Diablo 3’s latest announcements seem to be all the rage these days. To recap Diablo 3 will:
- require a persistent online connection to play (more details here).
- feature a player-to-player auction house in which you can sell in-game items for both gold and real world doubloons.
- not allow any modding whatsoever.
- be released at the end of 2011, maybe; most likely in the first quarter of 2012.
The reactions to this news have been largely negative. I don’t agree with that sentiment largely because as an MMO player, I don’t have a problem with a persistent online connection, and also because is Blizzard wants to legitimize the eBay selling of items for real money and cash in on the action themselves, I don’t really have an issue with it. It’s a shrewd sales decision, and doesn’t bother me in the least bit. The lack of mods, however, is a little ill-informed.
The same, however, cannot be said for everyone else:
- Duncan Geere of Wired UK calls the legitimizing of in-game auction “ugly”, and that the lack of modding is “utterly baffling”. For some reasons, she believes it won’t launch until the end of 2012 though. Not sure where she got that bit of info.
- Ian Hamilton over at The Orange County Register feels that this new auction house system will turn a hobby into a part-time job as all players will fee pressured to sell items on the AH, hoping to make a quick buck. He is also greatly concerned over the IRS’s reaction, as many now claim that the sale of virtual goods should be considered income.
- Chris Morris at Gamasutra feels that the fanbase is either overreacting, or really isn’t all that upset in the first place, just blowing smoke. Blizzard isn’t a dumb company, he says, and it didn’t get to become the behemoth it is today by not catering to it’s loyalists.
- Blessing of Kings‘ Rohan had the first legitimate argument I read against the system. It will legalize and even encourage farming, and I agree.
- Anjin from Bullet Points isn’t all too happy though. I think. Look at his screenshot and decide for yourself!
- Screaming Monkey‘s lonomonkey is screaming all monkey-like about being really uncertain about this move. He’s exercising the prudent option of waiting and seeing how this pans out.
- Klepsakovic from Troll Racials plans to wait a few days for everyone to forget about this and find something else to complain about. Fair enough!
- Player Versus Developer‘s Green Armadillo doesn’t place much faith in the “pay to win” gripe. Citing Runes of Magic as an example of players upgrading their gear through frequent content patches, he is more concerned about the indirect effects of putting the developer in the business of making money when players replace their gear.
- Spinks over at Spinksville feels that involving real money will give a very tangible shape to the opportunity cost associated with playing MMOs or persistent online games, and isn’t too excited about the utter lack of mods.
- Big ol’ bear Wilhelm Arcturus, The Ancient Gaming Noob, had his vacation interrupted, so he isn’t a happy camper to begin with But he feels that the signs for this move were all around us, such as lack of LAN for StarCraft II and the implementation of the Real ID system. His sentiments on Blizzard cashing in on the item trade action is the same as mine: it is a smart business decision and it puts the control directly in their hands.
- Tobold cites Eve Online as an example of the auction house system already underway, and calls the tribal mentality of fan-bases hypocritical.
- Ceraphus at Variant Avatar has an intelligent argument for why we could see this system (if successful) in WoW or the upcoming “Titan”.
- Ferrel at Epic Slant doesn’t feel this will really make that much of a difference at any level, but he calls shenanigans on the blizzard argument that this system allows players with less time and more money to advance their characters.
- Finally, Scott Jennings over at Broken Toys, a game developer himself, sees the logic behind the auction house move. He predicts, and I agree, that World of Warcraft and StarCraft II were the last Blizzard titles without a built-in RMT system.