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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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Diablo 3 Strategy: Gearing Up for the New and Poor

One day soon, you will be penniless.

One day soon, you will be penniless.

A forum question from VeeSe spurred an interesting forum discussion; what’s the best way to gear up for a new player in Reaper of Souls? It’s largely a hypothetical question for most of us now, but that’ll change when Patch 2.1 goes live and and Ladder Seasons begin. If you create a seasonal character you start with nothing; no gold, no materials, no gems, no gear, paragon points, no leveled up artisans… you’ll even be scrounging for gold to buy your stash tabs!

Here’s the question from VeSee in our Diablo 3 community forum. Diablo 3 Strategy: Gearing Up for the New and Poor?

I was just wondering what the best way to build wealth was for someone who was new and didn’t have great items yet. I read a lot of these threads and guides and the recommended items are just so far out of reach, like I don’t have any of them pretty much. I have one character up to 70 but he’s not strong enough to really do anything besides Normal bounties and rifts.

Is the best way of building wealth just to keep grinding bounties and the occasional rifting in Normal? I’m at the point now where if I try to enchant a legendary I have, I better get it in 2-3 tries because I don’t have the materials to keep going after that and I have to grind for awhile to get enough to try again a couple times, and that doesn’t seem too productive. I’m still expecting the answer to be just to keep grinding bounties since they are the most rewards per time spent and at some point it will exponentially get better once I am able to get to do Torment rifts or something.

So what’s the best way to go about it? Where are the fastest places to level, what are the best ways to find gear, and where can you earn the most gold?

RoS =/= D3v

Considering the question made me to realize how much different the answer is in the current version of the game, whether Reaper of Souls or D3v2. Back in D3v the best way to gear up was via the Auction House (though that would have been different if we’d had seasons then). I spent my first couple months of D3 playing softcore, and when I switched over to Hardcore the best way to gear up was… to grind Act One Inferno on MP0 and collect gems and Tomes of Secret, which sold for very large amounts of gold in the Auction House. I could play a dozen hours like that and find 1 or 2 good items, while earning enough gold to buy good items for all my other inventory slots. (Which is why going DiabloWikiIronborn in D3v was such a bold commitment.)

That economic model is entirely gone in the game today. Not only is the Auction House gone, but everything you find that might be worth selling is BoA. Hell, even the gold itself is BoA. On the other hand, you find good gear about 50x as often as we did in D3v, which was the whole point in Blizzard making those changes. Because it’s more fun to farm your own gear and use only what you find yourself, than it is (was) to find gear and sell it for the gear you really wanted. (At least that’s the theory.)

Reaper of Souls Gear-Up Tips

So for the OP’s question… there’s no simple, obvious answer, but it’s interesting to consider. The overall key to gearing up in RoS is difficulty level. In D3v players needed a lot of DiabloWikiMagic Find to start finding a decent amount of legendary items, and characters could boost their MF by raising the difficulty level, and/or via Paragon Levels + gear. In the current game, MF is pretty much irrelevant, and almost all increased gear benefits come from higher difficulty level. Thus the question, “how do I gear up past level 70?” is really asking, “how do I survive on higher difficulty levels past level 70?”

Some question suggestions:

Stick to one Character
Smart Loot means that most of the gear you find will be themed for your class. That means regular upgrades, and also more Souls, since you’ll be salvaging redundant gear, rather than spreading legendaries around to multiple different characters. Plus with all the game rewards tied to difficulty level, you can get one character up in Torment and build wealth quickly… then your alts can gear up very quickly with plenty of Souls and Shards at their disposal.

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Auction House Acceptance: Flux Goes Shopping

Posted 26 Jul 2012 by

I did not use the Diablo III Auction House at all for about six weeks after launch. I didn’t want to, I didn’t need to, and I saw the way so many heavy AH users had burned out on Diablo III, largely since they could never find any gear that was better than the stuff they’d bought. I was self found and proud of it, since my l33t skillz were enough to (eventually, arduously) defeat the content that lesser mortals were blowing through in seconds, thanks to their ill-gotten goods.

Did I stick to my guns (or at least my pistol xbows), and remain self found? Did I score enough loot playing solo and making wise use of the Artisans to pull myself up by the bootstraps and succeed without delving into the corrupting trading market?

Read on and find out.


What's the origin of the gear on your Inferno characters?

  • 2) Mostly from the Auction House or friends. (43%, 2,118 Votes)
  • 1) All from the Auction House or friends. (30%, 1,463 Votes)
  • 3) Mostly self found. (13%, 645 Votes)
  • 5) I don't have a character in Inferno. (9%, 457 Votes)
  • 4) Everything self found. (5%, 240 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,921

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The Diablo III Auction House

Early Auction House display.

I agreed with the (by no means unanimous) community consensus that trading sucked in D2, and that an Auction House would be a cool feature in Diablo 3. And I joined others in assuming/predicting that we’d get an Auction House in Diablo III long before it was confirmed. I didn’t object to the GAH, or even the RMAH, on pragmatic reasons. Despite that, I still elected not to use it when the game launched back in May.

I’d almost never traded in Diablo 2, and not just because the trading system sucked. I played a lot back in the day and was very proficient at Magic Find, so I was able to supply virtually all my own needs. In fact, I can only remember one actual trade, when I swapped a Stormshield for an Eaglehorn, mostly since I had found 4 Stormshields and was sick of using a Buriza back in the v1.09 days, and wanted a different bow for cow running. (Naturally, I found a Windforce about a month later, and this was all in the Hardcore economy, where items held a lot more value.)

So no, I didn’t want a Diablo 3 Auction House from some sort of “God I wish D2 had one” desire. But the D2 system was inarguably awful, since even if you avoided the wug-infested hellholes that were Battle.net trading channels and games, the lack of a standard currency complicated things, and that’s not even mentioning the massive corruption from illicit RMT, which was largely fueled by duping, hacked items, Pindlebots, etc. After that, the idea of a clean, clear, official, legit Auction House in Diablo III was a pleasing one, and I looked forward to it.
Once the game was out though, I had no interest in using it.


Self Found, For Reals

It wasn’t a difficulty temptation to resist in those early days, since I didn’t hurry through the game and hit the Inferno gear-check-wall that frustrated most early rushers. I played more slowly, mostly solo, and alternated my time between several characters (my Wizard, Barbarian, and Demon Hunter were all around level 50 back in late-May), regularly passing items between them in a sort of we-are-a-solo-party arrangement. I never bought or sold anything on the AH though, neither gold nor real.

I wasn’t making some big moral stand, since as I said, I didn’t object to the AH, in principle. I just didn’t need items other than those I was finding, plus I wanted to experience and evaluate the game as it was designed and balanced, and not use the GAH to paper over any flaws in the balance, rate of progression, difficulty, economy, prices, crafting, and all the rest.

That theory soon looked very wise, in the sense of preserving my enjoyment of Diablo III, as numerous people I knew rushed one character into Inferno, found it way too hard without better gear, and found the GAH the only source of that gear. Others didn’t even wait for Inferno to start GAHing, and turned their full play through into something of a glorified god mode tutorial by using bought gear to wildly overgear their characters.

This was probably fun at the time (I recently finished Act 4/Hell with my neglected Wizard while using a 1289 two-handed sword — obliterating everything in sight with .2 second bursts of Disintegrate was ridiculous and yet fun.) but was ultimately a recipe for dissatisfaction, since buying such gear meant that they never found any upgrades in Inferno, and that really amplified the issue of Diablo 3′s underpowered sets and uniques.

I eventually worked my Demon Hunter through Hell and into Inferno, and found it less than a stone wall of gear check, but far from a happy fun experience. And this was after the v1.0.3 nerf that made Act One Inferno much more item rewarding and much less one-shot misery. My Demon Hunter wasn’t getting one-shotted, but my killing speed was far from acceptable, since my weapon was far from excellent. Everyone “knows” that Diablo III’s uniques and sets are underpowered, and the in-game item drops and Blacksmith recipes are underpowered as well… but only in terms of weapon damage. Armor, on the other hand, isn’t that poorly balanced, and you can craft some pretty good rares once you’re into the high 50s, even before you’ve got Inferno materials or have found any of the supremely-uncommon crafting plans.

That’s a relative statement, of course, as the armor you can craft or find is plenty good enough for Hell, and maybe Act One Inferno. You’ll need to farm farm farm if you want to advance through Act Two, though. Farm or Auction House.

Just surviving isn’t enough, of course. You need to kill things to get loot, and you need killing power to kill things. My Demon Hunter had a good build and decent armor when she got to hell, but even after several Hell/Act 3 and Act 4 runs at level 60, with full stacks, and numerous scratching and clawing and desperate efforts to get through the first half of Act One, with NV stacks active, I’d never found better than a 550 DPS crossbow, and it was one of those lumbering, 1.10 Attacks per Second xbows. Ugh.

So, earlier this month, I finally decided I was wasting time sticking to my “all self found” mantra, and visited the Auction House late one evening. (In disguise, so none of the neighbors would recognize me.)


Succumbing to Temptation

Dream of more than 3 affix filters.

As anyone (everyone) who uses the AH knows, a 550 DPS blue xbow isn’t exactly top of the line for level 60. I looked at the top of the line, 100 million bows, just for shits and giggles (there more giggles), before filtering down the buyout price to 50k and doing some bargain seeking. I had nearly 2m gold in my account, and could easily have bought a pretty good bow, but I was intentionally going low end and looking at just blue bows with damage. No IAS, no +Dex, nothing. Just damage, and this after my old xbow had great stats, with over 140 dex, critical hit chance, vit, and more.

Moving quickly, I settled on a 1086 DPS bow. No frills, no bonuses other than the lightning damage, for 50k on the buyout. I must admit to some excitement as I transferred the purchase to my stash, and waited to equip it to see what my character window DPS would do.

Believe it or not, that number went up. I don’t remember the exact stats, but it was something like from 8800 up to 17k (without DiabloWikiSharpshooter selected, since that bloats the Demon Hunter’s displayed damage to meaninglessness), plus the faster firing rate meant much faster Hatred generation and better projectile avoidance.

I wasn’t just shopping for better numbers though, so I quickly went and played… and laughed my way through most of Act One, as all of the encounters that had formerly been all but impossible became routine. I’d been struggling against almost every boss pack since I took so long to kill things that I had to kite like a windy day at the beach. This made my margin for error very thin against almost any boss pack, and when I got DiabloWikiBoss Modifiers like DiabloWikiWaller, or DiabloWikiFast (much less both), I had no chance. I was forever running out of Discipline, or I’d miss one Smoke Screen and take two hits and drop dead, or run a burst of damage to try to finish a Champion off and wind up just short and out of gas. Worst of all were the fights when I’d run away, scramble, struggle, and finally kill one or two monsters, or die when I nearly had the pack dead, and by the time I got back to the scene of the battle all the surviving monsters had completely regenerated their hit points.

More damage fixed most of those problems, and in less than an hour I blew through the second half of Act One, killed the Butcher on my first try, and even earned the achievement for doing him in under two minutes on Inferno.

Naturally, more damage wasn’t enough for everything, since when I moved on into Act Two I and found the gear check a reality. Suddenly the one shot days were back, as those yodeling Lacuni bomb throwers were happy to show me in the canyon. I pushed on, eventually earning five stacks in Act Two and making it almost to Alcarnus, but there were many deaths on the way, and I had to ditch some mobs, including a group of 4 Champion Sand Wasps with DiabloWikiMortar, DiabloWikiArcane Enchanted, DiabloWikiVortex, and DiabloWikiIllusionist.

How I wanted to beat them, as my Demon Hunter always takes Mortar as a personal insult and challenge. Alas, I could not. The confusion of so many Illusionist wasps (their baby wasp BBs do no damage, but are indistinguishable from the real ones) was a huge pain, and they kept Vortexing me into the midst, forcing me to hit an instant Smoke Screen and run. But where to run, with Arcanes turning, slot motion BBs everywhere, real and fake Wasps floating in every direction, and a dozen Mortar shots coming at me from every direction the second my SS wore off. (Just writing about it now I wish I could go back and try again. If only Diablo III had some kind of “save game” state in a single player mode that could be revisited at your leisure.)

So no, I couldn’t beat Act Two Inferno with a decent damage bow and crappy gear. What I could do, after a bit more practice and some better gear (all self found) was run Act One quite efficiently, clearing out 90% of the bosses in about an hour and earning a good 20 or 25 high level rares per try.


Resigned to My Fate

And that’s what I’m still doing, when I get time to play, a week and a half later. I’ve not found any bow upgrades, though it’s possible. I have found damage two-handed weapons for a variety of other weapon types that I will never, ever equip, other than as a joke.

I have found a ton of upgrades for pretty much every other item slot though, and have found numerous upgrades for my level 60 Barbarian and Wizard, including weapons that should be more than enough for them to work through Act One. The Wizard just finished Act 4 of Hell, and had a laugh doing it with 35k life, over 450 to all resistances, and a two handed sword that was just short of 1300 DPS. I haven’t done more than 10 minutes of Inferno with her yet, but she moved through everything up to rescuing Cain without so much as having to activate her Diamond Skin, and I’m sure I she could advance to Act Two without any real difficulty.

From a purist PoV though, those items I used to overgear my Wizard, along with everything else I’ve found since I bought that bow, are tainted. Impure. Unclean. Since they were enabled by me using a non-self found bow that more than doubled my damage. Even though it wasn’t a very good bow and had damage equivalent to that of a sword, two staves, and a polearm I’d found, while still scratching along with that 550 xbow.

Luckily, there are no purists in Diablo III, so no one knows or cares about this but me.

Vote Time

As far as I know, I’m fairly unusual in not using the Auction House constantly, and doing it since shortly after Diablo III’s release. I’m also fairly unusual in that still enjoying the game, even the Inferno end game. (There’s almost certainly a strong correlation between fact one and result two.) And why wouldn’t I? It’s challenging enough to keep me on my toes, and since all but one of my items are self found, I’m not bored and depressed by the item hunt, since I’m forever finding upgrades. Every yellow question mark is a delight and a thrill!

(Okay, not really. 1) the game desperately needs an “ID all” button, since JFC, no one wants to stand there right clicking for 45 seconds every time they return from an item run with 5 stacks. The 3 second wait just adds annoyance most of the time, “Oh look, another ilvl 62 weapon without a single +damage mod on it!” 2) Imagine how much fun it would be will be when you can find unique/sets more than once a week, and if they’re better than average quality rares are now?)

So, how unusual am I in my Auction House usage? Survey time.

(By request, I moved the vote up to the top of the article so it would be visible on the main page without requiring a click through.