” argument we hear all the time. The AH does indeed make it much easier to trade or sell or buy equipment… but many players feel that it’s too easy, and that AH’ing players can obtain great gear that basically turns the game into a walkthrough, until they hit the Inferno gear check wall.
This article is more realistic than most critiquing players, since the article suggests things Blizzard could change about the AH to make it more fun, rather than pretending the whole AH might magically vanish and that the game would be better off for its disappearance.