Gamers groan and rejoice with the ability to spend $1.25 – $250 of their hard-earned cash for something made entirely of ones and zeros in the realm of Sanctuary, I am of course talking about America’s region launch of Diablo III′s real money auction house.
Currently, the maximum bid and buyout that can be set on any one item is $250, and there are plenty of items priced at that already. Since Blizzard takes a $1 cut on every successful auction, the minimum to put an item up is $1.25. Players who want to buy and sell using a Battle.net balance are, understandably, required to attach a Battle.net authenticator to their account. Other options include using a credit card or linking a PayPal account.
Equipment sales come with a $1 deduction if the item is sold (taken by Blizzard from the sale amount). Sales for stackable items like gems, crafting materials, and gold—take a 15% deduction instead of the flat $1, presumably to avoid loopholes of selling those commodities in large stacks. Gold must be sold in multiples of 100,000.
Blizzard double dips on any real money made through the auction house, funds are subject to a 15% withdrawal fee if you want to put it anywhere besides the Battle.net balance (which can be used to purchase on the auction house, to pay for World of Warcraft subscription time and pets, or anything else directly linked to your Battle.net account).
Gold Farming in World of Warcraft was more than a three billion dollar per-year industry as recently as 2009 according to the World Bank. Despite Blizzard’s best efforts to ban players who trade gold for real world money the industry is certainly thriving and if you can’t beat them, may as well take a 15% cut… Twice!
There is a divide as some players turn up their noses in disgust at Blizzard trying to make money, while others argue that it’s their money to do with what they want.
It is unknown right now when the real money auction house will be available in other regions (expected release for Europe is 16/06/2012), we can assume Blizzard have their lawyers and coders working as fast as they can to iron out any problems. While Blizzard have promised other currencies will be available, currently USD, Mexican pesos and the Australian dollar are options.
“We are rolling out elements of the real-money auction house separately to ensure all of our players have the smoothest possible experience,” Blizzard claims.
We’re also hearing through the Diablo grapevine that one million gold is going for roughly $2.50 USD before the server went down for maintenance, but I have personally not seen any gold available, perhaps I’m not looking for the right quantity.
One of the questions I’m asking is, will this reduce the amount of spam in public channels for direct unsecured purchases of gold or items, probably not.
Will you use the real money auction house to gear up quickly or make some cash on the side? Or are you more interested in keeping those shiny items for yourself?