Meet The Man Who Made $10,000 From Diablo III's Auction House

Diablo III's Auction House hase been up and running for a while now, and people are starting to get wise to precisely how it works. Reddit user WishboneTheDog claims to have made upwards of $10,000 using the service, and has been answering questions about his processes on Reddit.

WishboneTheDog studies Business at University, and claims he has simply applied lessons learnt from everyday trading and brought that skillset to Diablo III.

"People think that paying "real money" in a video game is a huge leap from paying in gold or from grinding for an item," he said. "What people don't realize is that currencies are only a numerical representation of value. As soon as there is a collective demand for goods, both virtual and "real," value is created. Humans developed currencies to represent this value in a tangible way, and to make the exchange of these goods more liquid.

"When there is collective demand from real people for an item within a game market, the same value is created as anything else in the world, and you can put a number on it. That number can be different depending on the currency you are using to represent the value. You need a lot more Yen than Euros to represent the same value. The same goes for gold."

According to WishtheBone, it's all about being prepared to 'pay to win'.

"You always pay to win," he said. "I just explained how gold and USD are very much the same within a game economy, but there is something even less tangible that is also the same: time. Time is the most valuable currency there is. There is an exchange rate for time to money, but there is no exchange rate back.

"Gamers who play within economies create the value of the currency (gold) when they take time to accumulate that currency, and the rarity of an item contributes to the item's value equal to the amount of time a person would have to play to statistically obtain it. This is very similar to any currency and wage labor."

He compares it to folks who are willing to pay extreme amounts of money for, say Golf Equipment, but don't necessarily have the time to accumulate the skill. These people want to play to their full potential when they do have time.

The whole thing really is fascinating. You can check out the Reddit thread here.


    My ex-gf made more money from some Chinese MMO. She owned an internet café in Beijing and had a room with a bunch of beds. She would give dudes a bed to sleep on and noodles to eat and they would play 12-18 hours a day. She would then sell any decent items they got for real money.

      Except what you're describing is Illegal. The D3 guy isn't doing anything illegal.

        Hey, I wasn't justifying it. Just relating a story.

    Im pretty damn sure he is running bot 24/7.... all this economy talk is fair but you need a lot of money\gold to actually start on this...

      Nah, it's possible. My friends made about $150-200 each, and they played about 200hrs and didn't play the market much. I can see how someone who buys low and sells high could make a lot of money. I made a tonne of gold in the hardcore market buying gems in the evening during peak playtimes and then selling them off in the morning for 20% more when the market demand increased.

      Then I got permakilled by a lag spike, and I haven't touched it since.

        "Playing the market" by buying low and selling high is actually against the terms of service and you can be banned for it.

          Is it really? I don't play D3 but I'd find that strange, my understanding is that Blizzard takes a cut from every transaction, so I would have thought it would be in their interests to have people playing the market and constantly trading. I might see some reasons they wouldn't want people doing this professionally, but you actually need people at least doing it casually in order to have a healthy market enconomy.

            Truthfully, I haven't scoured through the terms and services fine print myself to find it, but I've heard it plenty of times, both on the official forums and in various articles about people who've been banned. At the very least we know Blizzard doesn't like it, because the 15% fee on selling (gold auction house included) is designed to try and dissuade people from playing the market by making it less profitable for them to do so. I know this, because there would be no reason to have the 15% fee in the gold auction house otherwise.

              *Terms of service

              No idea how I managed to type "terms and services".

              Why would Blizzard care? In fact they would be happy if people are flipping items on the Real Money AH as they'd be making multiple cuts out off the same item.

                Diablo 3 RMAH Terms of Use:

                You will not:
                (iii) use the Auction Houses as an investment vehicle;

                I assume it's to avoid exploitation of the RMAH, and various legal issues.

          Seems unlikely that blizzard would actually ban anyone making them money.

          By playing the market an item that may have been sold once can get sold twice delivering twice the cut to blizzard

            It's actually true, and has been a part of Blizzardds online T&S for quite a few years. I recieved a temp ban back in (2009?) for doing the exact same thing and monopolizing a good portionof the server AH economy on my World of Warcraft realm, and know of at least 2 others who have had similar actions.

            I actually find it highly amusing that players arn't allowed to operate freely within the game worlds economy, when the company who made the game is based in the seat of capitalism.

            I posted this in reply to someone else, but just in case, here it is again:

            Diablo 3 RMAH Terms of Use:

            You will not:
            (iii) use the Auction Houses as an investment vehicle;

        so they made about a dollar an hour at most?

          I've played hundreds of hours of golf, and won maybe $20, 2 golf umbrellas and around 30 golf balls. I've also played hundreds of hours of soccer for even less return.

          As far as returns from a hobby, I'd say a dollar an hour isn't too bad.

    Nah he's not running a bot he's just buying items cheap and selling them high. I've made a few hundred mill gold doing this. You can pick up Ourbourus and Tyraels might for $1.25 in the RMAH and sometimes you can get them for less than a million gold, then sell for 1.8 to 2 mill, nice profit to be made.

    Lol. Made 200 bucks playing for 200 hours. Minus electricity and the game cost your not left with much. Better off working.

    according to Valve some guy makes about $150k per year making hats in TF2.

      That's very possible, when I was big into tf2 trading hats could be worth up to 3k. If you had enough time and accounts it wouldn't be hard.

    I actually caved and bought some gold (11mil @ $2.80 per mil).
    I rationalised it by telling myself I would never amass that much gold (100k per hour in Hell Act 3 is the fastest I know) in the amount of time I have during the week.

    It's interesting I reached that point as at the start I thought it would "break" the game for me by making everything seem worthless but that hasn't been the case.

    What this guy is missing and everyone here is missing is that the fun in the previous Diablo games game from the pursuit of items, not the items themselves.

    Playing D3 I felt it was a hollowing experience knowing exactly where my next item was going to come from (the AH) and that ruined the magic and mystery that you get when that epic item dropped.

    Also I think the RNG on items was severly flawed (or expertly planned), sure you have 2% chance for a ilvl 63 item to drop in Act 1 Inferno, the issued is with the 1-100% chance for each stat on that item to be worth while. TBH I think this was all build on purpose for one reason, to fleece D3 players from their money on RMAH. biggest scam in recent gaming history IMO.

      Yep quite sad that I had more fun playing the AH than actually finding items unlike D2 - and thats only because I made money out of it. Really bewildering how blizz can stuff up the items so much, e.g. strength on quivers or intelligence on monk only helms, just makes the drop percentages even worse. I believe only one of my items was actually found, rest were bought. Biggest disappointment in years; absolutely zero incentive to play when there are games that have done it better or will do it better (path of exile, torchlight2).

    Things like these are bound to get haters. All the people that feel they have to pay to get anywhere in the game, and one person is actually making thousands off the game. It must be insulting, don't worry though, you can always try and bring up ToS and "bot" accusations to make yourself feel better :D.

    While I can't speak for how the person in the article made his profit.

    I can tell you that it is possible to do through legitimate means. I have made a little over $6000 since the games' release. Majority of it was made during those first few chaotic hours when the RMAH went live. Amassing a lot of items prepatch and selling a large amount of them for 200-250$US definitely helped. And just buying low and selling high during the price uncertainty. It is a fairly monotonous process though.

    It is a lot harder to do now since the userbase has wisened up to the value of items. To the point where the time required to turn a profit is too great to really bother with (at the moment).

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