Opinion around the internet seem quite divided over the real money auction house (RMAH) in Diablo 3. After listening to the debate from both sides, I have to say that I’m against RMAH for the reason of principle. Here’s why:
Those in favor of the RMAH say that gold farming, illegal mod-ing, bots, etc. have been around and will be around. With RMAH at least the buyer will not be subjected to dubious sites and potential hacking. I agree completely that these type of activities cannot be stopped. However, that does not mean that the very game developers should condone such practices. My biggest problem with RMAH is that while there will be a “hardcore” option that will disable the RMAH for that character and force the loss of all loot when the character dies, the fact of the matter is that someone playing in this mode will still be in the same world with those who have bought loot. What is the value of working your butt off to get a version of some top tier gear when anyone with a bit of cash can probably get a better sword, armor set, runes, etc. than you? It just cheapens the experience. Gold farming is wrong and while it will happen, the fact that the very company creating the game is supporting it is simply wrong. Where is the integrity and respect for the product? Making gold farming legal and official is only going to encourage the game. And with Blizzard stating they have the right to respec items that are bought, you can bet that the entrance of new and better items into the game through patches and the downgrading of previous items will allow for Blizzard to make a ton of cash through transaction fees on the RMAH. The fact that there will be little distinction between who has actually worked to earn their gear and who bought it makes a mockery of the hardworking gamer who actually invested his or her time in the game and deserve the accolade.
At least with an auction house that uses the in-game currency will mean that newbies will not have the requisite gold to purchase such items (unless he goes to illegal third party sites ) and the system become more like advanced bartering among those of higher stats.
Personally, I don’t mind a bit of randomization. Sure, it may mean I never get the greatest staff or axe in the game but I will probably get close. It’s just like playing a board game or a card game. Is the game fatally flawed because not everyone has a fair chance of getting a good hand?
Also, although Blizzard says they are not going to be selling items at the RMAH, what is going to stop them from say selling special decals or bling items (pets or mounts for example). Bottom line, the RMAH is a disgrace. It just seems Blizzard’s motto that they are a company that are all about gameplay is no longer true. Nowadays, it’s not about satisfying fans but rather Activision shareholders. Why else would they want to cash in on gold-farming which is an insult to their very own product?
Moreover, I wasn’t initially bothered by Blizzard making a constant online connection to play the game. Then someone observed that what happens if you were in the middle of a boss fight or if some unique loot just dropped and you lost your internet connection. This would be extremely frustrating. At least with SC2 you could continue playing in single player mode and then reconnect. Even in this day and age, a constant wireless internet connection is not the norm (anyone who ever had Comcast and lived in Chicago will know what I’m talking about).
I hope that the developers are going to be able to stuff their wallets with some of the cash from the RMAH and that it’s not all going upstairs to the big wigs because congratulations guys, you have brought gaming to a lower level. For all the people who are against the RMAH, there is really no chance that Blizzard will rescind this move. They are already under contract negotiation with a third party to convert money transaction in the RMAH to feed into real bank accounts. Because at the end of the day, there is a lot of money to be made here and Blizzard knows that most of those who are complaining about the RMAH will probably buy the game anyways. In addition, there seems to be sizable percentage of “hardcore” community who are enticed at the prospect of being able to earn some beer money via the RMAH.
As for me, I probably won’t be buying this game and am thinking about hanging up my controllers altogether but that’s for another post. At the end of the day, you gotta stand for something.