Watching the gameplay videos coming out of the beta, especially recent ones, lead me to ask myself if inflation, or even hyperinflation, might be a problem in Diablo 3.
A few patches ago there was a time when gold was fairly scarce and people were afraid that it would become very valuable due to the short supply.
There are still a lot of gold sinks, what with artisan training, repair costs and buying items and mats from the auction house. Yet, the last patch has made me wonder.
As you might know, gold drops have been altered in patch 14 and stack sizes have a much larger range. I've seen countless instances of 60-90 gold drops in the new areas that were discovered by beta testers. Those areas are barely more advanced than what's currently in the beta. This means that at a very low level players are already finding tens of gold in a single drop.
Contrast this to Diablo 2. If you remember, gold drops were rather small even at high levels. If we can get 90 gold in early Act 1 on Normal difficulty, I wonder how much will drop in Act 4 in Inferno, or even Hell. 500-1000 gold?
If that's the case, gold might end up not being too valuable after all. An important gold sink for most players will be the training of artisans. But if gold is so abundant, artisans will be trained in very short order and without a lot of effort.
In the end it's not really about inflation, but rather about the value of gold. In Diablo 2 players quickly reached a point where gold wasn't very valuable anymore, causing them to turn to alternative currencies such as Stones of Jordan. Will the same thing happen in Diablo 3? We shall see, but early indications point towards an over-supply of gold. Having said that, I won't be surprised if Blizzard has other gold sinks up their sleeves.