Greedy Goblin

Friday, September 30, 2011

We will be rich in Diablo III

Yesterday I wrote why we won't be rich in Diablo III:
  • Everyone will be motivated to compete with you
  • The marget will be globalized, you won't have a little server/faction where no one competes with you
  • The amount of different items are much smaller than the amount of people wanting to trade. There will be dozens of competitors for every niches
  • Customers can easily find acceptably good replacement products even if we had monopoly or cartel on a product
  • Professionals will compete with us, using paid workers, computer systems, significant starting capital
  • Blizzard will tax our already limited revenues (not profits)
It looks like it is impossible to make money, right?

Actually, it looks like real life. All the above is true in real life. WoW was a very simplified and localized economy with few competition. In WoW, everyone who wasn't dumb or lazy could become a millionaire. In real life, you can't be a millionaire. In Diablo III you can't be a millionaire either.

But real life is not filled with people in poverty with a few millionaires. There are such people, but there is middle class between them. You can, and shall be one of them. You shall be able to get all the items you need for your smooth gameplay, and you shall also be able to get some $, allowing you to pay some game subscriptions and such at Blizzard.

What separates middle class from the underclass living in poverty?
  • Hard working: it's simple, but it is the most obvious. If you focus on Diablo III, play more than others, you will get more items to sell.
  • Focus: the "fun ppl" play no less WoW than the "no lifers", yet they are much less progressed. Archeology, vanity achievements, fooling around, pwning noobs in randoms, leveling alts take your time but progress you not an inch. In Diablo III there will surely be such casual options. You will surely be able to find achievements, vanity crap, cool items (that you outlevel soon) that will distract the M&S but not someone want to be successful.
  • Skill and knowledge: just like by graduating you can get better jobs than cleaning toilets in real life, by reading up on your class you can be much more effective in Diablo III. Yes, the game will be "accessible" in a sense that eventually leoricbarblól can finish it. But with a good skill/rune setup and with properly itemized stuff you can get 2-3x XP and loot than the moron who spends much of his time using some "cool" spell and running back from the checkpoint.
  • Cooperation: the cooperative multiplayer will surely be tuned to allow 2 equally bad players to form a team and defeat the content. So 2 players with synergy will be significantly stronger than a solo player. I don't know yet about the guild/clan/whatever system if there will be any. But even if not, informal guilds can exist as players will seek other good players to progress together. The M&S will stick to their "friends" or try to find a booster.
  • Frugality: the ultimate key to richness is spending less than you earn. You don't need that +13 whatever item for 100G. The +12 whatever item for 30G will do.
I start to see that D3 will have much better impact on the financial thinking of people than WoW. It's more realistic, connected to read money and aims not to be millionaire, but to be a middle class man who always have some safety money, who can afford everything he needs.

Of course it's yet to see how much benefit in $ these means. I mean there is a risk that everything you can gain with playing well, smartly and frugally worth $5/month, due to the heavy inflation created by bots, and in this case leoricbarblól who spends $5/month will be better geared than you. The question is: does Blizzard interested in this, or in the opposite. Their bot-seeker fervor depends on this question. Hard to tell. Diablo III won't be a subscription game, so if you already bought the box, your only utility for Blizzard is a word of mouth marketeer, getting your friends into (or away from) the game. Diablo 2 was selling years after release, so your marketing value is significant. The player can respond two ways to cheap RMAH items: "damn goldsellers farm enough crap that even the dumbest punk can be full BiS for $5, I hate it" and "lulz i got all teh l33t stuff 4 only $5 XD". If the audience responds the first way, Blizzard will start to stop the botting. If the second way, they won't.


Malexd said...

A few things. Your point still stands solid in your last post, but there was some misinformation. There are 158 craft recipes for the blacksmith alone listed on the official item database for Diablo 3. We can assume there will be more with the mystic and jeweler. There are also 12 armor slots, not 7.

Secondly, what made the economy so expansive, and some items so expensive, in Diablo 2, was the variable stats. Perfect items ideal for one build gained extreme value. And then there was everything between perfect and low tier.

In Diablo 3, they have expanded on this even more, adding the totally randomised stats to most equipmentm including crafted items.

Which means, earning a lot of money can often come down to luck, or on average, just pure grind. And there will always be a chinese farmers grinding 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for nominal income. This will drive the prices down a lot.

It would be fun if the most insane, perfect items could go for sums considered large even in the west.

Squishalot said...

The hardworking element is not to be underestimated. One of the problems in a welfare driven society is that there are significant costs of moving from low employment to high employment (in terms of hours worked / dollars earned). The person on welfare has a much higher marginal tax rate than the person not on welfare, because not only are they paying income tax, they also lose welfare dollars.

As a result, there are less incentives in D3 to slack off than in the real world.

What is beneficial, to some extent, is that the behaviour is self regulating relative to the real world. The people who need this sort of education (i.e. the ones who are poor today) are the ones who are going to be forced to learn basic skills to get ahead in D3, because they won't be able to afford BiS with real dollars.

Azuriel said...

But real life is not filled with people in poverty with a few millionaires.

You'd be surprised. The top 1% in the US control 42.7% of the financial wealth of the nation. The next 19% control another 50.3% of the total. That leave the bottom 80% of Americans to divvy up 7% of the remaining financial wealth.

That aside, one thing you leave out of your Diablo 3 calculations is how the best gear will be dropping in the harder difficulties - your competition will only be those that can endure Hell and Inferno difficulties. Maybe the botters/professionals will still be able to cut it, but it absolutely won't be like WoW where they can use teleporting level 50 toons to mine/herb underground, safe from mobs.

As far as I know, a player on Normal mode can use Inferno gear farmed by someone else, so the demand should be pretty outrageous and stay that way since those buyers won't ever replace it. Time will tell, of course.

Babar said...

Diablo 2 used Seasons, where the whole ladder was cleared and all characters where moved to "non-ladder", starting the cycle all over again. Especially with nothing being BoP and RMT, I'd be surprised if Diablo 3 didn't work the same way.

Anonymous said...

It's even possible to actually LOSE money?

From the D3 AH FAQ:
"In either case, the auction house system will deduct a nominal fixed transaction fee from the seller, the amount of which is determined by whether or not the item was sold (see below)"

Bobbins said...

What type of character do you want?

There is also a trade off between items/skills which will increase your farming potential or making your character stronger. This will differeniate people who want to 'have fun' or farm for gold/items.

As mentioned before the randomness of stats of items will greatly effect their attractiveness (and value).

In Wow people did not make money farming they did it through the ah. Do we expect diablo to be different?

chewy said...

I appreciate that you're discussing the economics of D3 and that's your niche but the fundamental question for me is: What's the game like to play ?

Whilst making money from the game is an entertainment in itself if the game content is dull I doubt it will compensate.

Any opinions ?

Armond said...

My biggest problem with this whole concept is that I won't work for less than $8/hr (minimum wage here after taxes). If you can convince me that I can work for more than that for a sustainable long term period of time, I'll quit my job; otherwise, I don't much care for the RMAH.

Eaten by a Grue said...

@Armond If you are willing to settle for minimum wage, you set your sights pretty low.

Yaggle said...

I'm probably just going to play Diablo 3 the way I would normally play, and if I get something I think is extremely rare, look into selling it for real money. I think most items will sell for so little, that the time I would waste posting it in the real-money-AH would be worth more than any money I would get. There is no way I am going to spend all my free time farming for stuff, like you say the profit margins will be horribly low, I make money at my RL job, I think I will stick to that. It will be interesting to see if Blizzard creates the game in a way to create a lot of item-envy among socials to create more demand for in-game items. Like sparkly purple cloaks that other players can see and such. I hope so, maybe that could open some additional opportunities.

chewy said...


You've fallen into Gevlon's favourite trap of assuming that other people's values are the same as your own.

I suspect that someone who correctly uses a semicolon in front of a conjunctive adverb is not stupid, so maybe Armond chooses his lifestyle according to his own measures.

Armond said...

@Grue: I'm a 22 year old male without a college degree of any kind working in a retail job. Until I finish up my degree, I don't realistically expect to make much more than minimum wage. Furthermore, because I'm currently working part time, it would be easier for me to make more money by broadening my availability than by finding a job that is willing to pay more than minimum wage to unskilled workers (and the newly broken wrist doesn't help, either).

If I were in a different situation, I would raise my standards appropriately.

Now, if I'm missing something and there's a job here in San Francisco that will pay two or three times minimum wage for a worker with little to no demonstrable skillset, I would be very happy to be proved wrong. For example, if farming D3 provides comparable income to my current job, I will very happy do that instead of dealing with customers.

Esteban said...

Agreed with Azuriel and Gevlon's original point. The strength of botting/farming/hired prisoners/etc is in throwing massive manhours at a problem. Their great advantage is volume and economies of scale that come with it.

You won't be able to solve the problem of success at Nightmare difficulty in this manner. It will require at least skillful duos, judicious use of Magic Find gear, and it probably won't be doable in a mindless farming way no matter how good/optimised you are.

Yes, the market is perhaps a million people, but I think the ratio of skilled suppliers to customers will scale up from your average WoW AH non-linearly with advantage to the providers.

Having said that, I can't imagine getting perfect optimised items for popular specs will be reliable enough to make it anything more than a bit of a scratch-card lottery. You might chance upon something awesome and sell it for $100 maybe once in your D3 career, that sort of thing. There's just no volume in the game.

Eaten by a Grue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oligopoly said...

@Armond - I agree with you since I'm still working on my degree and live in the same state. It will be interesting to see how D3 pays compared to the minimum wage out here. At the moment, crafting doesn't seem great since it sucks gold and materials like nobody's business. It might be viable in end-game and with rare drop recipes however.

Squishalot said...

@ chewy: From what I've seen, the game looks pretty good. I know there are a number of videos of D3 gameplay circulating on Youtube at present that you can check out.

GrayzBDF said...

Interesting post. I'd rather learn more about starting a business than playing a game unless I have enough positive reasons to do both. Playing Diablo III could end up making me lose money I could've earned elsewhere, if money is the only reason to play it.

Time tells.

Anonymous said...

I am excited about this, not as some kind of income replacement (I have a great job, thanks), but rather as an added revenue stream. Playing the market was fun for me when it was fake money. I expect it will be even more fun when I'm getting pocket money out of it.