Blizzard Finally Admits Diablo III’s Auction Houses Were A Bad Idea

Blizzard Finally Admits Diablo III’s Auction Houses Were A Bad Idea
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Apart from the always-on requirement, Diablo III‘s most contentious design decision among players was the introduction of the real money and gold auction houses. While it’s no doubt helped the company’s bottom line, former game director Jay Wilson conceded at this year’s GDC that the feature “really hurt the game”.

A story over on Joystiq highlights the relevant portions of Wilson’s talk at the annual conference. Originally, Blizzard was confident the auction houses wouldn’t see a lot of use and that natural market forces would control item availability and prices. Skull smashing would remain the predominate way for players to obtain better gear.

Unfortunately, the reality turned out to be entirely different, with Wilson stating that some 50 per cent of the game’s players regularly hit up one or both auction houses for gear. (He also revealed that Diablo III sees around three million players per month.)

So disillusioned with the way the auction houses have driven players to farm gold, rather than tackle the game’s Big Bad, Diablo, Wilson said that if the company could shut the feature down without throwing the game on its head, it would. It’s apparently investigating its options, but Wilson did not expand on exactly what those options might be.

If you’re still playing Diablo III, how do you think Blizzard could replace/remove the auction houses?

Diablo 3 Director Jay Wilson: Auction Houses ‘really hurt’ game [Joystiq]


  • They could just make it so that farming was rewarding. It wasnt really the auction house in itself. It was pretty much the way you were FORCED to use it rather than finding the gear yourself (which was more satisfying).

    • Yeah, I enjoyed the game but it felt at times like I had to use the auction house. I’d just hit a wall in difficulty. There was never a point in the game where I found equipment that was better than something that could be bought for less than 5,000 gold on the auction house.

  • Abit late for this. The game needs the auction house it helps the top items that are hard to farm get passed around just like in D2 everyone traded items around this is just a more official way to go about it but the old way was far better because you would trade for other items making item hunting more important than gold hunting but now with the AH being all about the gold everyone is farming gold to buy the items because the drop rates are so stupidly low.

    They firstly need to raise the drop rates and then maybe implement a way for people to trade items for items.

  • Okay so basically players will always find gear through the path of least resistance: Back in Diablo II most of us would either be with a) shitty internet b) plays mostly with RL friends through LAN or c) did not have time to farm SoJ to buy gear off other people.

    This left the average player to just continuously farm, with a good drop rate in the higher difficulties BECAUSE there was no official trade channel. It made it rewarding – killing Cold Crow in Hell might nab you some sweet sweet ring that you need to upgrade the shitty one you had since Nightmare and you are NONE THE WISER to what everyone else has. The AH lifted this veil of ‘I just got a sweet loot’ to ‘Someone’s got better drops than me? I’ll just insta-buy off him’. There was no illusion anymore that you are getting good loots because there’s better ones within your purchase means.

    Who wants to farm Diablo xxxxx amount of times if killing creeps and getting golds will get you the same level item faster?

    They really need to turn that AH off, because with it on there is no way farming can be rewarding… EVER

  • I don’t give two tosses about the normal auction house, that can stay for all I care. It’s the RMAH that I have a major issue with. That has to go. Just simply say ‘THE RMAH IS ENDING BY THIS DATE: ****. ALL ITEMS STILL UP FOR AUCTION ON THIS DATE WILL EXPIRE AT THIS DATE, IF ITEMS ARE NOT SOLD THEY WILL BE RETURNED TO THE OWNER.’ Simple.

    • I’m in the same boat. I didn’t play that much on max level so I’m just glad I made some money, or rather, made up for a portion of the cost of the game. meh its more then other games.

      I do think there is potential in the idea of making money in a game. I hope other developers still experiment with it.

  • This is actually sort of shocking. Normally they wouldn’t admit this, they’d just push it into the past and hope people forget about it. Especially when their course of action seems to be locked into keeping it running the way it is. Maybe it’s a preemptive move for when it’s announced the console version has a different auction house. Trying to make it so that any PC vs console rage can be minimized by pointing out this has been their stance for a while rather than something they’ve done specifically for the console version.

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