That’s right dungeon crawler fans, Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III will be featuring an auction house where players can buy and sell in game items for real, out of game, cash. These little black market sales have been going on since the stone ages of online gaming, through services such as eBay and the like, and it seems that Blizzard has finally decided they want to place a monopoly on the action. Blizzard will be taking a small, and thankfully flat, cut of the profits for every item sold on this new deviously designed auction house. But don’t despair! You will still be able to rake in your own rewards, as the money you earned through selling in game items can either be spent on Blizzard products, through their web site, or sent straight to your pocket (once again, for a ‘nominal’ fee), via a yet to be named third party company. Heh, and you I thought WoW’s auction house was addictive…
While this news might set off an alarm in your head that makes you scream: “No! Now ninja looters will have monetary encouragement for trying to steal my epic treasures! This is horrible!” You can quit your shouting and sit your panicking fat ass back down, because loot will be handed out quite differently in Diablo III than in most dungeon crawlers and online RPG’s, by rewarding players with a personal and randomly generated set of loot which will be specific to each person, freeing us from the worry and necessity of need/greed rolls. So try as they might, those filthy ninjas won’t be able to ruin your gaming nights ever again while you enjoy the glory that will be Diablo III, even if they wanted to.
Once you have purchased an item from the auction house, it is completely yours, and you will be free to use it, trade it to a friend in game, or post it right back up on the auction house in an attempt to turn a profit. This last option requires a certain degree of patience that seems to be beyond some gamers, but hardly all of them. Sales on the auction house will be made anonymously, so the true kings of the market place might never be truly named or known; but mark my words: there will be people who find a way to make more than a living off this. All around the world, we will start to see nerds living in mansions built in the name of Diablo III. And your parents told you video games would never take you anywhere…tisk, tisk.
Apparently this auction house has been in the works for more than a year (18-20 months according to Blizzard), but I have to admit that this wasn’t what I was expecting to see when I heard rumors of microtransactions coming to Diablo III. In fact, I seem to recall writing about the merits of microtransactions in online games not so long ago, however, this wickedly brilliant idea from Blizzard seems to put an entirely different spin on the matter. I have always credited the minds behind Blizzard with being the gods of virtual addiction and ingenious schemes for making copious amounts of cash, but this time I really have to say: “Hat’s off to you Blizzard….you brilliantly clever devils you…” *smile*
What do you think?