Blizzard has announced a plan to close Diablo 3's real-money and gold auction houses next year, according to an announcement today by game director Josh Mosqueira and production director John Hight. Hight called the auction houses, where players could pick up hard-to-find, in-game items for real money or in-game currency, "a double-edged sword."
When we last checked in with Blizzard about the state of Diablo 3, a great cheer went up across Sanctuary as it put forth the clear goal to move away from auction house farming as a core mechanic. A new dev blog has just rolled off of the brimstone-scented presses, further detailing these plans, as well as some potential solutions to Rare and Legendary items that should make fewer of them seem like more trash with a differently-colored name.
The auction house has been the most consistently-criticized element of Diablo 3. Many players feel the hack-and-slasher has been balanced around throwing you a bunch of gear you don't need or want, so you'll sell it to players who do and hand-pick your upgrades from a spreadsheet. This process isn't as fun as getting the gear you want from the half-exploded corpse of a demon. Blizzard agrees that this is an issue, stating in a massive community Q&A on the official forums that it's something they're addressing.
Diablo 3 has been causing controversy with South Korea's ratings board for ages. Diablo 3's real money auction house has been the main source of the problem. The idea of playing for financial gain conflicted with South Korea's stern anti-gambling ethos, but the problem has now been resolved. Dualshockers noticed the appearance of an official 18 rating for Diablo 3 on the South Korean game rating board site. Blizzard have had to make concessions to guarantee the rating, however.
In a flurry of alliteration, Blizzard’s Battle.net Balance has finally been unleashed. The service allows gamers to add funds to their account using online transaction services such as PayPal, and it’s being tested in the Diablo III beta. The account also gives gamers somewhere to store hard-earned cash accumulated in Diablo III’s auction house.
The big question is whether or not gamers will be able to withdraw funds from their Battle.net Balances into the real world. According to Blizzard’s FAQ, this will be allowed “in certain regions”, but a fee will be charged. It’s also optional in Diablo III’s auction house, so you can still purchase items via traditional methods like PayPay and credit cards. Blizzard states that standard auction house fees will be applied to transactions regardless of where they’ve come from.
iPhone-owning World of Warcraft owners rejoice! Blizzard's already excellent Armory App has just been updated with Guild Chat. That means you can keep up-to-date with your Guild's current affairs no matter where you are or what you're doing. Convenient.
Read on for the details.