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Diablo 3 Auction House: Watch Out for Gem Price Scams

Posted 26 Jan 2013 by

I’ve seen player comments on this of late, and saw it myself in the Diablo 3 Auction House the other night. People are running a new scam where they list 10 gems (of whatever quality) for a very low price, then use a second computer to buy them as soon as they’re listed. This costs them the 15% gold sale fee, but that’s negligible on a low price item.

The purpose of this is to trick the auto price setting mechanism of the GAH into setting lower default prices for other people posting their auctions. So the scammers sell 10 of their gems to themselves (via another account) for a tiny price, then attempt to buy more of that same item for a price well below the usual selling price, hoping that careless players will enter their own auctions of that item without noticing the much lower than usual automatic price. You can see this in action in the screenshot, which I took on the Americas GAH last night.

gah-gem-price-scam

I took this shot after trying to sell that Star Ruby, and getting a suggested list price of under 400k. As a Star gem costs 500k just to upgrade from Flawless Squares, and Star Rubies have been selling for over 800k of late, I found that default price a bit surprising, and went to the search window to double check. Had I not done that though, and just mindlessly accepted the suggested price, I’d have sold the Ruby for half its value, (and less than it cost me to create) presumably to the price manipulating scammers who were eagerly buying up all the Star Rubies being posted for below their usual value.

I’ve seen this sort of price cheat going on with other types and qualities of gems, and I’m sure it’s been done with every other sort of commodity as well. The moral of the story, as always, is to know the rough value of what you’re selling and to be a savvy consumer, since some asshole is always looking to rip you off. In real life as well as on the Diablo 3 Auction House.

Diablo 3 Auction House Sales Update

I mentioned the big slow down I’d seen in sales in a recent economy news item, and asked if others had noticed the same thing. Feedback in the comments was mixed, with a lot of people echoing my experience while others said their auctions were still selling pretty well. Spurred by that post, I’ve taken a new approach that’s gotten my sales flowing again. Lower prices!

gah-sales-recentNo, not exactly a shocking innovation, but surprisingly effective. I’m now listing almost everything for 1/3 to 1/2 the price of comparable items, most of my auctions are selling, and the gold is adding up acceptably. This strategy requires that you find a variety of stuff to sell, and more crucially, that you make your peace with listing items for much less than they seem to be “worth.”

Not to get all existential, but nothing is worth anything in this world, or the world of Diablo 3. All value is externally-applied, and objects are only worth what someone else is willing to pay for them.

The best way I’ve found to think about it is that the *vast* majority of items in the GAH are listed at absurdly high prices that no one will ever pay. You can easily take a sort of moral stand and list your item at a high price, and insist (to your cat) that your item is clearly worth 5m, and maybe even 6 or 8m, compared to the other similar items. And then you can stroke Mr. Scruffles for consolation 36 hours later when that item is back in your stash, unsold. (Just like the owners of those overpriced items you used for your comps.)

It also helps to remind yourself that you’ve got a backlog of other items to list and that they don’t gain you any profit sitting in your stash. And that you’ll find more saleable items the next time you play, should you slow down long enough to pick up a few of them.

(Also, more MF. I hadn’t played my DH much of late, and was amazed to rediscover what a difference it is playing with 425% MF vs. ~250% MF (My DH has max MF from paragon + gear and I was farming on MP2). You don’t see *that* many more legendaries, but when virtually every boss is dropping 3 or 4 Rares (instead of 1 or 2) and those rares are regularly rolling with 5 or 6 affixes instead of 3-5 affixes… it adds up quickly. Especially if you’re only picking up the item types that have good odds of being useful/salable.)


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