Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[Diablo 3] Auction House

I haven't really purchased anything on Auction House on my Demon Hunter, other than selling off extra rares. However, I started a hardcore Barbarian. Being nervous about hardcore difficulty, which I never tried in D2, I began to purchase rares for all slots on the Auction House.

Rare gear, especially low-level gear is extraordinarily cheap. It must be even cheaper on the normal AH. Since gear doesn't degrade, the supply is huge. As well, because you can only have 10 auctions, the system pushes you to under-price items, in order to maintain turnover. I made the mistake of overpricing my auctions, and now I have a backlog of items just taking up space in my stash while I wait for the auctions for clear.

Outfitting your character through the Auction House really changes the game, at least in the beginning. The difficulty becomes much lower. I'm just rampaging through stuff with my Barbarian, and am really not playing it as if it is hardcore. I play more cautiously and defensively on my softcore Demon Hunter.

Second, in general the items you can buy on the AH are better than the items you are picking up from defeating enemies. That means that a lot of the thrill of getting new items has disappeared from the game. You're picking up items solely to sell them. Then you buy new items from the AH. It's actually rather boring.

I've gotten the Barbarian up to level 11, but I'm sort of at a crossroads as to which which way I want to. Should I go back to the old way of only using gear I find? Should I start a new Barbarian from scratch? Should I continue buying rares? After all, stopping buying rares does increase the chance of death, which is permanent in hardcore mode. Will later difficulty modes be balanced around people purchasing AH gear?

Lots of questions, but no real answers.

12 comments:

Foo said...

I hope Diablo III makes it's money out of hype and hope.

I don't expect much excitement about it in 3 months time.

I also see the real money ah being a complete flop.

souldrinker said...

I'm not sure how you can play melee character "cautiously". You have to close with the enemy anyway.

Bearness said...

I agree auction house takes away some of the thrill from item hunting. But, if I were you, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I faced the same dilemma, however, I realized mutli-player games always had "twinking", "power-leveling", and similar options available for those who wanted it. This is not something new or unique to Diablo 3. Auction house just made it simpler. People (including myself) focus on it because we automatically assume Diablo is a item collection game only. So, taking away the "finding new shines!" part makes it feel like game is pointless. But, Diablo 3 has a pretty good talent/combat system that seems simple at first, but takes time to master. It's much more enjoyable in that aspect than Diablo 2 in my opinion.

Also, from Nightmare and on (though much more noticeable on Hell), mobs start hitting very hard. So, even if people deck out their characters in the auction house, they'll still die pretty easily if they don't pay attention, or don't know what they're doing. On the other hand, Normal difficulty is pretty much face roll regardless of whether you use auction house gear or not, if you're an experience gamer. And I don't mind using everything to my advantage that the game allows, as long as it's not cheating.

Phelps said...

Gevlon called it last week:

http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com/2012/05/diablo-3-market-is-37.html

http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com/2012/05/diablo-3-game-over-issue.html

stubborn said...

I think you've identified what may be the greatest flaw with D3. I love the gameplay; it's very refreshing after 7 years of FPS and MMO WoW-style games. However, they've undermined two of the biggest elements by their own design: the thrill of good gear and the tough choices of what abilities to use. I have no idea what Blizz was thinking by including those (except profit, profit, profit at least from the RMAH), but I'm seeing already content in my game trivialized by my friends using the AH.

Now I've heard reports that on harder modes the game won't be trivialized regardless of AH purchases, and that's great, but once again, that's bad design. Like WoW, that implies that the "leveling" process (in this case, difficulty mode leveling as opposed to, well, level leveling) is once again a means to an end and is also different than what can be expected later. Only time will tell, but either way, it seems like questionable design.
Great post!

Rohan said...

I think we know--or can make a very good guess at--what Blizzard was thinking. They were reacting to how Diablo 2 progressed during it's lifecycle. A secure AH and even a secure RMAH allows the trading that happened in D2 to occur safely and securely. Legalize and tax, as it were.

I think the real mistake was not including a soul-binding mechanic to remove items from circulation.

Or possibly completely disallowing trading and not having the AH, which is possible because you don't share loot. Simply prevent a player from seeing items another player drops.

Durentis said...

As others have mentioned, wait until NM/Hell before you worry too much on this, if ever.

Regardless, you have the option of using it or not to get the experience you desire. Others using it shouldn't matter to you because they're just "out there in the cloud probably doing stuff".

Also, keep in mind that D3 Rares (yellow) aren't WoW Epics.. they're somewhere between WoW Uncommons and Rares given how often they drop and how generally useless/upgradable they are. D3 Magics (blue) are WoW Common/Uncommon. D3 Legendaries/Sets (orange/green) are the WoW Epic equivalent (and I don't think you'll be twinking a new character in Legendaries from the AH anytime soon). And beyond even D3 Legendary is the "perfect item", which is the WoW Legendary equivalent and may drop as a Magic, Rare, Legendary, or Set item. It's this "pefect item" that you are hunting for despite the AH, and I doubt you'll see enough of them on the AH to even give a hint of eventual saturation.

I dunno.. I think the hunt for that one in a trillion item (and somewhat more common near-enough items) is fun. But then I haven't bought anything on the AH aside from a couple Artisan tomes last night because I was lazy. To me, the AH is entirely "out of sight; out of mind" until/unless I choose to open it up.

Bristal said...

I finally bought a couple of things. I'm leveling 4 characters and I'm finding it very fun figuring out what gear is best for each. I also love that the same gear looks different on each character, and that there aren't restrictions like "plate" or "cloth" armor.

I do wish the AH UI was a but less clunky.

spinksville said...

I think it'll go down as an interesting experiment which shows how a massively multiplayer feature like an Auction House can completely break a game based on random gear drops.

Higher levels of difficulty effectively will be balanced around better gear, but it's so much easier to grind some gold and buy from the AH than to grind the random drops that no one will do the latter (except when drops offer better selling potential than other gold grinding methods.)

My partner is playing solo and not using the AH and he still gets excited about drops. It's very clearly the way the genre is 'meant' to be played. I love the AH convenience but loot now has no purpose other than what it will sell for.

Anonymous said...

I dunno. I still get happy when something good drops. The AH just lets me fill in the spaces when I don't have something good drop. I'm still running around with a level 14 ring in nightmare because I haven't found better yet and I don't want to spend over 5k to get a new one.

The AH basiclaly has undermined the whole crafting part of the game. There is honestly no point in crafting if you can get something good for twice the amount it takes to craft the item. This might just be my horrible luck. But, I gave up on crafting after making 6 quivers and having absolutely no luck I finally went to the AH and bought one for a little over the price it took to craft it.

I do agree though that they need an outlet to bleed off items. The AH economy reminds me much of EQ2s before they instituted soul bond items.

But I basically vendor anything that is vendors for over 20g unless I think it will sell on AH. Since crafting mats go fro about 15g last time I bought some.

The one thing I really wish the AH has was a way to put in minimum dps on weapons. make it so much easier to sorta out all the trash weapons that are up there.

Bearness said...

Auction house does make crafting useless, but biggest problem is definitely the inevitable overflow of items due to lack of soul-binding. Although most people will be against it since it's not very Diablo-ish (in fact, that's WOW-ish so just imagine the backlash from "hardcore" people), it is basically a requirement that goes with facilitated trading. I'm not sure how Blizzard missed this completely while they thought to slow down gold inflation with various gold sinks.

Overall, I'm having fun with Diablo 3 and I don't agree with most of the critics. But, the fact that many vital parts of the game (auction house, chat/friends system, omission of PVP, general UI, item stats, incoherent story, lame ending) feel rushed and/or unpolished is absolutely shocking after such a long "development" cycle. I guess we'll never know what happened behind the closed doors, but I have a feeling that this game was on hiatus for a long time and they really worked on it past 2-3 years only. Either that or Blizzard quality has degraded significantly.

Anonymous said...

Seems like everyone has forgotten D2 already. That game had mass trading, which by the common logic would ruin the fun, and it was popular for a decade. A decent amount of the playerbase apparently likes to get overpowered items and smash everything in sight. Maybe they have gotten bored of this by now, but Diablo isn't going to be ruined because found gear is generally worse than what you can get from other players.