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News & Features Discussion  » General: Blizzard’s Cash Auctions are a Bad Idea

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Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16264

OP  8/23/11 3:55:21 PM#1

In today's Devil's Advocate, Associate Editor Suzie Ford takes a look at cash auctions and opines that they are not only good for buyers and sellers, but that they are also good for gaming and developers. Check it out and then leave a comment or two when you're finished!

One of the cold hard facts about gaming since the days of yore is that virtual items have value. They are valuable to those who hunt them and valuable to those who buy them. Just a cursory glance at Ebay reveals that the virtual goods market is alive and well. Put in “Diablo 2 items” and check out the over two hundred pages of goods that pop up. And this is for a game that is over ten years old! Gamers have clearly shown over the years that they are willing to use and even like the virtual goods market. Whether we agree with it or not, the idea of selling pixelated goods online is here to stay.

Read more of Suzie Ford's The Devil's Advocate: Blizzard’s Cash Auctions are a Bad Idea.

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Novice Member

Joined: 3/11/09
Posts: 104

8/24/11 8:22:26 AM#2

Oh god, I'm scared of what comments will look like.


Anyway, I'm pretty positive about these - It's a matter of choosing between having them legal and having them illegal.

It's a pretty hard stunt to pull off though.

If they succeed, I'm pretty sure others will follow, despite the fact that Diablo is pretty unique, so such system won't work in every online game.



Joined: 3/10/10
Posts: 2208

8/24/11 8:38:03 AM#3

Pretty much my thoughts on it.

I just hope people read the whole thing then think about it for second before running in with the flppant comments.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/27/03
Posts: 3

8/24/11 8:45:46 AM#4

Looks like they are copying the Auction Market in Rohan Online(F2P). Looks like a greedy move.

Maybe their intentions are good, but it'll make the game way more F2P-ish, where players pay to win. At least with games w/o this system, lesser people have access/exposure to RMT. But now Blizzard is encourging it... 

Feels like Diablo 3 is stepping down form the AAA rated game...


Novice Member

Joined: 4/18/06
Posts: 139

8/24/11 8:51:58 AM#5

I hope Blizzard makes an absolute BUTT LOAD of cash, off this idea. Now that I own shares in the company (AVTI), it's going to help the dividend payout's. :)


Highlighted Blogger

Joined: 6/29/06
Posts: 1752

Co-Leader of Inquisition

8/24/11 8:54:57 AM#6

Going this route may end up increasing the amount of spamming, scamming, and account hacking from what we already see plaguing their other games.   Also the concept of buying power will end up casting a shadow over whatever legitimacy their PvP arena might have had a chance to get.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10959

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

8/24/11 8:56:18 AM#7

I am very curious at how the cash auctions are going to turn out. My general feeling is that this is the best way to generate regular income from a game without charging a monthly subscription. Of the F2P options, this gets my vote.

I don't have any really good armchair economist reasons or even any good morality based reasons. It's just new, and seems the most player friendly method.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.


Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 20134

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

8/24/11 8:58:03 AM#8

I guess this is what the market wants, not surprising that developers decided to cave in and give it to them.

Not sure I agree that it was an unwinnable war, just don't think developers felt the potential cures were worse than the disease.

In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
"I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon


Novice Member

Joined: 11/23/10
Posts: 364

8/24/11 9:01:33 AM#9

I am so on the fence about it, I can see the point of view of blizzard, they couldnt stop the real money traders so instead they became one and basically got a piece of the pie while putting the ebay trade side of the business out of business.  or at least hurt it some.  the problem I see is where does this end, will more companies start this, will this just become another eventual source of revenue for the devs.  we already see sub games going to a freemium model making the devs more money, we already are seeing sub games either being built with a cash shop or implementing one.  most strictly free to play games are pay to win, when do we cross the line from paying to play to paying to win.  in a straight up pve game pay 2 win dont bother me.  if there is pvp involved then that is a different story.  I dont want to know im getting beat by somebody that either had unlimited income, has more disposable income, or have bad parents that give a kid whatever he wants because they are trying to make up for being bad parents.  in pvp i want a level playing field for everyone, not a playing field where george steinbrenner can buy the best stuff and win.

so im more of a wait and see type person on this, its going in the game, to tell the truth the online part bother me more than anything else because blizzard has never shown me they can keep my account from being hacked.  hell I havent played that game in nearly a year and i keep getting emails about how that account got hacked, wth.  how can a inactive account be hacked when I have not even used that account name in a year. 

this version of the auction house is either gonna be real good or real bad, depending on how greedy blizz gets.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/23/08
Posts: 418

8/24/11 9:02:46 AM#10

If virtual items have value, how long before governments come knocking on the door with the taxes, South Korea already does this on gold sellers, do you think other cash strapped governments will fail to latch onto another revenue stream?

F2P/P2P excellent thread.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/04/09
Posts: 20

8/24/11 9:09:25 AM#11

Thank you Suzie!  Holy God am I tired of hearing the sheeple bleating about this.  News flash: you're either a profit-hating-commie or you're ignorant enough to think that RMT won't happen anyway.  Either way, you need to mind your own damn business.  This is diablo - if you don't like the market, you don't have to use it, nor play with people who do.

Only one petty complaint about this article: Suzie, I wish you had mentioned the "gold farming sweat shop" argument.  How hard is it for these people to realize that this will CURB that?  When you make it legal, they can say bye bye to their profit margins.

Oh noes! High school econ! Increased supply, lower prices? *head implodes due to lack of gray matter*


Advanced Member

Joined: 3/19/08
Posts: 455

8/24/11 9:14:47 AM#12

While I agree in principal with the idea of RMT purchases, there's one issue I don't think they've thought through:

What happens when they shut the game down? You MUST play online, after all, and one day, many many years in the future, they'll want to get rid of the server. What are the legal repreucssions of selling an item by way of taking a cut of the action, only to eventually one day destroy everything they made a profit off of?

It's one thing when it's player to player.. There are not garuntees. Now you have a corporation involved, and the lawsuits WILL fly, if not soon, than most definitely in the future.

That better be one iron-clad EULA.


Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7205

8/24/11 9:23:30 AM#13

Well I have to completely disagree with the article.  It is a horrible development in this industry which basically legitimizes RMT.

Granted Blizzard has given in and wants a piece of the pie, but they did a horrible job of policing RMT in their games to start with. 

While Diablo II is one of my favorite games I have doubts now about buying Diablo III. 

I think the author should think first before writing a piece that does not recognize what a bad example this is for the industry.  The only thing this does is appease the "I want it now" group.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/03/05
Posts: 70

8/24/11 9:27:22 AM#14

Its wrong to encourage this...really, it is. But lets see how it goes :) Ill be playing for sure.


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/25/07
Posts: 3590

8/24/11 9:33:16 AM#15

Empty arguments :

But what about those who say that real money transactions (or RMT) are a “plague” on games? To a certain degree, they may be correct. RMT is the ultimate pay-to-win scenario. But these same fine folks are fooling themselves if they don’t realize that this is already happening and will continue happening with people snapping up the best items without any official approval.

This is just spinning arguments. So it is only to a certain degree a plague on games because other people are already cheating? (I use the word cheating because it is unintended) And why does the writer think that those players who are against RMT are fooling themselves into thinking that it is not happening already? Its the other way around. They know it is happening and that is why they are worried about it. And instead of fighting this, Blizzard turns it into a 'feature'. There is no improvement here for the people who are against RMT (official or illegal). The whole pay to win scenario stays the same. It is only an improvement for people who want RMT.

Another one:

Still some folks are skeptical about the cash auction house by saying that it’s nothing but money grabbing on the part of Blizzard. There’s no question that Blizzard is going to make money from the venture but not as much as might be expected. As yet, the gaming behemoth has not revealed what the fees will be for selling items in-game but assuming it’s a lowball figure, the amount collected will be significant, but not as significantly awesome as if they collected, for instance, 12% (to pull a number out of thin air) of the final sale. Do the math.

First, it is money grabbing by default regardless of the percentage. Your assumption that itll be a low number is just as baseless as those imaginary sceptical people who expect a high number. I think that because of the amount of players that WoW has, a small fee will run into the millions fast. It just needs an average of 1 dollar trading fee per sub.

From a developers point of view this is a sell out. If you create games that are supposed to be fun to play, then creating shortcuts to avoid playing the game is a contradiction. It even creates an incentive to make certain game parts less fun, to make the RMT more interesting.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/04/09
Posts: 20

8/24/11 9:47:07 AM#16

@someforumguy (like the name)

How do you pay-to-win a PvE lobby game? In D1 and D2, the only experienced cheapened by cheaters was their own.  In fact, D1 taught me the virtue of playing "legit" because one-shotting diablo on hell-difficulty was just boring.  It's time the next generation learned the same lesson.

"First, it is money grabbing by default regardless of the percentage..."  Commie rhetoric.  No one's got their hands in your pockets.  They've offered you a service and a price - accept or decline.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/02/10
Posts: 8

8/24/11 9:50:03 AM#17

I hope Blizzard fades out for this one, dumb company now anyways, i just don't get the real cash thing and i never will, because in my mind games are to be played for fun, they are an art form (one of the main reasons i like old games, blizzard stopped making art type games with wow and its all gone down hill since then, figures seeing as the founding members arent there anymore).

You should have to use in game items to buy/trade items end of story, if lame ppl like to use ebay let them, or ban them, you should want to find the items you have anyways, after all it is a game, why even play if your not really going to play?

I guess the idea of legit gameplay died with art style games.

I for one am not buying this game, the real cash thing is the main reason although not the only one, cartoony graphics, no health potions, is hell even in this game anymore??

Peace, check out "Path of Exile" if your interested in a real art style, legit gameplay hack'n'slash.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/09
Posts: 3001

The more you hype an upcoming game in your mind, the more it will fail to meet your expectations.

8/24/11 9:56:01 AM#18

Making RMT 'legitimate' doesn't fix all of the negatives that come from RMT's existence. If anything, it makes the negatives worse by increasing demand for goods, thus making acquiring virtual goods through illegitimate means more lucrative...

  • People's accounts are still hacked.
  • There is more incentive to bot.
  • Gold farmers become more agressive.

As a result of these things, the economy becomes even more lopsided in favor of the undesirable players. When there is real currency gain involved, the market will be far more cutthroat. And I don't mean more 'good' or 'healthy' competition, I mean the average player being gouged by a market that's being manipulated by people out to make money.

Sales of virtual goods only exist in games because we allow them to. There's no reason why it needs to be made legitimate, and the only reason why it is, is so that Blizzard can profit off of people cheating the game. Yes it would happen even if it's against the EULA, but it would happen far less than it will when it's allowed. And as such, the game will suffer far more from the ills of RMT.

And if you're one of the average gamers thinking you can profit off of a system like this, think again. There are a lot of people more economically agressive and saavy than you. These people will control the market, and force people like yourselves to make extremely little profit, while they gouge everyone else.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/06
Posts: 847

8/24/11 10:03:17 AM#19

Originally posted by g0plyAK

 i just don't get the real cash thing and i never will

And thats the problem. People like you refuse to even try to grasp simple concepts. You spend time or you spend money, its that freaking simple. Or rather you waste time or you waste money. Open your eyes people. If your excuse for sucking at pvp is "well the other guy i fought bought his stuff and i had to earn that same stuff" then you need to have your head checked.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/11
Posts: 1845

8/24/11 10:03:31 AM#20

1. The hacking of accounts excuse is getting old. We simply disagree about, if it's a developers responsibility to help those affected by account hacking. It's my viewpoint that the developers only responsibility, is of keeping their own network, sites and games safe. Not to help internet_tard-001 that doesn't know how to keep his own system safe nor fall for phishing scams. To that i firmly believe companies should employ a "no support for hacked accounts" policy.

This makes the whole "lets make these transactions safe" moot.

2. It's only a win win for those who have bought and is willing to buy/sell virtual goods. The rest of us not so much.

3. Quote: "There’s no question that Blizzard is going to make money from the venture but not as much as might be expected. As yet, the gaming behemoth has not revealed what the fees will be for selling items in-game"

So she claims it won't be as much as expected (does she even know what people expect?) then you write that you don't have the foggiest clue as to what it will be. Is it just me or does that seem extra dumb. I would like to add that auction sites not affiliated to gaming often charge a small amount for a listing perfectly able to make huge profits that way.

Regardless if people always had the means to obtain items through third party sites, there are some people myself included, whom were happy with that fact. Why? because people risked their CC information and their accounts to do something stupid plus an added, if slim chance of getting caught by the "system" and banned (always got a kick out of the "over 300.000 accounts banned" messages). It didn't cure anything but it was something. Now it's endorsed. It sucks at least for me no matter how anybody wish to spin it.

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