Dan wants to know how the new Diablo 3 auction house stops gold sellers.
You say that the Diablo 3 money auction house will stop gold sellers but won't the gold sellers just use the auction house like everyone else? Doesn't this make the problem worse?
Yes, gold sellers will use the legitimate means of selling gold through the Blizzard-approved channels -- and that is kind of the point. See, the problem most people have with gold selling isn't necessarily the fact that buying gold equates to cheating in a video game. We already buy items and "cheat "in almost every game we play. The real problem with gold selling is where the gold comes from and the ramifications and consequences of purchasing gold.
Gold in WoW or Diablo doesn't come from magical gold land, where elves pick virtual currency off trees and dance to the sweet, melodic tones of Ke$ha. Gold often comes from shady companies, mostly from China, where player's hard work and security is compromised so hackers can smash and grab gold and sell it back to the very people getting their accounts hacked and their credit cards stolen. The fact that the authenticator is almost a necessity for account security because WoW accounts are targeted so heavily by hackers is appalling. The Diablo auction house cannot stop these activities, but Blizzard could make it less profitable in hopes that it will diminish.
The Diablo real-money auction house isn't designed to stop gold selling but rather to stop the seedy aspects of gold selling that are hurting Blizzard, Blizzard's customers, and the infrastructure surrounding its games. If you take out the credit card fraud and account hacking, create a sanctioned, Blizzard-run venue for the activity that is already happening, and remove the risk, everyone gets involved in the market. Essentially, to stop the risky parts of gold selling, Blizzard has turned everyone into gold sellers. It's pretty ingenious.
And I think that's a good point to reiterate -- this activity is already happening. It's been happening for over a decade in the Diablo franchise alone. Players and dupers create and hack items out of thin air, sell these items to players on unsanctioned auction houses, make a profit, and leave Blizzard out of the loop. It's not fair to Blizzard or to the players trying to be legitimate. This is the response, and I think it's a good one.
Melanie asked me via email this simple question.
Mat, can you please explain how this system works and why it would be good for WoW as well as Diablo 3? Thanks.
I made you a picture, Melanie. I hope you enjoy it.
I think the real-money auction house would work well in WoW
as well as Diablo,
needs the same attention to the economic problems and gray market transactions as Diablo
does. Players create or find items; players sell items. Players make gold; players sell gold. You get rid of the seedier aspects of gold selling while at the same time cutting Blizzard in on the action, and players get their choice of currency to spend on items made in game. Plus, you'd have to consolidate the auction houses, which would make my suggestion
from a few Lawbringers ago come true, and that's awesome.
The ingenious part of the whole endeavor is that Blizzard not only takes cuts from the posting and sales of auctions on the real-money auction house, but there is the option to keep that money in-house or in-brand. Basically, instead of getting your cash money from the sale of an item, you can deposit those funds back into your Blizzard Battle.net wallet and use it to purchase digital items from the Blizzard store, including WoW
game time, WoW
companion pets, digital copies of games, etc. It's a huge windfall for Blizzard, where money only comes into the system and only digital products, with unlimited quantities, leave the store. It's all net gain. The more money stays in the system, the better it is for Blizzard.