Blizzard has announced today that, after much internal debate among the developers, they are going to shutter the fiscal experiment commonly known as the Diablo III Real Money Auction House (RMAH). The RMAH was an experimental feature that allowed people to spend real world currency to buy digital items for their characters. Through use of the RMAH, if you found that your Barbarian's axe didn't have enough umph or your Demon Hunter's armor was lacking in a particular stat, the solution was only a search and a micro-transaction away.
This feature, however, was not universally accepted as a good thing. Many criticized it as a "pay to win" option, or as a sign of Activision-Blizzard's greed. Fortunately, use of the RMAH is and has always been entirely optional, so playing the game without plunking down extra cash beyond the original purchase price was never hampered by the system directly. But indirectly, as Blizzard has come to realize, the very philosophy of the RMAH has undermined the core game play of a Diablo game: to "kill monsters to get cool loot." And it is with this realization that they have made the decision to shut the doors on both the RMAH and the in-game gold based Auction House on March 18th, 2014.
You can read the full text and video of the announcement after the jump, or by heading to the official Diablo III Blog.
When we initially designed and implemented the auction houses, the driving goal was to provide a convenient and secure system for trades. But as we've mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot. With that in mind, we want to let everyone know that we've decided to remove the gold and real-money auction house system from Diablo III.
We feel that this move along with the Loot 2.0 system being developed concurrently with Reaper of Souls™ will result in a much more rewarding game experience for our players.
We're working out the details of how the auction house system will be shut down, but we wanted to share the news as soon as we made the decision in order to give everyone as much advance notice as possible. Please note that the shutdown will occur on March 18, 2014. We will keep everyone informed as we work through this process.
Josh Mosqueira and I wanted to provide everyone with a little more information behind this decision, so please have a look at the video, and stay tuned to this site for further updates in the months ahead.