The Real Money Auction House and Gold Auction House. And don't tell me that "it's optional, don't like it, don't use it." Because it's not truly optional. Sure, I'm not forced to use either of the Auction Houses. In the same sense, I'm not "forced" to even play the game. But it is hardly "optional." Let me elaborate.
The Diablo series has always been about two things. Killing monsters to find better equipment, and using that better equipment to kill more monsters. The basis for this type of game play is the loot drop rate. Much has been made of this drop rate as of late, and this highlights its importance to this type of game. If drop rates are too low, finding better gear takes too long, and those moments of exhilaration when you find something good come too few and far between. If the drop rates are too high, better gear is found too quickly, and the game loses its purpose. In Diablo 1 and 2, drop rates were set according to the idea that the only place for getting better gear was through random drops. Yes, a trading economy existed in Diablo 2, but it wasn't efficient. You had to first figure out what gear you wanted. Then you had to find someone with that gear. Then you had to find gear to trade for the gear you wanted. All of this took time and effort, and as such it was not necessarily an alternative to finding gear through killing monsters, but rather a supplement.
Diablo 3 has made "trading" (through the GAH or RMAH) too efficient. When Auction Houses are set up in-game, Blizzard must accommodate for this method of acquiring new gear by adjusting the drop rates. Drop rates that would be perfect if farming were the only (or primary) method of acquisition are too high when the Auction Houses are taken into consideration. The likelihood of getting an upgrade through farming has to be adjusted down, otherwise the Auction House would be flooded with quality items. It would be too easy to get gear upgrades overall, even though getting gear upgrades purely through farming would be just right. The game would become stale, as gear would be worthless.
I propose another mode for Diablo 3. We have regular and hardcore, with hardcore having some restrictions on Auction House use. I suggest a third mode with no Auction House functionality whatsoever, and to accommodate for this, higher drop rates overall. We could call it "Legacy" mode. Trading could exist in much the fashion of Diablo 2, but would be unregulated. There could be a warning when creating a Legacy character that "any items lost due to trading will NOT EVER NEVER EVER NEVER be reimbursed." And items could only be traded with other Legacy characters. The entire ecosystem would need to be completely isolated from the Auction Houses.
TL;DR Auction Houses are too efficient, we need a mode without AH access
Also, if this idea has been suggested before, my apologies. And this is just my 2 pennies. Any constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. For those of you who instead prefer to say something like "go back to wow" or "don't like it, don't play" or "butt hurt" or any other senseless jibber jabber, that's cool, just as long as you realize that you're not a part of the conversation.
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