Anybody that has played Diablo 2 for any length of time knows that buying items and gold farming killed the economy in Diablo 2. It was easily available to purchase all of the elite items in Diablo 2 from an outside third party company for relatively cheap. This made for a poor experience for those who did not buy items and combined with other problems completely wrecked the overall economy of the game.
Therefore I can see why many critics and gamers are in upheaval over the recent announcement that Diablo 3 will have an in-game real money auction house. Some are going as far to state that the sanctity of the game is now in question and how this addition will ruin the economy of the game and more specifically their experience will be tainted because users ‘will be allowed to buy the best gear in the game and quickly become an elite player’.
I however believe this is ludicrous and since I am as big of a Diablo fan as any I would like to tell these raging fans to settle down. More specifically let’s get into why I believe this addition won’t be a catastrophic failure and could be a great addition if handled well by Blizzard.
Let’s first get one thing established, yes, selling and buying of items was a disaster and ruined the economy in Diablo 2 and if auction houses exist in that same environment in Diablo 3 it would most likely ruin that economy as well. However that is not the case we can not assume that the same problems that plagued Diablo 2 will exist in Diablo 3. The main reason it was a problem in Diablo 2 was due to the fact that item duping was so prevalent as was the practice of running bots to MF certain areas in order to rapidly find these high tier items. This resulted in an abundance of these items that ordinarily would have not been in the economy nor would the most casual player ever get a chance to see or find such an item. Basic economics tells us that with the abundance of these elite items the value was lowered making it easily accessible for even the most casual fan to simply purchase these uber elite items either in game or from an outside source whose main goal was to rip off players and make a profit.
It’s fair to say that with the release of StarCraft 2 and the revamped Battle.net that while this may not be impossible these instances will be severely reduced when Diablo 3 is also released. Just by the nature of their scarcity these elite items will always have an intrinsic value that players want to obtain and would pay to get it. So I am an advocate of Blizzard taking over this role rather than have an unreliable third party form around the game whose only interest is profits. These companies that formed around Diablo 2 were a nuisance and a black eye to most of the community and its nice to see that Blizzard saw this eye sore and ensured that the same would not happen to Diablo 3.
I can not see how giving the player the choice to use or not to use real money auction houses will vastly influence the game as long as the scarcity of the items remains the same. Not to mention this will not influence the early adopters anyways as you will not be able to purchase these highly coveted items until much later in the overall economy of the game since players will first have to find these items.
The only way I see it largely influencing the game is during PvP as I can see how it would be frustrating to see a player who has simply purchased all the best gear while you spent hours upon hours looking for items. However that is a choice and a choice that I believe is fair. Not to mention we have no clue whether or not these auction house will be apart of PvP or not. But that leads to my last point if this feature still bothers you then you can also make a choice and choose to have an isolated experience and not play with people or restrict the people you play with to only include those who don’t use real money auction houses.
All in all I refuse to make brash judgments based on an addition to a game that we for one don’t have all of the details for and two that we have yet to see implemented in a real world experience and three condemn the new game based on the problems the previous game had.
I would be curious to know what you think of this announcement and if you think it’s a good or bad idea. Let me know in the comments section below.