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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 Podcast #146: Patch 2.1, Story, and Blizzcon D3X2?

Lots on this show, including PTR Patch 2.1′s big changes, legendary item buffs, Paragon 1000 achieved, the Stash space emergency and micro-transactions, Diablo 3′s story and “demon soul hooks,” and Blizzcon 2014 Diablo 3 expansion announcement expectations. Featuring Flux, N3rdwords and Neinball.

Approximate topic starting times:

  • 2:30 — Paragon 1000 has been achieved. Does everyone have amazement?
  • 5:00 — Seasons and Patch 2.1 should go live simultaneously?
  • 11:00 — Legendary item buffs on the PTR. Looking forward to new items when 2.1 goes live, since Blizzard doesn’t hate the Monk (currently). Hydra build rules, but intentionally bugged on PTR?
  • 18:30 — Story implications of the Black Soulstone and why Diablo is free in Prime Evil form. Adria setting “demon soul hooks” is obviously a metcon, but is it parsimonious with the larger story/lore/plot? Both guests surprisingly say yes.
  • 27:00 — Is Diablo 3 + expansion packs self-contained? Will Diablo 4 be set a week later just continuing the same story? Or a totally new story, set centuries earlier or later?
  • 37:30 — Stash space insufficient = biggest problem in Diablo 3? One guest disagrees.
  • 40:00 — Most fans accept micro-transactions these days. Why isn’t Blizzard selling more stash tabs yet? Votes have shown most fans would accept this.
  • 47:30 — Diablo 3 expansion #2 announced at Blizzcon later this year? Everyone votes yes, though tentatively.
  • 52:00 — There are a lot of Blizzard games out and/or under development. Busiest days ever in Irvine?
  • 54:00 — Bonus secret trick to guarantee Greed’s Domain entrance?!?

  • The Diablo 3 Podcast Episode Guide in DiabloWiki.net provides links to every show, plus quick summaries.

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    Botting and the Diablo 3 Economy: Facts and Theories

    Posted 21 Nov 2012 by

    It seems like fan concern about the spread of bots in Diablo 3 is reaching something of a critical mass, with more and more people complaining about the problem. I read some of a huge thread on the B.net forums earlier today, but it was mostly just a mass of conflicting claims and accusations, without any real agreement on the core issues. So I’m trying to figure those out, and just get a handle on what’s going on with bots, how profitable they are, and what their effect is on the Diablo 3 economy.

    This post is an early attempt at that, with a bunch of observations and a few theories about what and why and how. I’m looking for reader feedback and insight, whether you agree or disagree, since more data = more information and better ability to form a valid opinion. I’ll read over the feedback and try to form a consensus on the main issues.

    Botting in D2 was about items.

    Pindlebots and others did thousands of runs looking for the very valuable uniques and sets, and runes. Those were low probability drops, but eventually they’d come and the items could be sold for RMT by 3rd party sites.

    Botting in D3 is about gold.

    It’s easy to run a bot with a high level character in GF gear on Nightmare, MP10, with big +gold pickup radius. Doesn’t have to do anything special or even pick up any items; just kill monsters endlessly and vacuum up the gold. I’ve done some experimental runs on Hell, MP10, with about 300% GF and I easily made 200-300k an hour. And I wasn’t optimized for GF, or playing some real gold intensive area, or rushing through just to get gold, etc. So I’d assume several million a day, per account, is not at all hard for a full time gold farming bots. Obviously that’s going to add up pretty rapidly.

    Read on for much more, and add your thoughts in the comments.

    What does gold sell for?

    I just checked via the RMAH, and 10m gold on US Softcore is $4.20. (Checked a couple of 3rd party sites and 10m gold was around $3.60, so it’s cheaper since you’re not giving up 15% to Blizzard’s cut.) Ignoring the math on Blizzard’s cut from GAH sales, a 100m item is worth about $42, a 500m item is worth $210 and a 1b item is worth about $420. The RMAH sales cap is $250, so basically anything on the GAH selling for more than about 600m is priced higher than the RMAH can go. (I’m sure the Bobby surcharge is throwing off my figures a bit, once you figure a transaction fee to turn $ into gold, and then using that gold to buy the item, so someone who actually does the math feel free to correct.)

    Why is gold valuable in D3?

    Gold is useful in D3 since there’s an RMAH built into the game, and thus the gold can easily be sold for real $$, without needing to do 3rd party sites. Players who want to get the best gear spend $ to buy gold, which they use in the GAH where the best gear is now 500m or more. So unlike D2, you can make money without finding items; you just sell gold. Obviously if the gold botters can sell the items also, they’re just getting their gold right back, so they can sell it again.

    The gold botting is thus driving crazy price increases on top end gear, since there’s perpetually gold being generated by the botting, and the $ coming into the economy via the RMAH on gold keeps the cycle going. On the other hand, the prices for mid range and low end gear have fallen through the floor, so players can easily afford gear they couldn’t have bought otherwise. Unclear how much the botting is interacting with the v1.05 increased drop rates, which is driving the prices of everything lower since there’s so much more good gear being found these days.

    Does the RMAH create the botting?

    Not really. As D2 proved, black market economy would exist, but it would be somewhat more complicated, with all the hacks and viruses and rip offs and such. So players would sell items directly for $, or they’d charge $ for gold which could then be spent in the GAH.

    If there was no AH at all, we’d just be back to D2 with the entire $ economy existing through 3rd party sites. That might cut down on gold botting, since it wouldn’t be as easily transferred into $, but it wouldn’t change the underlying issue, which is that people are willing to pay $ for items and will find a way to do so.

    Is Blizzard Trying to stop botting?

    Hard to say. Botting is illegal, a clear violation of the EULA and ToS, and any account found to be using a bot or any other 3rd party program can be deleted at once.

    Is Blizzard doing that? Are they running scans to try to find botters? Most people think not.

    Blizzard has announced some player bans, but the recent bunch was for players on the Asian realm using a UI-mod that had nothing to do with botting. Blizzard has announced some botting and cheating bans in D3, but the general feeling of most players is that botting is growing in prevalence, and it’s not clear if Blizzard can’t stop it or just isn’t making an effort.

    Is Blizzard hurt or helped by bots?

    This is the most debatable point as it relies on conjecture and hypotheticals.

    More bots = more gold = higher prices in the GAH = more gold sold in the RMAH. At this point it’s basically impossible to farm enough gold on your own to pay those top prices. You can only raise that much gold by botting, or by getting lucky on a great item find which you sell (for gold that largely came from botting), or by buying it in the RMAH.

    On the other hand, the sheer amount of gold is causing prices to go so high that lots of players feel the top gear is impossibly out of their price range, and that leads to frustration and players quitting. And that obviously hurts total item sales.

    So botting is raising prices and spurring gold sales on the RMAH, which makes Bobby richer. However the high prices and general vibe of “people are cheating” is making some players quit, which makes Bobby unhappy.

    The net result is… ? I dunno; curious to hear other opinions.

    Conclusion?

    No conclusion here. Just looking for input and more theories. Add those, and if you think there are some other crucial botting issues I haven’t mentioned, do bring them up.

    (Originally posted in the community forum; reply there or here.)