EDIT: July 24th
Time has proven me correct.
Already the scams have begun, and the backlash against the Auction House is growing.
Accounts are under attack more and more often than they ever were in WoW.
Is this the future you want for gaming?
For every high quality production that follows in Diablo 3's footsteps is one less production that could have been awesome. Thousands of Man-Hours hundreds of millions of dollars went into making Diablo 3, and for what?
To turn it into a goddamn casino?
Grind is the enemy of gaming. Never more have I been sure of that.
Richard Garfield was right; we should be striving to eliminate it because it does nothing but cost the player time and now, money.
Wanting to make money is one thing, but this goes beyond providing an experience for mere money; it's exploitation. Insidious exploitation. And so many gamers enable it to not only occur, but to thrive.
IF YOU CANNOT COMPREHEND WHAT I'M SAYING, READ THIS: "GRIND" IS NOT LEGITIMATE GAMEPLAY
IT DOES NOT TAKE MUCH LOGIC TO SEE HOW FORCING THE PLAYER TO REPEAT THE SAME BORING TASK OVER AND OVER WITH A RANDOM REWARD ISN'T LEGITIMATE GAMEPLAY.
I don't understand why people are so quick to dismiss skinner gameplay under the guise of "opinion" or "preference". This isn't a matter of preferring vanilla to chocolate ice cream, or Ford to Dodge, it's a matter of psychology.
The effects of Random Reward are well known and documented. It's hard science, not mere "opinion". Getting people to press the proverbial button in hopes of receiving their pellet.
How is this auction house not designed specifically to abuse that?
"Oh, it's just a matter of preference."
That argument, is bullshit. Total, 100% pure bullshit.
It's a copout argument; one that proves nothing except that the wielder is ignorant at best, willingly stupid at worst.
And again, I see people wielding "It's fun to earn the right to the gear"
Or "Grinding for exp/skills is like getting a workout. You watch your character grow and see the time you've put into them".
OK. Just stop. Stop and think about what you're really doing there.
Comparing playing a game to a workout? Really?
What have you really done? You've incremented some numbers in a database and you have done so in a way that everyone can easily do. There is no real difficulty or personal trial involved beyond the capacity of fighting boredom.
But lets attack this idiocy from another angle, the controversy of "botting".
Ironically, when you put this logic to the test and invent more efficient/less boring ways of accomplishing the same task, PEOPLE GET UPSET.
WHY IS THAT?
"They didn't earn their results! They let a program do the WORK for them!"
This is the fundamental argument against the concept of botting.
Notice the CAPS word. "Work". You see what happened there? Lets look closer.
But I already hear you thinking of counterpoints:
"But every game requires effort on the part of the player!"
Yes, but what KIND of effort?
There's a rather large difference between the sort of bot that farms gold in WoW, and the kind of bot that gets you instant-perfect-headshots in Counterstrike.
+The Aimbot in Counterstrike is a cheat, and CAN DO EVERYTHING THE PLAYER CAN DO BETTER THAN THE PLAYER EVER COULD. This is a "cheat".
-The bot that farms gold in WoW CAN DO EVERYTHING THE REGULAR PLAYER CAN DO, AND NOTHING MORE.
The only benefit that the second type of bot provides, is the ability for the player to progress as if he were playing all the time. It does not provide them any edge in execution, because the bot is limited by the character's stats.
Arguing that the bot is "unfair" because it provides a "time advantage" is fucking ludicrous if you also try to argue that "grinding" is fun. I'll show you how:
If you believe that grinding is fun, then logically YOU SHOULD NOT CARE ONE WHIT HOW SOMEONE ELSE PLAYS THE GAME. If you accept that the argument is PURELY SUBJECTIVE, then you MUST accept that different players want to progress at different rates. Different people put different time commitments into the game, no?
So, let me posit this question: Do botters take away or otherwise interfere with your ability to grind (and thus have fun)? If cannot, then your point is moot.
It's the same logic why nobody should complain about cheats in single player games; it impacts nobody but the person employing the cheats.
"But it does impact me! It hurts the in-game economy!"
This argument is stupid for two reasons:
1) Actually, it helps the in-game economy. Supply and demand. Increased supply from more efficient sources DRIVES PRICES DOWN. Unless one entity owns ALL of the bots, and that simply won't happen if the game is popular enough to be worth playing.
2) This "economy" is built upon a faulty basis. The value of an item is directly proportional to the product of how difficult it is to acquire X how badly it is needed/desired.
Therefore, defending grind in this manner is like defending a famine to keep the price of bread high.
Therefore, the INSTANT that botting even becomes a more practical option in the game than playing it normally, is the moment that game has ceased to provide a legitimately engaging experience.
And then people will still cling to their "You just don't like it, so you're bashing it! You don't understand!".
Of course I fucking understand. I understand implicitly. I probably understand it better than most of you. And it's BECAUSE I understand it so well that I that I don't like it!
I was addicted to that sort of gameplay for a long time. Still kind of am, though in different forms (Terraria has an odd sort of grind to it, but it has purpose. So does Borderlands, even though I don't regularly have to repeat segments just to progress.)
I played Diablo 2 for the better part of a decade, and tried a multitude of MMORPGs.
No, it's people who wield such fucking ludicrous rhetoric like "It's just subjective" who do not understand. They cannot see that they're being manipulated by Skinner Box Logic, because they're addicted. And while they're addicted, they think they're enjoying themselves.
And yet, so often, they will sit there and sigh, eyes half-open, hunched over in their seat at their keyboard and mouse, doing the same shit over and over; boss runs that they have long since memorized and mastered in hopes of getting that rare drop or reaching that next mathematical milestone.
Not having fun because it has all become nothing more than a routine.
A routine with little to no real benefit.
The Diablo 3 auction house is Blizzard turning it all over to the player and legalizing the drug as it were while being the primary supplier. It provides a benefit in the form of turning grind into potential cash.
But the cost is great:
If items are valued because of the time investment required...
...and the time investment stems from the rare, random drop of said items.
Then all this is, is an elaborate slot machine. Gambling.
If the payout is real money, and the bid is time, then why not just find a job?
At least with a job, the payout is more consistent.
If this was a free to play game you may have some sort of argument but its retail game.
It should make no difference.
Pay2Win is NEVER a valid gameplay scenario; it essentially nullifies any attempt at playing the game competitively, because now we aren't competing based on execution, but who has the fattest wallet.
From a business point of view, yeah. It's a dirty way of making money, but that's what business cares about first and foremost.
Now we can only sit back and hope more and more games that we would like to play do not adopt this system.
I'll quit gaming if *every game* I want to play involves an auction house like this.
Until then, I'll just ignore those that do employ. -_-
Why? Because the "Auction House" is a "solution" to the problem of the Gold Farmer Market (and related scammers).
But the Gold Farmer Market can only work and thrive in a game with excessive amounts of grind.
(That's what gives those items any real world value to start with: competition/PVP creates demand, and grind drives that demand up by limiting supply. How bitterly ironic, that the in-game "economy" so many players make such a fuss about protecting exists only because of the incredible amount of tedium and busywork required.)
To ask for more games to employ this, is to ask for more grind; which is something we should be striving to move *away from* in gaming. Not enacting more of!
Eliminate tedium and busywork, create more actual content, or create new ways to enjoy the same content without it becoming tedious boring busywork.