Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.7 Economic Impact
Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.7 has been a pleasant surprise for many players despite the negativist discussions around the Brawling system that flooded the battle.net forums. The Diablo 3 economy finally got some sustainable money sinks which should hold inflation at bay but will it hold on the long run?
The patch launch day caused a lot of concerned due to some Auction House problems. Apparently, players were able to sell gold for as little as one cent but Blizzard responded immediately and took the game servers down to correct the issue. Some players managed to list and sell gold at a much lower price and the average for the day was around 16 cents, 9 cents lower than the normal minimum. This issue could have had a severe negative impact over the Diablo 3 economy. If players were able to sell gold for real money at a lower price, everyone’s gold would be worth much less. It could lead to the bankruptcy of even the most stable gold sellers. Even players that have been stocking up would have realized that they lost more than 30% of their money. At the same time, gold sellers would have to go even lower than 16 cents per 100k gold. Now that things are back on track, while the RMAH is offering 1 million gold at $2.5, gold sellers such as GameUSD manage to offer the same amount for less than $2.
In terms of market stability, patch 1.0.7 introduced a new series of money sinks which will help Blizzard to control the inflation. The new craftable items that will drop from certain bosses will be account bound. Players will not be able to sell them on the RMAH which makes them worthless in terms of monetization. Anything that can’t be sold but costs money is considered a money sink but why is this necessary? The quantity of gold available is growing constantly but so does the number of items but there is a difference between gold and items. Items will become obsolete at one point. Let’s look back at how bad the legendary items were before patch 1.0.4. Rare items were the top sellers. When legendary items were buffed, rare pieces of gear were less popular and their value decreased significantly. In general the number of items is growing but much slower than the quantity of gold that players generate while farming which makes money sinks a necessary evil.
With this problem in mind, the new craftable items can solve two problems at the same time. Players that do not have hundreds of millions of gold can farm and craft the new rare items that are bind to account. At the same time, players that do not use the AH will get to craft their own gear in order to upgrade certain pieces.
Last but not least, the new tier of gems will eat up a lot of gold. Players that managed to accumulate a significant amount of ingame currency will get to spend it on crafting the most powerful gems in the game. Since it costs money to craft it, billions of gold will just vanish. Gold will get transformed into a tradable item making less gold available while increasing the number of goods that can be sold.
All these changes will help the Diablo 3 economy to stabilize and hopefully reduce the inflation rate. Even if not everyone will afford to craft the highest tier of gems, the ones that do will return significant amounts of gold back to the system. From a real money perspective, gold will be worth the same as it did till now only that the items that can be bought with it will not increase in price despite the fact that the quantity of gold available is increasing.
The latest patch notes announcing these changes can be found here.
Make sure to check out the video below to get a glimpse at how the gold price evolved over the pass few weeks in Europe and the Americas. Take into consideration the fact that Blizzard corrected the issue with the lower price per unit.