Blizzard will be stripping the auction houses from Diablo III early next year, production director John Hight announced in a post on Battle.net.
“When we initially designed and implemented the auction houses, the driving goal was to provide a convenient and secure system for trades,” reads Hight’s post. “But as we’ve mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo‘s core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot.”
Earlier this year, Blizzard’s Jay Wilson—who served as game director prior to Josh Mosqueira taking over the role in June—expressed his own unhappiness with the auction houses, saying that he felt they “really hurt” the game. According to Wilson at the time, removing them, however, would not be an easy process.
“We’re working out the details of how the auction house system will be shut down, but we wanted to share the news as soon as we made the decision in order to give everyone as much advance notice as possible,” Hight wrote in his post.
The absence of auction houses was one of the highlights of Diablo III‘s recently released console versions, as Josh pointed out in his review. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Diablo III launched earlier this month, on September 3.
Both the real-world money auction house and the in-game gold-money auction house will shut down March 28, 2014, coinciding with the Reaper of Souls expansion slated to launch next year. Reaper of Souls will also introduce Loot 2.0, a system that Mosqueira says is designed to deliver “less, better, more epic items” from enemy drops.