Real Money Auction House
RMAH testing has finally started.
(The EU announcement is still up, but the US RMAH announcement was deleted and Bashiok also deleted his Tweet regarding the announcement.)
They're giving players fake B.Net credits (50 Beta Bucks to be exact) and not using real money, like what I had mentioned last weekend. The money can't be used to purchase Blizzard store items, of course. :)
It's too bad they didn't mention a time frame for this testing (if you hear anything, let me know.) I would love to know when it will be ending, because future D3 players also need enough time to prepare their PayPal accounts for the new system. Hard to say if the PayPal announcement will be happening during the RMAH testing, or if they'll wait until it's completed.
Blizzard is using a $0.15 Listing Fee and $0.65 Successful Sale Charge for every transaction.
"These numbers are not final and are for testing purposes only; they're subject to change."Still, this is what they're "anticipating" and these prices are very expensive. If $0.80 per sale is expected by Blizzard, apparently they're anticipating that items will easily sell for $10.00 to $50.00.
The number of free listings per week haven't been identified yet, but I'll find out soon enough. I'll update once I find out.
On this current system, minimum bids will be at least $0.90-$1.00 each, so that the users make at least $0.10-$0.20 profit. But there's also the Listing Fee to be really concerned about. $0.15 lost per failed sale is A LOT. So, it's not really worth the risk unless you sell items at a minimum of $3-$4 each.. probably more. Even $3 is really pushing it because you'll probably spend $3 in Listing Fee undercuts before it even successfully sells. There's a lot of risk and random chance involved here.
And also don't forgot about the major cuts that PayPal will be making into your profits. All of this needs to be considered very carefully by RMAH users.
I'm also really interested in finding out the Auction maximum durations. For a long time I theorized that they would want as many transactions as possible from players because of the large amounts of money they would make from every failed Listing Fee. So, I assumed that it would be much shorter than WOW. WOW offers 48, 24, and 12 hour auction lengths for example.. which are still very short for an auction, but with Diablo 3 I was thinking that they might reduce the duration on the RMAH even further.
Okay, looks like Blizzard has deleted both the EU and US versions now. All Tweets removed too.
Luckily, I made a copy. Here's the original page:
And here's the interface screenshot:
And.. looks like they're back up again.
"Damnit Tim this wasn't supposed to go up until next week! Everyone already knows it by now so we might as well just do it today. Thanks again, Tim. Metzen is fucking pissed."
Although most countries have already had their User Agreements amended to include Blizzard's new "Micropayments for Digital Goods", some specific countries haven't been amended yet.
Singapore, for example, has an upcoming UA amendment effective December 22, 2011.
For micropayments you receive up to $3.99 USD, the buyer can reverse the transaction. Anything over $4 though will be very difficult to ever get a refund.
Considering Blizzard's anticipated fee system, combined with PayPal's UA, average items will probably be selling anywhere between $2-5. That's their belief anyways, players might react differently.
I was hoping for more of a penny system, but apparently this slot machine will be taking $0.80 per pull.
Looking For Clues
This is around the time when you want to start looking for clues on their website (or other media) about potential release dates. Blizzard likes to hint at release dates, if they have them planned that is.
In the RMAH screenshot, Blizzard gave themselves $223.32 Beta Bucks for example. Ooooo.. must be a 02/23 release date! :)
[January 1st is 32 days from now (when the picture was first posted), putting it on the very first day of 2012. Plus, 223.32 = 2 / 23 / 20+12. Perhaps the release date will be announced on Dec 31st to close off the 20th Anniversary or on Jan 1st as part of the new year. That would put the game release about 2 months away, which is normal timing. Sneaky.]
The Book of Cain probably won't have anything, unless the release has been planned for a really long time. Even though the book wasn't supposed to come out until after the VGA (when more lore is leaked), apparently many people have already received review or advanced copies.
Keep your eyes peeled on the website though for any new Diablo lore items that contain numbers or dates. (They might get more tricky with numbers though, since that's what players are looking for now.)
Blizzard first hinted at the Cataclysm release date on October 4, 2010. Remember Mekkatorque predicting a 12.7% chance of the Cataclysm? (Cataclysm came out on December 7, 2010). So, a hint was made a little over 2 months before launch.
Why You Should Never Trust Retail Store Release Dates
Hey, isn't that what I said too? :)
Now that the RMAH testing is finally live, I wonder how much time is needed to fully test it. The Gold Auction House still has some bugs, but they've taken it offline. The beta has been going on for 3 months now, the Gold Auction House started testing 1.5 months ago.. would the RMAH only need 1 month of additional testing?
I'll have to think about it some more. I can't really see the RMAH taking 2+ months for testing, and the RMAH Testing announcement didn't make it sound like there would be any major server wipes. The success of the RMAH will determine when they make their release date announcement..
Other than that, a lot of my time has been spent on a pretty interesting investigation. Most of my time has been spent on it, and I'm still waiting for some more information to come in. So, if I don't post for a couple days, don't be surprised; I'm still working on something.