Diablo III’s real-world currency auction houseDiablo III’s real-world currency auction house


At a press event for Diablo III held last week, Rob Pardo, Blizzard’s vice president of game design, unveiled two new – and potentially controversial – elements of the forthcoming dungeon-crawler. Diablo III will require an internet connection in order to work, and will also feature real-world money trading via an in-client auction house.

“We want you to always be connected to the game,” Pardo said, when explaining Blizzard’s decision to require even single-player games to be authenticated online. “Diablo III, like StarCraft II, is going to be an online-only experience. There’s not going to be any sort of offline characters or what-have-you. We thought about this quite a bit and one of the things we felt was really important was, if you did play offline, you’d start a character, you’d get all the way to level 20, or level 30 or level 40, and then at that point you might decide to venture onto Battle.net, you’d have to start another character from scratch, because there’d be no way for us to guarantee there were no cheats involved. We really feel that people are going to benefit from being an online game.”

It’s a design decision that makes a lot of sense when seen in the context of the new focus on real-money trading. “What I think is one of the most exciting features of the Diablo games is trading,” continued Pardo. “Yet Diablo II really didn’t have a robust way of trading around. What you really had to do was get into the chat screen and negotiate something there, and then go within the game. Another thing that people would do is post on forums. There were even third-party sites where people would trade for real-world money. So, what we’re doing is the Diablo III Auction House, and…you’re going to be able to buy and sell items for real-world money. Everything from items and gold to components can be sold, and we’re starting to discuss whether you can sell characters, but that would be something that we’ll do later on.”

Diablo III will have two auction houses integrated directly into the client, with one allowing players to buy and sell for in-game gold, while the other uses real-world money. Auction houses will be divided up by region, and while players will be able to use any currency that’s available within their region, trading outside of that region will not be possible. Auto-bidding and instant buyouts will be supported by both houses, and a smart search is being implemented in order to allow players to home in on items that are suited to their classes and load-outs. “Most importantly, you’ll have a secure item transfer,” explained Pardo. “No more of having to go into a town with a bunch of items and hopefully you won’t get cheated. In the auction house you’ll be able to buy and sell and the item will automatically get transferred without you having to worry about any badness happening to your stuff.” 

Pardo also announced that the economy will be player-driven, and that Blizzard does not plan to put any items or gold up for sale itself. “This is all about facilitating player trading, so what we’re not doing, which is very different to a lot of the microtransaction models in Asia where the company is selling you the items: we’re not doing that. Players will be anonymous during trades, and players can decide how they want to utilise the auction house and which auction house they want to use.” Jay Wilson, Diablo III’s game director, added that Hardcore – a mode that includes permadeath – players will only be allowed to access the in-game gold auction house so that customers don’t end up “putting money into a character that then dies”, and that the company would be taking a hands-off approach to the economy. “We don’t suspect that we’re going to have to do any kind of regulation, and we’d prefer to do none,” he said. “We don’t want to be seen as manipulating the auction house in any way. [In terms of player manipulation] with Diablo, per region, you’re talking about around a million players, so the notion that you’d be able to out-spend that many players to control the marketplace, that’s not something we expect to be an issue.”

Blizzard will be taking fees for both item listings and the eventual sale in the real-world currency auction house, although it’s planning to allow players a certain number of free listings per week. Pardo said that, although he wasn’t ready to discuss the fees in depth, “we’re really looking for nominal amounts here, and they’ll be fixed flat rates. The listing fee will be a nominal amount because we don’t want every single item in the game to show up on the auction house. We’re also kind of saving players from themselves, because if you could put everything on the auction house, you would. Obviously, Blizzard’s going to benefit from the business model, but we wanted to encourage people to buy or sell whatever items they want. We didn’t want to take a percentage of the transaction fee. We didn’t want to have any perception of us manipulating the items or wanting to have really powerful items for a lot of money or anything like that.” (There will also be an in-game gold fee for the gold auction house.)

When it comes to receipts, players will be able to either keep money in their Battle.net eBalance to spend on other Blizzard games and items, or cash it out. “If you cash out there will be a percentage fee that we have to apply as we’re going through a third-party provider,” concluded Pardo. “But again we want to keep that as somewhat low and reasonable. Today I’m not going to be able to provide you with who we’re going with because we haven’t finalised yet.”

the   permission  regaing exchanging the items and gears into real-world currency in auciton house of  diablo 3 must restricted  by some regulations and rules for  purpose of forbidden  some malice player and unlegally company took any percentage of profit in-game ,

Asked if the decision to include auction houses came from the design team, Wilson replied, “It’s absolutely a design decision. One of the things is that whenever we decide to make a product or a service…we think about what would be the best possible service we could offer to our players, and what they want. Later on, we go, okay, can that make money? If the answer comes back we’re going to lose our shirt, we can’t do that. If we’ll break even, cool, let’s do it, and if we can make money, great, that’s even better. The desire to do an auction house and to make that a real-currency auction house was in the game really early on. I can foresee players who just play the auction house. I’ve meant World Of Warcraft players who have hit the gold cap and just play the auction house – it’s what they like to do.”

As for the decision to allow players to pay in real-world money, Wilson said that, “it came from the standpoint of watching the players from Diablo II and WOW and seeing there was a demand for this, and that was something players wanted. Whenever we see that, once of our first gut is to say, “Okay, is this a service we can provide? Because there’s a demand for it.” If they want it so bad that they’re willing to leave the game, go to some other website, risk being banned, risk credit card fraud, account compromise – that’s a lot of risk, and that means that’s a lot of demand that players have.”

Finally, asked if the addition of real-world money sales tipped Diablo III’s gameplay towards something that felt a little more like work than play, Wilson responded, “If there’s a danger to that, it’s already happened, as items in Diablo II already have real-money value. We don’t think it’s a danger that isn’t already there.” 

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