I was hoping to write about D3 economics this week. Unfortunately the Auction House is not fully functional and commodities cannot be sold. This means that people who generate massive stacks of crafting materials like me cannot sell their stuff to those who want said crafting materials and so massive surpluses build up. I can't say much of use about the current AH aside from "Good gear costs a lot" but I think I can make a solid prediction: When the AH is fixed and commodities can be sold the price of gear is going to plummet. This will happen for a few reasons:
First, there is going be a tremendous amount of trade that has been backlogged and that trade will deplete gold stocks by stealing 15% of every transaction. Second, the people who want to craft will be plowing enormous sums of gold into crafting with materials they buy from the AH which destroys gold. All that crafting with the newly sellable recipes and materials will fill the AH up with new gear. Destroy gold, create gear, and provide alternate sources of spending other than buying items directly and you can be sure that prices on gear will drop.
The endgame seems to me to have a tremendous amount of scaling in difficulty that cannot be made up with easily acquired gear. I am questing in act 2 and it is extremely dangerous but it is possible to push forward and kill champs/uniques with some deaths. However, in act 4 there are mobs that literally hit me for double my maximum health with a single ranged attack - the gear requirements to play there comfortably are insanely steep. Blizzard has obviously designed the endgame around gearing up in a variety of ways to survive the later difficulties so I wanted to do some math to figure out what I need to survive.
My current stats:
Resist all - 450 - 60% reduction
Armour - 3720 - 55% reduction
Vitality - 1022 - 43976 health
For example, if I stack on enough resist to take 40% less damage, enough armour to take 40% less damage (which are multiplicative, not additive) and increase my health and healing by 60% I will be 4.5 times as tough - this is enough to make it such that I can survive two ranged attacks, just barely. This would certainly be enough for me to completely maul act 2 in a very casual fashion. How much *more* of each stat would I need to achieve this?
Resist all - +500
Armour - +4478
Vitality - 618
These numbers are pretty ludicrous. I need to more than double my resist all and armour totals which seems absolutely bonkers in terms of farming time but certainly possible in terms of raw itemization - I just need 73 resist all per piece! Armour is a more challenging problem but again if I upgrade to higher base armour types where possible and get +300 armour on every piece of gear I have I can certainly make that benchmark. Vitality is by far the easiest here since even though I do have a lot of vitality on my gear I can easily imagine getting 50 more per piece. To keep up with the healing I would need to stack a bunch of life gaining effects too, of course.
This is all to say nothing of doing more damage. I expect to eventually be using a weapon that has 1100 dps instead of my current 700 and to get a lot more intelligence on my gear - it should easily be possible to upgrade my damage by 2.5 times eventually. What all this tells me is that if I could custom build my gear I would be tough enough and do enough damage to completely demolish act 2 for sure, and certainly to be able to play reasonably in act 3 and act 4. It is going to take an obscene amount of farming to get there but get there I will. Inferno difficulty in D3 is quite nuts but this is only the early stages of gear acquisition and there is no question that people will have sufficient gear to do everything quite comfortably and without awful kiting tricks eventually. I guess Barbarians and Monks will just farm act 1 inferno over and over until they get there. :P