Blizzard just announced it’ll be shutting down both the real-money and gold auction houses for Diablo 3 on March 18, 2014. The company’s admitted on more than one occasion it has regrets about the implementation and use of the Diablo 3 auction house system since the game’s May 2012 launch, and now, it seems it has decided to put the auction house down for good via an old-fashioned shutdown. The company released a video and a blog post explaining the reasons behind the shutdown, saying “it [the Auction House] became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo’s core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot.”
It’s rare to see a company like Blizzard openly admit a bold idea like this was an outright failure, but it does make sense for the game’s economy — earlier this year, a glitch in the auction house caused trillions of gold to be generated, causing super inflation across both the gold and real money auction houses. Issues like that glitch, combined with repeated requests by a vocal playerbase to keep people from being able to just buy their way to epic loot instead of earning it through gameplay (which, if you’ve ever played Diablo, the latter is kind of the point of playing) have caused developers to take a hard look at how the auction house works and how it might affect players in the future.
With new expansion Reaper of Souls on the horizon, it seems like this is the best time for Blizzard developers to finally rid themselves of the auction houses that has caused nothing but heartache for both players and devs alike. In addition, it also potentially gives us a glimpse at Blizzard’s launch window for Reaper of Souls, as we’d expect a major change like this to occur in a patch shortly before the expansion’s launch (similar to the 4.0.3a patch in World of Warcraft that preceded the Cataclysm expansion’s launch and changed the game world’s design permanently).
Does the change make you more likely to get into Diablo 3 (or come back to it, if you’ve left)? Let us know in the comments.