Diablo III item auctions to use real currency
Blizzard has introduced an item trading system for Diablo III that will use real currency alongside gold-based auction houses.
Diablo III lead designer Jay Wilson explained that their choice was purely a design decision to improve the player's ability to trade items in the game. For the real currency trades they will receive a nominal fixed transaction fee that will vary according to region rather than item.
Wilson said: "It was definitely a design decision. Trading is not very good in Diablo, and yet it's a game about trading. Trading is the way you get the best items in Diablo. And yet there was no trading mechanism to speak of... We wanted to focus on filling that hole. Certainly there's an economic element to the auction house for us, but it came first and foremost as: what do we want to do for the players? What service can we possibly offer that would make the game experience better?"
He continued: "If we make money on it that's great, we're a business, we want to make money. But not at the expense of the customers - but because we've offered them something that was worth their money. The item-based nature of Diablo game play has always lent itself to an active trade-based ecosystem, and a significant part of this trade has been conducted through unsecure third-party organisations. This has led to numerous customer-service and game-experience issues that we've needed to account for. Our primary goal with the Diablo III auction house system is for it to serve as the foundation for a player-driven economy that's safe, fun, and accessible for everyone."
No launch date for Diablo III has been announced as yet but Blizzard has promised that it will be no later than 2012.