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Well it sounds like you're a little more on the fence than your original impression of the gold ah taking a huge hit ;p
I don't see any really good reason for the player base to prefer the GAH at large. I feel like it's only being propped up by people maintaining the mental separation between in-game items and the rest of the finances.
If you look at the incentives, at the launch of the game there is going to be huge demand on the RMAH and very little supply. The belief that prices on the RMAH will never be higher than they will be when the game launches is not unfounded. I worry that alone is enough to make the RMAH the go-to place to sell, and therefore buy.
Granted the GAH can't become totally irrelevant; if you want to convert non-gold items to gold it's obviously the place to do it, and even with a dominant RMAH the GAH will still track the RMAH closely - otherwise there would be arbitrage opportunities.
I just don't see it as very healthy for gold to have a low time value and for Blizzard to lose control of their economy.
This mechanic is actually what would have happend under the old $1.25 fee. All the better items would go to the RMAH because there's much less tax--- no doubt about it. This would force a lot of people that normally wouldnt deal with the RMAH to make the gold/item to money conversion to trade for anything worth more than $5. I see this 15% as a *solution* to this problem.
It's possible it will work out that way - that top quality items will naturally go on the GAH and people will have to 'cash in' to bid on them. It's also possible for even small items to end up on the RMAH now and the GAH becomes an afterthought.
The issue for me was that the percentage of items that made sense to sell on the RMAH was going to be small, and was going to diminish with time, while we had a more or less built-in guarantee that the GAH was going to be the main auction house for most items. This also naturally partitioned things the way they were likely to go anyway. So it guaranteed that both auction houses would be relevant and interesting in their own right.
The new numbers more or less guarantee that one of the two will not be interesting, though it is unclear which one. I don't see that as a good thing at all - not only would I not want to leave anything like this to chance if I was in their shoes, but there's little advantage to doing it this way over just picking one auction house or the other, and shutting the other one down. Leaving them both open, in this form, is enabling a lot of false choice and wishing for the best, which is not good design at all.
I played games with a game currency and a cash shop currency. Good items always sold for the cash shop currency or for a very high exchange rate of RL dollars to in game gold. If its a good item there will be few people that will actually sell it for in game gold when you can easily farm it for yourself just by playing the game.
If a majority of the best items are going to be on the RMAH, which they will. People will try to sell and make the most they can on the RMAH (if they are not adding bucks to their account) to enable purchases of the best items. GAH will be a ready source of less than the best items.
It won't matter to people whether it is $1.25 fee or 15%, money is money.
I like this change. I did some calculations before based on the current fee structure and assuming $1 would buy 1k gold. The end result was that it never made sense to have more than 100k gold. It was best to sell surplus gold and then do all trades for items above this value on the RMAH.
With a flat fee for both AH, the optimal strategy to build wealth no longer mandates use of the RMAH.
This change is good, but I think the fees need to be revised downward for both AH's. I think a 3rd party site can beat a 15% fee. Blizzard should be a bit more competitive -- say 10% fee on both Auction houses. Otherwise, people are going to revert to using e-Bay for the most valuable items, where fees are lower.
According to Diabloinc/Diablo3Markets
As blizzard has stated many times, any RMAH prices that are implemented now, are not necessarily going to be the amount in the actual game. Dont get too excited yet.
A couple of things I noticed missing from the discussion:
Gold will have a value outside of AH trading. The very high prices of crafting, repairs, and the jewelcrafter will give players a use for it outside of the AH. As long as you want to craft you'll need the gold for it. If you liquidate all of your items in the RMAH then you won't be able to craft without eating the transaction fee for turning the RM back to gold. You won't just be able to sit on a pile of Blizzard Bucks and still get other things done in game.
There are limited slots to use in each AH. If you collect a serious amount of items you might not be able to sell them all on a single AH. Unless you are willing to sell for very low prices losing out on potential earnings, you'll need to utilize both AHs in order to move the most goods.
Cashing out the RM has its own fees associated with it so that it is more efficient to cash out larger quantities at a time. This means that if you really want to extract money from the game you're better off waiting for a big lump sum extraction. This is probably easiest by selling a big pile of gold all at once. Cashing out each little item will result in accumulating fees diminishing the RMAH for that purpose.
Many players don't care for the RMAH. If there is no specific incentive to use the RMAH (as with the reduced fees for expensive items in the old system) many players will ignore it entirely when selling their items. A thriving market can be driven by these people if there are enough of them.
The change from a $1.25 flat transaction fee on RMAH sold commodities to a 15% transaction fee saddens me. I feel this changes the intended effect from Blizzard wanting to "break even" to instead now include "Profit" as a governing factor for providing the RMAH feature.
I could be wrong. For all I know, the number of predicted small transactions might have made the entire system actually more profitable under a $1.25 flat fee than a 15% fee, but without some hard statistics it's impossible to tell.
I'd like to think the move might have been done to cut in to the profits of gold farmers trying to sell items above $8.40, but without a statement from Blizzard it's impossible to tell.
So I am disheartened, but I'm willing to wait until Blizzard gives some explanation before passing final judgement on them.
Blizzard: We don't want d2jsp in D3!
Fan: Yea, we don't want that either! Huzzah blizzard! You r0xx0rz!!11!!11
Blizzard: We're going to add RMAH so you guys can sell items back and forth can create an economy that will effectively make sites like d2jsp useless!!!
Fan: zomg I'm going to be rich!!! lulz
Blizzard: We're going to take 15% of your profit, however, but don't worry it will be ok!
Fan: But, won't that make sites like d2jsp 15% cheaper?
Blizzard: Like how do you mean?
Going from a flat rate to a 15% rate means that sites like d2jsp can and will be present in D3 because there is 1-14.9% profit to be had. One of the main reasons the AH was a great idea was because it would produce a level playing field.
The thing about a flat fee of 1.25 is that it can be seen as a convenience fee and not having to use a 3rd party site is worth 1.25 to some people, but when you're talking about 15% of your total sales it can be problematic.
Carrion Song in vanilla was selling for $800 each despite it being a known duped bow, but it was perfect in every way so some rich kids bought it. D2 went from rares to set/unique in the expansion which killed the godly rares that fetched relatively huge sums of money, but this is a real number from several years ago and the difference between paying $120 and $1.25 on this would drive someone to a 3rd party site which is what I thought the RMAH was designed to eliminate.
Edited by snc on 4/13/2012 10:15 AM PDT
According to Diabloinc/Diablo3Markets
We are aware that, in the Diablo III beta, a 15% transaction was previously displayed when selling items in the Beta Bucks auction house. This was a configuration error, and has been corrected.
We do not currently have plans to alter the auction house fee structure for the beta, as previously discussed here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4062879314
As always, thank you for your feedback. This is exactly the sort of thing that makes a good beta test.
The very existence of a sanctioned in-game RMAH will drive third-party sites into the ground. Sure, sellers might like lower fees (if that's even true), but who's going to be buying? What incentive would the buyer have to go to the site, when everything they want is available in-game. Would they really try to save a theoretical couple of bucks to go to an illegal site which could get their CC stolen, their account banned, or any number of other bad things? Not good from a risk/reward perspective when they can just click a few buttons within the game client and buy to their heart's delight.
Edit: Took out the first two unrelated thoughts after reading the blue post above me.
Edited by Bloodfur on 4/13/2012 10:33 AM PDT
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