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How Diablo 3 Auction House Botters Got Rich

news-d3ah-botters-richFascinating and very long article by a self-confessed Diablo 3 Auction House botter, talking about how he made over 100k Euros in a year, entirely through buying low and selling high on the AH and RMAH. The article is huge and goes into great detail about everything, including the scripts he used, the multiple machines he had running, and how easy it was to avoid Blizzard’s very lacking anti-botting measures.

The botter’s first attempts were by using a very simple script to scan Auction House listings, one item at a time, and automatically buy ones with stats that exceeded his set parameters, and with a price below his maximum value. This required him to know which items were powerful, what the best stats on them were, how much they’d sell for on the RMAH, etc. It took a lot of work and daily updates to the search scripts, but with millions of players using the AH, many of them without a clue about the actual value of their items, it was shooting fish in a barrel.

I remember in these months I used to search a lot for rare rings or rare amulets. What still comes to my mind is a criteria searching for rare amulets with more than 7 critical hit chance and more than 50 critical hit damage and buying any that cost below 1 or 2 million gold. I sold amulets with these criteria on the RMAH (Real Money Auction House), for tens and sometimes even 100+ euros. Stuff like 7+ crit chance, 50+ crit damage and a high main stat like strength or intelligence + vitality was considered pretty good back then. Trifectas ( crit chance + crit damage + increased attack speed) was even more rare and expensive.

Another popular thing I remember botting the old fashioned way was Chantodo’s force wizard sources. These were great because almost no one seemed to know that the property “Arcane power on critical hit” was actually rare and very valuable. So you could just adjust your bot to search for chantodo’s force sources with arcane power on crit and above a specific damage, choose the minimum price under which the bot would buy any item it found, and you were good to go.

That was the very earliest version of the system, which was active in late 2012. The technology was quickly improved and with better coding his bot became able to search many types of items at once, all with different selected stats and minimum values in them, with different pricing criteria, and he figured ways to keep it refreshing constantly, so it would scan literally every single gold item sale that appeared within seconds of it going on the market.

On January 1st I started selling those sweet sweet presents. And the results were staggering. The money started flowing in immediately. Before, I was searching for 1 variation of 1 single item, for example any Mempo of Twilight with Critical Hit Chance, below the price of 1 million gold. Now, I could search for 100 different variations of Mempo of Twilight, plus hundreds of variations of all other worthwhile items. In the first days though, I only had one bot account, which I was using to bot some legendary items in the “armor” category. Even with this small sample of all possible items though, it was soon obvious to me that I had to buy a very powerful PC which could run more than 1 diablo window, and would also search the Auction House which much higher FPS (Frames per second).

He also made a fortune buying items that people mislisted in gold instead of RMT. That seems impossible, but the article has literally dozens of screenshots of spectacular items listed at 150 or 200 gold, when clearly the seller meant to list them at those prices… in EUROS! And no, the conversion rate of Diablo 3 gold to real money wasn’t exactly 1-to-1…

First I bought one more account and started using 2 accounts which were botting for legendary Armor. Why another one botting the same subset of items? Take another look at the screenshots above.

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Reaper of Souls Item Sets Illustrated

A fan assembled all six of the class-specific item sets in Reaper of Souls, took pics of them on each gender for each class, and provided views from all angles. It’s quite a useful presentation, and credit to Zeldrin for creating it.

I found it interesting since I’d never actually seen the full sets so clearly. Everyone’s got a few or all of the items from each set, but usually mixed with other gear, some transmogged or vanishing dyed, etc. So here they are, unadulterated and straight from the D3 artist’s tablets to your screen. All the sets (except for Firebird’s, which adds a source) consist of six items: helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, and boots, so visually they are pretty much apples to apples comparisons. So here are Reaper of Souls Item Sets Illustrated:

Barbarian

DiabloWikiLegacy Of Raekor (armory), Barbarian set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots.


Crusader

DiabloWikiArmor Of Akkhan (armory), Crusader set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots.


Demon Hunter

DiabloWikiEmbodiment of the Marauder (armory), Demon Hunter set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots.


Monk

DiabloWikiRaiment of a Thousand Storms (armory), Monk set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots.


Witch Doctor

DiabloWikiHelltooth Harness (armory), Witch Doctor set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots. (This set apparently lacks the light weight and flexibility of the huge slabs of unrefined steel that the other classes have strapped to their bodies, as both of these weary medical professionals are bent double beneath the weight of their assorted shark teeth, baboon femurs, and coconut shells.)


Wizard

DiabloWikiFirebird’s Finery (armory), Wizard set. Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, source, legs, boots. (Firebird’s has a seventh item, a Source, which is the only difference in the slots filled by these sets.)


Diablo 3 “Gear Sets”

This whole presentation reminds me of the hot (pre-game) topic of DiabloWikiGear Sets. We’ve got a big wiki article about them, and “Gear Sets” was a regular news category from 2010-2012, with 29 news items so categorized.

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Are the Diablo 3 Community Managers “Noobs?”

Posted 11 Nov 2012 by

A fan asks to see the Battle.net profiles of the CMs and starts a thread that turns into a referendum on how much the CMs need to play in order to have valid/informed opinions about the game. The whole thread is long and covers several issues, so here’s a quote of the meaty part and you can read the whole thing in order if you click through.

How many chars do you have? Do you play hardcore? Do you use the Auction house (gold or $) or play with self-drop? At which paragon level are you with your best char?
Grimiku: I have four characters, but I am mostly focused on my main who is a Witch Doctor. I also have a 60 Barbarian, a mid-30′s Demon Hunter, and a mid-20′s Hardcore Witch Doctor.

I use the gold auction house with my main, but my alts use nothing except self-found items. And all the gold I get goes to my main who is Paragon 16 for now.

Without being condescending, hateful or confrontational I will like to point out that you will be considered a noob , not a high profile player. I will also like to think that you DO NOT have an input in class balance meetings , I hardly think you can make correct suggestions with your limited playing experience.
Lylirra: We’re community managers, not developers or testers. Our job is to relay community feedback to the developers, ensure that they’re aware of the latest trends and hot topics, be a voice/advocate for the player whenever possible, and (in return) communicate information from the development team back to you. There are a myriad of other responsibilities, too, but those are the big ones.

Whether or not we’re “noobs” in your mind is irrelevant to our ability to perform our jobs well.

My personal experiences don’t represent all players, though. And that’s a very important realization when it comes to being a community manager. While knowledge and awareness of the game is critical (since it provides context to the feedback we’re seeing), we can’t let our own opinions bias what we pass on to the development team. We can politely disagree, of course, but we keep that to ourselves. :)

Our goal is to pass along information to the developers that will allow them to make informed decisions — ones that they feel will benefit the long-term health of the game — not further our own personal agendas as players of Diablo III.

The community managers have a lot of responsibilities, with all sorts of press and PR interactions, meetings, interacting with media, working at press events and demos, etc. And they’ve got to keep up with all of Blizzard’s games, not just D3. I think some fans imagine their work day with D3 on one monitor and B.net forums on the other, with the only interruptions coming when it’s their turn to take Jay Wilson a fresh coffee. Not so much.

The real kicker I kept waiting for one of them to drop into this thread… is that (most) game developers don’t play their games either. Especially not post release. I’d call that a dirty secret of the industry, but I didn’t actually think it was a secret?

Devs obviously have to keep up on the latest issues, and see what fans are liking/hating, and they’ve got server stats to refer to, and there are testers who do play all day to test problems and communicate those to the devs, but the devs are like, busy. They’ve got real lives and families and outside interests, and after spending all day working on a game, do you really think they’re going to rush home and play another 4 hours of it that night? Even if they did, they don’t have 40 hours a day to play intensively enough to be expert in every character/style/build/technique/etc.

Thus it’s a fairly universal truth that a month after release, every popular game has vast legions of players who are FAR more expert/experienced at playing the game than anyone actually working on it. So no, as Lylirra said, you don’t have to be expert in play experience to have useful input and design ideas about a game. Though you’d be wise to take input and advice from people who are playing those kind of hours.

The full thread is below:

Can the CMs add a “view profile” feature to their forum posts? Whenever Lylirra, Grimiku, Vaeflare, etc talk about your chars I always wish I could see them. Would be nice.
Grimiku: We may not be able to provide you with links to our profiles (largely to help prevent against possible harassment issues), but if you have questions about our Diablo III play experiences you can always ask us. We’re usually pretty open about what we’re current playing or experiencing with, and we love to chat about that kind of thing with fellow players whenever we can. We also tend to talk a lot about our play experiences on Twitter, so free to follow us: @Lylirra @Grimiku and @Vaeflare

How many chars do you have? Do you play hardcore? Do you use the Auction house (gold or $) or play with self-drop? At which paragon level are you with your best char?
Grimiku: I have four characters, but I am mostly focused on my main who is a Witch Doctor. I also have a 60 Barbarian, a mid-30′s Demon Hunter, and a mid-20′s Hardcore Witch Doctor.

I use the gold auction house with my main, but my alts use nothing except self-found items. And all the gold I get goes to my main who is Paragon 16 for now.

You guys uber Blizz geared? “Sword of a thousand truths” <== South park reference
Grimiku: We do not get special items or treatment as employees, and with that in mind I would say my gear is pretty average. My main character rarely sells items on the gold auction house, so most items are bought on a small budget. The most expensive item on my purchase history only went for 2 million gold and is a 914 DPS ceremonial knife.

Without being condescending, hateful or confrontational I will like to point out that you will be considered a noob , not a high profile player.

I will also like to think that you DO NOT have an input in class balance meetings , I hardly think you can make correct suggestions with your limited playing experience.
Lylirra: We’re community managers, not developers or testers. Our job is to relay community feedback to the developers, ensure that they’re aware of the latest trends and hot topics, be a voice/advocate for the player whenever possible, and (in return) communicate information from the development team back to you. There are a myriad of other responsibilities, too, but those are the big ones.

Whether or not we’re “noobs” in your mind is irrelevant to our ability to perform our jobs well.

For example , do you really feel the wrath of Reflect Damage?
Lylirra: I don’t personally have a problem with the affix. It’s not my favorite, but I’ve learned how to deal with those Elite packs and I’ve got gear that supports it.

My personal experiences don’t represent all players, though. And that’s a very important realization when it comes to being a community manager. While knowledge and awareness of the game is critical (since it provides context to the feedback we’re seeing), we can’t let our own opinions bias what we pass on to the development team. We can politely disagree, of course, but we keep that to ourselves. :)

Our goal is to pass along information to the developers that will allow them to make informed decisions — ones that they feel will benefit the long-term health of the game — not further our own personal agendas as players of Diablo III.

(That said, I think the changes we’re considering to Reflects Damage are super interesting, and I’d love to see how they might be implemented.)

I simply want to point out that CMs need to play the game extensively to be an effective advocate for players.
Lylirra: We do. Quite a bit. We even make sure that we play together weekly during scheduled sessions. We may not all be Paragon 100 or have 80k+ Elite kills to each of our characters’ names, but we’re still experienced gamers and go out of our way to contextualize the feedback we see on a day-to-day basis.

As for your example, that was information provided directly from the developers, not something based in personal opinion.

The first thing he says completly ruins his point of it not being as big a deal as people are making it out to be.
Lylirra: No. I’m saying that just because my personal experience has been different doesn’t mean that feedback regarding the difficulty of Reflects Damage is any less valid. Please read the whole post and try to understand its context. =/

Wouldn’t it be better not to post comments that are disconnected from reality?
Lylirra: We know some players may not always agree with how the game designed, or why some changes are made. It’s not worth lying or purposely misrepresenting information, though.

As for Hellfire Rings, we didn’t want a single item to be a source of Brimstone farming. Even so, we’re currently evaluating what else we might allow the rings to salvage into.


Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Community Relations, Controversy, Lylirra