In a recent press release Blizzard has let us in on some new features for one of their new games; Diablo 3. The Diablo franchise has always had a strong follow, but there new announcement has shocked fans and people who have never heard of it alike. Diablo 3 will allow you to sell and buy virtual items and gold for real money.
The game will include two types of Auction houses, one which you will be able to buy and sell items to other players for gold that you find in game. The other being the real money version, where you can additionally sell gold. Ultimately you're not obligated to use the system, but it could attract a crowd that would be unhealthy for the game. 'Gold Sellers' have been a plague in other online games (mostly MMO's) but this move by Blizzard cuts them out and lets you and other players do it without the risks of using a third party. But what will this mean to you?
Could Be Good News:
In theory this is great, you could play a game and make some money back on the price or even pay it off for free right? Well maybe, depends on if you're lucky I guess and how the players dictate the economy. In the first Diablo games I would often find an item that my class could not use and had to sell it to a vendor to make a bit of gold for potions or repairs, so if you happen to find something you cant use you just might get 5 dollars or something for it to spend on something else you want in game, or in real life. Baring in mind that the Diablo series is a mature one, if I was a small kid again and playing this game and I found something then sold it for a few dollars to spend on candy I would be thrilled. And it presents an interesting start point for gamers and games to be career paths. If its Friday night and you're at the pub and a lady asks you what you're hobbies are, now you would probably make something 'cool' up instead of straight up tell her you're into playing games. But maybe in time if this model Blizzard is trying to introduce succeeds you might see 'Gamer' pop up as one of the things you lie to be and the reason your wallet is full of fifties. If nothing else then if you suck at the game maybe you could drop a twenty and gear up to help yourself out.
Could Be Bad News:
Many fans the Diablo type genre are insulted by the idea of idea of being able to buy power, it can take a lot of time to perfect your character and if people can just buy items then everything you work for is devalued. What point is going after a tough boss if you can spend a couple dollars and get the item you want anyway, why just work for anything when you can just buy everything you want at the start, why even bother playing?
Money also obviously attracts people after it, so critics of this idea are expecting the game to be flooded with the same type of people that farm currency in MMO's to saturate the market. But even if you don't have to go through some black market site to get your in game items now or sell off your stuff someone still takes their cut. Blizzard (at this point, subject to change) has said that they will take a cut of what you make, possibly as much as three times, once for listing the item, once for selling it and the final if you cash out the real money. Though no figures have come out this could be tiny, just there to prevent you from listing worthless items and clogging up the system. The game will work similarly to Starcraft 2 in that you need to be online to log on and play single player, which may make people with bad internet annoyed by makes sense if you're not online they cant tell if you're hacking the game or items which would completely ruin the system.
Tristram Theme from Diablo 2 on the "buy an acoustic guitar" level of music.
I think Blizzards thoughts here are "players still buy gold in WoW even if we try to ban them for it, may as well let them and make a few extra bucks from it". It definitely has a lot of potential and personally I think it will be alright, I have actually made quite a bit of real money from games in the past and I see the opportunity for it here as well as to have some fun along the way. As you get older games aren't as simply as they used to be, I didnt care about story or why pink dinosaurs were shooting me with guns when I was a kid, I just liked the explosions and stuff. Since Im starting to be a proper adult with bills to pay and food to buy the idea of getting money from a hobby naturally calls to me.
What will be interesting is to see how this develops if they include the 'hardcore mode' where if you die you instantly lose your character. If you die from this point getting back in would be long and painful, but if you can buy items back you could jump back into it. The thought of losing however much money you paid for items would make the threat of death all the more serious and significant. Although it may annoy people who want to get to the top and stay there since no one can compete with them if they keep killing them and keeping their rivals down.
You don't have to use the system though, if you play single player and go through it and never buy something from someone then its just as it would have been, if someone else buys all his items and goes through it faster than you his experience doesn't effect yours. Diablo is largely a story driven game so you can ignore the rest of the community and enjoy it by yourself if you so choose.
Whats your opinion?
Some Further Info:
Detailed Explanation: http://www.diablofans.com/topic/26397-the-auction-house-explained/#6
TotalBiscut Arguing Against: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBrESZJlNvQ
Athene Arguing For: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pc53tFAo1g&feature=feedu