You’re living under a rock if you haven’t seen the news about Blizzard creating a player to player real money auction house for Diablo 3. Players will be able to place items that they find in-game up onto the auction house and allow other players to bid on and buy those items with real money. The massive wave of negativity in response to this idea should be absolutely no surprise to anyone. Honestly, the idea itself isn’t a surprise to me. Blizzard is still working on their custom map shop for StarCraft 2. Diablo’s very nature does, as Rob Pardo said, lend itself easily to the idea. There’s a reason why websites exist to auction Diablo items already. Yes, ebay style websites do exist for Diablo 2 and they are very, very popular. Blizzard wants a cut of what is already out there. Why not? It’s a business to act as the middle-ma, and a lucrative one at that. Blizzard will take a cut from the buyer -and- seller.
Personally, I don’t like the idea. Can I put my finger on why? Hmmm… it just doesn’t feel right to me. Does it change the way I play Diablo at all? No, not really. I’ll still play for the fun of completing the story, killing monsters, finding items, and seeing how strong I can become before I get bored with the game. Nothing about letting some guy that I will likely never, ever, play with (like I would know if I did) buy his halberd for $4 really impacts me. Reasons being, 1) it happened already for years, 2) someone found it and traded it for rl money instead of an exchange in-game, and 3) it does not change how Diablo is played.
Diablo is designed such that it won’t be hurt by this system. Anyone able to use an item they buy could have found that item anyway. Any item they do find, doesn’t change how individuals enjoy the game. Don’t like the 3 people you’re playing with? Leave and join a new game. Diablo 3 will have a competitive PvP arena type system to facilitate PvP easier than making small rooms to play in. This impacts that significantly, but honestly if you’re going into the competitive PvP you better have the best stuff anyway, found or not.
A persistent game or one where other players interacted with me on an unavoidable level, with this kind of RMT, would be cause for concern. If they bring this to WoW, for example, the entire thing unravels and suddenly innocent bystanders are harmed. There’s just not much at stake in Diablo 3, though. There’s really no economy to care about. It’s not Blizzard opening a store. It’s players trading amongst each other. Bottom line, if someone wants to pay $4 to another player for the axe that’s their prerogative. Just don’t tell me.
If I’m lucky, I’ll find a rare and sell it for enough that the game actually pays for itself. I would consider that “beating the game”.