We wrote back in September that Blizzard announced it would be removing Diablo 3’s auction houses, both gold and real money, and that day has come to pass. The Auction House is no more.
Blizzard has posed a FAQ on its forums to answer some questions about the shutdown specifics. Auctions currently in progress will expire as normal and the items will go to the highest bidder (or be returned to the seller, depending on the auction). Folks have until June 24 to clear out all of the items and gold in their “Completed” tab, after which time they’ll all vanish forever.
On paper, the Auction House sounded like a great idea: it provided a relatively secure way for Diablo 3 players to dispose of unwanted loot and make some coin at the same time—much more coin than the tiny amounts offered by the in-game merchants. However, the Auction House quickly became a required meta-game that any character wanting any kind of meaningful gear had to play. Blizzard had to adjust the rates at which valuable items spawned in-game to keep item-farmers from flooding the Auction House. This made it more difficult not just for the farmers to find good loot, but for everyone to find good loot. The end result was that the Auction House became the only way to find truly useful items for every character once they’d hit the level 60 in-game cap.
The removal of the Auction House isn’t the only big change to Diablo 3’s gameplay. In preparation for the Reaper of Souls expansion pack’s upcoming debut (next week, in fact!), Blizzard also released “Loot 2.0” in February, a major patch that significantly changed how the game’s loot system functions. With the auction house sunsetting, Loot 2.0 greatly increases the rate at which powerful items are generated for the player to pick up (orange legendaries and green set items). It also makes it so that items the player finds are much more likely to be relevant to the player’s current character—your Demon Hunter might still find the occasional Witch Doctor charm, but for the most part, the items will have stats specifically targeted at your class.
Enlarge / Want to trade that sweet set crossbow you found? Too bad—it’s account-bound now. All legendaries and set items will be like this from now on.
Another change with the updated loot system is that all legendary items and all set items are now bound to your account when you pick them up—they can’t be traded to other players except under very specific circumstances and within a narrow window of time (though they can be sold to the in-game vendors or broken down for crafting components). Initially Blizzard developers were adamant that account-bound items wouldn’t be coming to the game, but as Diablo 3 has evolved over the years it’s become clear that making it a game focused on item trading had significant negative impacts on the core gameplay. Anything that pulls the focus too far away from kill-monsters-get-loot is ultimately bad.
And so we bid a farewell to the game-breaking Auction House—judging by community and forum posts, it won’t be missed. From here on, players can still trade with each other directly in-game using the trade window, but there will be no more easily gamed central clearing house for loot and gold. We’ll have more on Diablo 3 and after the Reaper of Souls expansion release next week.Learn More