Having Diamonds in the auction house is an important feature that was planned from the get-go. It allows for seamless trading and player-controlled price fluctuations that keep all items obtainable for everyone. It's about having the freedom to play multiple ways. Options are more numerous than simply paying and having everything opened up or not paying and being stuck. With RoM's cash-shop items being integrated into the title's gameplay, there's a grayscale that lets players have many more options in how they want to play.
It's not an overly complex issue, but one worth looking back on. Getting Diamonds back in the auction house isn't a lost cause, but the issue has dragged on to the point that long time players may have given up all hope. This edition of Lost Pages of Taborea is all about looking back at the beginning and bringing players up to speed on diamonds in (or not-in) the auction house.
Initially, Runewaker always said it wanted the ability to trade Diamonds and gold in the auction house. I'm not aware of anywhere that it said differently.
The devs said that they initially took Diamonds out because they had a problem with fraud and moved to quickly staunch the bleeding. The ability to trade gold and Diamonds was mourned as the day came that Runewaker took out the feature.
Finding a solution
Runewaker did take a survey on the European forum a while back looking for possible work-arounds, solutions, or alternate answers and the devs came up with what I feel is the less-than-exciting NPC buyer and seller. The NPCs are static with price adjustments controlled by Runewaker or Frogster. I really dislike the idea and think it would damage the flexibility players have in balancing the market.
However, this system was never fully instituted past a preliminary testing phase on the European servers. In fact, it was never even tested on American servers (but the NPC's are standing there in Varanas' Central Plaza). Allowing a system like this could create an anchor-point to decide the price of a Diamond and that could affect every item in the game and take more control away from players. Initial testing led Runewaker to institute a minuscule amount of transactions allowed per day, and the prices between what you get for Diamonds compared to how many Diamonds you get for gold are wonky. It doesn't make much sense and my only logical conclusion is that Runewaker did this purposefully for some specific internal testing purposes where only it knew the logic.
On a related note: Diamonds are still traded. Depending on which payment method you choose, you can get unlocked Diamonds which allow for gifting items. So players are still enjoying a rich experience of being able to buy items from players who directly gift them. This player work-around comes with the risk factor of getting ripped off. One player has to gift the item directly to another player and then trust that the buyer will send them the gold through the mail. It's not a horrible system, but it's not as easy as buying and selling Diamonds in the auction house. It was much quicker, safer and easier to visit the auction house and find Diamonds on demand.
A lot of players got excited during testing of the Chapter 4 beta. If you were one of the lucky players to make it into the beta and had never seen Diamonds in the auction house before (and bothered to check the auction house), you would have seen the old system back in action. It got a lot of players -- including yours truly -- excited. But the system never made it into the live patch. It's likely Diamond trading was back in the auction house during the beta to make it much easier for players to get what they needed quickly during the short life of the beta. It's proof that Diamonds in the auction house is a very helpful function.
Trading diamonds is important
The absence of Diamonds in the auction house doesn't separate free players from paying ones as long as gifting is still possible. Frogster has also added a few of the harder to obtain cash-shop only items into the Phirius Tokens section of the shop. Coveted Purified Fusion Stones can be bought purely with Phirius Tokens by any player whether they bought diamonds or not. But the token prices are quite high -- a lot of dailies need to be completed in order to earn enough tokens.
The ability to take Diamonds into the game is important because it allows non-payers to get any of the cash-shop items. Many cash-shop items are designed to be playable. There are convenience items like better potions, but a lot of the other items are tools that are useless unless a player uses them properly. A level-30 and a level-60 player can both use a Purfied Fusion Stone and wind up with very different armor because they used drops from dungeons or they saved up a lot of gold to buy mana stones off the auction house. Either way, it's part of the gameplay.
Through any mix of the many currencies available and the time and money a player has at his disposal, one can choose from many ways to continuously play RoM. Breaking the ability to gain cash-shop items via gameplay could be a very bad idea.
A lot of players are to a point where they can say they grew up with RoM having never seen Diamonds available as a tradeable commodity on the auction house. Some players may have lost all hope, but we really don't know if Diamonds will never return. News was sparse for long periods of time between the period when devs removed Diamonds and the survey announcements, and again after Runewaker implemented the exchange NPCs.
I am hopeful that Runewaker finds a solution in implementing the old system over any new one. Is there a better way? I don't know, but hopefully a new layer of security can be implemented server-side that would protect them from the fraud while allowing players to enjoy the freedom that comes from being able to trade Diamonds.
Each Monday, Jeremy Stratton delivers Lost Pages of Taborea, a column filled with guides, news, and opinions for Runes of Magic. Whether it's a community roundup for new players or an in-depth look at the Rogue/Priest combo, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.