Diablo 3 Auction Houses – Good or Bad?

15 09 2011

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.


Game of The Year: 2010

10 01 2011

The New Year brings a fresh start to our calendars and hopeful New Years resolutions and with this fresh start its only natural to look back and reflect on the year that was 2010. I absolutely love these types of thoughtful musings since we often times are so focused on whats upcoming that we forget to look and see whats in the past. This can be true of any facet of our lives however this particular post will focus on gaming as I will attempt to proclaim the best games of this past year.

Before we get started I must first put a disclaimer, this is my list and therefore you may not and in fact I hope you do not agree 100% with my findings. Secondly just because a game did not make my list or was a runner up does not mean I dislike the game its a simple fact of numbers and the sheer amount of quality games that release every year. In fact it may mean that I just haven’t played it yet. Lastly many factors come into play when I determine which game is eventually crowned however it ultimately comes down to my overall likeness of that game.

Anyways without further a do here is my Game of The Year 2010.

Morphing into the #5 spot is … Transformers: War for Cybertron

Just like last year my 5th spot was a surprise to even me. Transformers War for Cybertron was released in the early summer months and is a movie based game therefore not many including myself had high expectations. However Transformers came out of left field and was a total surprise hit for me. Transformers War for Cybertron shined were most movie based games and bland third person shooters fail, in the story and shooting mechanics. Even with all of this Transformers kept that old nostalgia Transformers feel that is so revered by fans easily making this one of the best games I played all year.

Galloping up into the #4 spot is … Red Dead Redemption

Surprised? While a consensus game of the year for most other blogs it just didn’t provide enough for me personally to reach that top spot but is easily one of the best games this past year. Red Dead Redemption is a black hole of content worthy of spending hours upon hours in. Rockstar San Diego gave us such a stunning visual world that at times I would just gallop around the barren western desert admiring the environment they have made. Luckily Rockstar also filled this open world with a multitude of activities to do as well as an intense and attention grabbing story which compliments the surroundings.

Dribbling past the competition and into the #3 spot is … NBA 2K11

Although this is my list I feel I should pretense my third pick considering I enjoy the game of basketball with Michael Jordan being my favorite player of all time. But even though I do enjoy the NBA I haven’t purchased nor played a basketball game since 2002 that should say something about the genre. All things changed with NBA 2k11. Michael Jordan was a great fit for the cover of this game as like Jordan’s game I found no inconsistencies or glaring holes but rather a pure, elegant, graceful and creative slam dunk. NBA 2K11 is one of my favorite sports games of all time easily making it into the top of my list for 2010.

Covertly shooting its way all the way to #2 is … Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty titles have always been a favorite of mine mostly due to the lasting competitive multiplayer in which I play hours upon hours with online with friends. Call of Duty Black Ops is no different as Treyarch has expanded the options while refining and focusing other areas of the multiplayer. However this year I was a huge fan of the surprising single player campaign as well. Treyarch decided to take the single player in a slightly different direction that I feel paid huge dividends. Mix this fresh single player with the always consistent, hugely popular and complete time sink of a multiplayer and Black Ops was a highlight of the 2010 year.

And lastly my 2010 Game of The Year is … Starcraft 2

I could have seen this coming from 1998 when the original Starcraft was released or later that year when the expansion Brood War was released. One of the only titles I have anticipated more than Starcraft 2 is another yet to be released Blizzard game, Diablo 3. I played both Starcraft and the expansion extensively for several years making me eager for the sequel. So much so that to date Starcraft 2 is the ONLY title I have actually purchased new hardware in order to play – a true system seller. The single player while resembling its past was well varied and included some truly incredible moments. Speaking of competitive multiplayer, Black Ops, Starcraft 2 is on a level completely on its own. This anticipation along with reverence for the series and developer not to mention the exceptional quality of the both the single player and competitive multiplayer without question make Starcraft 2 my personal ‘Game of The Year’.

I applaud all of the aforementioned games as well as the rest of the games that released in 2010.  Whats your Game of The Year? Drop a comment below and let me know.

Who else is excited about Diablo 3?

21 09 2010

To say I am excited about Diablo 3 would be a gross understatement the entire Diablo series holds a special place in my heart. Diablo 2: Lords of Destruction is probably my favorite game of all time. So as you can imagine I am a huge Blizzard fan and while I appreciate their, it will be released when it’s ready stance as a fan its frustrating since I eagerly want to play their games.

Anyways, not much news has been released as of yet regarding Diablo 3 since most of Blizzards focus has been on StarCraft 2, but with that releasing and selling upwards of 3 million units we should start getting some information regarding Diablo 3 soon.

The first major news came out of Gamescom where Blizzard announced and detailed the new crafting system through Artisans in Diablo 3. These Artisans will be integrated into the main story quest as you venture deeper into the Sanctuary. After helping them out and gaining their trust these Artisans will continue with you to each town during your travels and will act as a central hub providing basic services like buying and selling along with unique abilities.

There will be 3 types of Artisans each with their own unique storyline and abilities. The first is the Blacksmith who will be able to construct weapons and armors with salvaged loot you obtain from slaughtering the foes of the Burning Hells. The Blacksmith will also have the ability to add sockets to any weapon or armor.

Second is the Mystic who will deal with more of the magical side of crafting. The Mystic will be able to create potions, scrolls, magical weapons, spell runes and charms as well as enchant any weapon, even those previously made by the Blacksmith, with some random magical abilities.

Lastly the Jeweler will be able to create higher quality gems for you as well as remove gems from items without destroying the original gem. The Jeweler will also have the ability to craft unique rings and amulets with special abilities and modifiers.

All three Artisans will have the ability to be upgraded as well as specialize their skills to better fit your needs. These Artisans will change visually as well depending on which route you choose to specialize. However all specializations are possible for each character but is simply dependent on the amount of time put forth. Each Artisan can expand their expertise with special skills and random recipes that are found and unlocked thus granting rare benefits that may not be found anywhere else in the game world.

These Artisans will be a resource for the heroes and help streamline the crafting process while still providing depth and diversity to the item collection process that is crucial to the Diablo franchise.

After this announcement I am excited to hear more information and eventually play this title. Hopefully we will hear more at the upcoming Blizzcon event.

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Who else is excited for Diablo 3? What are you looking forward to?

StarCraft 2: A System Seller?

5 08 2010

As a predominantly console gamer I constantly here the word “system seller” thrown around in the gaming culture, this term is used to illustrate that a particular game is of such high quality that it will influence individuals who don’t have the console that game it is released on to go out and purchase that specific system. Every developer wants their game to be considered a “system seller” as it usually translates into great sales but more importantly it means that your title is well liked and is gaining or already has gained recognition on being the top title that system has to offer. We have had these types of games on every imaginable console since the beginning, but do we now have one on the broadest console of all, the PC?

I say we haven’t had a system seller on the PC due to the fact that most of the PC games also release on different systems. Those that haven’t either have low enough system requirements that most anybody can play or if they do have higher requirements the majority of the potential players will already meet these higher requirements. StarCraft 2 on the other hand is an anomaly as it has a large broad appeal as well as a ravenous hardcore fan base. Meaning those who don’t usually play PC games or those who haven’t played a PC game since the original StarCraft as well as the current traditional PC player will be picking up this title.

Since the release earlier last week of StarCraft 2 I have heard multiple stories of gamers who usually don’t game on their PC looking to upgrade their graphics card or entire system just to play StarCraft 2. I have not seen this many people, usually unaware of the intricacies of PC gaming, attempting to purchase or upgrade a console in order to play a specific game like I have for StarCraft 2. This leads me to believe that StarCraft 2 is no doubt a system seller even if that system is a PC.

Can a PC have a system seller? Is that game StarCraft 2?

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This article was possible due to the fact that I am one of the many that does not have a competent machine to play StarCraft 2 therefore I have the free time plus I needed to scratch that StarCraft 2 itch.

Unable to Game

16 05 2010

Throughout my childhood I was able to waste my days away locked in my room playing Kings Quest VI or the original Diablo much to my mothers demise. During these days school was just a part of the day where I could let my mind mingle with the clouds as they blew across the bright blue sky or better yet strategically plan out those faithful gaming binges. I didn’t have a care in the world besides of course which bag of CornNuts to eat during recess, Ranch or Chile Picante? The only thing I had in excess was time, so what better to do with it than play video games. I loved this period of my life and even then I knew this schedule would not last forever but I had no idea my life would soon be so demanding that I would be unable to game.


Top Anticipated Games of 2010

12 03 2010

Since I have completed my GOTY 2009 post I thought it would be a good idea to look at the games forecasted to come out this year. Although I still have not played all of the great games that came out in 2009 and despite a lot of quality games that have already released this year, we as gamers have a lot to look forward to. As good as 2009 was it appears 2010 won’t disappoint – here are some of the most anticipated games yet to release, for me at least.

Diablo 3

Release Date: TBA Platform: PC

It’s doubtful this game will come out this year however it become an anticipated title the day it was announced. I spent copious amounts of time playing the original and I can’t wait to sink hours upon hours searching for loot and crawling around the various dungeons while eviscerating the world of evil.

God of War 3

Release Date: March 16th 2010 Platform: PS3

The God of War series was the pinnacle of gaming in most peoples eyes last generation and I can’t wait to see what the Santa Monica Studios have waiting for us with God of War 3.  The stage appears to be on a much larger scale and the brutality and gore seem to also be ratcheted up.

Heavy Rain

Release Date: February 23rd 2010 Platform: PS3

This title appears to be hit and miss for most gamers but I for one can’t wait to play it. I am not sure if it’s going to be a great game but I have no doubt that it will stretch the thinking of most gamers and developers. I applaud a development team that is trying to expand the medium and create a cinematic experience. I believe Heavy Rain will have a large impact on future titles therefore I am eager to experience it.

StarCraft 2

Release Date: TBA Platform: PC

StarCraft 2 is along the same lines as Diablo 3 for me. I love watching pro gamers play a game of StarCraft knowing I will never reach that level but admiring the skill and strategy it takes to perform at that level. I enjoy the minute details of multiplayer but the single player campaign and story is just as fantastic, with the inclusion of Battle.Net 2.0 I can’t imagine Blizzard would put out anything less that spectacular.


Starcraft 2 – Gameplay Footage

18 04 2009

Blizzard recently released their latest Battle Report, which is basically a replay of a game. The current Battle Report was a match played on a never before seen 1v1 map called Blistering Sands between Matt Cooper who played as the Zerg vs David Kim who played as the Terran. During the 20+ minutes of the replay many new units are seen as well as new abilities. Check out the footage below along with my comments and reaction.

Make sure to watch the video in full screen, click the icon on the lower right corner.