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Jay Wilson: Auction Houses "Really Hurt" Diablo III

Former Diablo III game director Jay Wilson admitted the real-money and gold auction houses "really hurt the game," as Blizzard underestimated the number of players who would turn to auctions to outfit their characters. Joystiq has details from a GDC talk where Wilson said they thought the auction houses were a service players of their action/RPG sequel wanted, and that hosting them in-house would reduce fraud and abuse, but as in the end, they created an environment where collecting money was a primary goal over defeating Diablo and his hordes. He also says they would turn off auctions if they could, but they have "no idea" how many players this would disappoint. His contention that Blizzard thought only a small number of players would use the auction houses is hard to fathom in light of the game's design, which, for a considerable time before a series of balance changes required the very best gear to complete on the highest levels, even though such gear dropped so rarely it was impractical to try to collect it without using the auctions. Blizzard has a GDC talk scheduled for today discussing their iterative design process for Diablo III, and their preview of that mentions a number of systems that were reworked during the game's design because they were unsatisfactory, but all the examples they use are gameplay mechanics, and not things like auctions.

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103. Re: Jay Wilson: Auction Houses Mar 31, 2013, 10:08 Redmask
The auction house isn't the problem, it just sped up people discovering how fucked up the itemization in the game is. Same thing would have happened without the auction houses, it just would have been a much slower process. Dumb MMO shit like ilvls and a focus on a few core stats on items was the problem. They approached designing this game like they did World of Warcraft in several important ways and that damaged the game significantly. They showed outright hostility to the community following the games release which really upset longtime fans. They started blocking farming and making other 'balance' changes that didn't make sense. The balance changes were always fast to appear yet fixes took much longer of course.

Their Saturday Morning Cartoon story didn't help and it was jammed in the audiences face at every opportunity. The game was downright patronizing in its story telling and many people didn't like it. I forget the head writers name but they need to be rid of him, Blizzards audience is growing up but Blizzards story telling and design isn't. This is going to be a real problem for them in the future. I'm not buying anymore MWUWHAH I AM THE EVIL VILLAIN HERE IS MY PLAN games. The gaming industry is growing up, these people can tell competent stories with real writers and still make a great game.

Jay should feel some gratitude to his elders, he got to coast an otherwise mediocre 70-75 metacritic game to 12 million copies on the backs of his predecessors. The Blizzard name was built on over a decade of great games, I wonder how long it will take to undo that work.

This comment was edited on Mar 31, 2013, 10:14.
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