Alternative trading systems

HardRock

Diabloii.Net Member
I'm sure everyone heard by now (Blizzard played it safe by telling us in as many ways as they could) that the Diablo 3 Auction House is closing on March 18, 2014. Unless the guys at Blizzard somehow mistook this day for April 1 I think this is happening. Besides, I got a mail about it from Elly as well, so it must be true. :)

The reasons given for this huge change in how the game plays make perfect sense to me. Diablo is every bit about hunting for items by ourselves as it is about trading for them, but with the AH trading superseded the actual hunt for items too much. While trading will still be possible even after the closure of the AH, dedicated traders are understandably disappointed with this decision. If we will be back to trading the D2 way, through chat spam, I can't say I blame them. This is part of the reason why I was thinking about a trade system that while wouldn't be as effortless as an AH, shouldn't feel as archaic as a purely chat based one would either. It should fit the D3 devs goal for the game as well. Here's my proposition in some detail:

As a seller, you could flag items you want to sell right in your inventory (even outside of games) and these would appear in an AH like list (from any of your characters), no named games or chat spam necessary. Items would appear in this list only when you're online, so no posting items to the market (giev moar stesh). On the other hand you could flag as many items as you want for sale, not just 10. The limiting factor would be how much free space you would be willing to give up for trading. Specifying a target price (or potentially even a list of items for bartering) should still be possible, but the trade would happen in-game or possibly directly through the chat, where you could still haggle or negotiate to use items as payment. No buyout price or bidding.

As a buyer, you could still search and filter items by equipment slots, rarity or stats and you could initiate the trading games right from the trading UI. Just right-click on the item you want to buy and select an option that would display a popup for the seller that a buyer has been found, with your name added. After this the sellers could decide how to proceed. They could invite you to their current game, a new game, or choose to facilitate the trade in the chat. Ideally all of these should be options right on the popup message and sending items through the chat should be possible as well.

This is basically still a bartering system, but with bells and whistles and an AH-like interface. I think a system like this would be a huge improvement over pure chat-based trading, but it would still require enough effort from traders that trading wouldn't be so ubiquitous and feel as necessary as it does now, because drop chances could be adjusted to better suit non-traders, without the global economy (which would cease to exist) becoming flooded with items. This way trading and farming could be much better balanced, hopefully reaching a happy medium in the process.

In another thread ShadoutMapes already had a few remarks about this system:

Harassers could annoy the hell out of sellers, by offering to buy and then leave after the trade game was created.

It would certainly lower the amount of trading though. Which is a goal.
But, as long as you would have a global search for all items available (which I assume you would), I think trading would still be very substantial.
It makes huge difference I think, that you can directly compare all available items, both as a buyer and seller.

In a classic barter system you cant really know if you could have gotten a better deal elsewhere. Both as a buyer and seller.

Theoretically true in D2 as well - although the small variation within the unique items made it simpler - and also having items that were "perfect" as currencies; runes, and to some degree SoJ (SoJ wasn't exactly perfect as a currency. That just happened anyway).

Forums will arise where people can get an idea and compare items, but those will never be truly global. Far from it even.

Note: Not saying the above is necessarily preferable, just pointing at differences :)
My reply:

Those are great points. Feel free to point out differences like this.

Anyway, harassment would indeed be a problem in this system. This crossed my mind as well as I wrote my post, but I only wanted to talk about the outlines of the system first. First of all, perma-ignore should be an option on the trade popup for occasions when it's one guy that harasses you constantly. Furthermore, while you are in a trade game (Battle.net should be able easily flag an track games like this) you wouldn't get any more popups until the buyer or you leave the game.

As for the global search, well, it wouldn't be global anymore if you think about it. Items wouldn't be listed when the seller isn't online (or possibly not even when he or she is AFK), so at any time you would only get a small subset of items available for trade. Comparing items would be of course still easier than it is in the old-school bartering system (you would see a much larger subset of items), resulting in more stable prices, but I think a certain level of stability is a good thing. This should help budding traders as well, by enabling them to learn the value of things faster.
Feel free to critique my idea and post your own if you have one. However, please don't start a debate about why the AH should or shouldn't go, as this thread isn't about that at all. We have enough threads discussing that topic already. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
 
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ZappaFan

Hardcore Moderator and America Trade Moderator
The AH is a great mechanism for trading off your trade-able items. It became a problem because of the crappy drops leading to it being pretty much the only viable way for most people to upgrade. Couple that with insane inflation due to Real Money linkage both to items/gold in the RMAH and Real Money purchased gold even in HC via gold botters/sellers. With runaway inflation and crappy drops of course most people are frustrated with the AH. If we had good drops and no Real Money linked currency system a lot more people would have liked the AH. It was a huge mistake to make the most easily botted thing in the game the base currency for it all.

The best thing about the AH is that it takes the least amount of time away from actually playing the game to kill monsters and find loot. It gives you greater chances to find your own upgrades playing the game because it can all happen while you are killing monsters for loot (assuming the drops are decent enough to allow that), as well as the absolute most convenient way to trade away good loot that you find that you don't need/want yourself.

What we need is the AH as it currently is, but the currency needs to be something that cannot be botted and/or sold for Real Money. Something like an AH credit system that is account bound. AH credits are earned by selling things in the AH, and then in turn used to buy things in the AH (items, commodities, etc.). I would also make anything purchased in the AH have a period of time where the item would be account bound so that item sites aren't buying stuff in the AH and trying to sell it for Real Money. I wouldn't make it them permanently BoA, because people that are buying upgrades and would like to be able to sell the old gear still need to be able to do that. Perhaps make a purchased item from the AH BoA for a month.

Another thing I thought of is to perhaps make AH Credits something else you can spend Paragon Points on. So people that aren't finding anything good to sell but are playing the game at least have some way to build up some little bit of AH credits.

Of course, this assumes that Loot 2.0 is as good as advertised. If the AH is the only real way to upgrade your gear, people are going to hate it no matter how good the actual mechanism is.

It's really such a shame to just toss the whole AH concept all together. A classic case of tossing the baby out with the bathwater.
 

Malicious

Diabloii.Net Member
I like the sound of that AH credit system.

But yeah, what I don't think ppl understand is that the reason why the AH is perceived negatively is because Blizzard "balanced" drops due to the existence of the AH. If the drops were more like what u would expect from D2, then I don't think ppl would be complaining about the AH so much. The complaints are that they HAVE to use the AH to actually obtain worthwhile gear. So I don't think Blizzard's removal of the AH was really the right way to go about things.

For this to work, they will have to drastically change the way loot drops work. For starters, they will at least need to change gem drop rates and allow u to find gems better then flawless squares. Can u imagine outfitting a character with radiant stars on your own? I think for most normal ppl it would be impossible without spending years on the game. But I think if they changed is so that u could find stuff like perfect stars etc at a drop rate similar to HRs in D2, it would be ok.
 

Vorador

Diabloii.Net Member
I think they should start making some progress with Battle.net 2.0 and actually add some social features to it and since the AH is gone there's room to intertwine trating into that as well. For example it would be convinient to open a trade window from the chat interface. With the reintroduction of a lobby sort of chats that would at least make trading easier than joining actuals games and you can have more people there. Still, it's noway near as convinient as the AH and the WTB/WTS spam will be all over the place.
 

Malicious

Diabloii.Net Member
I was thinking maybe a "classifieds" section could work. The idea would be u have your own little section where u can type in what u r trying to sell, and perhaps u could link in your item as well, so u don't have to spend lines detailing all the stats. Then ppl can search the classifieds for whatever keyword they want.

It would probably be a lot more convenient that way than having to sift through chat spam.
 

HardRock

Diabloii.Net Member
I was thinking maybe a "classifieds" section could work. The idea would be u have your own little section where u can type in what u r trying to sell, and perhaps u could link in your item as well, so u don't have to spend lines detailing all the stats. Then ppl can search the classifieds for whatever keyword they want.
Sounds similar to what I had in mind. I assume items up for trade would be visible even when the seller isn't online, correct?

Let me repost my reply to JEB90's post from another thread here as well. In my reply I touched upon the possibility of keeping the AH, while improving the drops and why I think that wouldn't help things:

Any bartering system will develop its own currency over time for the simple reason that not everyone wants the same thing at the same time.
I think gold could be kept as the primary currency if people could still list their items with an asking price at a central market. It's much easier to just say how much gold you want for something than to negotiate a trade with items. Those have much more variables that would have to satisfy both parties and we already know how much people prefer to do things effortlessly.

The point is that some people still prefer trading this way and they could do so in the system I proposed. Because trades would happen directly between two players they could do whatever the hell they want to.

All your trading system (or any trading system) does is inject arbitrary time sinks. No thanks.
I can see why that would suck for someone who trades frequently. What's the alternative though? With the AH in the game, how would you solve the problem that Blizzard and many people have with the game, namely that "it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot"?

That definition of core gameplay relegates trading to second-class status. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I definitely don't agree with doing things the other way around and feeling that trading is the primary way to get what you want. I don't think it's an either-or situation, trading and farming could be better balanced than that and the choice between the two should ideally be down to personal preferences. The current situation in my opinion could be solved through better drops or through a more restricted way of trading.

I already said why I would much prefer something more along the lines of the latter. For example, at the 150-200k DPS gear level (I hate that this is just about the only thing that matters in the game) I can either spend god knows how many hours to find an upgrade or I can just spend a few to farm a few million gold (with trading on the side, because why the hell not?), go to the AH and buy an upgrade. How much would drops have to improve for this problem to go away? In my opinion the answer is: it doesn't really matter, because you will always be choosing between a chance to get what you want and a guarantee. Improving drops would also devalue items even more. Hell, with the way the economy is progressing, without the release of RoS you could probably buy MP10 gear for a few million gold in less than a year. If you're a Barb you can already do that if you like using builds that don't require you to pay any attention to what's happening on your screen. This is why I think a more restricted trading is the way to go: to better preserve the value of items, even with the new revision of the loot system that will include better drops.

I definitely don't want chat spam again, even though I know that if the devs do their job right I won't be trading that much after the release of RoS, or at all. Trading through chat is way too messy. Not surprising, given that it was born out of necessity, not out of a clear design. I don't want to return to that system, which is why I proposed an alternative, that in my opinion would make things more manageable.
 

ZappaFan

Hardcore Moderator and America Trade Moderator
There is no way gold can stay as the main currency because of all the gold botting, 3rd party gold sellers, and the inflation that it caused. You can't ignore that fact. Two things killed the AH. Crappy drops making the AH the only way to upgrade your gear, coupled with runaway inflation due to gold being purchased for money. The AH as a trading mechanism is not what doomed it. Had the drops been good and there been no way to obtain AH currency with real money the AH would still be thriving and Blizz wouldn't be removing it.
 

Steven Hazani

Diabloii.Net Member
There is no way gold can stay as the main currency because of all the gold botting, 3rd party gold sellers, and the inflation that it caused. You can't ignore that fact. Two things killed the AH. Crappy drops making the AH the only way to upgrade your gear, coupled with runaway inflation due to gold being purchased for money. The AH as a trading mechanism is not what doomed it. Had the drops been good and there been no way to obtain AH currency with real money the AH would still be thriving and Blizz wouldn't be removing it.
It wasn't drop quality, it was drop centralization.

If Blizzard said right now, "Remember when we said we'd remove the AH in 6 months? We were joking, it goes now."

Well, Mempos are still crit or ****, Skorns are still lifesteal or GTFO... there's still only a few stats anyone wants, and by extension a few items that have the most of those stats. Everyone wants the same few things, doesn't want anything else, most items are useless and worthless for everyone, and if you find something good for you it's also good for everyone else.

Conversely if we got the new items now, assuming that system actually worked correctly different people would want different things, and in that model an AH is fine.

Instead we get something relevant in the current game (more diverse items) and then the game goes and changes. What I think will happen is you'll find items that are good, but not for you, and since you can't just sell them anymore that isn't functionally different than finding stuff that isn't good for anyone.
 

ShadoutMapes

Diabloii.Net Member
Conversely if we got the new items now, assuming that system actually worked correctly different people would want different things, and in that model an AH is fine.
How exactly is AH fine in a scenario where everyone wants different things?

It would lower the price variation on items, since the demand for trifecta would be lower, but items being too expensive is hardly the main problem with AH.
Rather it's items being too cheap, and the transaction being too convenient.
If anything, it seems like every spec wanting different items, could make AH even worse for the gameplay experience.
 

Lord_Jaroh

Diabloii.Net Member
I think that you should be able to "sell" an item to a vendor, but that it randomly shows up at a vendor in someone else's game, thus giving a reason for the vendors, as well as putting a cap on what you can buy. If someone buys the item, you get more money.
 

ShadoutMapes

Diabloii.Net Member
That is a really interesting idea.
It could lead people to standing at vendors all the time though (Sacred 2 did that, simply by offering good items from vendors). But if it was random/rare enough, maybe it could really just be something cool you found once in a while, rather than required vendor hugging.

Items being too cheap? When was the last time you played D3?
A few months ago I think. Nothing has changed since then as far as I know.
Really good items sell for nothing on AH. Best items sell for millions/billions of course.
 

Clavdivs

Diabloii.Net Member
I, Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germancus, The God, noticing that divine post put elsewhere is not even read, decided not to punish the offenders, but to give them another chance to embrace heavenly wisdom, for a while, at least.

The God does not barter. However, The God is merciful and understanding, and supports the mortal desire to trade, in safe and secure manner, for items or real money alike - but AH solution was condemned by divine being long time ago - for following reasons:
1. Being too impersonal and lifeless - it could be organized in totally different manner
2. The number of items for sale was too great, contributing to overly large offer. Players didn't find 10 worthy items per day - they hardly found one in ten days. A system with 10 items with cashout or last-second overbidding was meant for bots, not mortals. By lowering the number of saleable items, a better selection could be acquired. The God will discuss potential bidding later.
3. Potentials of abuse, too many to be numbered
4. The odd number of hours - XXXVI, really? Why not one day? The system favours rather peculiar life-cycle, needlessly
The system proposed long time ago by divine being was called bartering:

A player puts an item, just one item on sale - ensuring that good stuff is offered, instead mass junk of flee-market that AH is. Seller puts what he desires for item, which is either:
- a price in real money (this is important for both players and Blizzard) - a chance to make money is a very motivating factor
- short specification or a characteristics of items he would accept in return (eg 'will trade for a intelligence socketed helms', 'will trade for legendary gloves this-and-that'
- list of other commodities, high-level gems or crafting-material with starting quantity

Note: Several options can be selected as acceptable by seller. Rather than writing in plain language, wanted items are selected from drop-down menus.
[HR][/HR]
Other players can search for item properties as in AH. After finding an item which is interesting enough, a potential buyer makes an offer in accordance to sellers request, or offers something else which he thinks is interesting or valuable enough. The number of offers one player can make is limited to (say) five, in order to reduce spamming to the minimum.

Anytime between 12-24h, seller can accept one of the offers, or ask for more. When an offer is accepted, the seller can put another item on the market, and all offerers get another free offer slot (again, the limit being 5). If seller asked for more, the parts change - he becomes an exclusive and only bidder asking for an increase in price - the other player can offer more, or cancel the deal.

Note: Lower limit is introduced to avoid hit-and-run trades and potential abuses. Numbers are just proposal.
[HR][/HR]
This market allows more personal and interesting interactions between players - for example, names will be listed - if anyone can see your account at any time (which The God is strongly against), why not seeing at least your name when trading? Perhaps players hate each other and doesn't want to deal? Perhaps players are forum or bnet friends and will accept low price in the name of friendship? Perhaps player is an obvious or known botter and people won't deal with him for general principles?
[HR][/HR]
This market system was proposed by heavenly being long time ago, but was ignored completely or ridiculed by plebeian trading caste, unworthy scum from far provinces.

Divine opinion is that the market system is far more personal than AH, but more safe and less degrading than shouting over some channels, like a fish-trader. It doesn't eliminate safe trade possibilities, even building profit on trading, but does not make market exclusive place for getting good items - player needs to have something to offer, in order to gain something. This includes real gold (why not?) but excludes in-game gold, a source of many evils.
[HR][/HR]
This system is imperfect since Blizzard decided to make (all current) maps static, it still does allow botting - but this is a general game flaw.

This system slows down trade from maniacal amount of item displayed and offers given (at least ten times), still not eliminating trading to be source of wealth, only reducing it.
[HR][/HR]
The God likes better AH-less game than AH-only game, but would prefer to keep some trading for mortals, which is destined to happen - real money trade included, only moved to 3rd party sites. In game gold becomes mostly not needed, as it should be for a currency that appears from thin air, modified several times by varying bonuses or is bought with real gold.

The God allows divine views to be discussed!
 

Steven Hazani

Diabloii.Net Member
How exactly is AH fine in a scenario where everyone wants different things?

It would lower the price variation on items, since the demand for trifecta would be lower, but items being too expensive is hardly the main problem with AH.
Rather it's items being too cheap, and the transaction being too convenient.
If anything, it seems like every spec wanting different items, could make AH even worse for the gameplay experience.
Currently, there's only a few items anyone wants. Most things you find are useless and worthless for EVERYONE, the few items that are useful for you are also useful for everyone else and between that, and the high degree of item variance causing a high degree of variance in item values the only way of getting good items is by selling good items... except that since it's the same good items, the only way of actually >buying< upgrades is with real money, since you had to find one of the few good items yourself otherwise and therefore getting a good item, even if it's not the same good item... This is true both with and without an AH.

If different people are wanting different things, it is possible for you to find items that are good, but not for you. And then you sell them and buy items that are good for you. Conversely if you find a Vault ring and have no interest in Demon Huntees and can't sell it, that's functionally no different than finding yet another 30 str 40 dex 50 int item.
 

ShadoutMapes

Diabloii.Net Member
Sure, but that doesn't seem to count as AH being fine, for a lot of people. Just better maybe.

AH would still be the, by far, easiest way to get the items you want. More so than before, since there would be less of a demand for the items you were looking for, lovering their price (well, probably not, as that would require 1) Loot 2.0 to be good and 2) more builds to be useful per class)
 

Steven Hazani

Diabloii.Net Member
And without an AH at all it is still easier gearing with the help of others.

How many items in D2 are "Shako"? Answer: 1.
How many items or combinations of items in D2 are "Worth a Pul or an Um rune"? Answer: Many more than 1.

Going by basic probability you are much more likely to find a thing or things of equivalent value than directly finding what you seek, and D2 droprates, if you had to find the exact items you sought instead of selling and buying were also bad. Add in lots of specialized loot, when you can go on the AH right now and find a half dozen or less of a given specialized item and anything less than that sort of wide reaching market will yield no matches at all.
 

HardRock

Diabloii.Net Member
I would really appreciate it if the AH vs. no AH discussion would move someplace else, preferably where it's actually the topic (maybe here). The basic premise of this thread is that the AH is going away and I'd like to hear alternatives, because I assume that not many people here want to trade through a chat channel again that moves faster than they can read it.

Jonw brought up a few points about my idea elsewhere. Here's my reply:

Again, I like your ideas, but you're back to using gold and a central market where people list their items. Sounds kind of deja vu all over again.
Well, when you trade through a chat channel it's a central market as well, but it's such a noisy one that you can't really find or advertise what you want. That's why I think an AH-like interface is a requirement even for bartering. It could allow players to advertise their items even during gameplay and while I think this is a good thing it's completely optional. Staying in the market UI could be a requirement to having your items listed in the market if Blizzard would so desire.

As for the currency, gold would be optional, but it's the only way to display a price in a manner that could be evaluated in a quick glance, so I think it would be the primary way the market should display prices. Maybe the list of wanted items (or better yet, stats) could be viewed in a mouse-over tooltip, when you hover your cursor over an item you want to buy.

I don't want bartering to go away in my system. I think it would be great to find an item you want listed for 1 billion gold and even when you don't have enough money for it have something else to offer.

People just want gear up fast, in general, and they will do that through third party sources if there is no convenient in-game option.
Sure, but my system would still be better than a third-party site in my opinion. The negotiation part would work the same way basically. There would be less risks involved, because you couldn't list items you don't actually have, resulting in less scams. Mine would be integrated into the game as well, just like the AH, meaning it would most likely have the most players using it. Trading through third-party sites always have the problem that you can only reach a small subset of people playing the game. Ideally players shouldn't really want to use the third-party option, even though it will always exist. If I'm wrong in some way please tell me. It's entirely possible I haven't considered everything related to this issue.

the way gems and recipes are handled in the AH is terrific -- and very similar to what you describe. The market sets the price and you just go back to gaming.
I think that even in my proposed system the trading of commodities for gold could be handled separately from other items, in exactly the same way as it's done right now. I'm somewhat against this idea though, because when commodities are handled like this their price can be manipulated by a few players working together. You also couldn't offer items for them, even though you could still offer commodities for items. I don't like that asymmetry.
 

ZappaFan

Hardcore Moderator and America Trade Moderator
I still think my idea of simply switching the current AH to a currency that cannot be botted and sold through 3rd party sites is a very workable alternative. Account bound AH credits that are earned by selling things in the AH or purchased using Paragon points. Leave all the current mechanics of the AH as it is, just change the "gold" to AH credits. Very little new programming required by Blizzard to implement.
 

tougeznut

Diabloii.Net Member
I still think my idea of simply switching the current AH to a currency that cannot be botted and sold through 3rd party sites is a very workable alternative. Account bound AH credits that are earned by selling things in the AH or purchased using Paragon points. Leave all the current mechanics of the AH as it is, just change the "gold" to AH credits. Very little new programming required by Blizzard to implement.
There are obvious benefits to your idea, and I would love to see it be a BoA currency, but then it being BoA confuses me a bit.

You would earn this by gaining paragons, so getting your first "tokens" or "credits" would require you to a) sell before being able to buy, or b) get to level cap and start paragoning before being able to buy. Plus side: encourages playing the game and not the AH because you won't have much currency until you're into the "end game" similar to how D2 worked. Down side: basically losing the ability to purchase gear early in the game. Some will consider this a plus.

Since the currency is BoA.. how does it change hands? Maybe it goes into the AH machine and comes out the other end anew to bind to the other person's account? Then this currency would then ONLY be usable through the AH, requiring the use of the AH to broker the transaction, or we'd have to return to wugwuw...

sent from my GalaxySIII
 

ZappaFan

Hardcore Moderator and America Trade Moderator
You have the idea, AH credits are BoA but they can be "spent" in the AH, and only in the AH.

And it isn't going to take long to start earning Paragon in the new system, I would assume just as soon as you get your first character to 70 (doubt that will take people a real long time). And certainly I would imagine that people will be finding stuff right off that they want to try and sell in the AH.

There are obvious benefits to your idea, and I would love to see it be a BoA currency, but then it being BoA confuses me a bit.

You would earn this by gaining paragons, so getting your first "tokens" or "credits" would require you to a) sell before being able to buy, or b) get to level cap and start paragoning before being able to buy. Plus side: encourages playing the game and not the AH because you won't have much currency until you're into the "end game" similar to how D2 worked. Down side: basically losing the ability to purchase gear early in the game. Some will consider this a plus.

Since the currency is BoA.. how does it change hands? Maybe it goes into the AH machine and comes out the other end anew to bind to the other person's account? Then this currency would then ONLY be usable through the AH, requiring the use of the AH to broker the transaction, or we'd have to return to wugwuw...

sent from my GalaxySIII
 
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