Monday, August 1, 2011

Diablo 3 using in-game gold and real-life money



This morning World of Warcraft and Diablo Fans a like woke up a piece of absolutely mind blowing news. Real-life money used for in-game transactions? Has Blizzard gone off their rocker? Who cares let's make some money!


In short, there will be 2 separate Auction Houses, one that utilizes in-game gold, and one that utilized real-life currency, and players will be able to choose which Auction House they wish to use per individual transaction - in other words you won't have to choose between the two.

The way I imagine it working, will be if you want quick, easy sales - use the in-game gold auction house. If you have a very very rare, high-ticket item that you don't mind being patient with, use the real-life money auction house. Of course there is no reason why you wouldn't put either of those category items on either of the auction houses, it just seems less likely right now.

First thing NOTE: this information was posted on MMO-Champion, WITHOUT any source links. They state "Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment" but usually the words "Blizzard Entertainment is a hyperlink, this time it isn't - so take everything here with a grain of salt.

Sinuviel brought up a good question in one of the World of Warcraft related IRC channels:
Originally Posted by Sinuvial
Who is going to be able to check if it is Blizzard, or a player selling goods anyways? Blizzard Trader-X makes an account, uses some l33t getItem command and posts some pure profit items on the AH. Nobody can tell if he is an actual player, or a Blizzard employee!
Something else that I want to point out is Auction House cuts and Deposit Fees.
25 million players.
On average, each player sells 5 auctions per day.
Blizzard puts a 1 cent AH cut per auction.
25 million cents per day.

It's clear that, if this is true, Blizzard is finally facing the facts that Gold selling/buying is an unstoppable force. I just wonder what kind of exact effect this will have on the game's economy. Ever since pre-bc, players have been constantly bringing up the suggestion that Blizzard should allow buying and selling of gold with real-life currency straight from their website.

I'm not going to spam you guys with all the FAQ quotes by Blizzard, but I will post some of the more interesting ones that are more relevant to our community. When Blizzard releases more information and we get proper source quotes I'm sure one of the news team members will do an update post on the situation.





Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
Safe and Sanctified
The real-money auction house provides players with an easy-to-use, Blizzard-sanctioned way to collect money for items they obtain while playing Diablo III. It also helps protect players from the scams and theft often associated with questionable third-party sites by providing a secure, completely in-game method for purchasing and obtaining the items they want for their characters.
Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
How does the auction house system work?
Players can open the auction house interface from anywhere in the game to make purchases or list items for sale. Items can be sold from the shared stash (storage shared among all the characters on your Battle.net account) or from any individual character’s inventory. When posting the item, the seller picks whether it will be sold in the gold-based auction house or the currency-based auction house. The item is then held by the auction house system until the listing expires or a purchase is made. Items that are not sold are returned to the seller’s shared stash, and items that are sold are delivered to the winning bidder’s shared stash. In either case, the auction house system will deduct a nominal fixed transaction fee from the seller, the amount of which is determined by whether or not the item was sold (see below). For the currency-based auction house, players will have a few different options for how to pay for item purchases and receive funds for item sales, as discussed elsewhere in this FAQ. There may be differences in how this system will work in different regions of the world. We’ll provide further details at a later date.
Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
How is the transaction fee determined?
A nominal fixed transaction fee will be deducted from the seller for each item listed in the auction house. This fee consists of a fixed charge to list the item, which is assessed whether or not the item is successfully sold, and an additional fixed charge that is assessed only if the item is sold. Because the listing portion of the fee is charged even if the item doesn’t sell, it will be in the seller’s interest to list items he or she believes other players will be interested in, and to do so at a competitive price. Specific details related to the transaction fee for the currency-based auction house will vary by region and will be announced at a later date.

Please note that we plan to waive the listing portion of the fee for a limited number of transactions per account. In other words, for these transactions, the seller will only pay a transaction fee if the item is successfully sold, and that fee will not include the listing charge. We’ll have further details on this as well at a later date.

Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
Why are you creating a currency-based version of the auction house?
Our goal with all of our games is to ensure players have a highly enjoyable, rewarding, and secure experience. Acquiring items has always been an important part of the Diablo series, but the previous games have not had a robust, centralized system for facilitating trades, and as a result players have turned to inconvenient and potentially unsafe alternatives, such as third-party real-money-trading organizations. Many of the transactions between players and these organizations led to a poor player experience and countless customer-service issues involving scams and item/account theft, to name a few. To that end, we wanted to create a convenient, powerful, and fully integrated tool to meet the demand of players who wished to purchase or sell items for real-world currency, and who would likely have turned to a less-secure third-party service for this convenience.
Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
Does Blizzard plan to post weapons, armor, and other such items for sale in the currency-based version of the auction house?
The currency-based auction house is a place for players to purchase or sell items they’ve obtained within the game. Blizzard does not plan to post items that affect gameplay, such as gear or character-enhancing runestones, for sale in the auction house.
Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
Will Blizzard sell anything directly through the auction house?
We don't have any plans at this time to post items for sale in the auction house.
Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
What’s Blizzard’s cut?
As with other online auction sites and real-world auction houses, our fee structure will vary by region. However, we plan to collect a nominal fixed transaction fee for each item listed in the auction house. This fee consists of a fixed charge to list the item, which is assessed whether or not the item is successfully sold, and an additional fixed charge that is assessed only if the item is sold. The listing portion of the fee, which helps encourage sensible listing prices and discourage the mass posting of items that are very low quality or would be of little interest to other players, will be waived for a limited number of transactions per account. For players who opt to have the proceeds of their auction house sales go to their third-party payment service account instead of to their Battle.net account, Blizzard will collect a separate “cash-out” fee. Specific details regarding these fees will be announced at a later date.
Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
Can we buy gold from the currency-based auction house?
Players will be able to buy and sell gold through the currency-based auction house at whatever the current market price is, as established by the player community.
Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
How do I cash out from the currency-based auction house?
As an advanced feature, players will have the option of attaching an account with an approved third-party payment service to their Battle.net account. Once this has been completed, proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house can be deposited into their third-party payment service account. “Cashing out” would then be handled through the third-party payment service. Note that this process will be subject to applicable fees charged by Blizzard and the third-party payment service. Also, any proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house that have been deposited into the Battle.net account will not be transferrable to the third-party payment service account. Not all regions will support this advanced feature at launch. Region-specific details, as well as details regarding which third-party payment services will be supported and the fee that Blizzard will charge for the cash-out process, will all be provided at a later date.
Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
Will buying or selling items in the auction house reveal my identity?
No. All player transactions in the gold-based and currency-based auction houses will be anonymous, and neither your real name nor your character name will be revealed to other players.

Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
Which regions will have currency-based auction house support?
We plan to roll out the currency-based version of the auction house in as many regions as possible with the launch of Diablo III. In regions where the currency-based auction house will not be available, players will still have access to a gold-based auction house. We'll share more details in the future.
Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard
Will there be separate auction houses in each region? Will I be allowed to bid on items from players outside my own region?
Due to various factors, including technology, language, and currency, there will be multiple separate auction houses serving different player communities around the world. We’ll share specific details on how the auction houses will work for each region as we get closer to launch.
The rest you can find on MMO-Champion if you want to read more.

The fact that Blizzard themselves will be selling gold for real life money will be an absolute killer to the gold buying and selling private industry, but I'm sure there will be a few who try and undercut Blizzard or even dupe players into thinking that they are Blizzard.

What about bots? I'm sure we will see an absolutely insane boom in the amount of bots running around the show, trying to scrape up as many shiny items as possible to trade for real cash.

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