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.