Bind on Equip


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Bind on Equip items are designed so that they can only be used by the character that first equips them. They can be traded freely when found, but once any character equips them, that's it. They item can never again be traded, or passed between characters even on the same account. BoE is commonly-used in RPGs, especially in MMORPGs, to prevent item inflation over time, by removing items from the economy.

  • There is no item binding of any kind in Diablo III.

BoE in Diablo III[edit]

As of April, 2011, Bind on Equip items will no longer be in the game. Bashiok gave the reasoning for this in a forum post [1]:

Yeah, we realized that binding is kind of a crappy way to pull items out of the economy. If you say that the average player produces 100 items an hour and maybe gets 1 upgrade in that time, then binding at best can account for removing 1% of items from the economy. And that's being very generous at high levels.

Binding isn't really substantial in making a viable economy, but it is really good at establishing item prestige. Which is how it's used in WoW.

We expect salvaging to be compelling enough to remove a good percentage of the most valuable items from the economy. High end components obtained from salvaging high end items are needed for high end crafting and enhancement.

We're not promising anything on patch content, but we also feel that keeping up on introducing new items consistently will keep it from being possible for a glut of the best items from building as 'the best' can be a constantly moving target.

Some very high level (above level 85) Diablo 3 items were going to be designated as BoE to keep the end game economy from stagnating, but this concept was abandoned during development.

The Diablo 3 team also considered BoA, which would have limited items to the account that found them. This would have allowed a player to twink the item between his characters, but not to trade it into the open economy.

Blizzard Comments[edit]

Jay Wilson addressed this issue in an interview from BlizzCon 2009. [2]

Jay Wilson: We have no “Soulbound” or bind-on-pickup, except for quest items. We do have bind-on-equip for the highest end items in the game. We targeted, roughly, any item above level 85. These we will do as bind-on-equip. The reason for this is that we want people to be able to trade them, but we also want to remove the high-end items from the economy. One of the greatest ways that you can do that is with bind-on-equip. What we don't want is to have a situation where you find something on the ground like, “Oh, man. This would be a perfect weapon for my Monk. Oh, but I just picked it up and now it's on the wrong character.” We don't want that at all.
Most of our focus on Diablo 3 is as a trading game. So, if you take trading out of the item space, you ruin the core of the game. Finding a really great item that is not for you is still a great event because it means you have a bartering tool to get the item that you do want. We definitely want to make sure that that still exists.

Bashiok addressed this issue during a mini-interview posted as part of Blizzcast #13, in February 2010. [3]

Zarhym: Will all Bind on Equip or Bind on Pickup items be bound to account? So you can hand them down to your other characters as you find better gear.
Bashiok: Maybe. It sounds kind of cool. So I asked Jay and some of the other designers about this actually because I wasn’t sure, but Jay’s response was “That sounds awesome!” And he likes things that are awesome. Which is a very Jay Wilson quote. But there could be economic reasons that we don’t do that, there could be gameplay reasons we don’t do that. It’s probably too early to say, but that sounds cool so we’ll have to see.

Bashiok elaborated on this later that same day, when a fan pointed out that BoA could lead to stagnation in the economy, if every account eventually had several of the best items that players could pass around between their different characters. [4]

Totally, which is why I said “But there could be economic reasons that we don’t do that.”
It would probably stagnate the economy… UNLESS, there are other systems in place that could make it attractive for players to essentially destroy their BoAs. So I don’t think it’s without solution at least, but it could get sticky if not balanced or pulled off just right.
Anyway, we’re not really seriously considering BoA items at this point in time.

Binding was finally ruled out in April 2011, by Jay Wilson in an interview with [5]

I’m happy to announce that we recently decided there will be no binding of items in Diablo III. They will be freely traded for the life of the item. The only way we are going to do any kind of binding would be for things that are not progression-sensitive. Like we might say…a quest item. We don’t want you to be able to give to other player to short circuit a quest, but if you find a sword, piece of armor, or gem....anything that you find in the ground, once you pick it up, you can freely trade it... forever.