“[Auction Houses] really hurt the game,” former Diablo 3 game director Jay Wilson declared during GDC.
By this, Wilson means both the in-game and real-world auction house. According to Wilson, Blizzard assumed only a fraction of players would use the Auction House, which upon launch proved to be the opposite. He says that almost every player has used either the in-game or real-world auction house, and that over 50% of their player base use it regularly.
The auction houses break Diablo 3 significantly. No longer are players incentivized to kill Diablo or gain loot in a traditional fashion—not when purchasing is so much easier.
“I think we would turn it off if we could,” Wilson said. Unfortunately, he says that fixing the problem is “not as easy as that.” Blizzard is trepident to remove a feature that numerous players may or may not love, concerned that it could lead to notable backlash.
Wilson did say that Blizzard is exploring solutions.