The possible diabolical nature of Diablo 3's real money AH & DRM

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Posted by ipaqi (73 posts) -

Disclaimer: I begin writing this post at 19:30 BST, 20/05/2012. The information, suggestions and suppositions written heretofore are a result of my personal experience playing Diablo 3 over the past few days, as well as my own experience as a program designer and programmer, and cannot be proven by myself at this time. This is theory and conjecture, be it convincing or otherwise. DO NOT TAKE MY WORDS AS FACT, BUT AS THEORY ALONE.

Right, now that we're done with that, let get to the nitty-gritty. I'm writing this article/post to put forth a theory, according to which Diablo 3's always-online DRM and real currency Auction House have a more "sinister" purpose than we've been led to believe.

First off, I put forth the following supposition as to the working of the DRM. Diablo 3 works much like an MMO with many lacking features. Every action is synchronized to the server, be it physical travel, ability activation, item activation, merchant and artisan interactions, etc. Whenever an action is made in-game, the game client interacts with the servers, obtaining whatever information it requires. Germane to the issue I bring up, is that the game contacts the server whenever loot needs to be distributed.

Having recently experienced a lot of lag on a high-latency connection with the game, and having observed that the lag was most visible and game-breaking when loot was to be distributed (killing mobs, opening chests, destroying destructible items, etc.), I theorize that whenever loot is to be distributed, the game client requests a loot drop from the server (that is, which items to drop, if any). Assuming this is true, it would mean that Activision-Blizzard is poised to control which loot is distributed, how much, and even to whom.

And, since every player-action is apparently reported to the servers, it seems likely that if they would wish to, Activision-Blizzard can track player's usage of items, as in sale, salvage, equipping, stashing, transfer to alternate characters, transfer to other players, sale on either Auction House, and even dropping on the ground.

With the item usage tracking information Activision-Blizzard could accrue and aggregate, it's very likely that they could then analyze which players are more likely to sell unneeded items and on which Auction House, and, given that they made the game's systems, it would be very easy then to give a player with a Witch Doctor and with no alternate characters an extremely rare and high-valued item, with the expectation that he'd sell the item for a large sum, of which Activision-Blizzard is entitled, as per the TOS, to 15%.

Having manufacture an economical system that can be so efficiently manipulated to provide Activision-Blizzard with additional funds beyond the money paid by gamers to merely play the game, they would be either foolhardy or exceptionally honest not to engage in any of the aforementioned manipulation.

After all, WoW subscriber numbers are slowly but steadily declining if I recall correctly, Diablo 3 and Starcraft II have no subscriber models that we know of, and Blizzard's project Titan is nothing more than a name on a two-year-old release schedule. A market completely controlled by Activision-Blizzard, where demand is closely monitored and supply can be manufactured on the spot, is a cash cow that I don't believe can so easily be left unmilked.

But in order to completely and utterly control this clearly valuable market, strict DRM has to be enforced. Whether or not Activision-Blizzard analyzes all player actions and in accordance with that distributes loot, they have to be able to regulate the rarity of items on their market. If due to a duping glitch or hacking large amount of previously rare items could be brought onto the Auction House, it won't be long before the value of these objects declines, and thus Activision-Blizzard's profit margin off of the real currency Auction House suffers.

If my theory is correct (and I am no more sure of that than I am sure of the shape of the back of my head), then whether or not Activision-Blizzard is actively spying on what Diablo 3 players do with their items, it's clear that Activision-Blizzard has the capability, if perhaps not the willful intent, to fully and frequently manipulate the market of Diablo 3 items, in which every transaction is profitable - to them.

#1 Posted by ipaqi (73 posts) -

Disclaimer: I begin writing this post at 19:30 BST, 20/05/2012. The information, suggestions and suppositions written heretofore are a result of my personal experience playing Diablo 3 over the past few days, as well as my own experience as a program designer and programmer, and cannot be proven by myself at this time. This is theory and conjecture, be it convincing or otherwise. DO NOT TAKE MY WORDS AS FACT, BUT AS THEORY ALONE.

Right, now that we're done with that, let get to the nitty-gritty. I'm writing this article/post to put forth a theory, according to which Diablo 3's always-online DRM and real currency Auction House have a more "sinister" purpose than we've been led to believe.

First off, I put forth the following supposition as to the working of the DRM. Diablo 3 works much like an MMO with many lacking features. Every action is synchronized to the server, be it physical travel, ability activation, item activation, merchant and artisan interactions, etc. Whenever an action is made in-game, the game client interacts with the servers, obtaining whatever information it requires. Germane to the issue I bring up, is that the game contacts the server whenever loot needs to be distributed.

Having recently experienced a lot of lag on a high-latency connection with the game, and having observed that the lag was most visible and game-breaking when loot was to be distributed (killing mobs, opening chests, destroying destructible items, etc.), I theorize that whenever loot is to be distributed, the game client requests a loot drop from the server (that is, which items to drop, if any). Assuming this is true, it would mean that Activision-Blizzard is poised to control which loot is distributed, how much, and even to whom.

And, since every player-action is apparently reported to the servers, it seems likely that if they would wish to, Activision-Blizzard can track player's usage of items, as in sale, salvage, equipping, stashing, transfer to alternate characters, transfer to other players, sale on either Auction House, and even dropping on the ground.

With the item usage tracking information Activision-Blizzard could accrue and aggregate, it's very likely that they could then analyze which players are more likely to sell unneeded items and on which Auction House, and, given that they made the game's systems, it would be very easy then to give a player with a Witch Doctor and with no alternate characters an extremely rare and high-valued item, with the expectation that he'd sell the item for a large sum, of which Activision-Blizzard is entitled, as per the TOS, to 15%.

Having manufacture an economical system that can be so efficiently manipulated to provide Activision-Blizzard with additional funds beyond the money paid by gamers to merely play the game, they would be either foolhardy or exceptionally honest not to engage in any of the aforementioned manipulation.

After all, WoW subscriber numbers are slowly but steadily declining if I recall correctly, Diablo 3 and Starcraft II have no subscriber models that we know of, and Blizzard's project Titan is nothing more than a name on a two-year-old release schedule. A market completely controlled by Activision-Blizzard, where demand is closely monitored and supply can be manufactured on the spot, is a cash cow that I don't believe can so easily be left unmilked.

But in order to completely and utterly control this clearly valuable market, strict DRM has to be enforced. Whether or not Activision-Blizzard analyzes all player actions and in accordance with that distributes loot, they have to be able to regulate the rarity of items on their market. If due to a duping glitch or hacking large amount of previously rare items could be brought onto the Auction House, it won't be long before the value of these objects declines, and thus Activision-Blizzard's profit margin off of the real currency Auction House suffers.

If my theory is correct (and I am no more sure of that than I am sure of the shape of the back of my head), then whether or not Activision-Blizzard is actively spying on what Diablo 3 players do with their items, it's clear that Activision-Blizzard has the capability, if perhaps not the willful intent, to fully and frequently manipulate the market of Diablo 3 items, in which every transaction is profitable - to them.

#2 Edited by Viking_Funeral (1771 posts) -

I find that people who apologize for corporations, besides often never having worked in one themselves, are too naive as to just what kind of activities businesses participate in to make profits.

But I also find people that buy whole hog into the notion that companies are doing everything in their power, including and up to overly elaborate plans to get money from potential buyers, have way too much faith in corporations abilities to pull of such plans. The truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle. I'm sure it's possibly for Blizzard to implement something like this, and there may even be a small task force who are massaging numbers, but I can't imagine that it would be worth the effort to do all this, especially if the potential profit made is only marginally better than a 'free market.'

#3 Posted by StarvingGamer (8156 posts) -

lol

#4 Posted by TentPole (1858 posts) -

A bit much I think.

#5 Posted by Dagbiker (6972 posts) -

Could be, but you dont know for sure.

#6 Posted by ipaqi (73 posts) -

Hey, I said it was a theory. If the DRM, etc. works as I've theorized, it's at the very least possible.

Besides, conspiracy theories are fun!

#7 Posted by Breadfan (6589 posts) -

Gonna have to find an aluminum helmet for my monk. Shit just got real.

#8 Edited by Turambar (6742 posts) -

That the RNG precentage for a drop is controllable by the developer is pretty much long established fact.  The practice of altering it for the sake of balancing out the economy, or simply to make certain quests less of a giant pain also has precedent in many previous MMOs.  The only thing your theory is really assuming is whether Blizzard is going to be an asshole, and the only thing to go on is its previous actions which does not really support what you're accusing.

#9 Posted by Ares42 (2625 posts) -

While you might've gone a tad too far into the woods there, I definitely agree with the fact that there's something "fishy" with the RMAH. I've talked about this before, but the fact that Blizzard has total control over supply and a real motivation to encourage trading just can't be good for the end user. However they do it (if at all), it's just a bad deal as they are making the players pit against each other (trying to get others to spend money) while they are just leeching a profit. They're basically deputizing every player to become a salesman for their virtual goods.

#10 Posted by ipaqi (73 posts) -

@Turambar: Again, not accusing. I've got no facts, just a theory of what could happen.

I believe ActiBlizzard would be foolish not to take advantage of this situation, especially considering they need somehow to recoup the loss of funds from WoW subscribers. Blizzard's Activision's most valuable property, but in order for that to remain, they need to keep raking in the dough.

All I'm saying is how easily the system COULD be taken advantage off, not unilaterally declaring that this is what AB are doing.

#11 Posted by laserbolts (5319 posts) -

Thanks for the laugh.

#12 Edited by alternate (2696 posts) -

Tin foil hat brigade. They will be happy to take a cut of all transactions and do not need to manipulate it like you suggest, actions that - if they were to leak - would be illegal at worst and would totally destroy consumer confidence at best.

If you don't believe that corporations have any morals at all then at least concede that a rational business, however greedy, if not going to risk an already hugely profitable venture for a comparably negligible extra gain. They might be evil but they are not stupid.

#13 Posted by enthalpy (37 posts) -

I don't think that Blizzard needs to control anything this much to see huge gains off of the RMAH. Remember the insane black market for D2 items? In legitimizing real cash transactions, Blizzard has pulled the entire infrastructure in house to what will be not only their huge monetary benefit, but also to the protection of their consumers.

What you're suggesting would require an extremely large amount of specific effort for what would be, in the end, almost zero gain relative to just leaving the drop system intact and relatively transparent by experimentation. The consumers who will be running the high end of the AH know pretty well what they're doing, and there have always been enough people doing insane stat runs of this game to make any tweaking on the part of the developers potentially noticeable.

#14 Posted by BigChickenDinner (766 posts) -
#15 Posted by Panpipe (473 posts) -

Why the hell would they bother to do this?!

Surely the real worry is that you can't see who's selling what. This means that Blizzard can put up any amount of stupidly powerful items directly to the RMAH and make 100% of the profit.

You didn't think this through did you?

#16 Edited by Ares42 (2625 posts) -

@enthalpy said:

What you're suggesting would require an extremely large amount of specific effort for what would be, in the end, almost zero gain relative to just leaving the drop system intact and relatively transparent by experimentation.

I wouldn't say tweaking loot drops so that if you play say a WD 90% of all the loot you get comes with high strength or dex would take much effort. Sure, they can go all micro-management on it, but there are some very easy implementations they can do to greatly increase the amount of trading done.

#17 Posted by Spankmealotus (283 posts) -

so you're an optimist right?

#18 Posted by tescovee (356 posts) -

Although I don't have a horse in this race and couldn't care less. Imagine if this were true. The size of the sql data would be massive. Considering all the random data it would have to track, Item/stats and all of the user classes and straight up users. Then you would have to have software that parses this info in real time to rig drops. Damn the cpu/hard-drive space and bandwith would be pretty huge.

Online
#19 Posted by MikkaQ (10284 posts) -

Seems like a system where everyone is happy in the end. Blizz gets their money, players get their item and the seller gets some kickback. What's so sinister about that?

#20 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@MikkaQ said:
Seems like a system where everyone is happy in the end. Blizz gets their money, players get their item and the seller gets some kickback. What's so sinister about that?
That's what i was about to post. I mean, where's the evil part?
#21 Posted by BawlZINmotion (714 posts) -

Hell I decided against the real money auction house simply because it would be a never ending nightmare with the Canadian Revenue Agency. Hell (pun intended), maybe only players residing in the United States will be eligible for that option...

#22 Posted by ipaqi (73 posts) -

Compare this possibility to how CCP made EVE Online's economy work. They are almost totally hands-off, making the in-game economy relatively independent of CCP's financial needs. If what I theorized is true, then this economy's entire supply and demand channels could theoretically be controlled and funneled by Activision-Blizzard in however way they deecided.

I don't believe what I'm suggesting could be the case is actually illegal. I think if we took a look at the ToS and EULA, if there's any text at all regarding the issue of how random drops is handled, it probably says something to the effect of "Activision-Blizzard maintains all rights as to managing the distribution of in-game items to players."

I think blindly trusting any corporation not to do the utmost it can to feed its bottom line naive to a fault.

But, again, this is all conjecture and theorizing for fun's sake :)

#23 Edited by Ares42 (2625 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

Seems like a system where everyone is happy in the end. Blizz gets their money, players get their item and the seller gets some kickback. What's so sinister about that?

The sinister part is that Blizzard has full control over the dials that decide how "required" it is to spend money to succeed in the game. If they want they can easily make it so noone ever gets any useful loot for themselves and are required to trade with others (which they may charge you for). The RMAH is presented as a completely optional service and the game doesn't at any point suggest that you need to spend money to succeed, but there's no way to really know how true that is.

I'm not saying they are exploiting it this way, but if they wanted to they could. And it's not like there aren't any options to the RMAH either, but there's a lot of stuff that can be done behind the scenes that a user would never notice which would change the game to where it would be less and less viable to not spend more money on the game.

#24 Edited by happypup70 (171 posts) -

@Ares42 said:

@enthalpy said:

What you're suggesting would require an extremely large amount of specific effort for what would be, in the end, almost zero gain relative to just leaving the drop system intact and relatively transparent by experimentation.

I wouldn't say tweaking loot drops so that if you play say a WD 90% of all the loot you get comes with high strength or dex would take much effort. Sure, they can go all micro-management on it, but there are some very easy implementations they can do to greatly increase the amount of trading done.

believe me it takes more effort than you know. It is far easier to make the drops random and profit from the exchange. The specific codes built to create the imbalance you suggest is not profitable. They would require too much work.

@tescovee said:

Although I don't have a horse in this race and couldn't care less. Imagine if this were true. The size of the sql data would be massive. Considering all the random data it would have to track, Item/stats and all of the user classes and straight up users. Then you would have to have software that parses this info in real time to rig drops. Damn the cpu/hard-drive space and bandwith would be pretty huge.

This. In the end the amount of data they would halve to track in order to follow the individual sales of every single sale done (whether it is in game or on the auction house) is too big. It would cost them more then they make from the real auction house sales. It is far easier and more profitable to let the community do the work for them. With a 15% profit on all real money sales. They have no need to invest in the resources you suggest. They will make money on the real money auction house without having too spend money on manipulating it.

#25 Edited by Ares42 (2625 posts) -

@happypup70 said:

@Ares42 said:

@enthalpy said:

What you're suggesting would require an extremely large amount of specific effort for what would be, in the end, almost zero gain relative to just leaving the drop system intact and relatively transparent by experimentation.

I wouldn't say tweaking loot drops so that if you play say a WD 90% of all the loot you get comes with high strength or dex would take much effort. Sure, they can go all micro-management on it, but there are some very easy implementations they can do to greatly increase the amount of trading done.

believe me it takes more effort than you know. It is far easier to make the drops random and profit from the exchange. The specific codes built to create the imbalance you suggest is not profitable. They would require too much work.

Explain to me how it would be extremely complicated for Blizzard to just exclude certain attributes from the droplist based on class. I might completely oblivious, but I think we're talking pretty simple database coding here. Hell, the attributes are probably already seeded anyways, and if so making seperate seed-lists would be a piece of cake. I'm not talking about personalized loot or anything like that, just big broad changes that would lead to everyone being more inclined to trade rather than get the loot themselves.

#26 Edited by Pr1mus (3874 posts) -

@Turambar said:

That the RNG precentage for a drop is controllable by the developer is pretty much long established fact. The practice of altering it for the sake of balancing out the economy, or simply to make certain quests less of a giant pain also has precedent in many previous MMOs. The only thing your theory is really assuming is whether Blizzard is going to be an asshole, and the only thing to go on is its previous actions which does not really support what you're accusing.

I don't about that. Regarding customer service and treating their fans with respect, sure they've got a pretty good track record.

But Blizzard the corporation in the business of making money is pretty despicable. Starcraft 2 is 2 years old and is still 60$, WoW server tranfers: 25$, Race Change: 25$, Faction Change: 30$, Appearance change: 15$, name change: 10$.

All these are outrageous price for automated services that cost them almost nothing. I understand perfectly not wanting people to transfer left and right and change faction all the time for the sake of balance, but they sure as hell don't mind charging these ridiculous prices instead of going for time limits or other form of restrictions to those services... they're basicly saying "you can fuck up the game all you want as long as you pay".

I wouldn't be surprised in the least to hear they were toying with the RNG percentage for rare drops purely to maximize profits. Not saying they will, simply that it wouldn't be a shock if they did.

#27 Posted by emergency (1193 posts) -

This whole sort of theory is on the same level as "Oh no, the government is in debt... Why don't they just print millions of dollars to get out of debt?!" If Blizzard gave everyone amazing items to sell on the AH it would end up just saturating the market after a very small initial bump in sales it would crash.

#28 Posted by ipaqi (73 posts) -

@emergency: You missed the point entirely. If my theory is correct, the people who might do what you say are the people who'd hack the game, not Activision-Blizzard. That's why the DRM is so stringent - so that AB wouldn't have to worry about external forces changing the markets unfairly, dropping the values of items and hurting AB's bottom line.

Because, if my theory has merit, AB wants to keep that power entirely to itself. Whether they use it or not is irrelevent - the point is that they have that power to do with what they will. And real people's real money might be at stake.

#29 Posted by emergency (1193 posts) -

@ipaqi said:

@emergency: You missed the point entirely. If my theory is correct, the people who might do what you say are the people who'd hack the game, not Activision-Blizzard. That's why the DRM is so stringent - so that AB wouldn't have to worry about external forces changing the markets unfairly, dropping the values of items and hurting AB's bottom line.

Because, if my theory has merit, AB wants to keep that power entirely to itself. Whether they use it or not is irrelevent - the point is that they have that power to do with what they will. And real people's real money might be at stake.

If you mean purely redistributing who gets the high valued items that makes sense, if you increasing the amount of high valued drops then you'll just devalue then. It seems like a whole lot of effort for Blizzard to go to and honestly doesn't sound like something they'd ever get up to.

#30 Posted by ipaqi (73 posts) -

@emergency said:


If you mean purely redistributing who gets the high valued items that makes sense, if you increasing the amount of high valued drops then you'll just devalue then. It seems like a whole lot of effort for Blizzard to go to and honestly doesn't sound like something they'd ever get up to.

I'd never put anything past a company as big as Activision-Blizzard. Much less with Kotick's penchant for making remarks that hint towards a rather anti-consumer attitude.

Also, yes, I did mean 'purely redistributing who gets the high valued items'. Flooding the market with a lot of one object is also possible, but only as a means of stabilizing the market in case of a bug or something to that effect.

#31 Posted by Sagalla (217 posts) -

OK I didn't read everything, but here's a question... Is there lag in single player? If so, thanks but no thanks blizzard

#32 Posted by chrissedoff (2082 posts) -

I think that building special algorithms designed to grant people items they would rather sell than use would be an incredible expense and a big risk, especially when they have no data on how people will use their auction house. It was an entertaining bit of tinfoil hat-ery though. It does sound like the kind of thing they've probably talked about at Blizzard.

#33 Posted by YOUNGLINK (546 posts) -

@MikeGosot said:

@MikkaQ said:
Seems like a system where everyone is happy in the end. Blizz gets their money, players get their item and the seller gets some kickback. What's so sinister about that?
That's what i was about to post. I mean, where's the evil part?

Yea so Activision wants to make money. They will use all the data people freely give up, are you surprised? I don't see how users will be effected, on a "sinister" level.

#34 Posted by ipaqi (73 posts) -

@YOUNGLINK: Then read the rest of the comments. There are people here who've added some pretty good, concise points to what I said.

#35 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

@Sagalla said:

OK I didn't read everything, but here's a question... Is there lag in single player? If so, thanks but no thanks blizzard

Yes, there is.

#36 Edited by Tennmuerti (8073 posts) -

There are 2 main reasons why i disagree with your theory.

  1. Blizzard already has a system in place that encourages a huge amount of trading, the sheer amount of variable stats, classes, builds, gear options, etc is phenomenal. Has already been stated by them to be there directly to encourage trading. And looking at the AH and how much i would spend there, their goal of encouraging trading for best (for your setup) gear has already been achieved. Without requiring any sinister tweaking of loot drops. Why do something negative that could piss people off (and even get them sued eventually) when their goals namely encouraging huge flow of trade has already been accomplished. The system they have set up with random loot drops with randomized stats is already achieving the end goal. There is simply no need for a conspiracy theory. The truth works far better.
  2. I'm running in Hell atm having spend probably around 60-100 hours on the game, the main reason why i trade on the AH initially was because i wanted gear ahead of my level or exactly at my level, and being a bit overleveled for most areas the drops i was getting were generally a bit lower. However the drops that people have been getting so far have been generally random with a quite normal distribution, meaning i would from time to time get items that were perfect for my class or even class specific. Now that I'm in Hell and my level more directly corresponds to the loot level that drops I have already several times gotten items that were actually better then the stuff i bought off an AH requiring no trading. And yes I do trade a lot always selling excess shit and going for better expensive gear. The simple matter is due to the sheer number of drops and man hours many people have already spent on the game it's visible that the random system is quite random and non adjusted (or at the very least not to any perceptible degree which is what matters)
#37 Posted by ipaqi (73 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: You misunderstood my point. My post isn't here to say that Activision-Blizzard is doing something wrong - it's here to speak on the amount of power Activision-Blizzard has on the Auction House market, which will, very soon, be dealing with actual money.

#38 Edited by Tennmuerti (8073 posts) -

@ipaqi said:

@Tennmuerti: You misunderstood my point. My post isn't here to say that Activision-Blizzard is doing something wrong - it's here to speak on the amount of power Activision-Blizzard has on the Auction House market, which will, very soon, be dealing with actual money.

Sure they may have the theoretical capability but what of it? (even tho it's actually debatable that they even have a setup for it like you describe).

Russia/US have the actual capability to wipe humanity off the face of the earth. Doesn't mean it's in their best interest to do so.

Like I said, their goals are already met, why play with fire for a little bit of extra $? They are already swimming in it from sales and from monthly WoW. Massive trade has already been guaranteed by an elegant system of sheer numbers. There are also not currently tampering with it on the individual level anyway. Finally their power over the game/drops%/AH etc is already in effect absolute, all they would have to do is tweak a certain % stat/drop for everyone to make an item sought after or highly tradable. Hell have you seen certain mat requirement for high end gems? they are insane. The best high level DPS weapons are random rares due to rng factors again the hottest sought after and selling shit.

There is just no real point to tweaking drops on an individual level for a "sinister" purpose of getting them a bit more money. The encouragement of trade is accomplished by default.

It come down to this: Could they do it? Maybe. So what?

Even if they started doing it a robust stat agregator site could reverse number crunch this, risk/reward isn't good here at all for Blizzard.

#39 Posted by l4wd0g (1935 posts) -

The always on DRM has to be there. How many hacks are there for character/gold/item editing in Diablo 2. I don't like it, but if we're going to have real money involved, always on makes sense. Now, what happens in when they turn off the servers? Do they patch it to make the game offline capable?

#40 Posted by John_Lawlz (110 posts) -

@Breadfan said:

Gonna have to find an aluminum helmet for my monk. Shit just got real.
#41 Posted by Jeust (10555 posts) -

If say loot is controlled by percentages. Micro-managing wouldn't be hard.

#42 Posted by Jimbo (9804 posts) -

Umm, not really sure why people are being all 'lol tin foil!' about this - I should think this 'theory' ought to pretty much go without saying.  The whole game is designed to support and protect the integrity of the RMAH.  Anybody who believes they won't be analysing the shit out of how that market functions and then manipulating the supply accordingly is being hella naive.  Do you really think they went to the trouble of setting up an entirely closed system, which they have absolute control over and absolute knowledge of how it is operating, to then say "That's cool, guess we won't bother taking advantage of that!". Please. 
 
They have years of experience with -and data from- WoW's auction house.  Figuring out how drop rates impact the value of items would not be a difficult thing to do.  Massaging the drop rate over time based on how a player behaves, so that 'Sellers' are more likely to receive high value items than 'Buyers' (thus improving the chance of a transaction taking place between the two), would not be a difficult thing to do.  
 
Think about that.  How much sense does it make to give 'Buyers' the drops they want when you could drop to a 'Seller' instead and have the former buy it from the latter and take a 15% cut?  It's just a question of how much you can push it without it becoming blatant.  The really smart thing here is that they've cut part of their audience (the selling part and probably the more vocal part) in with them, so even if it becomes commonly accepted (or widely suspected) that they're manipulating drops, there will be no shortage of people prepared to run defence for them.
 
This isn't an issue I particularly care about, because people who spend real money on virtual swords kinda have it coming anyway, but it'll be interesting to watch nonetheless.

#43 Posted by Quipido (633 posts) -

It's insane, I love it.

#44 Edited by kerse (2112 posts) -

Sounds crazy.

#45 Edited by EXTomar (4687 posts) -

Next thing we know someone will post about Evil Elvis clones from Mars are messing with Diablo 3 to fund their invasion on the pretense they must take back Graceland and enslave humanity.

#46 Posted by HaltIamReptar (2029 posts) -

I don't know or really care if this thread has any reflection on reality, but the tin foil hat guys are silly. The concept is more than plausible.

#47 Posted by EXTomar (4687 posts) -

That reminds me, I wonder how much you can sell a legendary "Tin Foil Hat" on the RMAH.

#48 Posted by UltorOscariot (174 posts) -

This doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility at all, though I wouldn't say this is sinister. Not sure I understand the tin foil hat quips. Blizzard has built the game around protecting the integrity of the cash auction house, and have not disclosed the details of how this closed market works, much less how drops are derived. If this was EA, I wouldn't worry. But Blizzard is far more clever. I'm playing and enjoying the game for the most part, but am steering clear of the RMAH. This has IRS/SEC flashpoint written all over it.

#49 Edited by gamefreak9 (2358 posts) -

The laws of supply and demand disagree with you. If more people post these items on the AH then prices would go down.

#50 Posted by Ares42 (2625 posts) -

@gamefreak9 said:

The laws of supply and demand disagree with you. If more people post these items on the AH then prices would go down.

That's quite a simplistic view. While increasing supply will in most cases lead to lower prices, it most definitely doesn't necessarily mean lower profits.

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Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

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