Please give me a break, and stop telling me gameplay was number one here. Countless "fun" features were removed from the game throughout its timeline only to be included in a later expansion I am sure and thats fine, I get that, but please do not try to justify this game, Jays actions or your own on doing anything but riding the hype train to rich ville. D2 was the most successful ARPG of all time, everyone and their brothers/sisters/dads/mothers played or atleast knew about this game so of course it would sell well. Unfortunately that is all it did well.
You don't understand a Pay to Win model implemented by the company that made the game? You legitimatly do not understand why people dislike the Auction House and Diablo 3 in general? You killed the game and everything it was.
Lets see, ruined player run economy (item trading), ruined any point of farming except to make real life money, given the players a legit form to effectively calculate play time vs item worth.. I can now put a direct dollar amount to every minute I spend in D3, did I mention the pay to win model? Adds restrictions to what the developers/game company can now do with the game because every change they make can affect the real money purchases, no more incerased drop rates, ladder resets, etc.. because there will be an upcry from people who spent hundreds of dollars only to have their !@#$ reset and no longer viable in the "new season".
Sure there was a shady underworld of item buyers before, but that was only for the most hardcore of hardcore, now anyone can walk into Bestbuy and load up their account with blizzbucks and gear themselves out for a mere 500$ per item. Oh lets not forget Blizzards gapingly huge financial gain from this.
From a straight revenue generation stream, this is the best idea they ever had, literally making them money from doing nothing. Now lets look at it from the general consumers perspective, "oh, I can spend 5months farming for my gear while the next richy richy just dumps 2000$ into his char and becomes automatically better than me"
Diablo is not about skill, the core of diablo is finding the best items which make u smash better, faster, and more efficient. The current design allows you to buy up, become the best and win, all with the help from your best friend Visa.
Was Blizzard smart to cash in on RMAH transactions? Sure they were, im sure it made them a boat load of money, but in hindsight, they should of done it through things like customizations, skins, recoloring, designs, stuff like that. The CORE GAME should never be affected by how fat your wallet is, it just makes people not want to invest the time.
Personally, I dont think diablo needed any sort of Auction house, RMAH or otherwise, refine the trading system and diversify content, spending all that time on the RMAH just proves they have shifted from sustainable customer base to a lump sum sale. Get in, hit them hard for their wallet while they like the game, than they leave. All the auction house does is remind people of what they are not finding and how they will never have 500$ PER ITEM to be the best, that in turn just turns to negativity.
Without even touching on actual gameplay, the removal of all the amazing features BNET in D2 came with, I have just shown to you why you lost players daily, Greed.
Take it as you will, i've been saying it from day 1, the RMAH ruined Diablo.