Diablo III: Be Your Own Goldfarmer (And no Offline)

Diablo III. We all want it so bad. Here’s what we’re getting: Diablo III. It will have no mod support (Blizzard says mods are “expressly prohibited”), you’ll only be able to play it while online (so forget about LAN play), and there will be a built-in auction-house for selling and buying items for both in-game currency and real money.

You can read the full complex details about the Auction House here, and a brief breakdown of it and opinion on it after the break.

The short of it:

– You’ll be able to sell and buy gold, and practically any item. Playing a Witchdoctor but found an uber Barbarian Axe? Sell it for real cash.
– Blizzard says they won’t be posting items for sale on the Auction House. But since auctions are anonymous, we only have their word on that.
– Blizzard takes a percentage cut from each sale.
– There is a ‘Smart Search’ function: you select a character of yours, and you’ll be presented with a list of which items you can upgrade off the AH.
– Each Region (Asia, America, Europe) will have it’s own Auction House.
– Hardcore Characters will have their own special Auction House, that doesn’t allow real-money trading, only in-game gold.

The opinion on it:

Blizzard is clearly taking a stance against third-party goldfarmers with this. They want to cut out the Chinese middle-man entirely, letting players buy and sell items/gold “securely” through Blizzard, instead of players giving their credit-card details to shady third-party sites. They must have realized that if they couldn’t stop goldsellers after 8 years in World of Warcraft, they may as well become the platform for goldselling themselves, taking a cut from each sale. It was inevitable really, just surprising they never took this tact with World of Warcraft, not yet anyway.

What this means for players however, is difficult to gauge. Naturally, this makes PVP less a matter of gaining items through skill and playtime, and more about who can afford the best items just by having plenty of disposable income in real life. Naturally, someone who buys all the best items but is still a crappy player, won’t do all that well in PVP, but it does tip the scales to a degree where it may get to a point that if you don’t spend tons of dosh kitting out your character, you won’t be able to stay competitive.

If you’re just jamming the single-player campaign, then sure, if you’re the type who doesn’t have that much time but you have spare cash to throw around, you can buy your way into better gear to make it through the campaign easier. Though one might argue, isn’t that going against the entire point of Diablo? Finding that sweet rare item, one rainy afternoon, is part of what made Diablo so magical. Kicking a barrel and finding a Windfury in Diablo 1, was like winning the lottery. But if you can just spend R100 to buy one whenever you want, that item isn’t quite as special anymore, is it? Sure, the guy who just earned R100 for having randomly found a high-level item in the game, is clearly getting the better end of the deal.

Are we going to see people playing Diablo 3 for a living, playing non-stop all day just to find items and gold to sell online, so they can pay rent? More importantly, how do we feel about that if we look at it without cynicism? Would we see it as a legitimate job?