One of the more controversial moves Blizzard made with Diablo 3 was with the auction house feature. While it provided a legitimate way for gamers to sell items they could not use and make some gold, and real money off it, many players felt that this meant that gamers with money to spare would be able to buy uber gear without having to work very hard for it. Say what you will about the feature, but it seems that even Diablo 3’s former game director, Jay Wilson, admitted that the auction house feature (both gold and real-money) hurt the game.
During a talk at GDC 2013, Wilson admitted that Blizzard had only a few assumptions about how the auction house feature would work, and initially thought it would be one of the ways to reduce fraud, and that only a small percentage of players would use it and that prices of the items would be limited to how many were listed and sold. What Wilson and Blizzard did not anticipate was how the auction house was used once it had gone live and discovered that making money was a higher motivation rather than focusing on killing Diablo, thus damaging item rewards.
Wilson went on to state that if they could, they would turn off the auction house feature but unfortunately since Blizzard is unable to determine just how many players like or dislike the feature, removing it blindly would no doubt upset their player base. He also revealed that the Diablo 3 team is working on a new solution, but unfortunately did not share any details. What do you guys think? Do you agree that the auction house has hurt the way Diablo 3 is played? Or is it a welcome addition to the game?
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