How the real-money auction house feature almost ruined ‘Diablo III’

For the massive number of fans eagerly awaiting the third and latest installment in the acclaimed Blizzard role-playing series “Diablo,” to say D3 started off on the wrong foot is an understatement. The game was a huge disappointment, mainly due to the inclusion of a real-money auction feature.

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For one, gamers had waited 12 years for the game’s release in May 2012 only to be confronted by a beta-like version. The game had lots of glitches, and the mechanics were incredibly punishing; monsters were too powerful and finding good gear was nearly impossible. Then there’s the great consequence of the auction house design: most players spent more time buying and selling and sniping items on the main auction menu instead of playing the game. It was the same place where those good gear were being offered. And for actual money.

This was a deal-breaker for many players expecting a refinement of features from “Diablo II.” While the auction house provided an investment opportunity for those with lots of time on their hands to farm for gear, the real winners were those with money to spend, as they got the most overpowered gear.

By the time the game’s expansion “Reaper of Souls” came out in 2014, the developers had abandoned the model. And with good reason, as the removal of the auction house signaled the beginning of the game’s rise and renewed playability. And D3 is still going strong in 2017.

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Diana Wylde is a student of computer science from Duke University. She is a huge computer game fan and spends a lot of time playing popular games. Drop by this blog for news and updates on popular gaming titles.


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