Thursday Blizzard released a beta version of the Real Money Auction House (RMAH), possibly one of the biggest jaw dropping features coming in Diablo 3. This will streamline the real money making potential for all players, whether they work for a Chinese farmer or not. Blizzard’s online games have always been carefully protected from hackers and gold sellers, but now Blizzard is starting to bring this system under its own control. In World of Warcraft they are allowing players to buy valuable tradable items through their online realm money store and in Diablo 3 they are going full boar and allowing players to buy items and gold from one another with realm money through their RMAH.
So what’s the catch? The catch is fees. The whole idea of Blizzard allowing players to use real money to buy items from other player’s in game is motivated by one thing: them being able to profit. They are going to do this by charging fees:
“During the Diablo III closed beta test, the Seller will incur a 0.15 Beta Buck listing fee and a 0.65 Beta Buck fee per successful transaction in the currency-based auction house. These numbers are not final and are for testing purposes only; they’re subject to change.” -Blizzard
These fees are actually pretty damn ridiculous, even though this is based on a completely arbitrary currency: Beta Bucks, it shows that they are creating an infrastructure of static fees as opposed to percentage based fees. Instead of losing 1 or 2% in the transaction you’re going to pay an upfront fee to list and then a transaction fee if the auction is successful. These taxes are going to significantly reduce profit margins and likely change the way the RMAH is used. I think many players will only use the RMAH for big auctions opposed to selling common Crafting Materials that sell for a small amount of currency. I think players will sell their Crafting Materials on the regular Auction House for gold and then sell big lots of gold on the RMAH to ‘cash out’ if they so choose.
Okay so let’s take a look at how the RMAH works and compare it to other auction houses like the one in World of Warcraft.
The first thing to notice is that the Auction House is not in New Tristam or anywhere else within the game. There will not be players jumping up and down in front of auctioneers all day farming the auction house. Instead, you access the auction house from the bottom right of the menu screen like this:
The first thing I wanted to do was see how it worked to buy gold in the RMAH. Unlike in games like World of Warcraft you are unable to see a list of ‘auctions’ by players in the D3AH. Instead, the auction house interface automatically calculates the best price to buy the amount of an item that you are looking for. The price tends to go up per unit the more units you want to buy. For instance I checked to see how much it would cost to buy 1,000 gold with Beta Bucks and here is what it shows:
If you change the quantity on the left to a higher amount the price per unit goes up dramatically. This could possibly be reversed in the real real money auction house when listing fees become more of an issue.
Anyways, going on to armor listings you can view all armor listing just like in the regular auction house for your character based on the armor type and criteria:
Notice the bid, buyout and time left columns. The AH interface is very friendly and allows players to find what they are looking for in the proper quantity extremely fast.
I think the most important thing to notice about the RMAH in the beta is the high fees. If these fees stay this high in the live version and if they stay static figures you will see a movement towards players selling regular items for gold on the gold auction house and then selling only the most expensive items on the RMAH. People will want to minimize their exposure to the RMAH to avoid fees and only use it to transfer large lots of gold in and out of the game.
Because of the way that the auction house lists items it will be very difficult to exploit auction sizes by purchasing bargains and reposting them in different sizes. For instance, it will be more difficult to find people selling 100 Common Scraps for a great price and reselling them to players who only want 10 Common Scraps for slightly more per unit.
Stay tuned for more beta coverage at Diablo 3 Artisans
Important: Many of the strategies and tips I share here were originally inspired by the people at the Diablo 3 Gold Secrets Forum. If you're serious about making the big bucks in Diablo 3, or just being the best players, you need to signup ASAP.