It’s a slow EQ2 news week, and an interesting article came up about Diablo III, a game whose Auction house aligns with a desire expressed by a small but vocal group of EverQuest II players: Fully tradeable Fabled/Mythical raid drops, sellable on the broker.
So what’s the verdict? Effective March 2014, Blizzard will be phasing out their Gold and Real Money Transaction Auction Houses. The video their lead designers have released (and which I have embedded below) leaves no doubt about how the Auction house was impacting Diablo III…
From Ars Technica:
The blog post and embedded video note that Diablo 3‘s Auction House was originally designed to provide a place for players to simply trade items. However, the system quickly took on a life of its own, becoming the preferred way to acquire epic and legendary items with the class-specific stats that each of the games’ classes needed to slay more demons. Diablo 3 Game Director Josh Mosqueira noted that the Auction House “short-circuited [the] core reward loop” of Diablo 3, replacing monster drops as the primary way the vast majority of players acquired new gear.
After the jump, Josh’s further thoughts, and I address why SLR is not an all-or-nothing affair…
[removing the Auction house] paves the way so that killing monsters in-game is the most rewarding, the most satisfying, the most compelling ways of getting your hands on [new] items.
I also want to say, thank you to all you guys in our community: Thank you for being patient with us, coming along with us on this journey, but at the end of the day, we at Blizzard, and specifically us on team 3, we felt that the right decision is to preserve the integrity of the gameplay experience of Diablo, and make sure that finding items in-game is the best place to find those items.
SLR is By Degree
I realize that by posting this, it will undoubtedly stir up debate and a certain amount of rage from players on both sides of the spectrum. One side being totally in favor of SLR as a way to recoup raid expenses and sell unwanted items. The other believing that every item acquired in an MMO should be earned in-person.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with SLR of fabled gear in EQ2 as it’s typically not the latest-and-greatest which is still going to gear up progressing raid forces. SLR of Mythical items is quite rare (I don’t know if anyone has SLRed the Hydra Helms — it may be impossible due to the way they are earned by completing Achievements and raw material drops). Yes, we’ve seen 6 or 12 boxed accounts running raid zones and selling all of the loot in certain raid zones, or heroic groups that form “sell runs”. But it’s one thing to periodically have a few items in the Auction channel.
A Self-Selecting Customerbase
By the very nature of SLR, customers must read the Auction channel, must place bids, must be willing to travel to the group or raid force, and must not have a lockout on their character for the zone-in-question. It requires a certain amount of faith and trust. Also, the pool of customers is limited to those players logged in at the time a monster is killed (within 15 minutes due to chest despawning). If all Fabled and Mythical items became instantly available on the Broker or a similar system, all of those barriers would come crashing down. We could see an entire shift in how the game is played and funded. Plat selling might take off again.
I also realize that EverQuest II vs. Diablo III is probably not a fair comparison. Through different producers and designers, the EQ2 team has always tried to kept a tight leash on the speed at which powerful items flow into the game. The loot chase is only a part of EQ2, and for some players, not even a part of their daily gameplay. But seeing another game publisher backing away from a “trade it all and let the players sort it out!” stance makes for an interesting data point and perhaps the start of a meaningful conversation.
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