- And of course you close with an insult but don't worry, I don't need to resort to that tactic to get my point across.
Ha! I see what you did there!
This is coming from a player indifferent to Diablo 2; I was about 8 years old when D2 came out. When Diablo 3 came out, I jumped in with only a rough idea of what to expect.
When I started playing, I noticed and clicked on the "Auction House" button almost immediately. That I could use my in-game earned gold to purchase equips that were useful to me was very satisfying. Whenever I grinded and npc-ed gear to buy that next upgrade, I felt happy because the time I put into killing mobs paid off. This is a different sort of satisfaction to the loot/grind satisfaction I see people posting about; I take pleasure in earning money to buy upgrades and leveling up.
Now, I have some friends who were fans of Diablo 2 and disliked Diablo 3 because of the AH functionality. I wanted them to play with me, but couldn't very well ask them NOT to click on the big glowing "AH" button with the temptation right there. As many people have said, we shouldn't have to resist temptation while playing games to relax. Therefore, most (all but 1) of my friends quit Diablo 3 a week after the game launch, mainly due to the AH functionality.
If an option to introduce SF playing was incorporated, I see only improvements to the Diablo 3 community, and more profits to Blizzard.
1. Most players who enjoy this playing mode are already playing by themselves, separated from the more profitable RMAH/AH-trading community. Therefore, adding an SF option would segregate the community, giving them a place to play and communicate with like-minded players.
2. Without the temptation of the Auction House always there, players who didn't like playing while resisting the allure of the AH might start playing Diablo 3 again. The higher the number of happy players, the higher the number of recommendations made and the higher the number of new players.
3. If a small portion of the SF players become curious and click on the "AH" button, that's another addition to the (long-term) profitable community Blizzard is interested in.
I'd really like to hear Blizzard's take on this, but we're not that symmetric with information, are we? :(