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Diablo 3: Auction, Online, Mods, Skills

A portion of the auction screen.

Diablo 3's long courtship of players has led to a lot of obsessing over information, and with their recent press event, fans will likely be pondering the newer information we've been given. Some may also be gnashing their teeth.

First, as has been the recent trend with Blizzard products, players will require an active internet connection to play Diablo 3, even in single-player. The reasoning they give is that they want to make sure someone who plays a single-player game and later wants to play online can do so, since Battle.net was formerly separate from single-player games because they could not control for cheats or unfair mods and such. Read: also piracy concerns.

Speaking of mods, there won't be any. They will be against TOS. This includes bots.

Now, for in-game stuff. There will now only be six skills that you can select, and there are no longer any skill points. Along with being able to swap out skills at any time, this means the focus will instead be on which skills you want to use, and which runes you want to put into them (to alter their effects). In addition, you'll only be able to select three passive skills. All these skill slots will unlock as you level (as it was previously, though now the levels are a bit different). There's a lengthier description of it in this write-up and interview over at DiabloFans.

It has also been finally confirmed that the Demon Hunter will have two resource pools to use skills: Discipline and Hatred; as the wizard has a faster regen pool, the comparison people are drawing seems to be that Hatred is similar. Different skills will use the different resources, and as the interview linked above notes, it should lead to some interesting builds where you can use both, or try to tweak it so you use only one.

Then? Auction houses! Yes, two. There will be one based on in-game gold. Then there will be one based on the currency of your region. Stop. Read before seething:

First, the currency auction houses are optional, and there will be a gold counterpart for those who do not want to spend real money. The auction houses will all be player-driven though (Blizzard has no plans to falsely inject items into the system), so how that works out will need to be seen. Blizzard will be taking a flat-rate fee from currency transactions when listed, and then again when sold. They have said its nominal, and that it will depend on region (also, auction houses will be region specific, so you'll only be able to buy and use items from your region). Specific numbers have yet to be given.

Further, hardcore characters? They can't use the currency-based auction houses. No purchasing an item with real gold, dying, and then complaining about the waste of real money. It also gives a community to those who want to avoid what some will see as 'buying power with real money.' However, since they aren't trying to balance PVP, and adding it as a side-feature, that will only really matter in terms of e-peen, which will vary by customer.

As for the reason for providing it, if Blizzard doesn't expect to make tons of money because they are charging a flat-rate? Security. Blizzard acknowledges that people will use third-party sites to make these purchases anyway, so they'd rather oversee it, as it had the potential to not only rip off customers, but lead to problems with identity theft. This way they give the players that option in an arena they control, and for which they are responsible.

Some pretty big features outlined there. Naturally, I believe there will be a certain amount of fan outrage, and I myself feel torn on some issues. As someone who only modded when the game started to feel stale, I am willing to see what happens there. Only online connection? That chafes a bit, because sometimes I really don't want to play online, or my connection is being faulty, but it seems that this is Blizzard's new way of dealing with piracy.

Auction houses? The currency system makes me wonder how it will work out. There will be a certain number of free listings an account can make, which means I may well use it to sell, but I cannot imagine myself using it to buy. Therefore, while I doubt I would ever make tons of money of it, I am somewhat amused by the thought of other players paying for my copy of the game if I make enough (and the bill to my ISP). Since it will be a player-determined economy, however, it's difficult to know how that will play out until I actually see it in action.

Whew. Thoughts?

6 Comments

ulkesh said:

What about those of us whose internet connection isn't reliable (the DSL here goes out anytime it rains)?

Ophenix said:

I miss the pre-WoW Blizzard. The company that made good games for their loyal fans. Remember when waiting for a new Blizz game was like waiting for your birthday?

Starcraft 2 had the worst plot I've seen on a RTS (and yes, I've played a few bad ones) and came out with around half the functions a proper Online Gaming service needs to have.

Now Diablo 3 will turn into a real money based game... Isn't it enough that 5/6 characters are rehashed, the Vendors are now Pokemon and we have fucking power orbs like this is some Megaman game? Blizzard seems to suck a little bit more with every press release I see of that game.

Opinion? I will pirate the game and see if it is worth buying.

benwa said:

Now, if someone could figure out how to pirate the game and make it playable without the internet I'd be interested in playing, but I'm not buying this if that's how they roll. sorry! I hate the fact dragon age tried this and now I don't play with the add-ons and hence no need to buy them! At least my friend who work for blizzard make good money, but cant say for how long if this game is the sux cause I could see it being the door closer on yet another software company, too bad WOW will carry them on even if Diablo blows. I'll wait to draw my final opinion after it really gets released

Felinius said:

I'm impressed by this direction, it's quite a change from the normal approach, not to mention for players like myself who don't have time to grind endlessly, we'll be able to still receive some top tier gear, without having to take time off from work...

Gabe said:

soo.. we're gonna have to pay a monthly fee to play? Like WoW??

Kenny said:

I'm very displeased with the announcement of 'always online' play though not surprised after Blizzard dropped the ball and decided not to include LAN play in Starcraft 2. It's all indicative of a new kind of video-game corporate arm that only sees dollar signs instead of players. I've seen it noted time and time again that micro transactions in games are the devil. Granted, this isn't a case of Blizzard peddling their own out-of-thin-air items.. but it will be as soon as the defined player currency (I.E Stone Of Jordan) are discovered and Blizzard starts directly effecting the drop rates of such items in game.

The buck has to stop somewhere and it's not going to be me.

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Kenny on Diablo 3: Auction, Online, Mods, Skills: I'm very displeased with the announcement of 'always online' play though not surprised after Blizzard dropped the ball and decided...

Gabe on Diablo 3: Auction, Online, Mods, Skills: soo.. we're gonna have to pay a monthly fee to play? Like WoW??...

Felinius on Diablo 3: Auction, Online, Mods, Skills: I'm impressed by this direction, it's quite a change from the normal approach, not to mention for players like myself...

benwa on Diablo 3: Auction, Online, Mods, Skills: Now, if someone could figure out how to pirate the game and make it playable without the internet I'd be...

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