The best piece of news for Diablo 3 fans since Reaper of Souls was announced isn't an addition, but a subtraction. Today Blizzard revealed that it will shut down both Diablo 3's (PC) gold and real-money auction houses on March 18, 2014.
The markets were designed to give players an easy way to trade and optimize their gear, but it was ultimately shortsighted, Reaper of Souls production director John Hight wrote on the official blog:
"[A]s we've mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot. "
With the markets gone and a new "Loot 2.0" system in the works for Reaper of Souls, Blizzard hopes new players and veterans will find a more rewarding experience for all. They'll still have to be online to play it, of course, unless Blizzard decides the anti-cheating measures are no longer necessary without an economy to worry about.
You can watch the video below to hear more of the rationale behind axing one of Diablo 3's most controversial features.