While player trading will be part of Marvel Heroes‘ in-game economy, David Brevik, Gazillion’s Chief Operating Officer and one of the designers behind Diablo 1 and 2, says there’s no room for a real-money auction house.
“That’s not the road we want to take,” he said, while I interviewed him as part of our preview of the game. “For a real-money auction house to work? I didn’t like some of the mechanics associated with that and I thought it had an impact on the game that I didn’t really want.”
Brevik doesn’t even want money to be a factor in player trades, even in the most abstract or removed fashion. “There’s a veil of paying for power there, he said, “and I wanted to avoid that.”
Brevik was reflecting on the experience that Diablo 3 players have had with their real money auction house, something that Blizzard have acknowledged is a problem and which has lead to the most powerful players almost exclusively using the auction house (and thus their wallets) to find their gear. “We don’t really like that, for most players, all of your current gear is very likely to be something you’ve found on the Auction House,” said the game’s senior game designer Andrew Chambers last month. “This can create a situation where it doesn’t feel like you ‘own’ the gear you’ve obtained; instead, it feels like you are renting it.”
Blizzard are trying to give players incentives to move away from the auction house, such as making crafted items account bound. “We want players to not only find or produce their own items more often but also diminish the impact the Auction House has on the game, and we felt like this was a good opportunity to take our first steps in that direction,” Chambers added.