From the information I've seen coming out of the Diablo 3 beta and from reading various blogs, I have started to form a vague picture of how I will make some gold (and ultimately money) in D3. Just as in WoW, if you want to make lots of money fast, you will need to use multiple strategies and you will need to diversify. You also need to identify the most lucrative and straightforward ways of reaching your goal.
My main goal in Diablo 3 will be to have fun but I believe even more fun can be had if a little profit can be made from playing the game. Hence, there's nothing wrong with making a little money off of it.
After I get the hang of things, most likely after I have decided on a favorite class, I will use two similar but slightly different ways in which to make gold. I intend to test both of these methods for a period of time and figure out which is more profitable. There will be other strategies that I will try but these two are very simple concepts.
Once I decide on a "main" character, I will deck them out in 1) gold find and 2) magic find gear and see which one is better at farming. My strategy will be to pick a character who's really good at kicking butt, most likely a Barbarian or Wizard and farm lower level areas with it. The lower areas are very important because I will trade all my character's survivability for MF or GF. One thing that I might keep is a weapon with good damage but otherwise it's all gonna be gold- and magic-find gear.
Considering that I won't be able to assemble all that gear from the very beginning, I estimate that my experiment will start later, after I have leveled my character a bit. Depending on how easy it is to level a character, I might decide to go all the way to the maximum level of 60, before going back to lower areas so I can test my two methods.
Gold is slated to be valuable in D3, thanks to its scarcity, which should make it a very good commodity to trade on the Real Money Auction House. There is much less risk involved with selling gold than with selling regular items. Same goes for selling crafting materials. Gold and crafting materials can be considered "currency", hence they are less volatile and generally a good investment.
Gold find gear will allow me to get more gold from monsters and it's going to be interesting to calculate how much gold an hour I can make from farming and how much real money I can sell it for.
Gold can also be used for other purposes, such as buying blue/yellow gear and salvaging it for materials, provided that selling those materials is more profitable than just selling the gold in the first place. But this method is for later. Initially I will focus only on selling the gold directly.
Magic find gives monsters a higher chance to drop magic gear. This gear can be used in two ways: 1) either sell it directly, either for gold (which can, in turn, be sold for real money) or directly for real money, provided the item is valuable enough
2) or salvage it for materials.
I am certain that most (> 90%) of items found in this manner will go to the salvage bin but that's ok because, once again, materials are "currency" and they will sell very well on the "stock exchange", either for gold or real money, depending which is more profitable.
I will test both methods for set intervals. I was thinking about alternating them every week. It is important to test for longer periods of time, several months in fact, because prices, especially during the first few months of D3, will be skewed.
So which method (if any) will you try? Honestly I am more excited about magic find, provided that this type of gear really works as expected. While gold find is easy to gauge (because you can clearly see that you are getting larger gold drops), it's harder to judge if magic find has any effect, unless you start logging each piece of gear that drops, which I will actually be doing.
While these two strategies are very simple, I believe that experimentation is key, in any game, not just Diablo 3. I just hope they release the damn game this year!