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.