It’s no secret that I loves me some Diablo III. I’ve spent a few hundred hours kicking around demons and finding phat lewts while chasing down the big man, but after hitting top level and messing with it for a bit on a couple of characters I completely lost interest. Why? The loot chase might as well not exist in the PC version of Diablo III. You know what keeps people interested in Diablo games? The loot chase.
After the jump, all that changes…
So when, earlier today, Blizzard announced the complete removal of the gold and money auction houses today, I was elated. I’m sure quite a few of you were happy to hear about the dismantling of this horrible experiment. I’m also sure that some of you have no idea what I’m talking about and why it’s such a big deal. That’s why I’m here for you, pumpkin. Come sit down and I’ll tell you a tale. It begins way back in the summer of 2000….
My friends and I had played Diablo and its expansion to its fullest extent. We smashed demons and fought our way through the horrific tunnels below Tristram and had a damned fine time doing it. So, when Diablo II launched, we were all about it. Ten years and the Lord of Destruction later, we were still all about it – breaking out the game every year or so and tearing it up for a few weeks – and were stoked about the announcement of a new Diablo title. As new screenshots and information flowed out, I became super excited. I love the look, the atmosphere and the overall design of the game… except one small, nagging point: the auction house. I forced that thought to the back of my mind.
When anyone would question the auction house, I’d respond with World of Warcraft. “The WoW auction house works great,” was my standard opening gambit. “Why should it be different here?” (Was anyone ever so young and naive?) If that argument didn’t work, I’d often come back with the fact that people used web sites to do their item trades and sales. How can you be mad about Blizzard monetizing something that’s already monetized? This lowers the chance of getting ripped off and allows itemization to be standardized without having to consider certain X factors. I even convinced myself of it. Then I played the game.
At first, the auction house isn’t that big of a deal. You go through normal and then nightmare looking for functional stuff that you’re sure you’ll replace. You then make it through hell mode and move into inferno. “Surely I’ll get some good drops here,” you think. However, you’d be wrong.
What ended up happening most of the time was you’d get drops – mostly lower level – that could be somewhat useful, and you’d get high level drops that everyone could use except you. This necessitated going to the auction house and putting up the awesome item you just found for some arbitrary amount of gold or real world money and then buying whatever items you need for your current character. This one notion ruined the high-level game for me. I stopped playing Diablo III cold turkey – the magic was gone. Then they brought the magic right on back.
With the release of the console version of Diablo III came the news that the auction house wouldn’t make it onto consoles. For me, this almost makes the console version a better game sight unseen. And after I seen the sight, I still held this opinion. Because of this, I had decided (last night, mind you) that I’d abandon the PC version of Diablo III and just play on my 360 copy. It would seem that someone at Blizzard heard my cries of disappointment as this morning they announced the end of the gold and real money auction houses to go along with their new loot redesign.
Well played, Blizzard. Welcome back to the fold, Diablo III for PC.