One of the ways that you used to be able to acquire items and resources was through the game auction house in Diablo III. You could also trade certain items with another player or NPC directly by dropping the item in the trade screen and then clicking the okay button on it to claim the item. Gold could also be exchanged instead of items, or along with them. Some items like account bound items, were prohibited from trading in that way. Auction houses were started to make it easier for players to acquire items, and to monetize the game.
Real Money Versus Game Gold
There were two different auction houses that functioned in the Diablo III universe. The first allowed players to shop using gold pieces acquired in playing the game. You could find gold as a result of an adventure, or you could earn gold by completing certain quests. The gold based auction house charged a flat tariff fee of 15% of the price attached to the item. This encouraged you to adventure even more. The real money auction houses functioned in much the same way, only the tariff was set at about one unit of the currency you were purchasing in. Game play didn’t affect your resources, your wallet did. Players were fairly evenly split on whether or not they like being able to use real time money in the game for items and to get ahead.
The Problem in Korea
Who didn’t have a problem making up their mind about the use of real money auction houses was the Korean government. In order to release the game in Korea, the real money auction houses had to be shut down in the Korean versions or the game would be in violation of their on-line gambling prohibition. This started the company looking at other potential findings against them for using a real money auction house. They also polled the community to see what the general perception of the auction houses were. Surprisingly, by then most of the community was not in favor of any kind of auction house. Items, it was felt, should be the result of game play only – not purchased in any manner.
Deciding They Had to Go
While the company announced it was going to shut down the auction houses in March of 2013, it also admitted that it would be a very complicated process. Entire swaths of the game code would have to be adapted so that players who owned auction house items wouldn’t suddenly wake to find them missing from their inventory. Finally, in March of 2014, all auction houses were shut down with the release of the expansion, Reaper of Souls.
Shutting down the auction houses has had the surprising effect of improving the overall gameplay and community. Without a backup option, more players began to seek out quests to get items. There was also an uptick in team play. It seems like being able to buy things that made it look like you were skilled and experience also discouraged you from daring to play the game.