Diablo III will undergo unexpected and major surgery in March 2014, to remove not only the real-money auction house, but the in-game gold one, too. Blizzard announced the decision in a pithy Diablo III blog post this afternoon.
To its credit, the company offers a candid explanation for the move: In so many words, the grand experiment failed.
When we initially designed and implemented the auction houses, the driving goal was to provide a convenient and secure system for trades. But as we’ve mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo’s core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot. With that in mind, we want to let everyone know that we’ve decided to remove the gold and real-money auction house system from Diablo III.
I’ll slow clap to that. And I hope to be further slow-clapping when the revamped loot system, dubbed Loot 2.0 and due with the upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion, arrives with a legendary-class item boost as well as “smart drops” tailored to benefit your character.
Former Diablo III director Jay Wilson admitted at GDC 2013 in March that the auction house loused things up for the game badly, though at the time he said the company had no plans to shut it down because Blizzard had “no idea” how many players such a move would anger. I guess the decision to pull the plug in six months on March 18, 2014, “in order to give everyone as much advance notice as possible,” means that either the company figured out how many auction house aficionados it risked offending (and their ranks were small), or the auction house was breaking the game badly.
Here’s Reaper of Souls production director John Hight and game director Josh Mosqueira with the mea culpa.
What say you, Diablo III players? Unanimous applause? Anyone going to miss the auction house?