Diablo III was seen as a controversial release by Blizzard for many thanks in part to its real money auction house for in-game items. On Tuesday, June 24th, the last of that service’s functionality will finally be removed from the game.
Many gamers felt that Blizzard’s auction house in Diablo III was a poor decision on the developer’s part. While selling in-game items for real money is nothing new to players of the Diablo series or massively multiplayer games in general, gamers levered criticism against Diablo III’s intense reliance on the service due to how rare worthwhile drops were in the game.
With the release of the title on the PS3 and Xbox 360, Blizzard finally relented and began to make plans to shut down the auction house service on the PC version of the game. That shutdown came in March, along with an improvement to loot drop rates, making the game more accessible to players. Though the service itself was shut down and items and money/gold could no longer be traded using it, Blizzard wisely left access to user accounts within the system open, giving players time to grab any and all items they may have left behind. Now, though, the time has come to shut down the last remnants of the service, and as of June 24th, 2014, any items and/or money left in a marketplace account will be lost for good.
The following is quoted directly from Blizzard’s final announcement on the Diablo III battle.net site:
As a reminder, the Diablo® III gold and real-money auction houses will be closing for good on Tuesday, June 24. If you still have unclaimed items or gold in the Completed tab, please retrieve them before next week—or they’ll be gone forever!
For more information, read on below or visit our Diablo III Auction House Update FAQ.
Diablo III as a whole has been a mixed bag for gamers since its release. While the game’s core gameplay has been praised for being fun and engaging, many of Blizzard’s decisions concerning accessibility for the game irked players and reviewers alike upon initial release. With no dedicated single-player mode and the inclusion of the real money auction house many long-time fans of the series felt that Blizzard was abandoning the audience that had loved the series for so long. Despite good sales of the game, Blizzard has been fighting an uphill battle since its release to retain the interest and trust of many members of its audience.
For most players the closing of the auction house was seen as the best thing to happen to the game since its release, and with the closing of access to retrieving items from the old marketplace Blizzard is finally closing the doors on one of the most controversial features in the company’s history.