One of the most controversial features of Diablo III is the Auction House, and developer Blizzard has announced it is being closed in March 2014. You can use in-game gold or real money in the Auction House, which mean players can trade or pay for items instead of finding them in the game.
One of the explanations for the Auction House was it gave players a safe place to trade items, and meant there was no black market for items. But instead of being a small addition to the game as intended, they have become huge, with half of all players using them ‘regularly’.
Being able to buy a cool item immediately makes it less attractive to fight through dungeons in the hope of finding the loot you want. The reward of getting cool loot in game is important in the Diablo experience, and the auction houses undermined that.
There is undoubtedly a business angle here, but we know that by early this year the game designers had become unhappy with the auction houses, and they were not included in the recently released console versions of Diablo III.
Next year sees the huge Reaper of Souls expansion release, and Blizzard are promising a ‘Loot 2.0‘ update so in-game loot drops will be ‘less, better, and more epic.’ The quick-fix auction houses don’t fit well with the hardcore promise of Diablo, and it seems gameplay has won over business decisions this time.
There are still no plans to allow offline play in Diablo III for PC.