One thing that’s guaranteed to make headlines is a video game developer making a few design choices on the PC that get people up in arms. After continually raising eyebrows back during the lead-up to StarCraft 2, Blizzard invited a few games journalists down to Irvine, California to sample some of Diablo 3. While I’m certain they came away with the excellent taste of RPG/brawler in their mouths, a couple bits of news might have left a sour taste.
Diablo 3 will feature an in-game auction house where players can exchange real money for items or receive cash for selling theirs. As a kick-back for running the service, Blizzard will take a little off the top (like Valve and the community TF2 items), but the seller will still see some payouts in the end. In addition to Blizzard taking their cuts, an un-announced third party will be handling the transaction and taking their piece of the pie as well.
Blizzard sees this as an extension of the trading system in Diablo 2 where the best items would get filtered around by the players on Battle.net. While the auction system will be closely regulated by Blizzard and there are several safeguards in place to prevent abuse, this seems like quite the gamble to be taking with Diablo 3.
Speaking of gambles, Blizzard also announced at the same event that Diablo 3 will require a constant Internet connection, even if you want to play all by your lonesome. The constant connection will be used to authenticate your character with Blizz’s servers and prevent piracy, auction house fraud and other sorts of nastiness. Another part of the reasoning was that Blizzard thought that people wouldn’t appreciate maxing out a character in single-player and starting over from scratch if they wanted to try Battle.net.
That’s quite the pair of head-scratchers right there, if you don’t mind me saying so. Blizzard is always trying to push the envelope in these terms, so this might not be the weirdest things we hear pre-release. What do you guys think about this news? Does this affect your perception of Diablo 3? Oh, and there will also never, ever be mods. So there’s that.