It was often called controversial, a failure, a valiant but misguided mistake, and was compared to drug legalization in a Forbes article. At long last, Blizzard has shut down their gaming juggernaut Diablo III’s Auction House today at 10am GMT. Originally created to combat black market sellers who would farm items in the game and sell them to people for real money, the Auction House became something many players saw as taking away from the primary joy of playing Diablo III: finding valuable loot.
No new auctions can be made or bid on, but the Auction House is still technically accessible from the game’s main menu so that auctions that were listed before the shutdown can be completed. “The Auction House is shutting down,” reads a note on the AH interface, “You must claim your items from the Completed tab by 6/24. Existing auctions will be complete based on the time remaining.”
In place of the Auction House is Loot 2.0, a major revision of the manner in which items drop in Diablo III. In short, Loot 2.0 ensures that players encounter higher-stat items during gameplay. In the past, the lack of quality item drops led players to spend either real-world currency or in-game currency on superior items at the Auction House, a process that led to what Blizzard developer John Hight said “undermines Diablo’s core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot.” An article by Paul Tassi of Forbes on the Auction House also noted that “You could spend thirty hours to find a single legendary item, only to realize there were five hundred copies of the same thing for sale online for dirt cheap. It took away any sense of accomplishment from looting, which has always been the core premise of the game.”
News of the shutdown has generally been received positively. One user on IGN commented that “I think I will finally reinstall the game and start playing again. I couldn’t be happier with this decision,” while another declared “Good RIDDANCE!”
The timing of the shutdown coincides with the release of Diablo III’s expansion pack, Reaper of Souls. It appears that Blizzard wants to wipe the slate clean with their financially successful but much maligned game and breathe new life into it with Reaper of Souls. The expansion pack will be released on March 25.