Blizzard Will Let You Sell Your Diablo III Loot For Real Money

Blizzard won't be the only one potentially making a profit onDiablo III. Anyone who plays the dark fantasy hack and slash game could, thanks to its Auction House, a new in-game service that allows players to buy and sell loot not just for virtual gold, but for cold, hard cash.

That's just one of the many changes coming to the next Diablo and an updated, the service that powers Blizzard's multiplayer.

The other substantial, but perhaps not unexpected, game changer is the requirement that all Diablo III players be online to play Blizzard's next game, even if they plan on slaying demons solo. Blizzard says it's implementing the internet connection requirement to combat cheating and improve the overall multiplayer experience — plus keep its new, player-run economy stable. That may prove a controversial stipulation, not being able to play a game of Diablo without an internet connection, but it's the new Auction House, the eBay-like market that enables players to exchange virtual goods for in-game gold or real money that is perhaps Blizzard's most surprising change.

Blizzard Entertainment invited a group of game journalists and Diablo enthusiast fan sites to its Irvine, CA headquarters last week to show off the beta version of Diablo III and discuss the improvements coming to its multiplayer platform. Blizzard's Rob Pardo, executive vice president of game design and Diablo II designer, explained to the group why the developer is implementing those changes.

Pardo talked about's "areas for improvement" specifically related to the Diablo experience. This included Diablo II gameplay annoyances like single player characters having divided access to the game's multiplayer mode; a lack of persistence in online characters, which can also expire if not regularly played; and the inefficiency of finding, meeting and making friends online. Cheating, player-killing and a makeshift player-developed economy (built on the trading of rare Stones of Jordan from Diablo II) were also signs to Blizzard that it needed to rethink how worked with its action RPG.

With Diablo III, Blizzard says it will update with new features that change the way Diablo fans play with each other. That includes improved matchmaking, the ability to see and speak with your friends connected to other Blizzard games (StarCraft II, World of Warcraft) and dynamic cooperative play.

Diablo III players will always be connected to their friends through, Blizzard says, with a persistent friends list, cross-game chat and the ability to join up with other players online at any time. That means that to play Diablo III, players will be required to have a constant internet connection, even if they're facing Diablo and his demonic siblings alone. Unlike Blizzard's StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, players cannot play the game's campaign offline.

Blizzard says the always-on internet connection also helps prevent cheating, item duplication and character hacking, the greater annoyances that would interfere with (or completely ruin) the Diablo III Auction House.

Pardo said Blizzard built the Auction House to facilitate improved item trading between players, to give them a safe environment in which to exchange, search for, buy and sell their gear. It is not, according to the developer, a Blizzard store designed to sell directly to players.

Built into the game's client, the Diablo III Auction House will let players swap items — weapons, gems, armour, runestones, even characters — for other items, in-game gold or regional, real-world currency. Buyers can search by character class and item type, with the option to auto-bid on or instant buy virtual goods. Transactions between players are handled anonymously.

On cash-based transactions, Blizzard will charge sellers both a listing fee and a "nominal fixed transaction fee" if the item finds a buyer. The developer says the listing fee was designed to prevent players from putting up every item they own up for sale. It plans to offer an unspecified amount of free listings to Diablo III players who might want to experiment with selling their game loot.

Diablo III players who opt to sell in-game gear for real world currency have the option of funelling the cash proceeds into one of two accounts: an e-balance that players can use to buy other Blizzard products (games, World of Warcraft game time, virtual pets) and an unannounced third party payment provider that will simply let them cash out their winnings (minus another fee from the third party).

Those playing in the game's still-unspecified "Hardcore" difficulty, which has in the past meant player deaths are permanent, are restricted from using the Auction House.

So, why is Blizzard adopting a player-led economy that introduces the tangle of real-world money? Blizzard says its great for both buyers and sellers, that it works well with the design of the Diablo item system of randomized loot drops and it adds depth to the long term game. It also helps monetise the game, naturally, which has enjoyed subscription-free multiplayer for the past decade.

"If Blizzard doesn't do this, I'm not so naive to think that it's not going to happen," Pardo said. In the past, he said, Blizzard has tried to stamp out grey and black market sales of in-game items are bought and sold with real-world money. The Auction House is something players want, Pardo said, now it has Blizzard's official blessing.


    thats cool.

    Dun Dun Duuuuuuuuun!

    I can picture skilled players having a business on the side.


    Now if only they would allow me to sell my wow account legally I'd be a mega happy chappy.

    This is always-online DRM done right. Add features in their own right that necessitate being online and its all good.

      So because other people want to buy and sell items, I'm not required to have an always-on internet connection whilst playing through my single player campaign of D3?

      How is this any different to the UbiSoft model? I'm not buying Diablo to be a pseudo-MMO that needs a full time connection - I'm buying it to go grinding by myself. This is a total dick move.

      No it's not.

      There is not a single feature there that i believe is needed. And most i won't use.

      The only thing i might use is co-op. And 99% of the time that will be in a lan based situation.

      So once again always on DRM costing them another sale

    My enthusiasm for this game just f***ing plummeted.

    They go from swearing that they'd never sell performance based / non-vanity items for real world money in WoW to allowing players to throw money at their character to win.

    It's not only encouraging (legitimate) gold farming, but it means that arguements over loot will get 'real'.

      Remind me again where it says you can buy stuff that "matters" for your wow character. It says pretty clearly "vanity pets" and "game time".

      You're not only comparing apples and oranges, but stoning them to death.

      All they've done is taken a system that already existed, one that will happen, and made it official. If that's what you're upset about, then you're complaining about the company making money on it's game.

        I didn't, I'm talking about their stance in WoW being the polar opposite for Diablo 3.

        And they didn't just take a preexisting system and make it their own. That's like saying there's nothing wrong with the Government deciding to sell weed because there's already an underground market for it.

    oho.. I think we'll see a lot of goldminin here..

      This could actually cut down on gold sellers.

      In d2 plenty of people would buy gold, and then buy an item. This could just cut down the middle man.

      Cuts down on the amount of users dealing with shady people. A good amount of phising scams/hacks/keyloggers are due to gold selling sites.

      Aslong as they don't open a cash shop and start selling this stuff, i'm fine with it.

    I'm looking forward to Blizzard finding itself responsible for all the legal ramifications of providing an income to its players.

      "Terms of Service

      1) We are not responsible for loss of income using the ingame DiabloIII Auction House system..."

      Easy fix. Real good bit is going to be if they can drive the gold farming prices so low it causes loss of income for that.

    Really isn't any better than what plenty of people do on WoW now. You dominate the AH and just play the market, before you know it, you have gold mules and selling off gold by the 10k for cash.

    This will just promote item hacking, thus more hackers will appear on

    Always on DRM (basically) and a real money fueled AH.... Sorry, I'm done. D3 pre-order cancelled, WoW account going into suspension next week when my time runs out. I'm done with blizzard.

    I guarentee when this makes Blizzard enough money, it'll be added to WoW and totally ruin the economy. It's one thing to "play the market" but a completely different thing when real money becomes involved. I know that when this hits WoW players will hike the prices of items using in-game gold so high that buying it with cash will look more affordable.

    Blizzard have opened pandora's box and we're all gonna be screwed. I'm voting against this with my wallet like people should.

    This is several steps in the wrong direction for me. The constant internet requirement will kinda suck when I am in situations of no internet connection (which was one of the primary triggers for me to dig out diablo 2 and play it back in the day...) was looking forward to having diablo 3 on my laptop for that express purpose. And the online marketplace, speaking from experiences with some iOS games, will do nothing but cheapen the whole experience for me. I end up thinking to myself "Well why bother going through all that grinding and playing the game to get *random item/experience* when i can just purchase it here for a few bucks", which eventually leads to "Geez why bother playing this game at all, whats the point if you can just buy your way through it" and ends up with me dropping the game.

    This already has been going on a helluva long time with d2 already. Sites like d2jsp allow you to buy items with money/forum gold. All Blizzard is doing is legitimizing this process. However I'm not a fan of this at all.
    I think they are taking a huge part of what makes Diablo out of the game (ie instead of finding gear you'll simply log on and buy your next round of upgrades)
    I wish they'd thought about those who cannot afford to spend money on items and how now they'll be lagging behind gear wise.

    I'm hanging out for the first piece of DLC. Diablo 3: Casino Edition.

    Holy crap, how are people finding this good news? Blizzard is not only encouraging and enabling gold farmers they're acting like a bunch of pimps and trying to get a cut of the pay as well. How god damn disgusting of them!

    And screw you Always on DRM!

    Ahhh. So that means you can buy items for your toon, rather then earning them by killing bosses.
    Queue the useless, whining, 9 year old kids with a full kit of epic gear. Courtesy of dads credit card.

    This seems like it could open a whole lot of legal problems around the globe ;) On the flipside, now it makes sense why they want a constant connection to, so they can keep the economy stable.

    Still, makes you wonder why they just don't let you have an offline and online character with separate modes, so you can have the best of both worlds without any potential screwing up of the in-game economy.

    Wouldnt it just be easier to make an 'offline' character? So you would never be able to touch any of the online components of the game with it. you can play offline if need be, and if you choose to go multiplayer, then you start another toon for it. Also, the un made gold farming a legitimate job for 3rd worlders a few months back so if blizzard canes the market by making it legal for all, and then it drives down the economy and farmers start losing their jobs, wont they be in for a big legal hoohah?

      NO wtf u smoking they can do what eva they like its their property and if you play the game you agree to their conditions. Also its the UN its a total joke that has virtually no power unless the members of the group actually enforce it which most of the time they dont.

    Not surprised to see a few people complaining about RL money coming into the mix, but just because you can buy your way through the game, doesn't mean you have to. If you play games just for massive loot, you're playing for the wrong reasons, it's about the experience. And if you only want to play with other people who haven't bought their way through the game, play Hardcore, which is untainted by the AH. Blizzard aren't going to drop this feature just because a few thousand people don't like it, because there are tens of thousands more people who have been begging for this in WoW, now it's legitimate for those that want it.

      1. I think you'll find the Diablo experience is basically defined as being all about loot and looting. When you take the time and hard work and luck out of that by introducing this kind of item shop system, you've literally cheapened the experience and essentially ruined the game for a lot of people.

      2. A lot of people don't want to play Hardcore because it's too hardcore / not fun for them. So for most people it's not a good solution to just tell them to play Hardcore if they don't want to have their game tainted by people who buy their items.

      I find it hard to explain, but for some people their is an 'honor system' they adhere to when it comes to games like this. They want to play the game without anything they see as cheating - and this item shop system is seen as cheating by them/according to their 'honor system' (yes, even if it is legitimised and implemented by the game developers). They want a level playing field in Multiplayer, and now that Blizzard has made it 'OK' for other people to 'cheat' they can't have their level playing field. And who wants to play with cheaters? It ruins Multiplayer for them.

      And as WOJaus pointed out, a very large part of that experience is the loot obtained during playing, a very large part. I don't for a second think Blizzard will drop any of these features they have announced, I am just dissapointed, and will not be purchasing the game because of these Issues.
      And for the "And if you only want to play with other people who havenít bought their way through the game, play Hardcore" solution, I say that would be all fine and dandy, Until my internet drops out ...

      "When asked about the justification of the decision, Wilson stated that 99.9 percent of gamers have an Internet connection. He added that if a player's connection drops, a player could die but the in-game penalty wouldn't be harsh (specifically a 10 percent decrease in durability for equipped weapons and items) unless the player is on Hardcore mode, in which case he or she loses the character permanently."

    This is all well and good. But I really only want Diablo III for LAN with my friends. I don't want to go online and get schooled by 14yr olds with the time to power level.

    Wow. Alot of people making all these judgement calls based on one little thing.

    To the people saying about the always online thing, SC2 is a part of Bnet, And you can play single player offline, Sans achievements.

      Ermm.. there will be no online mode for D3. EVER

      They pretty much states that already on the FAQ. Their going to use a system ala MMO/D2 Closed where the characters are stored on the servers. So you NEED to be online to play the game.

      I'm not even going to bother listing the "advantages" they said for being online only as there's many a post for that already.

        Gah! spelling! I meant no Offline mode >.>

    Its all about cash grabbing for blizz apparently, ive waited 10 years for this, but monetising everything they can just kills the game, i agree to some post above that involving real money to play just legitimize gold farmers which blizz hate so much, hypocrite much?

    Question is,is this market going to be like real life where supply and demand will define the selling price of items?

    If so could we possibly see some items being sold cheaper in different servers? Will this then make people spend more time finding a legitimate market for their goods rather then focusing on the game itself?

    I know the major issue for games has always been on the longevity (and lets face it Blizzard has always been a champion in this respect) but is what we are really seeing here is Blizzard selling out just so they can sit back and not make ongoing engaging content for their games and focus more on secondary profitering on game players through their item sales?

    I don't care about the auction house thing. In a few years when the game is at bargain purchase price, everyone will have all the items they wanted and it will all be cheap and plentiful in supply.
    And I can also just choose to use it as I see fit. I don't have any friends at all that play games, so I will play closed games on my own the way I like anyway.

    My concern lies with the 'always on' DRM.

    1- I want to play singleplayer, why am I disadvantaged? You don't even give me the option to not be able to connect the character. I don't care if you want to use the internet to verify tamporing for a minute or two when I load my game, but why always on?

    2- My internet recently went down for a week. If I had this game I wouldn't have been able to play for an entire week, and I'll be damned if I'm getting a prepaid data plan to be able to play for that time.

    3- You want me to pay FULL PRICE for this game, then force me to pay for internet as well? This in and of itself isn't a huge issue, but it's not fair either.
    If there's a rumoured console release, then that means I need to buy the game, have an always on internet connection, with plenty of data available, and XBox Live? Hmmm...

    4- This happened alot with Diablo 2 for me:
    Create character
    -Choose name (takes me alot of time as name defines the character in my head
    -Choose skillset
    -Monitor skills and their levels as I play.
    -Accidentally click on an entirely different skill that I didn't want and will never use, but I really needed that point elsewhere.
    -Delete character.

    So now I can do this, but then sell the character (probably at a reduced price) but I don't really want the money from it in game cash or real cash. I just want the ability to take back one skill point. Is that really that hard?

    There are alot more issues I have with this, suffice to say that Diablo has gone from my ALL TIME favourite franchise, to one of my most disliked, right down there with, well to be honest, nothing that I can think of because I've never not been able to play a game when I have a perfectly legit copy of it that I payed for with my own money and that I have a legit CD Key for and that I have NEVER cheated with...
    No, I think I'll break out my copy of Titan Quest. Thanks for the memories Blizzard.

    so...couldn't they just have another server option?
    server 1 has a real money AH, while server 2 is a non-hc server where the AH is not allowed?

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