Why Diablo 3 Is Better Without The Auction House
Last week, Blizzard announced that it will be taking down Diablo 3′s gold and Real Money Auction Houses on March 18, 2014. While the community’s response has been largely positive, it’s worth exploring how this monumental decision will effect the future of the game.
Firstly, without even factoring in Loot 2.0 — Blizzard’s promised new loot system that will result in better drops — Diablo 3′s item grind will be more fun than it is today. The Auction House currently presents you with a list of hundreds of items that are better than anything you’d expect to find as loot in a given play session, and many of which are available for affordable prices. Sure, you can grind for hours for an upgrade… or you can spend a little gold to obtain an even better upgrade immediately. Take away the Auction House, and just like that, the items you’re finding are suddenly better. Magic? No — psychology. Without a listing of easily-available, superior items as a comparison point, you perceive the items you find as more valuable — and perception is reality.
Of course, trading will still exist, from the black market websites that will sell gold or items for real money, to the legitimate forums where players will barter. But relative to the Auction House, trading will be difficult — tedious, even. The percentage of players who partake in the game’s economy will drop dramatically due to the higher barrier to entry. Gold may or may not remain a form of currency — it is still to be seen whether gems or crafting materials may replace gold as a trade currency — and if they don’t, then that barrier to entry becomes even greater, as players must learn the relative values of items or risk getting swindled.
The Auction Houses were convenient — too convenient, one might say. Without them, the economy will slow down considerably. With a less sophisticated economic system, far fewer transactions will occur on a daily basis, the market will take much longer to become saturated, and overall, people will mostly be getting items from loot drops rather than from trading. And isn’t that the way it should be?
One issue, however, is that the implementation of Loot 2.0 and subsequent elimination of the Auction House will make Diablo 3 into a completely different game. While the consensus is that it will be a better game, the fact remains that it will be different from the game millions of people have already paid for. Is it fair for Blizzard to alter a product someone has already paid for so drastically, without giving that customer the option to keep it as it was? Because there is no offline mode, players have no choice but to download the patches that will forever alter their play experience.
That said, Blizzard is willing to risk losing a few players in order to make Diablo 3 a better game. As someone who has logged more hours playing Auction House Tycoon than D3 itself, I know I will miss the Auction Houses, but it’s a concession I’m willing to accept for the greater good — a more enjoyable game experience that will bring in more players.