Diablo 3 Economics

I realize the game isn’t out yet, heck, it doesn’t have a release date either.  Still, there are certain items being tested that should transition near seamlessly into the live client.  The game mechanics aren’t terribly interesting to me but the meta mechanics do and particularly the Auction House.

Recently, Blizz said:

  • Listing fee is being removed.
  • Transaction fee is being increased to 1.25 Beta Bucks.
  • Minimum listing price is being raised to 1.50 Beta Bucks.
  • You will be limited to 10 active auctions per auction house.

This means you’re taxed about 80% if you sell at the minimum.  To me, a micro transaction is in the 1-2$ range and when the seller only makes 25c on that sale at at most, 10 sales, that’s 2.50$ potential.  Now I realize there are going to be extremely stupid people who will post at that level – I made about 20K in WoW from people posting at below vendor value – but the point remains that Blizzard is clearly taking a massive cut from players.  A transaction fee should not MORE than the value of a micro-transaction.

I understand they want to set a firm bottom on their auction house and reduce risk by limiting farmer’s ability to post but at the same time, 3rd party players will easily circumvent this tool.  It’s like Blizz hired a high school economics student to build their strategy or perhaps Bobby has some finger in here.

The more I read about D3, the more I scratch my head at what they are trying to do.  I remember when Blizzard was about making quality games and now it seems that the focus is less on that aspect and more on testing revenue generating models.    Then other times, something like the LFR tool comes out and you say “that makes sense”.  It’s really all over the map.

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