Saturday, April 21, 2012

Open beta gold auctions

As most of you know (and if you don't, what planet are you from?) this weekend is open beta for Diablo 3. Blizzard is stress-testing their servers and what-not by giving access to everyone for a couple of days.

Last night I decided to take a look at the Auction House and see what's going on there. The last couple of patches reset by Beta Bucks back to 50 so I did a small experiment to see if I could sell any gold. In about 10 minutes, before going to bed, I increased my virtual money from 50 to over 184.

I started by selling gold on the Real Money Auction House (RMAH) in 1000G increments. The price was high, about 11-12BB / 1000G. As you can see, I sold a bunch of gold in this manner.

This is nothing out of the ordinary. Anyone can do it. What some people fail to do, and it's all to my advantage, is to check the price of gold before posting it. A savvy auctioneer will always do that. After all, you wouldn't want to sell your gold for 1/10 of its real worth, would you?

Apparently, some people are ignorant (and I won't call them idiots at this point because I don't know their circumstances) and that's just what they do. As you can see from the screenshot, I didn't just sell gold. I also bought under-priced gold.

Several batches were posted for 3.24BB, 1.50BB and even 1BB / 1000G. Come to papa! I bought all of that vastly under-priced gold and posted it back for the "correct" price.

This is a very neat way to make lots of BB. Unfortunately, this is just beta. People's behaviors will be skewed and biased since every beta tester got 50BB for free and Beta Bucks hold no value in real life. In the full game things will change. Real money will hold a higher value and people won't be so careless about spending it.

My point is that in the actual game I don't expect to make >$150 in just 10 minutes of play. It would be amazing if life worked like that but I'm trying to be realistic here. In the full game there will be dozens, hundreds or even thousands of smart people attempting to do the same thing I did last night. This means that it will be extremely hard to buy out really cheap gold because it will be instantly snatched by the person lucky enough to click the Buy button first. Even $15 in 10 minutes is a stretch. $1.50 is a more realistic amount. And that's only in the first few days, or first week. After that, gold prices will plummet.

I can almost see this as a game in itself: keep refreshing the price of gold and the moment a good deal appears, snatch it immediately! I have a feeling that the Auction House has a potential to become almost as addictive as playing the game itself. I just hope that Blizzard fix some of the AH interface and performance issues.

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