Diablo III in the New York Times

Yesterday's New York Times contained a preview of DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III that focused mainly on the importance of trade in the game. The majority of the article is a nice overview of the reasons trade is so important in Diablo, and how the randomized loot system makes it different from the economy in a game with loot tables like World of Warcraft. The preview a very nice read, and the author seems to be genuinely enthusiastic about the upcoming game. If you've been dying for something to read about Diablo even if there's nothing new, be sure to check out the article in the link above. If not, here's an excerpt.

This [random loot system] is far different from a persistent online game like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, where each item must be individually, meticulously designed and fixed in its attributes so that it is properly balanced for its location in the game universe and the difficulty of obtaining it. Players there want to know that if they get together with 10 or 20 people and spend four hours conquering a certain dungeon, they will certainly reap specific rewards.

Diablo, by contrast, is about jumping in and seeing what fate brings. But what if you uncover that great halberd, and you happen to be a physically feeble wizard who can’t use big, two-handed weapons at all?

That’s where the trading comes in. Now, out of millions of other players, you want to find a magic-fearing barbarian who has come across, say, an enchanted staff that inflicts extra damage to wilderness beasts, increases the bearer’s willpower, leaches magic from enemies and increases the holder’s chance of finding additional magic items (also a potent combination). But how do you find that guy and make the trade?

Once Diablo III arrives, millions of players will generate items of randomized treasure every day. That can make eBay look like a flea market. Keeping track of it all online and designing trading tools that can handle that kind of volume is a gargantuan programming and design challenge. It is one big reason Blizzard has been working on the game for so long. And it may also be why the company hasn’t detailed or demonstrated Diablo III’s trading systems yet.

In Diablo II, released in 2000, you had to sit in any of hundreds of chat channels for hours, advertising the deal you sought. If your prospective partner was in another channel, you might never find him (or, far less likely, her).

Blizzard knows that just won’t cut it anymore. Today’s players will demand simple yet powerful tools to create their own bustling virtual economy without the tedium. Call it an advanced sort of auction house.
This kind of language does seem to point to an auction system that most of us can probably see working quite well in Diablo III. Although there is no exact information on how Diablo III's trading system will work, the article does emphasize that Blizzard is well aware of a need to drastically improve upon DiabloWiki.com - Diablo II Diablo II's chat channels that drove people to trade through community forums.

Because Blizzard has not revealed anything official about the trading system, there are still plenty of questions that have yet to be answered. How easy will it be to barter? Will auction houses only be accessibile in certain areas, or will it just be a window that can be opened at any time and in any place? Fortunately, before the upcoming beta every system will be revealed and all of our questions about trade, followers, and any other currently unannounced system will be answered. Unfortunately, that time is not now, but that does mean you can discuss and debate how you think Diablo III's trade system should work in the topic below.

The article ends in what seems to be good news about the game's development from Jay Wilson.

Official Blizzard Quote:

“We’re definitely in the home stretch. We’re crunching. This is when the magic happens.”
Hopefully this means the beta will be here soon.


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