DEVTOME.COM HOSTING COSTS HAVE BEGUN TO EXCEED 115$ MONTHLY. THE ADMINISTRATION IS NO LONGER ABLE TO HANDLE THE COST WITHOUT ASSISTANCE DUE TO THE RISING COST. THIS HAS BEEN OCCURRING FOR ALMOST A YEAR, BUT WE HAVE BEEN HANDLING IT FROM OUR OWN POCKETS. HOWEVER, WITH LITERALLY NO DONATIONS FOR THE PAST 2+ YEARS IT HAS DEPLETED THE BUDGET IN SHORT ORDER WITH THE INCREASE IN ACTIVITY ON THE SITE IN THE PAST 6 MONTHS. OUR CPU USAGE HAS BECOME TOO HIGH TO REMAIN ON A REASONABLE COSTING PLAN THAT WE COULD MAINTAIN. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT THE DEVTOME PROJECT AND KEEP THE SITE UP/ALIVE PLEASE DONATE (EVEN IF ITS A SATOSHI) TO OUR DEVCOIN 1M4PCuMXvpWX6LHPkBEf3LJ2z1boZv4EQa OR OUR BTC WALLET 16eqEcqfw4zHUh2znvMcmRzGVwCn7CJLxR TO ALLOW US TO AFFORD THE HOSTING.

THE DEVCOIN AND DEVTOME PROJECTS ARE BOTH VERY IMPORTANT TO THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO ITS FURTHER SUCCESS FOR ANOTHER 5 OR MORE YEARS!

Diablo 3 and the Real Money Marketplace

When Diablo 3 was announced, people were very excited for it. Both of its prior games were large hits, and we were looking forward to the next installation. For some of us, though, there was news that was an even bigger deal than just the game itself; the fact that this one was to come with a real money market that people could buy and sell their items on for cash. Since this period it was removed from the game, but I think there is a lot to learn from that decision. Through this article, that is what I am going to focus on.

Diablo 3 Was Treated Like a MMORPG

While Diablo 3 was not a MMORPG, it was treated like one. Really, it was more like a multiplayer online game; there was no “massive” part to the number of players you would see within the game as you were playing. But because the game came with a market that everyone could use, that is where it starts to act like a MMO.

Now, there were two markets in the game. One of these allowed the use of currency that was obtained within the game. The other was based on real life cash. Any items could be traded or bought on both of these, though you had to decide which one to utilize with each listed item. Along with this, there were listing fees as we have come to expect due to other games with auction houses. Being able to sell, buy and trade items is not something we are not familiar with already, and in fact the previous Diablo games also had the ability to trade as well.

Real Money Trading

Now here is where the problems start coming in. Game companies spend countless hours and finances trying to stop their real money trading that happens within their game. There are a couple great reasons for this as well:

  • Real money trading causes people to farm the best items and sell them to others that do not have much time to play but do have the cash they can throw at the game
  • It really opens the door to botting by farmers, whose goal is to do nothing but get as many items as possible so that they can earn a living off their game

This has historically been a major problem, and companies usually do their best to keep it from happening. It was a little odd to see Diablo 3 turn this around completely and start allowing real money trading within their game, which goes against what we have seen in the past. After all, this means someone can farm items, then sell them for cash, and the person that buys the item could convert it in to gold if that was their goal.

By turning things around and opening up a new door for players to earn money from their game, everything was changed. Now, this real money trading was completely legal and was actually condoned. And for a pretty good reason, too; with every sale that was successfully made, Blizzard was earning a cut of the sale price. So the more items they could get people to let go of, and the more cash they could get their players to throw at the game, the more money they earned in the process as well. Now here is where the interesting part starts coming from. With most MMORPGs, the money earned by the game comes from what players are putting in to it. For example, with a subscription based game, without people actively subscribing to the game there is no money to continue the game's development and keep it running. Now, with Diablo and Diablo 2, the games were based on a buy to play model, meaning that once you have bought the game it was free to play (sort of like Guild Wars 2). Diablo 3 could have followed the same exact model, but this real money cash shop opened a new door for them to earn some extra cash off the players. To make things worse, not only was Blizzard getting their cut of all of the sales, Paypal was also getting a cut. So the amount of money that was being lost when making a sale was pretty substantial. This was worse on larger items than smaller ones, although really most of it could have been avoided altogether.

Blizzard's Cut Was Massive

Blizzard took a massive cut out of all sales. If you were selling items and then trying to withdraw that money instead of using it in their store, it was something like a 60% fee when it was all said and done (between their own fee, the fee they charge for cashing out, the fee Paypal takes, etc.). So even if you were to make enough to justify farming and selling items, Blizzard and Paypal were taking the bulk of it and often killed the desirability to continue.

As prices continued to drop on items (as can be expected, being that the supply ends up overwhelming the demand as more and more drops are coming out and people are buying everything they need), the viability of continuing to farm full time for items ended up drifting as well. While an item may be worth going after when it sells for $50, it may not be when it is only $20, or even $5. As prices drop, only the bots can remain in business, as the legitimate players have other matters that they need to attend to and simply can not sustain their livelihoods while earning almost nothing.

Had Blizzard not taken such a massive cut, I think that the cash shop would have lasted a lot longer with legitimate players. The time it would have taken for item prices to drop down to the point where they were no longer profitable would have been much greater, and that would have been a benefit to both the players and Blizzard themselves. Along with this, it would have kept bots from being pretty much the only thing keeping the cash shop alive.

Items Sold – Almost Nothing

As one might expect when learning that there is a way to buy and sell in game items for cash, only the best items actually ended up getting sold. It had to actually be worth the cost, and since it is a game where end game gear is more important than anything else (as are most games, really), that is all that mattered to those who were investing in to enhancing their characters. Some players therefore made a ton of money off their lucky drops, while others who played even more frequently ended up earning nothing at all. In a way, we could even consider the game as a lottery at that point, where you can win the chance to earn money or you can not.

How Item Sales Affect Games

When we play games, we do it to progress (usually). There are some casual players that are just there to burn time and have no real care for whether or not they actually achieve anything, but for the most part we deal with trying to “beat” the game, so to speak, by making it to the end of all of the current content and then farming the best gear that is available. Diablo 3 is the same in this aspect, and having a real money cash shop opens the option to speeding up the progression of players. So how does this affect the game and the player's experience with it? Well, it shortens the amount of time they need to be in the game, and it also gives a false sense of accomplishment. Depending on how you look at it you may agree or disagree with me, but I feel that if you are using cash to purchase your items in the game, you have not actually achieved all of the goals; to do that, you would have to earn them on your own.

It does, however, offer Blizzard an interesting benefit (which may be partially why they decided to open that path to begin with): when players get what they are going for, and are no longer playing as much or at all, the stress on Blizzard's servers is lightened. In other words, the company ends up saving money due to this situation. So now Blizzard is happy, the player who bought the items is happy and the player that sold the items is happy (since they now have some cash). I guess that in the somewhat secluded state of Diablo 3 this is not a big problem when it comes to the big picture, but I am very hopeful that other games do not start to adopt this concept; at least not when it comes to MMORPGs.

Conclusion

Diablo 3 ended up removing their cash shop (or at least will be shortly if they have not done so already). It is not clear exactly why this decision was made, but it is a pretty bad one I think. People have been led on to the idea that they can earn money by playing the game and getting lucky drops, and that is now being taken away from them. When a game is released, the features within it should be increasing in number, not decreasing. And when the real money shop was arguably one of the most important selling points for a lot of people, it can be detrimental to just decide to take it away from everyone. It is almost like having four classes to choose from in the beginning and then after a year deciding to take two of them away. The shop was an integral part of the game, and without it there is going to be a void that needs to be filled. Or, you know, just not implement something like this in future games.

Games


QR Code
QR Code diablo_3_and_the_real_money_marketplace (generated for current page)
 

Advertise with Anonymous Ads