This news is downright frightening. Blizzard has revealed that Diablo 3 will sport two kinds of item auction houses for player-to-player trading -- in-game currency ones like we’ve been accustomed to in World of Warcraft, and ones where you can spend real world money to get virtual items. While this might seem like the standard microtransaction system that a lot of online game’s now integrate, there is one major difference: this is player-to-player transactions where gamers can turn a real world profit for the in-game items they find and auction. Theoretically, you could make quite a mint by playing Diablo 3.
However, Blizzard isn’t stupid. They will get a piece of the pie as well, as small, yet undetermined fees will be applied to auctions when they are put up and finalized, as is the case with real world sites like eBay. From a business standpoint, this move is diabolically genius on Blizzard’s part. But for gamers, it might not be all sunshine and rainbows.
Take World of Warcraft, for example. That game is already plagued with gold farmers who are constantly spamming players with opportunities to buy their in-game items with real money from external websites like eBay, for instance. With Diablo 3, Blizzard is trying to control that black market system by incorporating it legally right into the game. That’s the driving force for this new brand of auction house, as stated in Blizzard’s official press statement.
“The item-based nature of Diablo game play has always lent itself to an active trade-based ecosystem, and a significant part of this trade has been conducted through unsecure third-party organisations.”
“This has led to numerous customer-service and game-experience issues that we’ve needed to account for. Our primary goal with the Diablo III auction house system is for it to serve as the foundation for a player-driven economy that’s safe, fun, and accessible for everyone.”
Blizzard as a point, sure. But I feel like this new system is going to open a whole new can of worms. I can already picture new spammers and phishers lining up around the block to try to get people to spend their actual money on virtual items. Just picture the auction house surrounded by sellers constantly shouting that they have the best weapons and armor available right now for “the lowest rates.” Because there is a real world profit to be made, the auction houses are going to be 24/7 infomercials where every person with an item up for sale will be pimping it as obnoxiously as they can. Man, that’s something I can’t wait for.
But I digress. What do you guys think of the new, real world currency auction houses in Diablo 3? Sound off below!