There are some topics, and I'm pretty sure this will be one of them, that whip the blogsphere into an absolute feeding frenzy. The hell with Shark Week, this is where the real blood is.
The newest chum in the water
Sometime in the last few days Blizzard announced that Diablo 3 will have a cash AH, meaning that crazy sword that dropped can now be sold for cold hard cash instead of being pawned off on a vendor or sold on an AH for mere electronic gold. Of course there will be an AH for that as well, and if you don't have enough gold to buy it, you can always get more from the cash AH.
That's right - there is going to be an exchange for real currency here. I can sell you my Giant Codpiece of the Whale for your cold hard US Dollars (seriously, can we get the Activision/Blizzard guys in Washington to settle this debt thing?). Now there are a few caveats to this service.
- THIS IS NOT FOR WOW - I felt it needed to be bolded and capitalized for emphasis. I swear I've read more comment/posts about how it will affect WoW, and at least for today - it won't. I'm not saying it won't show up, or that it's even a bad idea - just that right now this has zero impact on WoW.
- Blizzard is going to hit you three times - Right now, when you sell something you have three fees between you and your money. First, you have to pay a cash deposit to list the item. Auction expires, you lose that money. Second, you lose a cut of the auction to Blizzard when the item sells (I don't know if you get your deposit back or not). Finally, if you want to cash out your Blizzard.net account (where the money sits), you pay a third fee for that.
- There is no spoon - I don't really have a third point here, other than since I think D3 isn't an MMO, won't have balanced PvP (i.e. less balanced than WoW is), and there's no real race for world Hardcore First (maybe there will be?) - selling the items doesn't really impact anything.
Personally, I think this is a genius move by Blizzard, and I'm surprised it took so long to become reality. I'm not sure I'd like to see this in WoW, because while I'm perfectly ok with dropping 2500g to powerlevel tailoring on my Warlock, I'm not sure how I'd feel about spending say - $25 (probably way more than that) to accomplish the same thing. I mean, what is a stack of Embersilk really worth? 50g? Sure, why not. Fifty cents? I don't know. Of course with microtransactions it's easy to get nickle and dimed into spending a small fortune. Oh, look - just $1.00 for a whole stack of crystals! I'll just get three of those, and $2.00 worth of herbs, and....shit, the mortgage is due.
I'm going to hold off my final opinion on this type of AH until D3 actually launches and I see it in action. Right now I'd be hesitant to see it in WoW, but I'd bet money that if it works well in D3 we'll see it (or something like it) in Titan. We have to accept that companies are going to make money any way they can, and also that players will use any method possible to gain power and items. As long as someone is selling, the parent company might as well attempt to regulate it - and make money on it.