There's a lot of speculation involving the potential amounts that a player can make playing Diablo 3, and rightfully so. This is the first time in gaming history that such a system is introduced to a game. We are all understandably excited, and dollar signs are shining in our eyes. While some bloggers are touting $25 an hour, I prefer to lower my expectations by a fair bit.
Many of those who know Markco won't dispute his $25/hour claim. I'm a bit sceptical at this time because we just don't know what to expect from the Diablo 3 economy. From what I gather, the Real Money Auction House won't even be enabled when the game ships initially. So there will be a while until the D3 economy builds up.
Now, if there's anyone who can make $25 an hour, that would be Markco. Let's not fool ourselves: most of us won't be able to match him. Though I was pretty good at making gold in WoW, I'm not half as good as Markco. As a result, I don't even expect to make $10 an hour in D3, much less $25. Consider that the economy will be more hardcore in D3 than in WoW due to the simple fact that there's real money involved. I like to think of the Diablo 3 economy as more savage but also more realistic.
So how much IS it realistic to expect per hour from Diablo 3? I prefer to start low and move on from there. As such, I think that $1 per hour, is more realistic and should also be attainable by a fair number of players.
If you think this is incredibly (and insultingly) low, it depends. Very few people (if any) would work for $1 an hour in the Western hemisphere. On the other hand, very few of us make any money when having fun. In fact, it's usually the other way around: we tend to spend money to have fun. So why would you scoff at $1 an hour? How many hours have you played WoW, for example? I've been playing since 2006 and have racked dozens, if not hundreds of days played. Unfortunately I can't verify that because I'm not playing WoW anymore but if someone had paid me $1 per hour playing that game, I would have easily made over $1000, essentially playing WoW for free AND making some extra cash on top.
I hope we can now agree that $1 an hour playing Diablo 3 is starting to look good. If I still haven't swayed you, also consider the following: $1/hour translates roughly into $100 a month, or $1200 a year. How is that?
$100 / month = $25 / week =~ $3.6 / day =~ 3.6 hours / day played on average to make $100 a month
Do you play roughly 3 hours a day on average? I certainly did, when I was playing WoW. On the weekends I played a lot more, sometimes up to 8-10 hours. Looking at these numbers I find it easy (and plausible) to arrive at the $100 / month amount.
There's usually a "but" involved and this time there's no exception. Not everyone has the luxury of playing >3 hours a day on average. Some work long hours, some have kids, some have a "life" (whatever that is, haha), some have a wife (hey it rhymes!) and so on. If that is the case, you certainly won't be making a lot of real money in the little spare time you can allocate to D3. Even then, $1/hour is attainable. It will take you longer to reach $100 but you will get there eventually.
Another caveat is whether you enjoy the game or not. If you love D3, I'm thinking that ANY money you make will be a nice bonus. If you're only playing the game to make some extra money, you will probably resent the miserly hourly amount, unless you're a RMAH wizard or something.
Your first $100 earned in Diablo 3 will get you this: a free copy of Diablo 3 AND a free copy of Diablo 3's first expansion.
An extra $100 a month or $1200 a year, just from having fun in a game, means a great deal to me. It means, for example, a brand new gaming computer which would be hard to justify otherwise.
We also need to keep in mind that $1 an hour for someone in the US is vastly different (and inferior) than for someone in, say, China. It's a matter of perspective but I can guarantee you that *someone* on this planet will be incredibly happy to earn this hourly wage.
My point is that you shouldn't dismiss the possibility of making only $1 an hour by playing Diablo 3. If you can reach $25/h, more power to you but you need to realize that only a small fraction of the money-making elite will come close to that amount. It is simply not feasible for all of us to reach that pinnacle. I would rather set my expectations low and build them up from there, than set them unrealistically high and then end up disappointed when they don't materialize.
Having said that, the joke will be on me if I can't even manage $1 per hour. But hey, I've set the bar low enough that I won't be too frustrated if that happens.