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Jay Wilson: “Real Money Auction House hurt Diablo 3”

Jay Wilson, former Blizzard game director for Diablo III, has admitted that the game's Real-Money Auction House (RMAH) and Gold Auction House (GAH) have had a detrimental affect on Diablo III as a whole.

During this year's Game Developer's Conference (GDC 2013) former Diablo III game director Jay Wilson sat down and revealed how the game's virtual auction houses had a negative affect on the game as a whole.

"The auction houses (both the Gold and Real Money Auction Houses) hurt the game," Jay said during a talk at GDC 2013 in San Francisco. 

Wilson also divulged that before Blizzard had launched Diablo III the company had assumed how the Auction Houses would work. Wilson thought that the RMAH and GAH would reduce fraud and provide a helpful service that only a small percentage would make use of.

Just an example of some of the exorbitant bids and amounts of profit that are earned on Diablo III's RMAH every day.

Diablo III's Real Money Auction House (RMAH) allows gamers to sell and purchase in-game weapons and equipment for actual money (up to $250 for a single item) via PayPal, something that has been met with severe criticism from the game's core constituency.

Long-time Diablo fans felt cheated with the ultimate "pay-to-win" sentiments that the RMAH introduced, and both in-game auction houses nearly wiped out the game's trading system

Once the game went live, however, Blizzard soon realized that they were mistaken on their assumptions, and that nearly every gamer made use of both Auction Houses–and that over 50% of them used them regularly.

"I think we would turn it off if we could," Wilson said, "It's not as easy as that–Blizzard has no idea how many players approve of the Auction Houses or how many dislike it."

Wilson also says that Blizzard doesn't want to scrap a feature that many players enjoy–yet he did say that Blizzard is working on implementing a solution that will help patch up the game's notoriously bad reputation…but didn't go into any real detail on the planned fixes.

Jay Wilson stepped down as game director for Diablo III back in January after working on the game for seven years. "I've reached a point creatively where I'm looking forward to working on something new," Wilson said in his official farewell on the Battle.net forums.

Since its release, many gamers have lambasted Diablo III for its in-game mechanics, storyline, and of course the Auction Houses, which many felt gave those who are willing to pay an unfair advantage.

Both the RMAH and GAH are still up and running, and Blizzard is still receiving portions of currency–both real and digital–from each transaction.

It will be interesting to see what changes (if any) that Blizzard applies to Diablo III's Auction Houses, and if the upcoming PlayStation 3 port will also utilize the RMAH and GAH systems implemented by its PC counterpart.

Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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