Since its announcement, the real money auction house in Diablo III hasn’t gone over well with a number of gamers, and Blizzard’s not making it any better by mentioning that they’ll be taking a 15% cut of all real money auction house sales. Fifteen percent? Really?
In the real-money auction house, Blizzard will charge a flat fee of $1 (or a rough local equivalent) for sales of unique equipment like armor, weapons, and accessories, or take a 15 percent cut for sales of common, “stackable” commodities like gems, materials, and gold. Even in the gold-based version of the auction house, which uses in-game currency exclusively, Blizzard will deduct a 15 percent fee from each item’s sale price. That’s a move that should help stem inflation as gold continues to be created throughout the in-game economy.
Sellers will be faced with an additional 15 percent fee if they want the purchase price to be transferred to a third-party service like PayPal. Blizzard also warns that “additional fees from PayPal may apply.” The only way to avoid these transfer fees is by putting the sale proceeds into a Battle.net balance, which can be used to purchase digital editions of Blizzard games as well as certain in-game purchases in World of Warcraft.
This is a major change from the grey market for in-game goods that sprung up around Diablo II, which operated through third-party websites and chat rooms, cutting Blizzard out of the process entirely. Blizzard insists that consolidating the market within Diablo III, and eliminating cheating and item duplication through a required persistent Internet connection, will make the item sales process safer and more convenient. Taking direct control of the market will also help stem “numerous customer-service and game-experience issues” caused by Diablo II item sales through “unsecure third-party organizations,” the company said.
All players are going to have to wait a bit longer than expected to access the real-money auction house. Blizzard now says it won’t be available until a week after the game’s May 15 launch. Those that purchase a digital version of the game after that launch will also have to wait three days to use the feature, “for security reasons.”
Blizzard reconfirmed that it will not be offering items in the auction house directly—all sold items will be posted by players who earned them through standard gameplay. In addition, players on the game’s maximum Hardcore difficulty will have access to an exclusive, gold-only auction house featuring only items from other Hardcore players.