Shared Stash Changes
One of our readers asked me to comment on the reduction of the shared-stash size from 5 pages down to 3. Rather than leaving a comment, I'll just make a post about it (because it might get a little long.)
First, I want to address what Bashiok told his customers was the "reason" for this change.
found it necessary to ensure we could handle what we anticipate will be a large amount of data very quickly after release.He is giving users the impression that they don't have the server performance or infrastructure to handle the MASSIVE number of items that players will collect.
We obviously have room to grow if our projections are incorrect, or we just find that we eventually have the space.
This is total bullshit and couldn't be farther from the truth. They've used this excuse in the past (the most immediate one to come to mind is the justification of the upcoming WoW Item Squish.)
Apparently, their databases are significantly limited and cannot scale. So I guess each character database entry can contain 500,000 fields, but 500,500 is just way too much for their databases to handle? I wish they would just be more open with their real reasons, rather than assuming their customers are idiots. (Sadly, most will believe him.)
In World of Warcraft, I had 15 guild banks with full bank tabs available on all of them. Even that wasn't enough for the number of items I had collected. And they weren't just hoarded items, either.. I was constantly selling these items and using the guild banks for crafting purposes or temporary storage of valuable AH items. In many cases, I was using them for long term storage for hundreds of Ruby Glasses (on different realms) to be sold when the prices increased.
The 5 slots in the Diablo 3 beta were not nearly enough for my needs. Even for a casual player, it was pretty limited considering that Diablo 3 is a loot centric game and Blizzard has kept pushing the loot quantity aspects of the game and reminding us of just how important massive storage will be.
Blizzard claims that they don't want players to mule, but this is exactly what was going to happen even before these changes. With the new limitation, there are going to be even more mule characters.. but aren't we limited to 10 characters per region? It's going to be brutal.
The real reason for this change has nothing to do with infrastructure or technology limitations, but rather they want players constantly "doing something" with the items. Eventually, when you don't have space for it, you'll either break it down (into gold or crafting mats) or you'll sell it. Even if you break it down into gold, eventually the gold sinks won't be enough, and you'll want to sell it. Whatever the case may be, Blizzard wants to you SELL IT and it will directly or indirectly end up on the RMAH.
Gold can only be sold on the Real Money Auction House. And it doesn't matter if you only sell items on the Gold Auction House, because someone will buy it and re-sell it on the RMAH anyways. These are all things they've learned from Diablo II.. when players run out of space, they sell it for gold, mule it (and then eventually sell it), trade it, or sell for cash on the blackmarket.
The reason for this change is simply to push RMAH use.
.. And These Changes Allow For Other Forms of Monetization
Bashiok claims that this is just temporary, so players should fully expect Blizzard to increase the number of slots shortly after their "testing" is completed. But I think that's a lie to cover up their intention to leave it as three. I think the extra slots will be made available at some point in the future. Wouldn't it be terrible and incomprehensible if Blizzard were to somehow monetize the slot size upgrades?
From a business and gaming perspective, you can disguise this activity by creating special "runes" or "item upgrades" that drop with extremely low drop chances. When you use these rare items, they will increase your bag or stash size. Because they are so valuable, players will sell these items on the RMAH. :)
Blizzard might also do this with gold-collecting pets when they make a return. Originally, Blizzard just gave these support pets to players for virtually nothing.. but when they make a return, they might be rare drops. When this happens, players lucky enough to get them will sell them on the RMAH.
In essence, you'll be spending cash to obtain an in-game service (the pets help you collect more gold.)
The beauty of this is that there will be guaranteed buyers for both the pets and "Stash-Size Increasing Runes". Hardcore RMAH users will especially be interested in purchasing all of these services or upgrades.
So, Blizzard.. if you haven't already considered this, but end up doing it, please make sure you name one of the Stash/Bag Size Upgrade items after me. :) Some players might not like it, but it's a great approach to monetizing services and upgrades within the game and very clever from a business perspective. If not, just be boring as usual and increase the shared stash pages in your next expansion pack. Too much monetization of the game can ruin your image, and most players will just be very happy to see the 5 slots back in the game.
Diablo 3 Item Duping Is Un-Possible
Over this past week, there have been Battle.net forum posts about item duping in the Diablo 3 beta. Truth is, it's actually been around for a while now in the beta but not too many users knew about it until recently.
Previously, hacking and duping was thought to be impossible in Diablo 3. Forum users, fanboys, and even gaming sites or blogs have frequently stated (sometimes as "a fact") that duping would be impossible in Diablo 3. Blizzard has said it would be impossible due to the game being online only, but it's mostly the users on the official forums who say it's impossible.. and they're never corrected.
Back in August, I had wrote all about this.
The Diablo 3 Retail will absolutely still have cheating, speed hacking, botting, and item duping tricks. Most of the item duplication you won't even know about. It will take years to finally close all of the gaps, the economy won't be anywhere where it should be (you'll never even know it though), and even then after years of patches, certain groups will still be duping items without Blizzard's knowledge. It still even happens in WoW, you just don't know about it since the "hacks" aren't shared publicly.