Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
 
My first visit to the Diablo III auction house

Due to login server problems I didn't play Diablo III on launch day. But this morning I was able to play for 10 minutes, just to make sure the game worked. I got to level 3 and had 438 gold pieces. So I went and checked out the auction house: 400 gold pieces bought not one but two blue weapons (I made a dual-wielding monk), each having over twice the dps of the best weapon I had found up to that point. While some people had posted items for big amounts, there were already hundreds and thousands of low level blue and epic items available for extremely low prices.

The real money auction house doesn't seem to be up yet, I got a message that they hope to get it up and running in two weeks. Kudos to Blizzard for at first blocking my access to the real money AH by default due to parental controls. Back when parental controls were the only way to keep your Battle.net account from automatically using RealID, I had pretended to be my own parent to guarantee my privacy. So if you actually have a child with a Battle.net account and Diablo III, you will be happy to know that by default your child doesn't have access to the real money AH until you deliberately give him access via the parental control web page.

But the gold auction house already gives us a glimpse of what the real money AH will be like. Some people were deluded enough to believe that their experience in the beta AH would somehow translate onto the live servers. They couldn't have been more wrong. Very few people use beta auction houses, and beta AH prices tend to be extremely high. On the live servers people quickly realized that there is no such thing as bind on equip in Diablo III. Every item you find or buy, you can sell back on the AH later, even those that you used and replaced by something better. That means that each players every day is producing a constant stream of blue and better gear to feed into the economy, far more than there could possibly be demand for. Thus prices are quickly converging towards rock bottom. The gold you collect in an hour buys you a complete set of the best possible blue gear for your level for every slot. The value of blue gear is so low, that it won't even be traded on the real money AH, being worth much less than the minimum price.

Now of course I can imagine people buying epic and legendary gear for real money. But right now there isn't much incentive to do so. A complete set of the best blue gear for your class and level for every slot already makes you twice as powerful as if you used only the gear you find yourself. And you can get through the game perfectly well with the gear you find yourself, so even the blue equipment is already being a bit overgeared. Maybe the real money AH doesn't open because it would be of no use whatsoever before people played through the game once and started playing through a second time on higher difficulty. But my prediction is still that there is no serious money to be made by playing Diablo III and trading on the real money AH.

Comments:
Now of course I can imagine people buying epic and legendary gear for real money.

I've never played Diablo before, but can I ask why players would want to do that? Is there end-game content similar to WoW raiding or is the better gear required in order to complete the game on a higher difficulty level?
 
People buy tons of hats in TF2, items that give you no benefits whatsoever.

So I'm not surprised that people want to buy items that do give them a benfit.
 
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is the better gear required in order to complete the game on a higher difficulty level?

I would say that any computer role-playing game works on the formula that the difficulty level you can beat depends on a mix of your skill and your gear. Thus you can beat Diablo III on a higher difficulty level with RMAH gear than without RMAH gear. Personally I wouldn't do that, because I don't derive pride from having beaten a game at higher difficulty level if the way I did it involved buying gear for real money. But I can imagine people for who that could be a status symbo, aka "I beat Diablo III on hell difficulty!".
 
I am really doubting i'd ever buy anything of the AH (real or gold). For me it would not feel 'right', compared to joy of finding the right weapons in D2.

I realise I am a minority, when you look at the illegal trading going on in D2. i was just never a part of that, nor did I understand it. Time will tell.
Perhaps I will buy blue weapons while levelling up, only to resell em later.
 
Personally I wouldn't do that, because I don't derive pride from having beaten a game at higher difficulty level if the way I did it involved buying gear for real money.

That was the bit that was confusing me - I beat the game on normal, then ramp up the difficulty level for a second play-through and buy gear to reduce the difficulty... what's the point? There is some seriously twisted logic in a single-player AH from a player's perspective, and where exactly are the bragging rights in pay-to-win?
 
I am so eager to see how this turns out. One one hand I think this whole AH thing is a complete disaster, they take away the very reason of playing this game, if you can't enjoy collecting stuff what's the point of it. That's what this game is about not collecting gold (I hope).

On the other hand Blizzard is a multibillion company, I think they know much better what the masses want than I do. We shall see.

It comes down to mind vs heart. Emotionally I would not want to play the game, rationally however I would invest in Blizzard stock since I know that the vast majority of people out there are not like me. Now the usual advice is to invest in products you believe in, what a conundrum.
 
I love what Kramer wrote. This is how I feel, too. I'm largely ignoring the AH for now, because I feel so far, at Normal, the current gear I collect gives me a good level of enjoyment. If I were to face an overwhelming challenge, perhaps I would take a peek at the AH. But only because I don't see grinding previous levels for gear as a fun mechanic. Not because I want to overpower the content. I equate that, personally, to shooting myself in the foot.
 
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I agree with most of what you're saying except the "auction house gear let's you be twice as powerful" part. Sure that's true at LEVEL 3, but by level 10 I had a full set of level appropriate blues anyway. Since gear has a level requirement, there's no way for the AH to double my character's power over what I've found. Since beta, blizzard has definitely improved the value of using what you find.
 
Inferno will require good gear to beat, whether solo or group. If you don't use the AH, you will eventually find good enough gear. It will take much longer though. Not using the AH for Inferno will turn the game into a real grind. Some people like that, finding all their own gear. I think most people are not willing to do that.
 
@Kramer
Because it's a social game. If I want to play with my buddies, I have to have the same badass gear.

Why do people buy new clothes that are "in fashion" when their old clothes are fine?

Now that I'm nearing 50 and haven't bought any new clothes in 2 years, I can see the rat race. But it's still a fun rat race when you're into it.
 
I'm surprised no one really mentioned this, but I don't expect the RMAH to really be used until PvP is implemented. That is when people will care to spend real money on gear. To get an edge over other people. I believe that is the target audience Blizzard had in mind for the RMAH.
 
I poked around the AH for a bit today. The legendary items were going for 20-40k, which is is the amount of cash my level 19 barbarian would probably have if I hadn't been spending a ton of cash on training my blacksmith. I would be amazed if that amount of cash would sell for more than a couple of bucks, because I just seem to get 8000 gold just running around playing a chapter or two, and I'm to the point where I'm not even picking up everything because of bag space, and I convert most of my good stuff into materials for the blacksmith, so I'm not even trying to get money. This is of course on the first real day of the game being available, so those prices are probably wildly optimistic even though they are still really rather cheap.

It's like I said--- the RMAH is about stripping the ability of third parties to make money by middle manning transactions. Some portion of the Diablo audience wants RMT transactions, Blizzard has acknowledged that it might as well let them have what they want, and they set it up so that there is no middleman trying to hack accounts and run the AH. Everything about how items works is designed to make even the best stuff pretty cheap and disposable, since even if you wear the stuff you can just resell it later. Money is ridiculously plentiful and the players barely need it. It's a gold farmers nightmare because it was built to be a nightmare. Everybody who thought this was a way to make gaming pay was dead wrong. The beauty of D3 is the irony of it; by making RMT as easy as possible, they have rendered it nearly impossible. It's beautiful!
 
Is the game, I mean the part where you go off in the fantasy world to fight evil forces, fun?
 
@jimr
The game is tons of fun.
 
I absolutely agree with the post. For all those reasons and just the logic that if you could make $10/hour doing it, enough people would do it until your value was closer to $0.1 to .01

I absolutely agree with Occeleta: PVP epeen drives $.

I just have different values than Dwism & djinn. YMMV I see no difference in getting gold and getting lucky finding something in the gAH and getting lucky getting something in the gAH. In fact, I would probably feel happier if I got my Sword of Cartman Awesome from doing the AH well since that requires more of what I consider skill than killing mobs, barrels and stumps.

As in all these discussions, I again, don't see how doing 30% less DPS because you are lazy and spam left click is L2Play Bad but doing 30% less DPS because you don't use optimal gear is noble eBushido.

Note also there are a lot of WoW players, many new to Diablo, bringing their MMO experience to D3.

RMAH is quite different than the gAH. I hope to sell one item for over $1.5 so I net $0.50 just to say I did it. Probably won't happen but not worried either way.

P.S.: I disagree with your closing sentence on a technicality. I believe that Google has already made serious money because of RMAH. My low opinion of the greed and gullibility of humans make me think it is likely that some dubious people selling dubious guides probably did OK.
 
AdEll tose "Pay-for" guides are sort of a joke. Myself and a few others are working on a 100% free guide. We can pretty much have all the same content they do simply by looking over forums and blogs like this. They like to hide behind these silly notions that they have "experts" helping find the latest and greatest strategies and that simply false. I have seen these secret forums for other games and I am sure Diablo 3 is the same. They are just a bunch of people who pat one another on the back for coming up with pretty basic strategies for how to make money in the game.

These people, in this case the guy who gets all his comments deleted here, is just a parasite trying to cling on to the next big thing and suck money out of it before it goes away. When the masses aren't playing Diablo 3 anymore these guides will be unsellable. That's why they are EVERYWHERE right now commenting, swapping links and making "friends." Without all that the make no money.

This whole guide sales thing is pretty pathetic and it just shows the bottomfeeding nature that some people have. That's why we did the same thing, but are doing it for 100% free. It is basically our way of not only giving back to the community, but also to try and take a chunk out of the parasites pockets.

Not sure if tobold is against this, won't be hurt if you delete the comment, but if you guys wanna see a free guide just go to freediablo3guide.com.
 
AdEll tose "Pay-for" guides are sort of a joke. Myself and a few others are working on a 100% free guide. We can pretty much have all the same content they do simply by looking over forums and blogs like this. They like to hide behind these silly notions that they have "experts" helping find the latest and greatest strategies and that simply false. I have seen these secret forums for other games and I am sure Diablo 3 is the same. They are just a bunch of people who pat one another on the back for coming up with pretty basic strategies for how to make money in the game.

These people, in this case the guy who gets all his comments deleted here, is just a parasite trying to cling on to the next big thing and suck money out of it before it goes away. When the masses aren't playing Diablo 3 anymore these guides will be unsellable. That's why they are EVERYWHERE right now commenting, swapping links and making "friends." Without all that the make no money.

This whole guide sales thing is pretty pathetic and it just shows the bottomfeeding nature that some people have. That's why we did the same thing, but are doing it for 100% free. It is basically our way of not only giving back to the community, but also to try and take a chunk out of the parasites pockets.

Not sure if tobold is against this, won't be hurt if you delete the comment, but if you guys wanna see a free guide just go to freediablo3guide.com.
 
So they took a game where you used to grind on monsters to get gear so you could fight stronger monsters to get even better gear so you could fight even more powerful monsters, etc, and turned it into a game where you kill monsters to get gold to buy gear so you can kill stronger monsters which drop more gold so you can buy even better gear, etc.

Would that sum it up?
 
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