One of the more controversial of Blizzard’s upcoming Diablo III release is their plans to offer an auction house where players will be able to purchase in-game items from other players for real money.
For me though, the history of Diablo II was enough for this decision to be completely logical from Blizzard’s point of view.
If you played Diablo II as a single-player or LAN party sort of game, avoiding Battle.net and eschewing the ladder and other competitive measures, the idea that there was a very active RMT underground for the game might seem bizarre. (That is my word of the month.)
Heck, even if you were a big player on Battle.net, you probably still find it odd. I know I do.
But it was out there, whole sites dedicated to nothing but selling you that piece of equipment you were dying to have.
All of that was brought back to mind when I was over on Cracked.com this weekend (the site is addictive) and noticed one of the ads at the bottom of the story through which I was paging.
Between ads for T-shirts and Rift Platinum, I saw this:
I was shocked. Diablo II has been out for 11 years. It isn’t an MMO. And there are sites out there not only still willing to sell you equipment for the game, but which think the plan is lucrative enough to buy ad placements to help promote it.
I’m not even going to obliterate the URL in that ad, as I would with some skanky WoW gold seller, because I am afraid you will think I made it up.
And yet, there it is!
You might not think that an 11 year old game worthy of such efforts, but somebody does, and you can be sure that Blizzard is aware of it. And if you cannot solve a problem… and nobody has shown they can (or will) expend the resources required to do so… you might as well just take control of the problem.
And so Diablo III will have the aforementioned auction house complete with real money option.
Of course the next scam will be to convince you that you can profit from working this real money auction house. That sort of thing will now make money for Blizzard, since they are taking a cut of each transaction, so you can expect them to be pretty quiet on that particular subject.