Game spy recently reported that the Korean version of Diablo III has been released without the auction house because of a controversial feature that would allow players to sell in-game items for real money. This is against the Korea government’s stance on gambling. Yes they consider real money trading (“RMT”) as a form a gambling go figure! My guess is Korean players are just fine with this development if not overjoyed.
The Blizzard website lists the currency-based auction house as a new feature of Diablo III. That said, this makes me wonder where Blizzard is going with their games? Will World of Warcraft eventually have an auction house designed to purchase items with real cash? We already have companies like Zynga doing this with their crappy casual mouse-click-and-you-win games like Farmville, Cityville and Mafia Wars. Whats ironic about those games is very few people pay money for game upgrades. But the companies still find it profitable because the small percentage of players that do spend a lot.
Can you imagine a wow where players could literally buy gear and other sorts of things to enhance your game progress? What a nightmare that would be! If Warcraft was like Farmville for instance you could pay to reset or shorten your raid dungeon lockout or buy an enchant, buy special gem upgrade or even a unique character or class ability to make you OP in the battlegrounds. The game would then boil down to how much you were willing to spend rather than your skills, abilities and time spent in the game.
In a sense, Blizzard has gone there already with the ability to buy a BOE pet which you can either gift or sell to other players for gold. Other recent developments to get us used to doing more than pay for a subscription include transfer, race change, character and guild renaming fees.
I guess you can’t blame Blizzard for trying something new. I just hope it continues more in the direction of what their players like and what makes the game fun for them; real content and experiences we can appreciate. To Blizzard’s credit, there was a recent blue post where they mentioned that they are focusing more on things like world pvp, pet battles, world bosses, and other new modes of game play in the future and I’m really looking forward to those!