The following article was created by an exchange of emails between Flux and <a href="http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/member.php?375847-Katniss">Katniss</a>, a forum and <a href="http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/the-diablo-3-podcast-115-dreading-the-post-ah-and-stat-hardcaps">podcast regular</a>. In it we debate the merits of the Diablo 3 Auction House and its impact on the game economy, with special focus on whether the AH creates a long term "item game" that adds a content and fun to Diablo 3. (Plus various related topics.) Katniss has been playing the Diablo 3 console since launch, and given that that version of the game does not have an Auction House (or any other sort of in-game trading or communication mechanism), and its economy benefits from the much-buffed drop rate of Loot 1.5, he's an excellent source of information and opinion on how Diablo 3 will play out, post-Auction House. Will we miss the trading and "slow path to riches" provided by the Auction House once it's gone? Or are we just thinking from a D3V point of view, and come improved drop rates and other new features, our current mindset will prove irrelevant? Here's the debate: <strong>Flux: </strong> Blizzard recently confirmed that they're going to add additional content to the Diablo 3 Console, as a way to make happier the fans who are getting bored already. They didn't give details and I assumed they were talking about patching in Loot 2.0 or Paragon 2.0 or Nephalem Trials or some of the other upcoming stuff that's going to be patched into D3V before RoS. We'll find out about that at some point, but what I found interesting was the console boredom, which I've heard from a number of people playing it. You included, Katniss. In comments to that console news item <a href="http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/content-coming-diablo-3-console/comment-page-1#comment-125806">I threw out a slightly trolling thought experiment</a>. Is the console getting boring in part since there's no Auction House and no secure economy or trading system? So here's the logic. Console is much more fun to self find and you get much better gear much more quickly than on the PC. Which is great and most people love "Loot 1.5" console style... but there's a down side. Once you've got a high level character on the console, the items you find are 1) amazing and useful, or 2) not upgrades = junk. And since there's no secure economy or trading system or Auction House, players have very little use for anything they find that's not an upgrade for their current character. since there's no practical way to trade or sell it. This differs a lot from the PC, where you hardly ever find upgrades for well-geared chars, but you find a constant array of gear that's good enough to sell and add to your gold balance. Here's my analogy: the great items you find and want and use are "dollar-quality" items. You almost never find those on the PC, but you can find a glittering array of penny and nickle and dime and sometimes even quarter-quality items, which the Auction House allows you to easily convert into gold. Which you can save up for the dollar-quality items you really want. That's a play style and long term enjoyment that doesn't exist at all on the console. Do you miss it? <strong>Flux: </strong> It sounds like you agree that the lack of an AH kills the long term item game and "getting rich is my objective" style, but that you don't miss it. That's just now, though. how about in some months, when all your chars are geared to the point they can't find upgrades anymore? Will it be annoying when all you want are upgrades with a .01% chance to drop, and don't have any AH to sell all the other stuff you find, or to potentially buy your upgrades from? <strong>Flux:</strong> Slightly OT, but don't the console type Smart Drops hurt twinking and finding gear for other chars/classes? It's not identical to the "smart drops" Blizzard says we'll see in Loot 2.0, but for instance if you're playing a Monk, almost every good item you find will have +Dexterity, and you'll hardly ever find anything with big bonuses to STR or INT. Is that an issue you've noticed? Can you effectively item hunt for other classes, especially classes with different mainstats? Or do you get enough legendaries of use for other classes? Say you're playing a Barb; if you find a legendary wand or source or mojo or xbow, it's not going to have +400 strength on it, right? <strong>Flux:</strong> So where are you on the "it's getting boring not finding more upgrades" curve on the console? Still finding new gear and getting self found joy? Do you see that state holding long term? Will you still want to play once you've got a char super geared and the upgrade hose has slowed to a trickle? Can you imagine how the console would work if there was item security and an AH for easy trading? Would that change how you play? Would self found be less fun with shopping as an option? Also, would the hypothetical console Auction House be useful? Would you buy and/or sell in it? Or do you think it would it be so choked with fantastic gear for minimal prices that it would totally short circuit the proper game progression and selfie fun? I'd ask that as a preview for Diablo 3 PC's future, but it seems likely Loot 2.0 will come in with the shutdown of the Auction House in March, so we'll never have an AH when players are finding far more quality gear. <strong>Flux:</strong> I meant using gold you get from item sales to buy other items. I guess the same principle works for $ you get from item sales that you use to buy other items, but I've never done it that way. On the larger issue though, it sounds like you slightly miss the item/economy game that the Auction House allows, but that not really since self finding is so viable on the console. I think it's interesting that you don't think "BOTH!!1!" would be an improvement. So I guess the self finding is good so long as that's the only way to play? If an AH was there, you think it would undermine, rather than enhance. Any thoughts on what sort of trading system might come in for the PC once the AH is gone? Most PC players think that's essential, but we're thinking in terms of the current economy. As you point out, there's literally no trading system on the console, and you don't seem to really miss it since self finding is so viable. How about a trading system for gems or materials or the like? I can't imagine playing the game now without the ability to buy those since I do way more crafting than I find commodities for. Or is that just a PC mindset, and I only need to craft so much since I can't self find the way you do on the console? <strong>Flux:</strong> That sounds like a point *for* my initial argument. That you do miss some kind of trading system (if not the actual Auction House) since you're finding lots of items that would be useful for most other players... but since they're 1% worse than your high end gear they are junk. You wish there was a way to "disseminate these items quickly to friends and strangers alike." I can think of one... and it's an anagram of HA! But if that process is too quick and easy, then there goes the fun of finding upgrades on your own, when your rich friends can hook you up. Or rich strangers can sell to you... It sounds like a total cop-out, but I think we'll really have to see how the system goes once it's live. We can only speculate now, with no idea just how good the drop rate will be in Loot 2.0. At any rate, it sounds like starting a new char of a class your friend has been playing is a wise strategy, since smart drops means your friend will find great gear that's not quite great enough for them. Flux: I don't think that would work, since it's just too limited. Might as well not have the system at all. Five items a week? Three items listed at once? Or what if you flip it, and you can list all you want but you can only *buy* one item a week? I am not against the concept of limiting trading, but I'd do it more with individual items. I pitched this to Wyatt during an interview, but what if there was a self found bonus, and all items had say, 5% higher stats when first found, and that bonus vanished if the item was ever traded. Wyatt didn't like the idea of limiting trades and thought the concept would confuse players (which it probably would), but I think it's got potential. <strong>Flux:</strong> Or will they just hit up third party trading sites? I have never bothered with that in D3 since the AH is so efficient, but if there was no AH I'd have been using trading forums and other less-savory options all along. But of course that's in the current D3V, which is far from designed for successful high end self finding. The related issue is crafting. I mentioned earlier that crafting seems impossible in D3 without an AH, at least for some players. I certainly craft a vast amount more mats than I have ever found myself, and I like the ease of buying more mats and I like that poor or new players can bootstrap themselves up by finding and selling them. Dealing Tomes of Secret was the main source of all my early Hardcore gold, and I have no idea how I would have built up gold to buy equip without the AH. Or where I'd have bought the items I did. But again, I'm speaking from a D3V mindset. Loot 2.0 will probably change that. These emails were written for this purpose (we traded some IMs on the topic, realized it was a good one to debate, and fleshed out our original points for this ultimate purpose) and I hope to present more such email exchange/debates in the future. (I wanted to do Azzure and my <a href="http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/will-gold-retain-value-in-diablo-3s-future">Gold Value debate</a> in this format, but didn't think of it until too late.) If you've got a topic to suggest or you want to take part in a similar conversation, feel free to firstname.lastname@example.org your idea. Thanks to Katniss for his insights and finger-music.