I talked about the Diablo 3 expansion last week and then Blizzard went and dropped the bomb - the Auction Hall is going away on March 18th, 2014. The D3 expansion will not have an AH at all and Blizzard will lose the revenue associated with it. My reaction?
While it was fun to get a lot of stuff in D2 back in the day by parking in trade channels and fleecing rubes I can't say I enjoyed it more than playing the game. I really liked the fact that trading was more efficient at generating stuff than killing demons but I know for sure if I could have killed demons and got stuff at the same rate that is what I would have been doing!
The thing about the AH is that it allows people to offload their great stuff to others and fill in holes in their finds. This is a useful function I think but that function doesn't need to be filled by an Auction House. Blizzard announced a bunch of things that will help with that function like rerolling stats on gear and already have crafting built into the game - combine those two and it is clear we will be able to make our own drops with sufficient time and energy invested.
Of course there remains the problem that third party sites will happily sell gear for real money and those people who really want to get decked out will go to them. Also those people will end up losing their accounts to various scams, of course. However, that was true in D2 as well and that game was still hella fun so I assume things will be good in D3 in the same fashion.
I have been thinking about what I have to do to be ready for the xpac and I think the answer is that I need to have +XP items, particularly the ring that is crafted by doing the Infernal Machine questline. I haven't really tackled it yet and although my gear is sufficient for doing it I could definitely use some upgrades to make it faster and smoother. When the xpac does finally land I want to be able to power up to the new gear farming point as quick as possible to start testing out the new version of Diablo 3. Things sound very promising indeed.
I guess this is the end of my posts where I defend the AH. While it did lubricate trading I don't think D3 is best as a trading game but rather as an endless slog through hordes of evil. Time to collect materials and smash things together in a fruitless effort to get better things. I can't wait.