Debate of the Day: Will Diablo 3’s Auction House Ruin the Game?


Yesterday it was announced that Diablo 3 is going to be plague with a number of things that piss people off. First, always online DRM, that requires a constant internet connection to play. Then, zero support for mods. Last, they’re crafting an in-game auction house where you can buy and sell items for real world cash.

That last point is what’s really sticking with players, and even though I think those saying they’ll boycott the game is ridiculous, it does come with some very legitimate concerns over how it will affect gameplay. The video above is video game caster Total Biscuit talking about the issue at great length, and it’s a good listen if you’re a fan of the game.

The point he makes is that this is essentially legitimizes Chinese gold farming, which has long plagued World of Warcraft. Blizzard is essentially rewarding the behavior by legitimizing it, but the greater issue is how it affects gameplay. The whole point of Diablo is random item drops, where you quest and trade forever to get that one special item you need. Most of the fun of the game was in trying to get those items, but now you can just shell out the hard cash for it rather than try actual strategy to try and find the items you need.

But the counterpoint, as TB lays out, is that it’s like legalizing drugs or giving teens contraception. You’re going to do it anyways, so you might as well be safe about it.  Also, it should be noted that the system is entirely optional, and if you can resist the temptation to plunk down cash for rare items, you can play the game like you always have.

When you see people in the game with rare items and armor now though, you might wonder if they actually earned it, or if they simply bought it. Further problems come in PvP, where you can literally buy your way to power with enough cash.

What do you think about the issue?

  • Schiapu

    It’s a question of balance, and I think Blizzard is actually doing a wonderful thing with this system, by making an unsafe activity that happened in Diablo 2 and WoW, the trade of items through ebay, into a safe and regulated enviroment, where you are assured to get the item that you pay for.

    And it’s not intrusive in any way, you still have to level up your character to meet the conditions for the weapon, many in that leveling up phase could even find a better weapon or armor than the one they were planning to buy.

    Not everyone has a lot of free time, but those with money and desire to have an improved experience, can do so thanks to the auction house, and players that dedicate themselves into finding rare items, can make a profit out of it, all in a secure enviroment.

    The no mods is a concern, but i never modded Diablo 2 in anyway, so it doesn’t affect me, I can’t cast an opinion. The always online DRM has already been done in Starcraft 2 and hasn’t received any complains, as I’ve rarely seen downtime due to server maintenance.

  • Perry

    This is a non-issue. Blizzard knows what they’re doing and all the D3 fanboys who are up in arms will be lined up at Gamestop on release day.

  • MajorTool

    Everyone has a constant internet connection now. Always online DRM shouldn’t be an issue.

    The Diablo series has never been about modding. Yes there were item hacks, but Bliz never supported that. And I see modding as team fortress is to Quake, and Counter Strike to Half-Life… Diablo was never about that and has no equivalent.

    I’m fine with the real currency AH. I won’t use it and it doesn’t bother me at all knowing people will have spent money to have the better gear.

    There is just a community of gamers out there that are the equivalent of hipsters wanting to bitch and moan about everything. Their perfect game is one that is completely free, lets them mod and change everything, and allows them to be the best and greatest at it.

  • Russell

    I’m fine with this real money AH… it means those that have a job can keep up with those on the dole who play this non stop 😉

  • Dave

    Needs an internet connection? Meh, could care less. Will be playing online anyway, this doesnt concern me.

    No mod support doesnt bother me either, as I never really cared about any of that stuff.

    As for the real cash auction house, its not a deal breaker for me, and it really doesnt grind my gears that much. I keep thinking in the back of my mind that this will sully the experience, but then I remembered I’m married and have a full time job, and I’m not 17 anymore. And also how much fun I didn’t have running through Baal and the cow level over and over again ad nauseum trying for some rune that was a 1/100000 drop chance. That and the pains it took to find someone who was reliable to trade or buy from. Screw it, this is a fantastic idea.

  • I watched the whole video. More like The Dramatic Brit…

    I’ve seen similar complaints on other sites and it seems ridiculous to me. So, based on Total Biscuit’s arguments against RMAH:

    1. It wasn’t really difficult to sell stuff on the AH in WoW. Even if you were undercut, as long as you understood the basics of supply and demand you could easily turn drops and grinded items into profit. He makes it sound like you couldn’t sell anything, which is totally stupid. When I quit the game I had over 50k and I only sold stuff that I just didn’t want lying around in my bags.

    2. “Blizzard feels the need to charge players for everything it possibly can.”

    Blizzard does get a cut of your RM transactions…which are totally optional. Nobody is forcing you to pay an extra cent to Blizzard once the game is purchased.

    3. He complains that it takes many, many hours to grind for gear.
    He complains that people can pay for gear to bypass the grinding. I’m not sure how he thinks people should get items.

    4. He basically says better gear always equals winning (in pvp). That’s not really been proven since nobody has played the pvp. In other games it’s proven to be false…that skill > gear.

    5. nobody makes you “buy power.” And if you do, who cares? Isn’t this primarily a single player or Co-op game anyway?

    6. He says the game is going to be super easy and will require no skill…there’s no way he can know that or prove it based on personal experience.

    7. IF the market is flooded by Chinese farmers then good gear will be plentiful and cheap removing large discrepancies that he says will absolutely ruin pvp.

    8. It doesn’t make more sense to do RMAH in WoW than in Diablo. In WoW there are acheivements and real competition between guilds and players for world firsts and pvp rankings. Buying power makes those competitions void. Also, in WoW items are not randomly generated like they are in Diablo. Bosses have loot tables and can be systematically farmed for guild and player progression. If you could simply sell the items from bosses that are guaranteed to drop powerful items, then it breaks the game. Diablo’s items are completely random off any enemy. So farming, selling, and buying is not related to content and progression. Aside from that, Blizzard has explained why they think this works in Diablo and not WoW, the battlenet site is down but you can find it in the Diablo forums.

    9. No playing on a plane? Give me a break. People will create the dumbest scenarios to complain about the little things. How often are these people flying? Every day? I saw one person on IGN complain how if they went camping, they wouldn’t be able to play Diablo 3…..yeah, when I go golfing I guess I’ll have to golf instead of play Diablo…derp.

    10. And finally thinking that people will just sit at home and play Diablo to make money rather than getting a job is speculative at best and idiotic at worst.

    The biggest problem is that some people view this kind of stuff as all-or-nothing. They make arguments using terms like “everyone” as if the little loud-mouthed nerds raging on the internet accurately represent the whole of the gaming community.

    I see it this way. Blizzard is implementing a system where when I play a game that will be fun and awesome, I have some options when it comes to progression. If I don’t have the time or desire to spend the time grinding out items, I have the option to purchase some. If I DO have the time to play and some items come into my possession I can turn a quick buck. The only one making those decisions is me. Blizzard isn’t forcing me to have fun, spend time, or spend money on their game, but I’ve got plenty of ways to do those things now.

  • Korky

    How is sitting at home playing a game as a job not a *good* thing?

    Isn’t this what many of us dreamed about as kids?

  • lllLSDlll

    whit a system like that i dont see my self equiping anything worth selling. i will do everything i can to make some cach. if we can get soolbound item from boss then am fine whit it. cause if you sell everything and theres no soulbound i will endup equip in rags like those chineese farmer. and this will quikly make me lose interest.

    other then that i think its a great idea and i dont think it will ruine the game at all. and who know maybe well be able to make a living out of it.

  • Silas

    Will there be LAN Support? Has it been announced yet?

  • Yautja

    (Hanging out at airport/train/bus station). Hey, I feel like playing some D3.

    (No wifi connection)

    Oh well, guess I can’t play a game I paid for.

  • MajorTool

    Who “hangs out” at an airport/train/bus station. You wait for a ride there. You should be more pissed you can’t check your email… “OMG!!! INTERNETZ IS THE WORST WHY CAN”T I SEE MY WALL POSTINGS… WHY DO I HAVE TO BE CONNECTED TO SEE THINGS!”
    also if you are “hanging out” you’re doing things BESIDES sitting on your computer… like talking to the people you’re “hanging out” with.

  • Dustin

    Everyone worrying about Chinese farmers aren’t thinking about why the nominal fees will exist for the RMAH. This is a nominal fee as opposed to a %age fee to keep farmers from controlling or negatively affecting prices. Even though there will still be other problems caused by farmers, this will make things a lot more difficult for farmers.

    Another funny thing to consider is that all players who are trying to make money through the game on their own are now essentially farmers as well. Also, this nominal fee keeps people from trying to sell everything for RM. Only items that are worth over a certain amount will be worth selling for RM (need to sell for over nominal fee to make any profit). There will still be a gold AH (just that certain items will be more common on one AH rather than the other).

    Another positive point for the RMAH is that it further ties the player’s interest with the interest of the developer. Player interest will be directly tied into how many different, worthwhile items are in the game (and just how generally fun the game is) and Blizzard will make more money from the AH given a higher level of player interest.

    I’m not saying there’s nothing negative about all these changes, but I feel like these changes will improve the game in the long-run, and hopefully Blizzard will look at implementing changes and tweaks for the benefit of their customers instead of just focusing on the short-term cash flow opportunities. At least Blizzard and Activision try to come off as the company that is aware that customer loyalty is what determines long-term growth. Let’s just hope that’s not just a front.

  • sebastien

    It will for sure make a difference and destroy the game. Dont get me wrong but i think the purpose of such a game is to be the best player no to invest more then somebody … Thats the reason why i stopped playing diablo 2 online and switched to single player. You can play for 3 years, farm for a enormous ammount of hours and then you see somedy next to you with all the best items in-game (and he only played the game for like 10 minutes and invested a few dollars). Its just not right, its like saying that a sprinter that can buy a burst of speed dosent have the advantage over the other … WTF

    PVP in diablo 2 was a joke …. everybody full of runewords that can take a lifetime to farm pissing people off … just try to build a enigma in single player … i will see you in a few years

    There will always be hackers, gold farmers … at least don’t take away the offline single player wich for me is the only logical way to play the game if you really want to know how good you can become by yourself