It is damn near imposable to gather enough gold to be able to afford atleast one item worth billion and up by playing the game. With 2 million kills I never found an item that was worth more then 200 million. I refuse to use real money but I do want to own atleast 1 item that is considered elite by getting it legit.
If you don't mind, I'd like to ask for a little clarification. Would you like for a very high end weapon to specifically drop, or would it be ok if you obtained one of these weapons through another method? (crafting as an example) Is it the item itself, or the financial wealth that is more appealing to you?
*edit* I'm interested in everyone's feedback on this subject, so feel free to chime in even if you're not the op.
The only thing I can say is the more BoA items you put into the game, the more this game becomes WoW, with none of the benefits.
This game has no freedom. There's a designated, set path that you're allowed to follow and the only choice you have is in what to kill first.
Items have been moderated so as to not create spikes that allow for "twinking." There aren't any areas to "hang out."
This game has nothing EXCEPT the 1-60 process, followed by a choice of either RMAH, or a year of grinding before you're semi-equipped.
Beyond that, once you're equipped, all you're left with is the grind.
Conclusion: worrying about items is neither here, nor there. No matter what you pick, 1) we'll adapt and 2) it won't be enough to satisfy all of those people who stopped playing two days after launch and never came back.
Suggestion: make a D2 MMO (obviously, complete with some PvP). We can import our characters into that MMO and enjoy the game. Personally, back when D2 was a game and before WoW came out, I felt sure that Diablo was going to be the direction that the company was going to go.
D2 was not just a candy wrapper to house an overly-elaborate loot piñata system... or at least it didn't feel that way. It felt like a game. D3 feels exactly that; an item system that happens to have some cheesy, cliché'd story wrapped around it so that it's actually playable.
If you're going to make it all about the items. Fine, but do something novel and completely original. If you're just trying to make a game that's more D2-ier than D2 by revamping the item system and leaving it to the janitorial staff to worry about the storywriting, that's how you end up with this calamity.
I know that the time for that has long-since sailed, but this is really something that should have been thought-about before making the go-ahead. The net change of what has happened is you took the LoD expansion away from D2 and gave it better graphics.