Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
I was at Blizzard last week to play a bit of Diablo 3, and find this out: it has an auction house where players can buy from and sell to each other for real money.
It’s both crazier and slightly less evil than it initially sounds: it’s not Blizzard selling this stuff, and while they take a transaction fee, it’s not proportional to the item value. They say they expect it to break even.
The crazier part is that you could actually make money from this system, with no risk: you get a few free listings a week, and you can use them to sell items you found for real money without even having given Blizzard your credit card.
Lots more details, screenshots and quotes from Blizzard in my piece on PC Gamer. I am broadly negative about it.
Update: My preview of the Diablo 3 beta is also up now. The game itself is really, really good I’m afraid.
Update: Now we’ve done a video where me, Tim and Graham talk you through what’s going on in the latest footage.
More Diablo 3
Lack_26: Money!? Actual money! Why back in my day we traded toffees for handgrenades and the sky was made of gold. [etc.]
This does actually sounds like a much better system, if TF2 had tried this then I'm sure a lot more people would play, just for the hope of a few squid. But I rather like the way that the people who make the models make quite a bit of money for it, to change the system would affect their cut.
I wonder how much it would change prices (especially with the limited item-types), would it devalue items to the extent that the regular player stops needing to really play just to unlock stuff. (Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. I'm sure that given enough time and data, and a pet economist I might actually be able to give an approximation of the result).
Mickiscoole: What irks me about this is the idea that the only reason ActiBlizz are against gold farmers in WoW is because they weren't getting their cut.
Diffractionman: Good news for Torchlight 2 then?
I don't think the whole idea is evil, especailly once i realised it wasn't blizzard doing the selling. If it works well for TF2, why not diablo? Well I just think it may cheapen the whole experience. I don't see a way that this can work and not affect the fun of playing the game. Even just knowing as you loot an item that you could sell it would probably ruin the feel of exploring a dungeon. I want to be immersed in a world where there are monsters and me clicking them till they die, not reminded of money and the real world.
The always online thing also irks me, for multiplayer it would make sense, but for singleplayer? Let me cast fireballs at zombies without jumping through your login hoops.
Jason L: I finally got around to transcribing this because of this news and the PCGPC article is old.
I think, if you have a policy of...you will not ever play a game where it's possible for somebody to pay money or do something out of the game to get an advantage, to get something extra in the game, extra content, then you'll have very little to play in about five years' time...
Tom Francis: Yeah, I guess I should have said you'll have very few new mainstream games to buy.
That was the first half of a point I didn't get a chance to make fully, which was that the fight is going to change from "bonus content vs no bonus content" to "bonus content that doesn't piss people off vs bonus content that does". Wanna do a piece at some point on what constitutes what, for me - it's a tough thing to generalise about, but it's going to become hugely important.
Jason L: Nah, I failed to consider what that'd look like in text. I didn't mean to make your casual verbal tangent look like some weighty editorial line in the sand. I was just trying to express equally casually that though I'll be exiled from the mainstream when the big boys finish their switch from content to compulsion, I will not be suffering.
Pattom: Really disappointed by your preview. This is the kind of thing I'd love to avoid buying out of principle (less so for the auction house itself the lack of mods or offline play), but Diablo has always been most appealing to me of Blizzard's traditional fare, and the Witch Doctor in particular sounds like it's a whole game of Bioshock's Insect Swarm. :S
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