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Diablo III real money auction house announced, gold farmers stunned

In an announcement that is sure to stir up controversy, Blizzard Entertainment has unveiled a Diablo III auction house that will allow players to buy and sell in-game items for real currency via Battle.net. The real money auction house will launch alongside another auction house, which will allow players to sell and bid on items with in-game gold.

Why is Blizzard doing this? Loot has always been an important part of Diablo and Blizzard points to the long history of Diablo I & II players turning to inconvenient and unsafe ways to buy, sell, and trade in-game items both inside and outside of the game. Remember trading on chat channels on the old Battle.net? Remember how Stone of Jordan rings became the unofficial form of currency among players? Have you been bothered by gold farmers lately? Well, Blizzard sees the real money and in-game gold auction houses as a way to address these problems by providing a safe and secure way to facilitate the demand for trade that many Diablo III players will inevitably create when the game launches


Above: Yes, in-game gold can be bought and sold on the real money auction house in Diablo III. Also, look at all those Pants of Healing!

Blizzard aims to make accessing the auction house as easy as possible. Players looking to buy or sell can open up the auction house system from anywhere within the game. From there, you can pick the item you’d like to sell from your character’s inventory or from your shared stash, which holds items from all the characters linked to your Battle.net account. Then, you’ll need to decide if you want your item listed on the in-game gold auction house or the real money auction house.

Let’s say you want to try your hand at making some real money for an extra rare item you’ve found. First, you’ll need to decide if you want to use your Battle.net account or an “authorized payment method.” This is important. If you choose to use your Battle.net account and your item sells. The real currency will be stored in your Battle.net account and you won’t be able to “cash out.” That means you’ll be able to use the cash from your sale to go towards things like a World of Warcraft subscription or maybe a copy of StarCraft II. But how you use funds from your sales will be limited to things you can buy with your Battle.net account, like more loot in the real money Diablo III auction house, for example.

The alternative to Battle.net is an unnamed “third-party payment service.” This is how sellers will be able to “cash out” or directly access profits from sales on the auction house. According to Blizzard, the company is not ready to announce who it has partnered with to handle these transactions and promises more details later. But for now, PayPal or a service like PayPal, seems most likely to us from the way that the system is described.

So what’s Blizzard’s cut?...

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26 comments

  • ElwoodFiore - August 1, 2011 7:07 a.m.

    Lol i really am wating for this game to come out. Im getting bored of tibia. And i hate WoW.
  • Hobojedi - August 1, 2011 7:13 a.m.

    So.. a bunch of starter items are going to be flooding the Auction House?
  • gibbsy24 - August 1, 2011 7:17 a.m.

    Hmm, I don't think I would ever buy something for actual money, but if I could make a few bucks off of someone that does. I like.
  • JachAnen - August 1, 2011 7:18 a.m.

    CoD is getting worse with every release, WoW is a minimal effort MMO that isn't even F2P like every other low/bad graphics MMO. So this really sounds like more greediness from Blizzard/Activision. Thought EA had trademarked this kind of business, but seems that they have competition nowadays.
  • kassmageant - August 1, 2011 7:40 a.m.

    @ JachAnen can't disagree about opinion on activison and don't no shit about Wow so i won't judge you, but lemme tell ya, as veteran diablo 2 player this is Great news. as time went on, spam about trade offers became the worst part of experiance with diablo. sometimes, in-game spam-bot messages poped up on half of frickin screen! u can imagine that was pretty irritating in heat of battle, even blocking spam bot messages didn't helped much 'cause there simply made new accounts after some time. separating this aspect of the game from core gameplay will make the game feel more like.. well, a game, not a frickin black friday sale. i'm actually equally frightened as happy about that - most of my diablo time was MF'ing, this auction system will certainly only worse my diablo addiction : D
  • InFeRnOg - August 1, 2011 7:56 a.m.

    IF I decide to get this, I could see myself selling stuff depending how the market is and how much they'll charge me to list something. Will never, ever buy something with real money though, but wouldn't mind making some extra cash on those who will.
  • oni - August 1, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    What about the permanent internet connection required for Diablo 3, ala Ubisoft's? Even for SP. And no mods.
  • ElGuybrush - August 1, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    So, you're saying I should be buying up some blizzard stock right about now then?
  • db1331 - August 1, 2011 12:23 p.m.

    This will actually make the game more exciting to play for me. I have never and will never pay real money for a virtual item in a game. For me, the fun of playing the game is finding or creating the items myself. However, just knowing the next monster I kill could drop some rare item that some dude with more money than sense would pay $300 for would be a huge motivator to keep grinding through those dungeons. I mean imagine getting a lucky drop, making a quick sale, and then treating yourself to a PS Vita or something.
  • mockraven - August 1, 2011 12:28 p.m.

    Sounds like Blizzard's willing to experiment and that's good. Could this also be the future of free-to-play non-cash shop games? All those "nominal fees" could add up quite a bit when spread over a large player base, and this would make it so that Blizzard got a small cut of the market as opposed to dubious gold-farming "companies" getting a huge profit from gouging willing victims. I'm really curious how this will play out. Also, Diablo III news! Yay! Wooo! (And other phrases expressing great amounts of excitement!)
  • IceSickle - August 1, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    Hmm, not sure how I feel about this one. Whilst I'll never buy an item for real money, it would be awesome to actually make some money by just playing the game. But the 3 separate transaction fees (if you want to 'cash out') seem pretty steep to me. I hope it isn't so expensive that you can barely make a profit off of your sale (mainly as they're fixed, i.e. an item selling for x dollars will always be charged 2 dollars etc.). Maybe it would be a better idea to charge a percentage rather than a fixed fee?
  • rabidpotatochip - August 1, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    I think this is brilliant. They've stopped the gold/item spam market cold by taking the bottom right out of it.
  • schiapu - August 1, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    Well, Blizzard really seem to have put a lot of thought on the problems that plagued the Diablo 2 multiplayer and WoW. They're learning fast how to make great systems for players and market exchange. And it's not something out of greed either, unless they start charging something like 5 bucks per item. Well played.
  • etherealshadow - August 1, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    Hmm. I'm not really sure about that. It sounds like a good business model, and probably will help a lot with the farmers and bots trying to make a buck off of stupid people. I guess it depends on how "nominal" the fees actually are. If they're too much, it won't even be worth trying to sell anything that isn't worth a good bit. They'll probably be a percentage scaled to how much the item is listed/sells for, though. We'll see.
  • Spacegrass - August 1, 2011 4:36 p.m.

    Am I the only one stunned and nauseated by how greedy this is? It isn't enough for Blizzactivision to make a game that sells millions of copies, they need to squeeze every last penny out of it. So now, players with a lot of money and no lives will be able to load up on the best gear and win every battle, while people who actually have to work for a living, or have better things to spend money on because they have social lives, will be screwed. Worse, this will set a precedent; when this system is successful (and it will be, because a sucker is born every minute), every game will start using it. I'm suddenly a lot less interested in Diablo 3.
  • Spacegrass - August 1, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    P.S. Don't be deceived for a second by the idea that you can make money from this. There will be millions of people in China playing this game in sweatshops all day long, and they'll be able to sell items very cheaply due to economy of scale. There's no way you'll be able to compete.
  • kassmageant - August 1, 2011 5:17 p.m.

    @ Spacegrass i agree with you only about that matter that for normal person, it will be impossible to make " serious" cash, unless you'll find obama kenyan birth certificate somewhere in the dungeon. but i don't get your other complaints - how is that greedy? who the hell FORCE's you into using auctions? true, there will be players that will simply buy uber-items from the go - but who forces you to play with these players? if you immediately went for conclusions that you are forced to do something that you don't want to do, i think you weren't that much into this game in the first place, 'cause you're saying BS : )
  • Spacegrass - August 1, 2011 5:30 p.m.

    @kassmageant "true, there will be players that will simply buy uber-items from the go - but who forces you to play with these players?" If you're playing with random people online, I highly doubt that the game will have a "don't play with cheating bastards" feature that will exclude people who buy gear with real money from your game. "if you immediately went for conclusions that you are forced to do something that you don't want to do, i think you weren't that much into this game in the first place, 'cause you're saying BS : )" I actually was that into this game in the first place; ever since it was announced over three years ago, I've been anticipating Diablo 3 like no other. That's why it hurts all the more that Blizzactivision's boundless greed has taken a huge shit over what should have been a great game.
  • GoshDarnFreakingMetal - August 1, 2011 5:33 p.m.

    I was going to buy Diablo III until I came across this, fuck that.
  • ShadowFoxNinja09 - August 1, 2011 6:04 p.m.

    Ok so anyone who played Diablo 2 knows that the presence of Gold in that game was of no real consequence. It was used to revive your mercenary and buy potions. The only way you got good items was to find them and then make a Trade game and hope someone would trade you- ala the Barter System. This would lead to lots of "Wuw?" (What do you want?) and "Wug?" (What do you have/got?" conversations. So my question is, is Blizzard trying to make money have much more of a purpose in the game? Since apparently selling your items in the Auction House will only get you gold, not other items? Or will you be able to trade items for items based on an items pre-determined base value? If you look at other games with successful economic components like Runescape, gold does play a major role. To quote Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead Man's Chest, "Currency is the Currency of the realm." Instead of items having all the power, the only way to really get good stuff is to buy stuff with cash. They did, however, implement a kind of central stock market known as the "Grand Exchange," or GE. This got rid of the whole WUW?/WUG? problem that plagues Diablo 2, and for a time, Runescape also. It did this by allowing players to put their items up for sale at the GE- like an auction house. This also kept new players from getting duped in bad trades because they could see the base value of their items. So is blizzard going to try this method? And if so, how will they balance the issue of the barter system still taking place? Will they encourage it or discourage it?? Furthermore, in Runescape the practice of "Merching" became a fairly common occurrence. Because the base price of items was based on supply and demand of that item at the time, a large group of players would get together and begin buying up all of a particular item that was fairly expensive. This made the Grand Exchange calculator to think the item was in extreme demand so the price would SKYROCKET by upwards of several million gold coins. Then they would sell back their bought up items back to the GE and- here's the kicker- PEOPLE WOULD BUY THEM BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THAT WAS THE NORMAL BASE PRICE OF THAT ITEM!!! So these groups of players would make fortunes in game through what was essentially what we call in the real world, Insider Trading. They were controlling the prices of the in game stock market! Will Players in Diablo 3 be able to run a similar racket? How does Blizzard plan to counter-balance these known issues of a centralized auction house? Please Games Radar give me an answer!!

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