Why The Epic Freak Out About The Diablo 3 Auction House Is Stupid

One of the more surprising things about last week’s announcement that Blizzard will be hosting an official Diablo 3 auction house on battle.net, and that this action will allow real world money transactions, is the level of outrage expressed by gamers. Just a sampling of the comments we saw in our posts on the topic reveals astonishing anger:

This is the most stupidest thing that Blizzard has done to the Diablo series.

PC gaming is dying rapidly thanks to money-grubbing crap such as this. Its all turned into World of Barbie Freemium Dress-Up Raids. Screw Blizzard and the rest of them for destroying the last vestiges of actual gaming.

I will not be buying and supporting this garbage.

And that’s just the commentary we’ve seen on GameFront. The outrage is internet-wide, and if these up-in-arms fans are to be believed, Blizzard’s decision to cash in with an officially supported auction is an act of criminal malfeasance on par with Goldman Sachs or Enron. It would seem that the Diablo 3 auction house is nothing more than a well-timed con designed to fleece the honest gamer for everything he or she has, and more. Clearly, we should be shocked, SHOCKED that one of the biggest gaming companies in the world has made a decision that will result in them making money.

I don’t mean to sound intemperate, but that is really f**king stupid, and those of you freaking out about this auction are acting like idiots.

Yeah, I said it. Here’s why:

Lost in all the hilarious complaining is the fact that there already are real world currency markets for virtual goods from video games. They were created by people who don’t work for video game companies, and they make a killing. You know what the world’s biggest market in virtual goods is? World of WarCraft items. A cursory google search returns literally thousands of results. Sites like Team4Power, Guild Bank and MMO Item bay, third party business all, are devoted to getting people to fork over real world money for virtual items at a (gasp!) profit!

In a sense, the online trade in virtual goods is similar to the drug trade. People obviously want these items. Badly enough that they’re willing to pay for it. People with those items want to sell them to willing buyers. And both parties are willing to go to tremendous lengths to facilitate the sale. Given that reality, Blizzard faces three choices:

1) They can ignore it. Fans will either get rich, get items, or get fleeced by unscrupulous dealers. Blizzard gains nothing.

2) They can make strong efforts to ban the trade. Blizzard tried this approach with WoW and it wasn’t a success. Maybe this means issuing costly cease and desist orders. That gets expensive fast, and doesn’t do anything to prevent people from actually selling items to one another, it just drives the trade underground. The only real way to stop people from selling items to each other is to end p2p item sharing. Given that this feature is a crucial element of the social aspects of games like WoW and Diablo, they would essentially be ruining those games, and depriving themselves of money. Either approach would be extremely costly and unproductive.

3) Try to render the gray/black market irrelevant by officially sanctioning the trade and creating an authorized space in which to conduct transactions.

Blizzard has, for years, watched as third parties have made tons of money trading virtual items from their games. They have been completely unable to stop people from doing it. Is it any wonder that they’re admitting the reality and seeking to work within it, if not profit off it, from Diablo 3′s onset? If this makes you mad, start by yelling at the people who created the trade in the first place: You.

There’s also the very basic fact that you are not being forced to participate. Seriously. No one, not Blizzard, not the Internet, not your friends, no one will ever be able to make you spend your money on Diablo 3 items. You can use the game-gold auction without ever spending a single real-world cent. You can trade with your friends. You can even stick strictly to earning the items during play.

OK, I hear you say, “but what about people who use the RWC auction to gain an unfair advantage over other players?” How many times do we need to say this: Diablo 3 is not a competitive game like WoW. Tradable items are dropped randomly, and none of them are gate-key items. In other words, lacking certain items will not prevent you from advancing to certain game content. Game content becomes available to you as you play through the plot and level your character up. All the items can do is help you gain slight advantages and to modify your character’s appearance and powers. You’re never going to find yourself unable to pass a certain section or advance because you don’t have the Sword of Sharpness or the Staff of Woodly Magic or whatever.

Will people willing to purchase items with real world money conceivably find themselves having an advantage over other players? Possibly. They might end up kicking more ass sooner. But based just on what I saw during my Diablo 3 hands-on, it’ll have a negligible affect on your personal game. The fact is that at no point will you even have to think about the Diablo 3 auction house at all, unless you want to.

But you know what really makes this freak-out so dumb? Those of you complaining about what looks like a very useful auction are missing a gigantic forest because of a couple of annoying trees. The forest I’m taking about is the indisputably gigantic rip off that is Blizzard’s infuriating requirement that a persistent Internet connection is required to play Diablo 3. That restriction isn’t just an enormous inconvenience – though boy is it ever.

It’s also a rip off. It adds additional hidden costs to the purchase of any copy of Diablo 3, namely the price of your Internet connection. If you can’t afford Internet thanks to the super awesome economy or can’t afford to waste the bandwidth, sucks to be you. You’d think Activision Blizzard owns part of Time Warner. It’s obviously a form of DRM designed to make their job easier. Rather than actually invest in decent anti-piracy detection and enforcement, they’re simply forcing the players to pay for it themselves. That, and not the enactment of a potentially useful Diablo 3 auction, is the actual bit of shameless moneygrubbing stinginess people ought to be pissed off about.

But even that is a minor offense so long as most games don’t have lazy, bullshizz DRM like that. So please, have a sense of proportion, people. Blizzard isn’t your buddy, they’re not your pen pal, Diablo 3 isn’t public domain, and you do not own their company. They are selling you a product. If they choose to sell it in a way that annoys or inconveniences you, you have an option: Don’t buy it. Help turn it into a flop. Or put in simpler terms: they’ll listen to the sound of money flying away from them a lot more than to angry people complaining about trivialities on the Internet.

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12 Comments on Why The Epic Freak Out About The Diablo 3 Auction House Is Stupid

Kyle W.

On August 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I’m not against it at all. I’ve heard that you can buy Diablo 2 items for cash and there’s no major uproar about it that I know of. Why does putting it in officially make it worse than having unofficial third party vendors?

Mark H.

On August 8, 2011 at 5:05 pm

The only real issue I have is, how useful/useless will gold be in the game? In other words, what’s stopping everyone from simply selling all items in the AH for cash instead of virtual coins?

If gold in D3 is as useless as it is in D2, then I really don’t see any incentive to sell items on the AH for anything other than real money.

Also, no SP D3 does suck. I frequently made use of Jamella’s Hero Editor offline to test various builds and gear selections. But, most of my time was on Bnet, so not really a huge issue.

PopeJamal

On August 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Not that I disagree, but calling a large percentage of your potential readers a bunch of idiots isn’t the smoothest move in the long run.

CHoedy

On August 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

The person who wrote this don’t know about .Hes taking Blizzards side.Take what these 3rd party company make in a year and see if its even
1/3 of what Blizzard makes from Warcraft. 11.1 million times 14.99 for one month is $166,389,000.Now times that by 12 and you get $1,996,668,000.

So yeah Blizzard really needs to make more money.You stupid .

Draxanoth

On August 8, 2011 at 8:13 pm

My biggest concern regarding the RMAH has nothing to do with the concept but more to do with Blizzard. I’d rather not watch D3 degrade into a whoreconomy, where they start releasing stuff that can only be purchased for real dollars and can’t actually be found in the game. Essentially a new take on the cash only stuff in WoW.

Garyn Dakari

On August 8, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Finally, an article that makes perfect sense…

I loved the part where you said:

“There‚Äôs also the very basic fact that you are not being forced to participate. Seriously. No one, not Blizzard, not the Internet, not your friends, no one will ever be able to make you spend your money on Diablo 3 items.”

DUH! You’d think that should be obvious to most people. I see people flaming TF2 everywhere about the stupid hat shop, and I tell them every time “Don’t like it, don’t buy it.”

Devin

On August 8, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I agree with this post completely, and those that are complaining are stupid s. Primarily @ CHoedy. Whoever the hell says that Blizzard is ruining gaming is a dumbass. If that was so, they wouldn’t be making money at all now would they? It does also come down to the fact that the whole paying real world money for items has been around for so long and created by who? Other gamers/”businessmen”/etc. who take advantage of the players that want to buy in-game items with real money. Not the developers.

ryuusen91

On August 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm

to me i agree it would hurt in game trades and gold in the game its not that it unbalances it because all items sold can be found and earned

darkbam

On August 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

Exactly, in game gold will be absolutely worthless. They need to have segregation between real-money auction house servers and in-game money auction house servers.

joob

On December 3, 2011 at 12:54 am

You guys miss the point, this is a step in a good direction(doesn’t mean it will work). You’re calling blizzard stupid for taking control of something everyone already es about. The point isnt that blizzard NEEDS more money, they implemented something that will benefit there company(SO THEY CAN KEEP UPDATING THE GAMES U TAKE FOR GRANTED U POS’s), controls any chance of gold farmers overrunning another one of their games(and quite frankly ruining D2).

I think people are pissed off because they are too stupid to make real money off the game – they think theres some line being drawn and they are on the wrong side lol. Similarly people who spend money on d2 cuz they can’t get the t themselves are just stupid and WASTE THEIR MONEY cuz they are stupid – i could start from scratch on D2 and in a month id be rich as without spending a cent.

I did play wow somewhat and when i first played i got like 500 g and this stupid high level idiot with no gold WAS POSITIVE I SPENT MONEY – so positive he stopped rushing me through some instance lol.Idiots play blizzard games and unfortunately theres the internet for idiots to speak their stupid minds. Think before u speak, you have no clue… why are you talking….

Even when every aspect makes complete sense for implementing something like this everyone es, cuz you are all pathetic and stupid… nothing new.

darkgrim

On December 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I will not buy this product, simply because I do not have a strong or stable internet connection. Even if I did, I also do not have a working email address. I can only play computer games offline. If this is so alien-thinking to the D3 developers, they are clearly as far as they can get from reality. This may even be the final curtain as my life as a gamer if this is the future of all video gaming.

Since Blizzard is so full of themselves that they don’t need my money, then they just proved they are not reaching out to a wider audience. They only care about their die-hard fanboys who will spend any amount of money (off of their parent’s credit cards) to keep playing games they truly do not deserve. Spoiled rich brats reinforcing a spoiled rotten company!

wargod

On January 24, 2012 at 1:13 am

-Blizzard will sell there own cash only items.
-These items will give unfair advantages in pvp.
-Whats to stop them from producing items themselves and selling them under random player names? It is there game after all.
-Are they promising there will never be someone capable of duping and ruining the economy and screwing over people with actual cash invested into these items?
-Is this real money auction house safe i mean ps3 was hacked with ease whats to stop them here.
-How will they handle customer support say joe got a helm off betty because his kid brother clicked Buy Now when he was out of the room. Yes its not there problem but we all kno there gonna be flooded with crys for help like this.
-These are just some things that go thru my mind about this it may seem silly to some But i think they are fair questions.