Battle.net Balance and Diablo 3 will earn me money

Need more gold! "Zug, Zug."

I’m oddly fascinated by the Battle.net Balance program.  First, here’s a quick official statement describing the Battle.net Balance system:

Battle.net Balance is a new Battle.net feature that will allow players to store value in their Battle.net account, which can be used to buy Blizzard Entertainment products such as World of Warcraft game time, paid services, digital versions of games, and in-game pets and mounts.

With the upcoming launch of Diablo III, players in certain regions will also be able to use their Battle.net Balance to acquire items from the game’s currency-based auction house. Diablo III players will also have the option to store earnings from items they sell on the auction house in their Battle.net Balance, to be used on future auction house purchases or to buy Blizzard products.

Players will be able to add value to their Balance by paying with their own money, but what I’m interested in is how this program can work for me.  I’m going to buy Diablo 3.  I’m going to play Diablo 3 and I am inevitably going to find rare items as I have in all past installments of the franchise.  Instead of trading these items for other items, or hording them all for myself, I’m going to put them up on Diablo 3’s auction house.  Players will buy my items with their Battle.net Balance and I will have increased the value of my Balance.

I will then use that Balance to buy Blizzard products — products I would have bought anyway with my own real money.  So, in a way, other players will be buying future Blizzard games or any Blizzard products for me.  Who knows?  A few lucky drops might buy me the next StarCraft expansion or I may even turn around and buy a rare item that I want.

The only people losing on this deal are those who buy into the Battle.net Balance system with their real money.  I have no plans to dissuade those people.  Actually, forget you even read this post.

  • Keen, i agree with you that this is good for those who never plan to spend any money on ‘stuff’. However to truly judge if this system is beneficial to ‘our’ kind we would have to see what we can buy with this in game currency.

    I have a feeling you will see real dollars and battle net coins. Each currency can buy different things. Example, Wow mount is $5USD or 500 bnet coins but SC2 expac is 40$ but unavailable with BNet coins. Something like this or the proportions could be ridiculous to obtain with just their coin system.

    Anyhow, its not a bad idea as long as individual power items are available for purchase both ways otherwise pay for power will happen like some Ipad games now.

  • They straight up say you can buy digital copies of games, use it to buy in-game D3 items from other players, buy stuff from the Blizzard store, etc.

    You can use it in combination with real money or entirely on its own.

    They also say there is no penalty for using it to buy Blizzard products, which leads me to believe it’s an equal swap dollars to points value. The catch being, once they have your money you can’t have it back.

  • Romble, as Keen said, they have made it clear that you CAN spend the battle.net balance on buying games.

    Additionally, there’s no reason why they would not make it thus. This isn’t like, say, Turbine points which can be purchased for real money OR earned in game. battle.net balance IS real money – the only way it enters the system is through someone paying real money to Blizzard. After that, it moves around the system as players trade with each other, and then leaves when people buy products with it.

  • I have seen a lot of people claiming how good this is going to be for their wallets. While I don’t discount the undoubted fact that this will be the case for some, it won’t be for the masses. As an example, online + conventional poker returns are held by a single percentage of the participating population.
    Given the year after year increase on profits that we’ve witnessed from Activision-Blizzard, it can be safely assumed that they will ensure they are the majority of that ‘single percentage’ without even sitting at the ‘poker table’. While it’s left to see how the system is implemented, I would surely not start counting chickens just yet.

  • To clarify, no one is getting rich off this.

    1) Only certain regions can transfer money to paypal (I bet not mine)
    2) Blizzard products aren’t very expensive, OR numerous.

  • What is to stop the same people who hacks accounts and farm gold all day to do the same things with diablo 3 ? Thus dumping the price on anything making all items you get nearly worthless.

  • @Keen:
    “2) Blizzard products aren’t very expensive, OR numerous.”

    For now. I see this as the last preparation step before introduction of an item shop, and possibly WoW going “free to play, pay to win” just like LOTRO.
    And that won’t take long now… mark my words (I just hope to be wrong…).

  • what I dont get is why blizzard needs to get a cut, if you transfer your money out of your battlenet account, seems just greedy

  • Let me see if I understand this arrangement:

    1. Keen pays Blizzard money for Diablo III.
    2. Keen spends his time in DIII obtaining items.
    3. Keen pays Blizzard real money (after the first time, you can pay this from your proceeds, if any) to post his items to the auction house, which is Blizzard’s to keep regardless of whether Keen’s item sells.
    4. Other people pay Blizzard money for the right to have the items that Keen has listed. The potential loss of the posting fee pressures Keen to set a low price to ensure that his items sell, leaving the listings at attractively low prices so other people will pay Blizzard to buy them.
    5. Blizzard compensates Keen for getting people to pay them money by giving him credit towards “free” Blizzard products, which have zero marginal cost to Blizzard, and may also in the future contain marketplaces in which Keen can do more work to get Blizzard more money.
    6. Keen posts that he feels this arrangement “will earn me money”.

    I’m not ruling out the possibility that Keen wins, but I don’t see how Blizzard can possibly lose in this deal.

  • Blizzard wins more than anyone. No question. I win a little if I get lucky with D3 drops. Over time, hopefully I win enough to pay for D3 at least.

  • I always said that the gold sellers were under contract by the game developers or in some cases one in the same. Battlenet is just being up front with it.

  • I suspect this is going to kill off “natural” trading very, very quickly.

    Why would anyone trade an ultra rare item for in game gold, when they can trade it for real world funds?

    All it will mean is that the best (hence most valuable) items will quickly be stripped from the general trade channels.

    Again, I don’t really care so much. (I pretty much source all my own gear through drops). I just think it’s going to have an interesting knock on effect.

  • @Anon: I think that’s exactly what they are trying to achieve. Make that “battle.net” balance the universal currency for all their games, replacing gold at long term.

  • I think there’s no doubt that chinese gold farmers will be farming rare items and selling them for profit, dumping the prices, making it hard for any1 else to make any real money

  • The thing is.. In Diablo 3 the days of trading like in Diablo 2 are over.
    No more collecting certain gear you want by trading with others to become awesome one day.

    You will all be running around like hobos in rags with a dull knife, because as soon as you find anything worthwhile it will be on the AH for a few cents.
    Basically you all became underpaid goldfarmers without realizing it.

    Rich people (like those people in eve that bought monicale) will have all the fun in hell mode or higher with their 1337 gear. (yes that used to be you in Diablo 2)
    Meanwhile blizzard takes a 20% cut or so and employees drinking dom perignon champagne poke the glass of the basin that contains the hamsters and their wheel.

    Sollution? Demand a seperate gamemode that has no access to the real money AH. They offer such a thing for hardcore mode already.. now add such a normal mode as well and all will be happy.

    Till then I am not buying Diablo 3.

  • It’ll be hard for goldfarmers to take advantage of the system, unless Blizzard wants them to. Only certain regions are allowed to cash out. Furthermore, it’s easy to track who is getting the money.

    I do not believe the old way of trading will go away. Plenty of people, myself included, will not pay a dime into the Battle.net balance system. That leaves plenty of people wanting to trade in-game.

  • From the systems I’ve experience who have done this before (MtGO, PoxNora), almost instantly all the best stuff becomes cash-only. No one is going to trade the stuff in-game when they can get ‘real’ value for them.

    This also creates a giant gap between the average stuff that gets traded in-game and the good stuff that is cash only. For me it somewhat ruins the game (did for both my examples above), as it very much creates a “pay to win/play” scenario, but D3 might be different in that its mostly a single player game that can be played with a chat room.

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