The auction house has been a pretty controversial feature ever since the launch of the real money houses in 2012. Jay Wilson, director behind Diablo III, even came out and disparaged the feature at a GDC talk earlier in 2013. Wilson claimed that both of the auction houses “really hurt the game.” Blizzard even skipped including the feature on the recently released console versions of the title.
In their post on Battle.Net, Blizzard explained their reasoning behind this decision:
“When we initially designed and implemented the auction houses, the driving goal was to provide a convenient and secure system for trades, but as we’ve mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo‘s core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot.”
I imagine that one of the major driving forces behind the removal of the auction house comes from the recently announced Reaper of Souls expansion. Blizzard will most likely continue to add or remove features from Diablo III as they see fit until the expansion releases at some point in 2014.
While I never really got into the Diablo franchise, this news does set a rather interesting precedent. The auction houses seemed like a pretty popular feature and Blizzard did claim that this was a reason behind why you need to always have an internet connection in order to play the game. How often do you see a company completely remove a feature that is still widely used? While I understand that the auction houses were divisive, they are still used by a good number of players and the removal of them is surprising.
Diablo III gamers: Are you sad to see the auction houses go? Let us know!