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RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 Market & Economy Discussion Forum' started by skysbob, Mar 14, 2012. | Replies: 9 | Views: 1267

  1. skysbob

    skysbob IncGamers Member

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    RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    Hi,

    This topic strikes me as rather obvious, but I haven't seen it addressed too much. So hopefully this thread will add something new to the discussion.

    With Diablo II, we saw numerous patches changing the overall game balance, including skills and items. Since the RMAH is about items, this topic will focus only on them.

    The RMAH introduces ways to acquire a digital objects with real money. As such, many legal aspects arise in case the object is lost or changes. I haven't got access to the BETA, so could please anyone confirm if Blizzard's user agreement includes a paragraph stating something along the following lines?
    "Game content, such as digital objects, only belong to Blizzard and by agreeing to these terms, you accept that you do not own the contents of the game in question but acquire the right to use the game and its contents under these terms."

    I believe there to be such a paragraph, which makes sense to me. Otherwise, Blizzard would run into various issues; for example the unwanted deletion of items and their "owners" pressing charges. i don't think they will not confirm their code to be bug free (and realistically, it will never be).


    1) Let's continue and let's assume that such a Disclaimer exists. Users would then have the chance to read these terms and be aware of them. After reading it and figuring out if they want to spend money on the RMAH, would a potential user of the the RMAH not think: "Will purchased items always be as powerful as they currently are? Not necessarily. There is no guarantee for that."
    If I am aware that items could change in the future with upcoming patches, wouldn't that make me more hesitant towards real money auctions? And would such a situation of more hesitant, potential buyers not go against Blizzard's goal to lure more people into the RMAH? (No matter the reasons-if they want to provide a secure market or if they want to actually make money with it).

    (I am excluding thoughts on how or how fast the market could become aware of the situation and how buyers could react to the scenario. But I even find it likely that this could create a situation when User X sees the changes after installing Patch 1 and going rampage on the official Blizzard Forums, where a lot of people might realize it.)

    Example: Diablo 3 retail includes an exceptional bug allowing monsters to drop an immensely overpowered rare item, which is then sold on the RMAH. Will Blizzard delete or nerf such an item?

    2) If we on the other hand assume that once rolled items will stay in the game, will that not go against the goal to create a healthy and intact long-term game environment? How could imbalanced items (includes buffing and nerfing) not be addressed by Blizzard? Leaving them in the game as they are would probably ruin the game sooner or later.

    They have stated on numerous occasions that they are not going to intervene in the market, except for the general auction terms. They apparently hired economists and experts to ensure a viable gold economy. Gold has the function (amongst some others) to provide an independent means for the exchange of goods. You will invest a major part of your gold to craft or buy items. They will not introduce a D2 ladder system with ongoing ladder resets. A functioning economy is thus necessary in the short and long term.

    The whole game is about items or at least it is an immense long-term factor. I am convinced that Blizzard creates a fun game, but I am not convinced that the overall balance will stay that way after launch for the entire life cycle of the game. Drop rates of future items and gold can be adjusted on the server side. But once an item is created, it is part of the (entire) economy.

    Sidenote: Following the reasoning above, one could also say that not legal issues of the RMAH caused the release delay (if it is a reason), but balancing issues. I would argue that Blizzard sorted out the vast majority of challenges before announcing the RMAH. It wouldn't make sense to announcesomething that was not analyzed in much detail by the legal department before the newsflash.

    Nerfing powerful items might influence potential RMAH users, while not balancing them out might drive away the rest of players. So, which route will Blizzard go?

    Thanks!
  2. Azzure

    Azzure IncGamers Member

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    Re: RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    I think if a certain item is far more powerful and more desirable than Blizzard expects, they will certainly nerf it. This would obviously piss a few people off (the ones who own that particularly item), but it wouldn't stop Blizzard from doing it.

    Did you ever play D2? Do you remember the 1.08 gear? 1.08 Arkaines Valor was amazingly good, and it got nerfed. A funny side-effect back then though was the nerf wasn't retro-active, meaning that existing Arkaines Valor remained unchanged, while all future drops had the new 1.09 nerfed stats. This create a VERY interesting economic dynamic, where these 1.08 items were extremely valuable due to the fact that none will ever drop again. They became limited edition-type items.

    Until duping ruined it all :)
  3. HÃ¥les

    HÃ¥les IncGamers Member

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    Re: RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    In world of warcraft they took the approach of nerfing a players special abilities, so that all classes would be as equal as possible. Attack power increases from a piece of gear on a Rogue, would not effect a Shaman in the same way, although both classes could benefit from this stat. Their overall damage and crit strike rating was calculated with a different multipler.

    Changing gear that a person paid based on it's current stats might create quite an issue — and it's true, a disclaimer could whip away the legal ramifications but they are still well aware of the player experience backlash. If I paid 5.00 at the RMAH for a weapon, or gem, and a patch nerfs it and now it's only valued at 2.00 — what the hell right?

    I assume they will nerf gear, and buff it. I assume they will nerf classes, and buff them. They will do the same to the NPCs to complete the triangle — all in a continued attempt to make a dynamic and "balanced" playing experience.
  4. Eagle

    Eagle IncGamers Member

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    Re: RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    People with money to burn don't think like that. They just see something they want and buy it.

    Poor people, kids without access to parents credit cards, college students and a few die hard "I hate the RMAH because I do" people will never buy anything anyway. Well, not directly anyway, everyone except the die hards will probably end up selling something on the RMAH eventually and then using that "free" money to buy something else.

    A few people in the middle ground might hesitate to buy certain things that are clearly overpowered if they fear a nerf, but they'll still buy other stuff anyway.

    So no, I don't see fear of the nerf bat having much impact on the RMAH at all.



    They won't delete, I expect they would nerf in that case. The only case I can really see them deleting items in is if their is a dupe bug. (Side note: If their are ever any I don't expect them to last long and I expect the punishment for exploiting them to be swift and harsh.)


  5. galzohar

    galzohar IncGamers Member

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    Re: RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    I expect those situations (items losing significant value due to patch) to be rare enough to not affect people's behaviors.
  6. Naviaras

    Naviaras IncGamers Member

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    Re: RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    This is how I see Blizzard would handle hot item fixes.

    Take an affix... "Burning" (Made up numbers BTW) that give 10-50 points of fire damage to an item. If they felt it needed "nerfing" the could do the following.
    1) Increase the items equip level.
    2) Change the database values for to 10-40.
    -----A) Already rolled items remain unaffected.
    -----B) All items with that affix have that value and only that value rerolled.
    -----C) Items with an affix value of 40-50 are reduced to 40.

    2b and 2c all depend on how they store items in the database. Do they keep track of only the value or both the value and which affix generated it.

    I personally feel they will do both 1 and 2a, but could live with either 1 or 2c. This only works with items with equip levels below 60. With Level 60 items 2a would be the way to go unless the item was just plain broken, then I would go with 2c.
  7. galzohar

    galzohar IncGamers Member

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    Re: RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    They could just scale it down. So say, if an item has 10-20 damage and rolled 14, then a nerf to 10-15 damage would result in the nerfed item having 12 damage. Makes a lot more sense than A/B/C...
  8. skysbob

    skysbob IncGamers Member

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    Re: RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    Now you mention it, I do remember that! I always loved that item since I first saw it...

    I think I will have to agree with that. Maybe it was a bad idea to simply apply some theoretical economics that easily.

    I agree. And we all know that Blizzard will have huge problems if duping is indeed possible. I wonder if they would consider shutting down the RMAH for a while, when dupes flood the economy. Right now, they are still confident that it won't happen, but I am sure that they thought about this issue and certainly have a plan on how to tackle it and what to do with buyers complaining that their $30 is now gone.


    So it seems that you guys don't think that this will be an issue. Okay, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    I will monitor the RMAH more closely after the first patch with such changes has gone live. If a lot of people are upset about nerfed items, we might even see a decline in the statistics regarding usage/number of auctions afterwards.

    All in all, that could also very well mean that just an announcement of Blizzard of an upcoming patch and its balance changes could have a measurable impact on the price fluctuation of items.


    And now, back to counting down the days ;)


  9. skysbob

    skysbob IncGamers Member

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    Re: RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    Today I found Blizzard's official position on the topic here.

    "What happens if there is a patch and the item I purchased is altered?

    It's important for us to ensure that Diablo III remains balanced and fun for years after launch. To that end, it may be necessary to change stats or alter abilities of items from time to time. It's very important to note that Blizzard will not be providing refunds or making other accommodations if a purchased item is later altered in a patch. Given this, it's up to players to determine whether they're comfortable purchasing items in the currency-based auction house."

    as well as

    "How will you address bots or cheaters?

    We take cheating very seriously, and we've designed Diablo III and Battle.net to include measures to detect and prevent unfair play. In addition, we will have anti-cheating policies in place and will take action to address any issues as they arise."
  10. semakka

    semakka IncGamers Member

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    Re: RMAH and it's Effects on Item Balance

    The implementation of RMAH is quite tricky if you think about a disclaimer that thates that digital objects belong to Blizzard AFTER you had purchased them with real money.

    The digital objects belong to Blizzard until they are sold for real money.They still belong to Blizzard (because you cannot take a sword out of the game and have a walk outside home with it) but this does not mean that Blizz might buff / nerf or entirely remove the FUTURE digital objects of same type.

    They might even buff / nerf the existent digital items, but this will be like a landlord that improves something and ask a bigger or lesser rent.The risk of buying an item that is ALOT more powerful then his counterparts (an axe of same ilvl having 50% more dps than a similar sword or mace) belongs to the buyer.The item will surely be nerfed, or the other items of same class buffed...so the buyer should choose to pay 50$ for that axe or 5$ for the similar class sword.If a company shares jump with 100% in one day, something is fishy, and the potential buyers should realize that...or not.It is up to them, really.

    This being said, Blizzard will most likely nerf the too much powerfull items, instead bufing the counterparts, bevause bufing is much more riskier and requires a total remake of damage, HP, resists, armor, etc on all types of monsters, bosses and weapons/gear.

    So, if you see an item 50% more powerful than another of same class sold for 10 times the price...don't buy it :D.it will be nerfed on first maintenance.

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