Before I hit the news let me tell you a story. I got a buddy, you see? This buddy is using the RMAH in an attempt to pay off his copy of Diablo 3. Once he does that, he’ll be satisfied with his purchase and this feature. I see that as the ultimate goal of the RMAH. I also know someone who used the RMAH to get money and buy StarCraft 2.
I find it really hard to find a reason to spend a crazy amount of money on the RMAH to further your actual progress in the game. Why? Because these are all items you can find in the game during your own, free travels. There was an online comic floating around (forgive me, I cannot remember if it was Penny Arcade or another site) that depicted a man who bought an expensive axe just to find a better one an hour later. That is what scares me away from the RMAH.
However, I respect the decision that others may have to spend their money on it. It’s their money. However, I’d expect that if someone spend money on this Auction House, that they would not only receive what they paid for, but also receive ample customer service.
The RMAH is a very new concept in gaming. You take in-game items and can acquire real world money for them. Alternatively, you can spend real world money on in-game items. You can also buy gems and gold using money. I understand Blizzard’s reasoning for including this into the game. D2JSP was huge back in the day for trading Diablo items back and forth. This was for either real world money or in-game gold/item trade. However, how many times did we hear about money getting stolen on D2JSP? I’m sure it has happened but that community is pretty close knit. It is active but they are very strict and faithful to their users (at least they use to be, not sure how it is to this day).
So what is the news, exactly? Blizzard is apparently not helping players when it comes to glitches that happen in the RMAH. Thanks to a report on Gaming Blend, we have a public record of a player who bid on an item listed at $0.00 and came back later to find out that he had won the item. For $149.
This is obviously a glitch. Items should not be appearing for $0.00. This has been talked about in patch notes, hotfixes, and forum posts. However, not every player is going to read those. Some people just like to come home from work, plop down in a chair, and play some Diablo. Is that the player’s fault? No. Is that Blizzard’s fault? Technically no. However, a good business needs to look at every angle. Is this going to work? Is this going to create problems? Or, is this just going to make us money?
Diablo is a simple game. Click, click, click, etc. It baffles me as to why Blizzard made such a drastic change to their dark series. They took a simple game and made it very difficult to use. You can’t play the game without logging in. You should attach an authenticator to hopefully not get hacked. The Auction House ruins that feeling of personally furthering your character. There is no reason to play Inferno except for the achievements since you don’t continue to level up or gain anything. So what else are they going to do to make the player’s experience harder to enjoy? Not back up players with glitches on the RMAH.
That player who tried to buy the $0.00 was met with a huge price tag at the end of the day. When he contacted Blizzard, the response was less than acceptable.
I spoke with Casey S, ticket number 28387111 (he put me on hold for liek 10 minutes), seemed like a decent guy, but his answer was completely crap. Basically he said they are completely hands off with the RMAH. He suggested that I put the item back up to try and make some money back. I politely argued with the guy for about 15 minutes, I know he can’t do anything. But he literally told me that they are completely hands off with the AH, if there is a bug on their part they will not back anyone up.
Wow. “Completely hands off with the RMAH.” If that is not a 100% golden reason to stay away from it, I don’t know what would be. This isn’t the first report about glitches, RMAH, and Blizzard not owning up to issues. Forbes reported about a $100 loss from the RMAH due to a trade glitch. It was finally resolved but it took a major public website’s newsbreak to get them on the ball.
It comes down to this: the RMAH is a new concept. If you are going to launch it with possible glitches, own up to your problems and help the players out. This deals with real world money. If this guy did not mean to or set it up to spent that much money, he should have it returned. He shouldn’t be told by customer service that they are hands off with a major feature of the game.
I completely agree with Gaming Blend when the worst of it comes from the official forum community who are condemning this player and calling for him to be banned. For what? Bidding on an item? Did he know it was glitched? Did he know that you cannot place $0.00 items on the AH? The response from the community is appalling. Even if this was the player’s fault they are missing the biggest issue here: hands off the RMAH. So what happens when one of these condemning forum posting has an issue with the RMAH, losing over $100, and is denied help?
Couple this is Blizzard making the AH system a near need for players to play the game and further their characters. Bashiok, the company’s lead community manager, basically confirmed this in the below image of a forum thread response. The Blue text (quote) is Bashiok. Click to enlarge.
So players are being trapped into using the AH where glitches like those mentioned above can result in lost money and no customer service?
Beware of the RMAH, Diablo 3 players. At least until the glitches are resolved or Blizzard reconfigures how their customer service works for this apparent still in-concept feature.