The real-money auction house that is exclusive to the PC version of Diablo III will be shut down for good on March 18, 2014, Blizzard confirms in a post on Battle.net. Many have criticized the feature that allows players to spend either in-game gold or real-world dollars on coveted gear, arguing that it disrupts the economy of the game’s random loot drops. Blizzard has finally reached that conclusion as well, writing that the auction house “ultimately undermines Diablo’s core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot.”
The specific details of how the shutdown will happen are still being worked out, but that March 18 appears to be a hard deadline. The change is a move meant to prepare for the coming Reaper of Souls expansion pack, which is being developed alongside a new Loot 2.0 system. With Loot 2.0 – which you can already see glimmers of in the arguably better, auction house-less console release – players will receive fewer loot drops, but the overall quality of the gear will be improved.
There’s more to it than that, of course. Loot 2.0 also introduces new class-specific modifiers on legendary weapons that will encourage players to try out different setups with their skills and runes. The update will also implement “smart drops” (another feature that’s already in the console release), in an effort to ensure that players are more frequently finding loot that actually benefits the character class collecting it.
Want more details? Blizzard’s got you covered. Reaper of Souls Production Director John Hight and Diablo III Game Director Josh Mosqueira offer more detail in a newly released video, embedded below.