Blizzard Considered Killing Diablo 3 Auction House

It’s still there in all its real-money glory and, unfortunately, the Diablo 3 Auction House will remain after upcoming expansion, Reaper of Souls, arrives. That fact wasn’t always guaranteed, though. In a frank interview with Eurogamer, Blizzard admits that it seriously considered pulling the plug on the controversial RMAH.

At Gamescom, Eurogamer sat down with Game Director Josh Mosqueira and Lead Content Designer Kevin Martens, and in a lengthy discussion the duo described how Blizzard has struggled with its Auction House decisions.

“We discussed it at length,” Martens said when asked if the studio thought about scrapping the RMAH. “All options were on the table and all of them got their share of mind share. But the Auction House went in for reasons, and the problems it solved… if we just turned it off those problems would come back, and we’d either need good solves or ideally even better solves, and those weren’t readily apparent.”

“We saw the reaction,” Mosqueira said. “Again, it’s a complicated matter. It’s not just complicated at the team level, or even the Blizzard level… It keeps me up at night sometimes. But beer’s good.”

The duo hopes the issues the current deeply flawed loot system and the Auction House create — namely that the weak loot drops force high level players to use the RMAH and potentially spend cash to get epic gear — will be solved with a new system Blizzard has been tinkering with for a few months called Loot 2.0, a system that at its core will bring fewer but much better loot drops.

“We acknowledged early on the Auction House did have an impact on the moment to moment gameplay,” Mosqueira says. “The whole motivation behind Loot 2.0 is to make sure playing the game was the most fun, the most rewarding and the most satisfying way to get items. That resulted in the philosophy of dropping fewer but better and more epic items. We want players to be in the game and playing.”

“Ultimately the Auction House will still be out there, but we don’t want players to feel they need to go to the Auction House. If they want to, that’s their own choice. But we don’t want them to feel they need to go to the Auction House.”

Eurogamer wasn’t able to coax an official ETA on Loot 2.0 out of Blizzard, but it is expected to be patched into Diablo 3 in intervals, with the full system in place alongside Reaper of Souls’s 2014 release.

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8 Comments on Blizzard Considered Killing Diablo 3 Auction House

KoticLiedBlizzardDied

On September 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm

the main problem with Diablo is that Bobby Kotick is pulling blizzard’s strings and pushed yet another money grab into a consumer product, surprise surprise people are tired of the nickel and dimming then pushing out incomplete products for quick cashgrabs.

now World of Casual Craft is tanking subscriptions and their other franchises are worse than their previous iterations.

quicktooth

On September 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm

So… pay to win. Still in. You guys know how much the community hates it. You know how it ruins the GAME nature of your ‘game’. Yet it’s still going to be there. Guys. If you can’t figure out how to fix things now, DON’T. Wait. Polish. Release When It’s Done – just like you always have (before recent games anyway). Blizzard USED to be a world leader as a games developer; every release polished to a mirror shine, and essentially always beloved by fans ever since they get their hands on them. Do it again. How much clearer can anyone get?

rickshaw

On September 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I fell for it the D3 release that took forever to come, which ended up just put together for a capital vacuum cleaner. Its a shame they never went for a advanced version of the game, instead they went for a capital raising one, This seems to be a trend on all these once popular companies to make and take and take some more.

gasmaskangel

On September 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I’m curious about exactly what “problems” the RMAH was meant to fix, because almost every problem I had with Diablo III can be traced directly to that travesty.

Linkboy9

On September 8, 2013 at 8:10 am

@gasmaskangel If I had to guess, I’d say the “problems” the RMAH solved consisted almost entirely of third party trading… something which of course has other solutions than the one they went with… solutions that don’t invalidate the entire point of playing the game, for instance…

yuke

On September 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

The absurd thing about saying that the RMAH ‘fixed’ problems with the gameplay means that by not putting it in the console version would thus mean that it’s the ‘flawed’ version… you know, even though there’s a resounding positive response to the lack of RMAH and the new loot system.

It’s pretty clear that the RMAH does nothing for the game, but breaks it and even blizzard is aware of it; they just don’t care.

pooleboy87

On September 9, 2013 at 1:58 am

Seems to me that there would be several very viable solutions to the worry of item “scammers” that apparently scared Blizzard so much that they felt the best course of action was to implement a very controversial always-online requirement so that they could implement an even more controversial real-money gear market place that affected any and all players, regardless of their interest in trading/buying gear.

How about a, oh, I don’t know…more robust online trading house? Or how about sponsoring secondary websites for trading? Or, best of all…why allow the creation of restricted characters that can’t place items on the RMAH (and tag any items picked up by that character as account bound, or something).

There were so many solutions to that “problem”. But most of the others didn’t put money straight into Blizzard’s pocket.

Phorden

On September 9, 2013 at 10:12 am

I hate the AH as a general rule and look forward to Loot 2.0. I do however understand the need for keeping the AH even if the drive is no longer pushing to use it. There is enough problems with 3rd party sites selling gold and items, removing the in-game AH would exacerbate the problem even further. It is sadly a necessary evil to have. Not to use, but definitely to have.