This post is a long time coming, but it was delayed while I dealt with the technical difficulties. As such, I apologize if this post seems dated. Today we are going to be discussing Blizzard’s real money auction house and its general treatment of gamers with the release of Diablo 3. Blizzard launched Diablo 3 without an auction house, but have since added two. One auction house uses in-game currency and the other uses real world money. The idea behind it is that gamers could put their items on the block, make a little bit of money and Blizzard would get a cut from each transaction. However, along with Diablo 3 only being playable with an internet connection, this real money auction house has been getting a lot of bad press and I think its time to voice my opinion on the matter.
|This isn’t going to end well|
Listen, I support DLC, and I support the anti-used games movement; however, I feel that the real money auction house that Blizzard has created spits in the faces of each gamer out there and sets a very dangerous precedent in the video game industry. The basic concept of letting players deal with each other and trade items is a good one, which is why the other auction house is a fine idea. However, the real money auction house is corrupt plain and simple. Firstly, it totally undermines the other auction house, as what fool would choose fake gold over real money. Secondly, it is based entirely on exploiting human greed for profit. Yes, I realize that Blizzard is a corporation and that kind of thing is par for the course, but Blizzard does this in such a way that companies like Zynga and Capcom would be ashamed.
|Just kidding, Zynga is the fucking devil|
Blizzard is one of the biggest gaming companies in the world. It doesn’t put out a lot of product, but everything it touches has been turned to solid gold. Everything they have ever made has been the subject of copycats, and they rule each genre they have attempted. To say the Blizzard is an influential developer is a major understatement. This is important to understand. Blizzard is about as mainstream as it gets, and this makes what they do far more troubling. You see, when some crap Facebook, iphone, or browser game is designed entirely to ripoff the consumer, it doesn’t really matter. Those games are just some of the thousands of shovelware crap that gets released everyday to make a quick buck. However, when a company like Blizzard does it, suddenly it can become the norm. Look at Capcom. It made a policy (Which they are now fortunately stopping) of releasing games and selling DLC for content which was already on the disk. Because of the fact that Capcom could get away with it, many other companies joined in.
|Why sell a whole game when you can ransom content?|
You see, the real money auction house is far worse than day 1 DLC or even, to an extent, on the disk DLC. Both of these require the developers to actually make content. Even if it is completely underhanded to sell DLC for something that is already on the disk, it is actual content that was made by the developers. The real money auction house is not at all like that. Instead, Blizzard allows players to trade for items, which was already available with the other auction house, and they make a tidy profit through absolutely no effort on their own part other than bare administration. The redundancy of the other auction house means that Blizzard is not providing any new service with this, and have actively sabotaged their own work.
|At only $300 this armour is a steal! Now to get back to the game and… do nothing I guess….|
When I say that they are sabotaging their own work, I mean that in every conceivable way. You see, internet. Diablo 3 has an extremely poor story, derivative graphics, and lackluster sound. The only thing it has going for it is its incredibly addicting gameplay. Diablo 3’s gameplay is a thing of beauty and it is all because of its excellent loot mechanic. Unfortunately, the real money auction house completely sabotages it, by allowing people to simply buy whatever they want with cold hard cash. This isn’t bad, right? Plenty of games offer items and equipment as DLC. However, Diablo 3 as a game only has one purpose and that is the quest for loot. Imagine that you buy an old-timey puzzle, and you have the option to simply have it completed for you by paying someone. Yes, people are free to do it, but it defeats the purpose of the activity. Why climb a mountain when you can pay someone else to do it? If you do that, aren’t you missing the point? Diablo isn’t an MMO, there are few bragging rights to be had, and the end-game is lacking in real content. Without the quest for loot, there isn’t anything left in the game.
|For $50 I’ll not only finish this for you, but throw it out afterwards too.|
Diablo 3 has been a very dangerous game for the industry. Anti-piracy and used games scares are very real and developers will stop at nothing to curb these practises. Blizzard’s online-only policy is dangerous because of that. It is not inconceivable that other developers will join in. Similarly, what is to stop other RPGs from implementing similar market places in order to turn a profit on fanatical gamers? Sure Blizzard has been getting a lot of flak for what they have done, but they have also unapologetically stood by their decisions. I can only hope that the industry pays no mind to Blizzard’s insane policies and simply moves on.
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer