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Diablo 3 Real Money Auction House Details
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:50pm 01/08/11 | Comments
AusGamers was invited out to Blizzard's Irvine, California headquarters for an updated showing of Diablo III and a surprising reveal regarding real-money auction houses. Read on for all the details...

Out at Blizzard’s Irvine, California headquarters, AusGamers was taken through Diablo 3 in presentation form, prior to getting hands-on, where we were caught up to date on the game’s narrative, skills overhaul, Battle.net features and finally, on the team’s decision to implement one of the boldest player-empowering systems ever, with a real money auction house for items.

Over the next few days we’ll have a host of Diablo 3-specific features, including words from Game Director, Jay Wilson, a full hands-on preview and more, but today we’re focusing on the auction house, as it’s one of the most exciting features and stands as a testament to just how much Blizzard pays attention to their fans when they’re vocal enough about a topic or feature.

Like us, I bet you didn't see this one coming (though in hindsight it actually makes a lot of sense marrying both micro-transactions and gold-farming into a cohesive, player-driven component).

In this instance, Diablo II taught the team that people found a way to not only trade useful item drops to help fellow players, but to also make a bit of money on the side. In more recent times, this process has become known as Gold Farming, and rather than ignore, or fight the trend, Blizzard have embraced it for Diablo III, offering up active auction houses for items, split into currency regions where they, of course, take a slice of the pie, but you can freely sell items for real-world money to then pocket or use against your Battle.net account for purchases or usage with other Blizzard products and services.

So the basics are, it’s integrated into the game client which means you can trade completely within the game itself. You’ll be able to sell items, gold and components with auto-bidding or via instant buy-out (so if you’re familiar with the WoW auction house you’ll have a sense of how this works). Auto-bidding is a new addition though, that will allow you to set a certain price for specific items you’re chasing, which means you won’t always need to be online to participate in auctions.

Searching for items is a simplified and easy affair thanks to a lot of smart search functionality. Given the game works specifically off of a random item generator (so you never know what you’re going to get, you’ll be able to search for affixes and items integral to your chosen skills, class or load-outs for maximum customisation, and to really give the trading system robust purpose.

The game is going to require you to be always online for full access (more on this in a follow-up feature), but this will allow your auction house movements to be immediately linked across your entire account, and there’s an in-game “Stash” box where all your items bought or found will go, which you can then uitilise across any characters you have with your Battle.net account. It’s all instantaneous. Moreover, all transactions within the auction house are part of a secured item transfer system, meaning you no longer need to arrange to go into town and meet your buyer and drop his gear in front of him in a hope he picks it up before someone else does. All trades will also be conducted with anonymity (so you’re invisible during trades, essentially) to maintain the secure aspect of what Blizzard are attempting to do here.

All that said though, you don’t have to use the real money auction house, and it was revealed the team were also offering up a separate gold auction house, where you’ll use the game’s own currency to buy items. And for the Hardcore mode players out there, you won’t be able to use any items from the auction house in that mode.

Auction houses will be split into regional currency, though it is possible to participate in other regions, you’ll just cop the appropriate fees applied to conversion rates and the like.

As for how the money end of things works, there’ll be two different fees - a listing fee, and then a sale fee. Blizzard’s Rob Pardo mentioned that they weren’t ready to go into specifics just yet about what sort of dollar value you’d be looking at for both fees, but assured us they’re not looking to pinch your pennies, and that it would be a nominal figure for both and fixed, flat-rates, to boot. He did also mention though, that they were toying with the idea of allowing for a certain number of free listings per week as both an incentive to participate, and general loyalty reward, and again, just so you know Blizzard aren’t working to totally rake in all your cash.

Speaking of cash, cashing out of your earnings from the auction house can be done in two ways I touched on earlier. One is to simply roll your earnings into your Battle.net account balance, which will obviously net you the highest return, because the second option, which is to physically cash out, will likely set you back extra fees as Pardo revealed they’d be going with an unannounced third-party payment provide (such as PayPal, for example). He was quick to assert they were still working on the partner though, and couldn’t reveal any more other than they’re definitely using a third-party.

So that was essentially all we learnt about the system. AusGamers did ask how the regional pricing component works region to region, and would you be able to purchase cross-region, to which Blizzard’s Rob Bridenbecker, who is VP of Online Technologies, fielded us with a lengthy answer.

“So in Australia, for example, you’ll by default connect up to South East Asia but in the same vein that we did with StarCraft 2,” he told us. “[But] you’ll have the ability to participate with North America. And the way it’s going to work within currencies that are within a single region, [to] use Australia as another example, in South East Asia you’ll actually have the Australian dollar and then let’s say you have maybe the Sing dollar, or the US dollar, while in South East Asia you’ll actually have the ability to switch over into a different currency and participate, if you so choose. [But] the reason we don’t expect a lot of players to do that is that it exposes them to a lot of foreign transaction fees and whatnot, that’s why it was really important for us, for buying and selling, to list it in the player’s native currency. So if you’re playing in North America you’ll be able to participate in the US dollar Auction House with the aforementioned fees attached to it that are passed along from credit card providers.

In addition, your items... they’re segregated by the region that you play in, so for example if you have a character in North America, that is different than having a character in South East Asia or a character in Europe.”

As mentioned earlier, we’ll have more Diablo III goodness for you over the next few days, so be sure to stay tuned to AusGamers for more from the world of Sanctuary and demons.

Click here for more screens of the Auction House interface.
Read more about Diablo 3 on the game page - we've got the latest news, screenshots, videos, and more!

Latest Comments
Posted 05:14pm 01/8/11
So when does D3 get released? Need to let my employer know when i'll be quitting to become a professional gold farmer.
Posted 05:18pm 01/8/11
Definitely an interesting development which I did not see coming, but an understandable one nonetheless... The volume of trade is going to be crazy! I am just worried that gaming is starting to cost too much $! It's not over once you've bought the game anymore. Still pumped for Diablo 3, microtransactions or not.
Posted 05:36pm 01/8/11
Then Asia comes in and undercuts it all!
Posted 05:48pm 01/8/11
They are putting a bunch of limitations on the real money trading.

Once you transfer your funds to Battle.net, though, you can't choose to cash it back out into currency. Getting money out of the system is a one-time opportunity at the time of the sale.
Posted 06:01pm 01/8/11
so you need a constant internet connection to play, mods will not be supported and there will be auction houses that use real money which blizzard takes a cut of?


isn't wow raking in enough money for them?
Posted 06:02pm 01/8/11
They are putting a bunch of limitations on the real money trading.

That's not a limitation.

It is a way to help ensure more real dollars tied up in their virtual dollars, and when you do "cash" out it costs you more.
Posted 06:19pm 01/8/11
Why do people get hung up on optional features?
Posted 06:28pm 01/8/11
This smells like good news!

(oh wait)
Posted 06:29pm 01/8/11

Because PC gamers believe developers owe them something.
Posted 06:37pm 01/8/11
Because PC gamers believe developers owe them something.
considering that most devs started in pc and made their name there... its not that unreasonable a stance.
Posted 06:39pm 01/8/11
Im fine with it, since it just gets rid of the "black" market that would appear (see: gold farmers in WoW)

At least this way, for those who CHOOSE to spend money on items - and make no mistake, people will do that, with or without Blizzard's blessing - can at least do so in a way that's supported by the developer
Posted 06:40pm 01/8/11
I think I'll choose a non-real money auction house.
Posted 06:41pm 01/8/11
i suspect there is still going to be a black market of some sort. or an underground market like D2JSP because the IRL auction house wont be availble to the hardcore ppl who wish to play on the ladder system (i suspect its a system like that) so in the end communities like D2JSP will sitll exist and flourish to trade within.
Posted 06:49pm 01/8/11
There are 2 absolutely s*** side effects to this.

- Mods are expressly forbidden, NO MODS AT ALL.
Posted 07:05pm 01/8/11
RMT ruins the sincerity of gaming leading to unfun in ingame trading. Inevitable imo especially when they make super rare items that can sell for hundreds in real cash.
Reverend Evil
Posted 07:20pm 01/8/11
F*** it. I'm still gonna play it. And having a net connection is no worry either because I'm used to that from playing WoW. Unless you have a s*** connection there shouldn't be a problem and on Blizzards end they always have reliable servers so that won't be a problem either.
Posted 08:01pm 01/8/11
I can see all sorts of problems arising from this, like the story of that guy who went and stabbed someone in real life because they stole an in game item worth money. S*** will hit the fan, the game will become some people's form of income, where's the fun in that?
Reverend Evil
Posted 08:15pm 01/8/11
Or you can just play normally without buying stuff with real money.
Posted 08:23pm 01/8/11
This seems to be the direction the entire gaming industry is going in, and it sucks to be honest.
Subscriptions, micro transactions, trading real dollars for virtual items that are worth d*** all when the publisher decides to switch the servers off, providing weapon upgrades that bring in-game advantages to those with extra cash to splash around...

Doesn't anybody play games because they're fun any more?
Posted 08:33pm 01/8/11
1. the playing of video or computer games.
2. Gambling
3.Child games or sports
Posted 08:49pm 01/8/11
Companies don't give a s*** anymore Daz. As soon as the suits realised they could make millions, they jumped at it.
Posted 09:06pm 01/8/11
Wow no mods that is one stupid move, surely they have to change their mind on that one.
Posted 09:20pm 01/8/11
The whole no mods thing has been known for a long while now. Nothing new there.

Obes I would agree, not being able to cash out my money at any time is pretty cheap.

You can also buy gold with real world cash. Should be interesting to see the coversion rate.

The beta sounds pretty short, only a portion of the first act. Either way, WANT.
Posted 09:27pm 01/8/11
The more I hear about this game the less I want it.
Posted 10:01pm 01/8/11
this rpg for real momey stuff is serious bzns
Posted 10:53pm 01/8/11
this could be interesting - in teh hands of any other gaming company im sure they would screw it up but if anyone can do it right blizzard can - I'm a big auction house freak anyway so this will make things even more fun for me :)
Posted 11:43pm 01/8/11
Companies don't give a s*** anymore Daz. As soon as the suits realised they could make millions, they jumped at it.

i could be wrong but i think that, if this helps keep the gaming industry stay alive and get stronger, i am all for it. as long as prices aren't excessive i don't really see the problem.. this is a way for the developers to give the consumer value added services while continuing to support the games they develop and turn over a profit (thats kinda the point of a busniess, profit that is)..

anyway thats how i see it..

last edited by TufNuT at 23:43:19 01/Aug/11
Posted 12:09am 02/8/11
I do like that this moves micro-transactions to the player's hands. Sure Blizzard have stated they will take a fixed cut but this could play out to be interesting for the consumers who choose to partake.

Either way i am looking forward to many late nights destroying my mouse buttons again (even with the new keyboard bindings/controls)
Posted 12:36am 02/8/11
The monetary factor isn't a huge concern, though it can be easy to lose track of how much money is sunk over time.
A lot of the games with micro transactions you're not forced to buy the stuff that's on offer, you can spend a large amount of time to get them but that feels like working more than gaming.

I reckon that's the bigger concern - once the game company has fingers are in the pie for extra revenue from in-game stuff after release the incentive for them is to maximise that revenue, potentially to the detriment of the underlying game. It can even swing so far that the entire purpose of the game is to buy the virtual crap on offer. (e.g. Farmville, etc)

Looks like I might be one of the few that is concerned about the trend though, so time for me to go back to waving my newspaper and yelling at kids to get off the lawn. :)
Posted 02:49am 02/8/11
People are acting like these real money transactions are required to play the game. Don't like it? Don't spend any of your real money. Simple. As has been mentioned heaps already, all this stuff went on in Diablo 2 as well, just not officially through Blizzard.

Either way i am looking forward to many late nights destroying my mouse buttons again (even with the new keyboard bindings/controls)

What are these new keyboard bindings/controls you speak of?
Posted 03:02am 02/8/11
Yeah, while I'm not a fan of the bulls*** that goes on in games like Farmville, I don't really see the issue with this. I mean, its just something extra, you could still play it the same way you played D2 and I'm sure you wont suffer, its not like Diablo is a game thats been known for being stingy with the loot. I never grinded for gear in Diablo 2, or got involved with any kind of gear trading/selling thing, I'd assume its only the really serious people who'd get into that anyway.

This way, if you want to be super serious with the game, you have a choice: spend time or spend money. You'll achieve exactly the same results either way, just depends what is more valuable to you. Some people love the grind, and are happy to spend hours playing the game and amassing their own stockpile of wealth, and more power to them. But I know if I was gonna do it, I'd just spend real money, cos I'd rather drop $5 or $10 or whatever on some gold and some gear than spend the time grinding for it, cos I just don't have that much spare time.

I guess the big potential downside to it is if nobody uses the in-game currency version of the AH, and just uses the real money version. Like everyone just starts listing their loot on the real money AH because they want to make real money from it, and then the people who want to buy gear with ingame currency from the ingame gold AH wont have much of a selection of stuff to buy.
Posted 07:42am 02/8/11
Not sure if it's been mentioned but apparantly blizzard are doing an ubisoft which requires you to be online at all times even for SP. If this is true I have serious doubts wether I will buy it or not.

EDIT - Oh and mods are “expressly prohibited”

Yup set sail for fail.

last edited by DM at 07:42:56 02/Aug/11
Reverend Evil
Posted 07:45am 02/8/11
I reckon you'd be fine DM unless your net connection is crapolla. Also it doesn't worry me because I only play games on my pc so I wouldn't be taking the game away from the house.
Posted 07:50am 02/8/11
I read somewhere that their reasoning while also for piracy, it's so you can take your SP character online and they can be sure that it's hack free. Something like the character is stored with them, but you can play solo. So in that way it's a good idea but with the s***** ping times we get here to battle.net i'll never be going online to begin with.
Posted 08:20am 02/8/11
All characters are stored server side DM, it's supposed to stop the character hacks that D2 was filled with.

If the real money auction house stops all the spamming, and server side characters stops all the hacked characters it's shaping up to be better than d2. I'm not exactly the kind of person to put money into a game in such a way as buying gear, but it is kind of cool that blizzard are not oblivious to the fact this stuff happened regardless.

Kos the bindings are just action keys you can set abilities to i think they only use 1-5 similar to an MMO action bar. its not something you HAVE to use, but it sounds better than the quick swap buttons from D2
Posted 08:27am 02/8/11
so i'm guessing gold is going to be some rare commodity in d3 as oppose to what it was in d2 where you'd drop piles of it because you couldn't hold anymore ?
Posted 08:31am 02/8/11
Kos the bindings are just action keys you can set abilities to i think they only use 1-5 similar to an MMO action bar. its not something you HAVE to use, but it sounds better than the quick swap buttons from D2

Damn! I was really hoping for some sort of complimentary WASD movement system for long walks, etc. (not replacing click to do freaking everything, just as well as).
Posted 08:33am 02/8/11
Only mod I ever used for D2 was one that gave me larger screen rez. The no mods things is a nothing.
Posted 08:35am 02/8/11
so i'm guessing gold is going to be some rare commodity in d3 as oppose to what it was in d2 where you'd drop piles of it because you couldn't hold anymore ?

Most definitely. Gold will actually retain value. One advantage of having a game like WoW under their belts is that Blizz are essentially experts in running a virtual economy.
Posted 08:44am 02/8/11
so what the f do we do at the start when you'd just collect everything you found first up and sold them for gold so you could get basic armour etc when you're really low level

or will there be like bronze/silver for the lower down stuff?
Posted 09:11am 02/8/11
Not sure if it's been mentioned but apparantly blizzard are doing an ubisoft which requires you to be online at all times even for SP. If this is true I have serious doubts wether I will buy it or not.

when are you ever *not* online when you game? it'll be just like starcraft 2
Posted 09:42am 02/8/11
It's not just you having to be online. The Auth Server has to be online as well.
I'm online all the time when I game, so I really doubt it will be a problem for me. I would still like to play a game I paid for if either my connection or their server went down though. For Auth worries I don't think the location of the server will matter... but playing with friends, all in Aus, on a server located in some other country sounds pretty stupid and will probably affect gameplay, which sucks.

As for the item trading, it happened in D2 (I never did) and it didn't affect me in anyway as I only played with friends. Pretty sure the same thing will happen with D3. I have no problem with this. Eventually I think Bliz will start selling items, just like they did in WoW. As long as these are purely cosmetic, I wouldn't have a problem with that either.
Posted 01:12pm 02/8/11
Mmm, we shall see how this goes. With the always online authentication, I'm not to bothered. People who are able to afford Diablo III are most likely able to stay online to play. Hell, all my LAN's now have everyone connected, because internet connections these days can handle more then 2 people.
Posted 03:11pm 02/8/11
Why are people suprised its online only though, wasn't Starcraft 2 the same thing?
Posted 03:29pm 02/8/11
im still buying this!! hurry up
Posted 04:36pm 02/8/11
when are you ever *not* online when you game? it'll be just like starcraft 2
All the time. I was playing zelda on the gamecube the other day.

I might buy this game them pirate it.
Posted 05:44pm 02/8/11
Anyone know how the loot will work?

Is it CLICKLCIKCLICKCLICKCLICK like D2 or will there be a rolling system like WOW/MMO's?
Posted 05:57pm 02/8/11
yes, the items that drop on the ground are YOURS. Only you can see them and others cannot pick them up until you pick them and re-drop them.

This removes the competition for drops and everyone gets drops randomly. Very cool system. I hated how US players would beat me in terms of lag.

I'm very excited about this. You could seriously make some money investing your time in this game now. I will most definitely be buying items I want, considering I've bought over 10 copies of d2 and still play the game and have not quit in 10 years :)
Posted 05:59pm 02/8/11
i'm pretty sure that was covered ages ago that it would automatically distributed, rather than douchebags just clicking the f*** out of s*** and stealing it
Posted 06:18pm 02/8/11
Hi! I'm one of those weird people that never got into Diablo. I played the first one for about 10 minutes and then went "this is boring" and went back to playing Doom.

This seems like a cool idea for the reasons Nats described - it takes away the "black market" aspect and integrates it into a way that hopefully won't disrupt the economy as much.

However, this sort of makes the game sound a little like one of those free2play ones where the business model is to just cash in off you buying stacks of in-game content - except done a little craftier so a) it's not free2play at all, you have to buy it and b) you don't actually think you're buying all this in-game content because they've integrated it so cleverly they're just making money off people trading it.

So it sounds, to me, like an interesting approach. Knowing that Blizzard aren't a bunch of rank amateurs I'm sure they've thought this through in a way that will make it engaging to play - and the fact that they're focusing on auctions being their moneyspinner makes me feel a little more confident that they're not going to just gouge you all by constantly introducing new items with larger numbers that they expect you to buy.
Posted 06:24pm 02/8/11
RMT in these genres in even pay to play games is far from new.
Sony via SOE and Everquest had premium server where you essentially had a SLA of an hour for GM resolution of problems and other random useless perks. They had several servers where RMT for items and even characters was allowed.

Interestingly it didn't stamp out blackmarket at all.
Gold spammers still exist. All that happened is Sony made more money.
Posted 07:27pm 02/8/11
it wont stamp out the blackmarket at all because only the casual people will be playing on the "non-ladder" where you can use RMT to buy items. While the more hardcore ppl play on the ladder where integrity of items wont be questioned.

and just like sony. blizzard are going to make squillions off the casuals. woo for them.
Posted 07:37pm 02/8/11
trog unlike those games that are free that base their models around buying content pretty much force you to buy items to be able to get anywnere as far as i've heard

i don't think you *need* to buy anything to play the game like you always could in d2
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