Diablo 3‘s auction house has been having its ups and downs (quite literally), delaying the release quite a few weeks from the game’s launch 28 days ago. If in-game messages and other sources are to be believed, the real-money auction house should be available in NA, EU, and possibly other regions beginning today, June 12. Due to possible issues, the commodities auction house may not be usable at its launch, meaning that only equipment will be tradable. This unfortunately means that gold may not be tradable at first – and I believe it will be the best thing to trade.
Blizzard also recently updated its Terms of Service to include that you are required to have an authenticator in order to trade on the RMAH. The huge amount of new, unprotected Battle.net accounts have been commonly compromised with the huge popularity of the game and demand for gold and items, especially with the knowledge that you can cash out within the Terms of Service. Additionally, if your account ever gets compromised, you will have precisely one chance to secure your account with an authenticator – another compromise and you will be permanently barred from using the real-money auction house. If you don’t yet have an authenticator, you can get a free app for your iOS or Android device, or buy a stand-alone authenticator for $6.50 on the Blizzard Store in the US.
If you want to cash out to PayPal and not just to your Battle.net Balance, you may have to sign up for Battle.net SMS alerts in some regions – including the EU.
Last time, we looked at how the fees for the different auction houses will affect trading in Diablo 3. Today, I’d like to look at it from Blizzard’s perspective and understand how the company selected the fee structure, what it will be paying attention to, and how it might treat the auction house in the long-term.
If there’s one thing Blizzard learned from Diablo II, it’s that there is a huge demand for functional in-game economies. Where Blizzard did not provide, players and companies emerged and established methods for trading and valuation. Both Diablo II and World of Warcraft have shown that there is a huge demand to use real money to purchase things, like characters, items, and gold. Blizzard took a staunch “no-RMT” policy for World of Warcraft, as expressed in the game’s Terms of Service, and does not hold back in banning accounts used to sell items or gold. If you haven’t seen it yet, it really shines a light on how serious Blizzard is about preventing RMT in WoW:
Blizzard has acknowledged that WoW gold purchased from third parties is “most commonly” obtained through compromised accounts. Blizzard has also acknowledged that third-party sites in Diablo II were often the source of credit card fraud and often did not provide a high level of service. It also promoted spam, bots, and hacking. It makes sense for the company to offer this service to players directly and built into the client: it provides a better experience and Blizzard can skim a bit of cash as well.
On May 15th at 3 A.M. PDT, the heavens will tremble and Diablo 3 will be live. Players will be able to scour Sanctuary for gold and epic loot and trade it on the in-game gold-based auction house immediately, and a week later, the real money auction house will open, where players can trade their items with other players for real world currencies.
The recent announcement of the fee schedule for the “real-money trade” (RMT) auction house had some players astonished at the prices. The fee for the gold-based auction house is 15% of the sale price and while the real-money auction house matches that 15% for “commodities” (e.g., stackable items, gems, materials, dyes, etc.), it charges $1 for equipment and unique items. These fees are charged to the seller and deduced from the money they receive from the sale of the item. Additionally, the real money revenue is credited to a Battle.net account balance; if you want to be paid and withdraw the funds to Paypal, this incurs an additional 15% charge. Once you get the money into Paypal, you can transfer to a bank account for free, or do anything you could normally do with Paypal credit.
If you are at all familiar with Blizzard’s other major auction house system, the WoW gold auction house, you might notice the similarities and differences easily. Here’s a quick rundown of WoW’s auction house fees:
5% of the sale price on same faction auction house (99% of the trading), 15% on neutral auction houses
Players must put down a deposit when selling items. If the item fails to sell, the deposit is not returned. The deposit varies based on the length of the auction and the vendor value of the item.
Seems like the Diablo auction house is a lot less forgiving, doesn’t it? Read on for some of the possible motivation.