Posted on September 6, 2013, Mike Sharkey 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.