Diablo® III

Trading in Diablo

Trading in Diablo games has existed since the first. It encourages interaction with others and adds another element to consider when playing. Some might even go so far as to say that without trading, Diablo is not Diablo. Obviously there are problems with Diablo 3 at this moment, many of them which revolve around trading and the Auction House. There are good things and bad things about trading in general, but I want to find a solution.

Why did trading work in the previous Diablo games? Well the first reason is the fact that it was its own element. Obviously it's cool to have an open market where the economy shifts with the players. It also added a whole new strategy to the game. Trading an item was usually a big decision, not to be taken lightly. The main reason was the uncertainty - you didn't know how much the other player was willing to give for your own item, or how much you could avoid giving yourself. So basically "bartering." Adding to the uncertainty is the rarity of the item. Usually the item you were looking for was rare and specific to your builds, and the large amount of builds added to the rarity of the item. You didn't know when or if you would ever see that specific item again. The second reason is the personal interaction. It was really fun to barter with others, with your friends, or even just help them out by giving them things you didn't need. Again, with more build diversity and items specific to those builds, there were more items that you couldn't use but your friend could. So basically the itemization in the previous games encouraged trading because so often would you find something someone else wants. This is a good thing that Diablo 3 lacks, because now it's either good or not good. It's either an improvement or junk. I'm getting off track here though.

The "bad" news with trading, however, is the depreciation of the value of items over time. The market becomming flooded with good items is inevitable. It's actually a double-edged sword in the case of Diablo 2. Soon players could become godly and game breaking with a minimal amount of time, which was very very fun considering the actual difficulty of the game solo. The problem is it decreases the longevity of the game dramatically (thank goodness for character rerolls). In an attempt to ward off godly items, ladders were implemented. That's not all they did; they had some other benefits; but they still only delayed the inevitable market-purge.

Then there came the AH. The AH... where do I start? On paper it seems like a really good idea. "This method of trading is so crude. Let's make it easy!" If you remember the benefits I listed above for trading, the only one that's left is the strategy, or "playing the AH." Under the correct circumstances the AH would actually be a good thing, but considering the linearity of the itemization, the lack of commitment and interest with the items you sell, and the rampant item-storm flooding the market, the AH made things worse. Obviously if there is any form of trading, people will find a way to trade and get the best items. The AH however makes it so anybody can do it, or atleast good items. It's way too easy to gear up your character and beat the game, and is certainly not as fun as finding your own gear. The ease makes it feel necessary. Players protest it existing at all. The AH indeed does not belong in Diablo 3, because the game is not designed with it in mind (At least not for gameplay. Proftits? Maybe.) I certainly do not agree with the RMAH, but that is another discussion (about 500 of them, actually.)

(EDIT: The Diablo 3 AH can be a good thing if the systems in the game are reworked. I will list all of the things that are necessary.

Itemization is the main reason why the AH is bad. First of all, the occurence of finding your own upgrades is so minimal and the AH is so readily available that players are forced into using the AH. Now if good items were not as available it would be a slightly different story, but it is inevitable that the market is invaded with them. Once somebody uses the AH, they continue to use it. The solution? Make the game easier by yourself so you won't ever seem forced to use the AH.
Secondly, there is the linear itemization. Because everybody generall goes after the few best affixes, good items have no competition. There is only one option for BiS. The solution is having item diversity. This means that people particularize items, and average and good items generally raise in value. This not only helps out with trading, but also makes the game more fun with the increased number of drops that help out some sort of build. How do we create item diversity? We do it through adding a variety of affixes that are useful to everybody, and many of those which complement certain builds only. Another thing that will help are added monster resistances. Crit hit and %crit dam are the worst offenders, but if we added monsters resistanr to those two different builds are encouraged. Adding to the problem is the fact that, when leveling up, an item with a higher ilvl is almost always better and your low level item has no longevity (unlink D2). This means that you can always upgrade when you level up, and you actually need to upgrade every 10 or so. The AH along with the itemization trivializes your previous work. The solution is don't be stupid about your itemization system. Do you even know anything about D2, Blizz?
Thirdly is the sheer amount of worthless items. You get so many that when you sell something on the AH there is no connection between you and that item. The result is players put items for very low prices so someone at a lower level can easily get what you need to beat the game. Overall I could write a page about how item diversity could be done so I think I'll stop there.

Inflation is the second main reason. This kind of ties in to my third point, but in reality when there are so many bots and it is so easy to farm items the market is loaded. Good items that you can beat the game with are now trivial, and with the inflation of gold BiS items are impossibly expensive. The problem is only compounded with lack of item and gold sinks. The solution? Control bots and create more sinks. The sinks should create diminishing returns with your work; currently it's a steady stream of inflation.

The Auction House itself is the third main reason. The way it is set up, it draws you away from your item further. This is because you can sell ten items at a time, and there is a 2-day limit. The thought process isn't "How much can I get for this item?" instead it's more towards "I hope I get something for this item." That's not to mention the lack of bartering. The solution? Limit the items you sell to 5, give the player the control over how long they want to sell something, and show the items you have sold in the past.

What I am proposing next is a better AH. This one is much more about bartering and the items themselves rather than making money. For purposes of this, I shall call it "The refined AH*" What it does is lets you post an item and declare what you prefer to trade for this item. These include gold, specific legendaries, items, item affixes, and certain items with certain affixes. Now there is an open market where everybody can see everything. Now it's like Diablo 2, (if you couldn't tell), but much more efficient. When you do trade, you occupy a trade window where you can chat freely with the other person.

This is what Diablo 3 needs to become if the AH can exist for the better. Should it become this? Yes. Will it? No. It's apparent Blizzard is not going to make the necessary changes until (maybe) the expansion. This is why I say the AH does not belong in Diablo 3.

Please tell me if I missed something!)

So what course of action do we take? What is the solution?

Most importantly the game needs an offline mode. There are advantages to an open market but the option of not getting involved is necessary, and an offline mode has other advantages. The question arises when we have to sacrifice the economy's longevity or the open market.

Here are our options:

1.) Make it so top-tier items couldn't be traded
2.) Do it like Diablo 2/3, where you can create games
3.) Allow trading, but limit multiplayer (no games available to general public)
4.) Include AH
5.) Ban trading all together

All of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Personally I believe we should go with 3.) because althogh you cannot advertize an item in the game, it still lets you play and trade with friends. It's hard to say which one is actually the best, because if the game itself it setup correctly any one of the options can facilitate a fun game.

(EDIT: for clarification purposes I decided to make the list like a Y/N grid.

1.) Is there trading?
2.) Are there public games?
3.) Can players name public games?
4.) Is there an AH?
5.) Is there a refined AH*?
6.) Are there resets? (ladders)
7.) Is there BoA/BoE?

These options are what I would like you to discuss. Feel free to give me your opinions on which ones belong and do not. )

What course of action will we take with Diablo 3? Most likely none. :(
(Actually we might say goodbye to the AH soon, but that's about it!)

Discuss.
Edited by Wolverine#1833 on 3/31/2013 4:44 PM PDT
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First of all, i do like being able to trade items. I don't really care if it's through the AH or using the trade window.

I do think the AH solved a lot of the scam problems.

Two things really killed the game...there are some other things that could be done, but 2 things kill it:

1.- Itemization. (Everyone aiming for the same gear - gear that won't allow build diversity like WD with summons)

2.- Lack of effective item/gold sink. (Items keep stacking - prices keep going down)

The AH doesn't really hurt the game. Like i said in http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8518532191?page=2#39, if you give a use to those items that are stacking, you'll fix a bit the economy.
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03/30/2013 07:56 PMPosted by Wolverine
The AH however makes it so anybody can do it, and even encourages you to spend real money!


I don't see the problem. People should be able to buy gear and do whatever they want.

They did it in D2 (black market) they do it in D3 ( AH and black market)

However, AH brings safe trading.

03/30/2013 07:56 PMPosted by Wolverine
It's too easy to gear up your character and beat the game, and is certainly not as fun as finding your own gear.


Agreed. It feels good to find gear. However, im not expecting everyone to get BiS items.
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03/30/2013 09:58 PMPosted by Thebas
I don't see the problem. People should be able to buy gear and do whatever they want.

The problem is now the game is pay-to-win, a very clever money-making technique actually.
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03/30/2013 10:08 PMPosted by Wolverine
The problem is now the game is pay-to-win, a very clever money-making technique actually.


To be honest, there's not much to win right now.

No pvp.

But ye, best chars at farming are monks and bars fully geared...which are probably most of the plvl100 farming the stuff people buy in the ah.
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You'll always find people that can farm more in every game.

The big difference with D2 was that in D2 you had a reason to lvl new chars for example (forge), or to craft items (you could get good items to trade), or to gamble (probably not a set or legendary piece but a nice rare).

D3 needs incentives...what else can i say
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Ack... The AH, I hear that its a problem so much compared to D2 its frustrating.

The big difference in D2 and D3 was stat values, in D2 having 500 HP was concidered good, it was typical of end game characters, and an item might have, for example; 25-30 stregnth on an end game item.

In D3 we need like 20,000 to 30,000 hp or more for end game. stat ranges were far smaller too; on end game legendaries in D3 would have like 170-220 stregnth. which is a stat range which is like 10 times what D2 was.

On D2 we had a lot of items that reacted on hit, we only have a little of that when attacking, but none of it when taking damage.

D2 had interesting (if not good) builds which made making builds around trying to cause some of these random effects to be raised up, or by trying to make one class behave like another. Due to the setup of auto assigned stats and no skill tree, also restricting class skills to classes we have less build options now in D3.

Also being limited to 10 slots (theoretically 5 soft core, and 5 hard core, though I do not see that in pratice) (why limit to 10 it makes no actual sense to even limit, what is this the 1990s? come on, data storage is not that limited), and a shared limited bank space, people are less inclined to try out odd builds.

Further more items in general were more interesting in D2 compared to D3.

Thus the problem isn't the AH specifically, its entirely due to how stats and itemization is done. Too sound more cool numbers are bigger, way bigger, thus items have bigger ranges, and a lot of 'useless' affixes. With no Rune socket system and half the gems we have less opertunity to customize.

I will grant in pratice some gems tend to not be all that useful, but thats game design, not item useage. With UBERS if good weapons could have poision effects that might make people get specialized weapons. Imagine a WW Barb passes an UBER and heavily poisions it, thats extra damage that a little more crit damage might not match.

With this in mind the AH and what is traded is a symptom of the bigger issue of there is just not enough interesting items. What few interesting items we have stupid prices are asked for. If the AH had a purchase order method then someone might be able to take an item and say, "Hey I have this ammy that reduces the cost of Disintigrate by 10 and someone wants to buy that for 500k." then that seller might decide to go for it or post it on the sell side for 200 mill because they feel 500k is way too little. But the fact is that it will become a buyer's market. which will help with trading, this is something we can't do any more which in D2 we could make a game for that specifically. But again a purchase order system would help but not fix the bigger issue of bigger numbers and larger number ranges.

The plan to lower the number ranges that they are planning will help this alot. What they ultimately do, we have yet to see.
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The RMAH and GAH really aren't the problem in and of themselves.

No matter what Blizzard did there would be a problem. The RMAH gives a safe way of buying items without the threat of being ripped off by third-party sites, but it also seems to ruin the nature of the game since it even shocked Blizzard to know that everyone just tosses virtually any and everything on the AH. The itemization is a big reason why this is the case, fixing that would make it feel equally worthwhile to play the game itself. Another problem is that some people just lack self-control and just buy all their gear and complain. I heard many developers from the team state that the AH(s) would serve as a means of acquiring a new item at the expense of delaying your next upgrade except people just don't have much control.

Once they find one item on the AH, they are often compelled to search for more, and there sure are a great many listed. I generally believe people are just fed up with finding bad items, so they primarily just want to get a decent set of gear before doing anything on Inferno. I'm really just waiting, like everyone else, for the itemization update since that should improve the economy drastically even if only for a short while. I'm also curious if this new anti-duping measure Blizzard is going to implement will help.
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@WarGiver,

It doesn't really matter the raw increase in numbers from D2 to D3, but you are correct in that the problem arises with too broad of a range. It's actually a good thing that there are broad ranges on blues and rares, but legendaries needed to be more consistent. That's their job: to be better than rares in most cases.

03/30/2013 10:28 PMPosted by WarGiver
On D2 we had a lot of items that reacted on hit, we only have a little of that when attacking, but none of it when taking damage.

Never thought of that before.

Other than that, yes I understand that the problem is the game systems and not the AH. I explain this in my post, but it's okay to educate everybody I guess. You did a really good job of explaining it and I agree completely.
Edited by Wolverine#1833 on 3/30/2013 10:43 PM PDT
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03/30/2013 10:28 PMPosted by WarGiver
Further more items in general were more interesting in D2 compared to D3.


Yes

03/30/2013 10:33 PMPosted by Necrosis
he RMAH gives a safe way of buying items without the threat of being ripped off by third-party sites


Yes

While all that is true, along with the other things i got to read, we still have a problem:

Lets say the itemization works. It wont last unless you give items a use. So i think they should really work on that.
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03/30/2013 10:22 PMPosted by Thebas
D3 needs incentives...what else can i say

No, you're supposed to farm Act 3 all day, so you can get better gear, so you can farm Act 3 better all day. Don't like it? Go play that stupid D2 game of yours.
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AH and Trading is not the problem with this game.

Horrid itemization, linear progression on a select few important stats. Lacking build variety, very few true "builds" with skill synergies. Nearly zero interdependance between items and builds. With a select few exceptions, every build has the same item requirements. All players seek identical stats and identical items in all instances. Non-fixed properties and obscene degrees of randomization on most items create a situation in which 99% of all found gear is not only useless but worthless as well.

These are the things that funnel players into the auction house as a forced means of progression while simultaneously devaluing all but a few select pieces of gear with a very small subset of available stats.

Fix items, fix loot randomization, fix skills and builds, fix stats, gear progression, gear variety, fix the dependance between items and builds...

Fix the game, then the Auction House is fixed. No need to remove it.
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03/30/2013 10:08 PMPosted by Wolverine
The problem is now the game is pay-to-win, a very clever money-making technique actually.
Life is pay to win. Welcome to it.

There are a lot of things that keep this game from truly shining, trading (the auction house) isn't one of them. I can honestly say I hate bartering as well, and it will always devolve into a common denominator (eg: soj).

03/30/2013 10:43 PMPosted by CoolHandLuke
Fix items, fix loot randomization, fix skills and builds, fix stats, gear progression, gear variety, fix the dependance between items and builds...
This. Basically remake the game.
Edited by steakncheese#1608 on 3/30/2013 10:45 PM PDT
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Did you guys even read my post? I explain that the itemization is not set up for an AH! Maybe I need to edit it?
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03/30/2013 10:43 PMPosted by steakncheese
Life is pay to win. Welcome to it.

Yes well this isn't life... this is a video game.

03/30/2013 10:43 PMPosted by steakncheese
it will always devolve into a common denominator (eg: soj).

What? I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this. I think you mean the currency? Why is an item-based currency bad? And it doesn't have to be item-based, it can be gold.

03/30/2013 10:43 PMPosted by steakncheese
Basically remake the game.

Yep. *cries*
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No, you're supposed to farm Act 3 all day, so you can get better gear, so you can farm Act 3 better all day. Don't like it? Go play that stupid D2 game of yours.


D2 was about farming, but it had more incentives, just that.

03/30/2013 10:43 PMPosted by CoolHandLuke
Fix the game, then the Auction House is fixed. No need to remove it.


Agreed, AH is not the problem.

03/30/2013 10:43 PMPosted by steakncheese
Life is pay to win. Welcome to it.


Happens in every game. I don't expect to solve that unless we start thinking about a comunist-like solution.

Posted by CoolHandLuke
Fix items, fix loot randomization, fix skills and builds, fix stats, gear progression, gear variety, fix the dependance between items and builds...

This. Basically remake the game.


Just make other builds viable through gear (itemization) and an item sink.
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03/30/2013 10:45 PMPosted by Wolverine
Did you guys even read my post? I explain that the itemization is not set up for an AH! Maybe I need to edit it?
We read it. We told you there is nothing wrong with trading. There is a floor and a ceiling to items, over time the average item will be closer to the ceiling, no matter what system you devise.

When you said you were getting off track in the first paragraph, you weren't. You highlighted a core issue that is causing most of the complaints. There is no diversity. It's Mainstat, Vitality, All Res, CC, CD, IAS or bust. Six affixes out of probably 30 are wanted by everyone. Usable items are few and far between, let alone good or even great ones.

03/30/2013 10:49 PMPosted by Wolverine
What? I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this. I think you mean the currency? Why is an item-based currency bad? And it doesn't have to be item-based, it can be gold.
Only when you said part of the fun was the mystery of the offer. I disliked that. Nothing like being offered pages of random junk for 20 minutes trying to trade an item.
Edited by steakncheese#1608 on 3/30/2013 10:54 PM PDT
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We read it. We told you there is nothing wrong with trading. There is a floor and a ceiling to items, over time the average item will be closer to the ceiling, no matter what system you devise.

When you said you were getting off track in the first paragraph, you weren't. You highlighted a core issue that is causing most of the complaints. There is no diversity. It's Mainstat, Vitality, All Res, CC, CD, IAS or bust. Six affixes out of probably 30 are wanted by everyone. Usable items are few and far between, let alone good or even great ones.


Yes...however, i have a possible solution (or at least a way of making the problem way slower) in this post http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8518532191?page=2#40
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03/30/2013 10:51 PMPosted by steakncheese
We read it. We told you there is nothing wrong with trading. There is a floor and a ceiling to items, over time the average item will be closer to the ceiling, no matter what system you devise.

I see that problem but what I am trying to discuss is how to effectively implement trading without the problems associated with it. The moment we bring in an economy with free trading the pace of the game is no longer dictated by you, the player, but is now dictated by the best players who play 24-7. The inflation rate is incredible. How do we have the advantaged of trading (like I listed) without having the disadvantages?

One of the other solutions I forgot wold be resetting the economy, or Diablo 2 ladders. I think I'll add that.

I see a lot of people who defend trading use the argument, "A Diablo game isn't Diablo without trading" when they don't have anything to back it up other than "it's always been that way." I believe that is the logical fallacy "Appeal to the Old"? Maybe we should look at the big picture and see what really is good about trading and fix the problems that come with it?

03/30/2013 10:54 PMPosted by Thebas
Yes...however, i have a possible solution (or at least a way of making the problem way slower) in this post


Not really. Those are simply parameters, mostly "not BoA"

Oh and that last post about D2 being stupid was sarcasm btw.
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