Gold

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Gold is the currency used in Diablo 3. All items bought or sold are paid for in gold, and as in Diablo 2, gold is automatically stored in a character's purse, without taking up inventory space. Gold does not need to be clicked on to pick it up in Diablo III; it's automatically picked up when a character moves near a stack on the ground.

Gold will be less plentiful and more valuable in Diablo III than it was in earlier installments of the game. Items sell for much less gold, coins dropped by monsters are in smaller heaps, and there is a lot more worth spending gold on than was the case in previous games.


Contents

[edit] The Economy

There are two types of economy in most RPGs; gold (used to buy items and services from NPCs) and items (what players really want). Diablo 2's economy had no real connection between these two, since gold became largely useless for high level characters and no amount of gold was ever acceptable in trade for a high end item. The Diablo III developers are working to keep these two halves of the economy interwoven, by making gold much less common, and by requiring considerable amounts of it for essential item creation and upgrade purposes.

Blizzard is aware that the D2 economy was fairly nonfunctional and unbalanced, and they do not wish to repeat that with Diablo III. Lessons learned from the past 10+ years of virtual economies, and from managing a functional economy in WoW, are being applied to D3's economy from the ground up.

Bashiok has posted about their intentions to create a viable economy. [1]

We're designing a stable economy, we have the knowledge and experience to do so. We have people in-house with doctorates and degrees in statistics and economic analysis and all the know how to pull it off. I think we'll be ok.


[edit] Inflation

Inflation is caused by a general increase in the amount of gold in the economy. It is inevitable in video game economies, as players learn how to play better and thus gain gold more quickly. Inflation is thus natural and expected, and not in of itself a bad thing. The developers merely need tools to control the rate of inflation, and ways to keep gold useful and valuable.

This was not the case in Diablo II, as gold became largely useless at high levels since it was overly-abundant, and there were few things worth spending it on. The Diablo III developers have learned that lesson, and with much experience in MMORPGs since Diablo II, including World of Warcraft, they designed Diablo III's economy to be more flexible and resilient.[2]

Inflation in a particular currency is fine, and for things to increase on price depending on demand is good, however as you are asking about; we do not want worthless currency. Take for example (excuse the comparison) WoW, gold is heavily inflated but people still use it for everything, just more of it. We have many tools to ensure gold remains a worthy currency in comparison to the RMAH and vice versa. Do not worry, we will be very carefully keeping an eye out for problems with inflation and one AH becoming less valuable. We have many knobs and controls at our disposal to ensure that everything works out fine!


[edit] The Gold Economy

The Diablo 3 team has repeatedly stressed [1] their interest in having gold remain a viable game resource. Gold will be much less common in Diablo III than in previous games in the series. Monsters do not drop such huge heaps of gold, and items sell for fairly low amounts, plus players will be breaking down many of their unwanted items in the salvage cube, since materials for crafting will likely be more desirable than gold.

On top of the greater scarcity of gold, there will be numerous "gold sinks" in Diablo III, to give Sälja guld players something worth spending gold on. Gambling was a perpetual use for gold in Diablo 2, but the odds of obtaining a useful item via gambling were too low to motivate most players to keep gambling, once they reached the end game.

Known gold sinks in Diablo III include respecs, item repairs, item socketing, Artisan training, item upgrading (such as gems at the Jeweler), item crafting, item enchanting, and more. Another possible gold sink is some kind of trading Auction House, though the team hasn't given any details on such a feature as of yet.

Jay Wilson described the creation of the game's economy, and named some of the ways the team is looking to make gold more valuable, in an interview from BlizzCon 2009. [2]

So, player economy and itemization are two of the last things you do. Mostly because nothing waits for them, but they wait for everything. Until you have vendors in working the way you want, until you have a lot of progression through your game, all your support systems and different items that you find - until you have all of those things - there’s really not a lot of point to doing any in-depth economy or item math. Most of the items that we’ve done so far are so there are actually items in the game. So, that being said, the key to doing a good economy is pulling out money at roughly the same rate that you’re putting it in. I say roughly because a little bit of inflation is okay, but deflation is generally bad.
As long as you’ve got a way to get it under control, you know, with DLC or an expansion, make an adjustment. So, having a lot of things for people to spend gold on is really important. Every system that we design, we go, “Oh, how can we spend gold here?” People have asked about a respec system, for example. We will have one. We haven’t designed it yet, but I guarantee you that you’ll have to spend a lot of gold. I can guarantee that because that’s one of the places we’d look at to try and balance the economy. There are a whole bunch of systems like that that we haven’t announced or are in progress. “Will you be able to remove gems from items?” Yes, you will able to and I guarantee you it will cost a lot of gold. Those are part of the ways that you handle and make gold valuable.


[edit] The Item Economy

It's too early to say anything much about the item economy, since there are too many unknowns. Players have no idea about the intended scarcity of high end items, the costs or likely success rate of high end crafting recipes, the quality of items NPCs will sell, etc. Salvaging is another way to remove items from the economy. All those things will obviously be prime balancing concerns come the beta and then the early days after release, and there's no way to predict how that will all shake out in advance.

The elephant in the room, when speculating about Diablo III's economy, is the factor that ruined Diablo II's economy: duping and hacking. Valuable items were duplicated and widely-disseminated, wrecking the value of legit items. Hacked items were created that were better than any legit items could ever be. And especially in the D2X days, massive duping of Runes has made the elite quality Runewords vastly more common and affordable than they were designed to be.

The Diablo III developers have said that there will not be hacking and duping in Diablo III, and that they'll be able to apply the lessons they've learned in keeping WoW largely cheat-free. Most fans wish them the best of luck with that, but as successful as hackers have been in ruining the economy of most online RPGs, the D3 Team clearly has their work cut out for them.

[edit] Achievements

There are a number of achievements that players can earn connected to gold.


Scavenger
(database)

General
10 Pick up 10,000 gold. No Award
Spare Change
(database)

General
10 Pick up 50,000 gold.
Moneybags
(database)

General
10 Pick up 100,000 gold.
Deep Pockets
(database)

General
10 Pick up 500,000 gold.
Staying Gold
(database)

General
10 Pick up 1,000,000 gold.
All That Glitters
(database)

General
10 Pick up 5,000,000 gold.
Spoils of War
(database)

General
10 Pick up 10,000,000 gold.
No Award
The One Percent
(database)

General
10 Pick up 100,000,000 gold.
Sword for Hire
(database)

General/Exploration
10 Earn 50,000 gold from quest rewards. No Award


[edit] Third Party Trading Sites

Fans worried about the potential influence of established fan-run item trading sites have voiced their concerns[3], and earned replies from Bashiok. [4]

All of the issues that exist in Diablo II that essentially force people to use these kinds of sites in order to establish a base economy and help concentrate the playerbase to a centralized trading location will all be completely unnecessary when we achieve our economic and trade goals with Diablo III.


...We've always said we intend to have some type of in-game auction house feature.

That alone would remove almost all desire to alt+tab and trade outside of the game. People use these sites because they centralize the trading community, and they establish a base currency. If there's no reason for people to leave the game, then they won't. It's as simple as that.


...Some arbitrary currency on some forum that no one buying Diablo III will have heard of except a small number of hardcore Diablo II players does not 'a heck of a beast' make.

Can you give me numbers for how many actual people are playing Diablo II and using that site? Because I can guarantee you they will be outnumbered 100 to 1 (at least) when the game releases. So if they can each convince 100+ people to alt+tab and use a weird forum system to trade instead of what's right there and available to them in-game, then sure. But good luck.

There will always be fringe RMT sites, and there will always be a tiny number of people looking for game-to-game trades, but to say that something like this will have a hold on the entire economy for game with a stable currency and auction house-type system is highly illogical.

There will certainly be some outside, third party aspects to Diablo III's economy; trading forums like those on prominent fansites[5] will remain a valuable option for fans to advertise their wares and drum up interest in item exchanges. Especially if they want something specific, an X for their Y. But those are only useful for other players who use those sites/forums. D3 should provide in-game tools to facilitate the vast majority of player trades and item sales.

[edit] Obtaining Gold in Diablo III

As in the previous games in the series, gold is the only currency in Diablo 3. Unlike many other RPGs, there is no value gradation of precious metals, ala copper, silver, platinum, etc.

Gold is obtained in exchange for selling items to NPC merchants, as well as found while adventuring. Slain monsters often drop gold, and it can also be found lying in the corners of levels, as well as inside objects of all types, such as chests, barrels, crates, and more. A new addition in Diablo 3 is the gold sometimes directly rewarded for completing quests.


[edit] Artisans

One of the major purposes of Artisans is to act as a gold sink and a balancing element of the Diablo III economy. Jay Wilson spoke about that from Gamescom, in August 2010. [3]

The introduction of Artisans brings a big change compared to Diablo II. Why did you choose to take such a big step?

Jay Wilson: Actually, there are two important reasons, the economic reason being the most important.
In Diablo II it was very easy to earn gold, but there wasn’t much all the gathered gold could be spent on. Thus players were stuck with huge amounts of gold. I wanted to change that. In order to have a working economy in a game, about the same amount of gold needs to enter the economy as disappears from it. In order to gain control of the economy, there need to be things that yield gold and things that gold can be spent on. As designers of the game, we need to control these two things.
Moreover, the things you can spend gold on have to be worth the trouble to gather the gold for. Thus we have introduced two changes. Players will earn a lot less gold in Diablo III from selling items they gather on the battlefield, and they will find a lot less gold on the battlefield as well. Additionally, we try to make sure that there are things players will want to spend gold on. The buying of gear pieces is an excellent way to diddle players out of their gold. There was already a way to use gold to buy more items in Diablo II, but it was used only barely. With Artisans, we try to improve that. With the new system, we hope to achieve that players will want to earn gold, but especially that they will want to spend their gold on the three Artisans.
The second reason results from the economic background. So we wanted gold to be spent more often, and at the same time, we don’t want players to lose much time on creating items. That doesn’t belong to a game such as Diablo III, in our eyes. After all, you are on an urgent mission to beat Diablo, that terrible demon that threatens the world, so you don’t want to waste too much time on a nicer ring or better boots. That brought us to the idea of Artisans, three different characters that can play a very useful role for you on your quest through Sanctuary. The three won’t join you on the battlefield, but will instead deploy their mobile trading post at the nearest settlement.
So through salvaging, a lot of items you find on the battlefield will disappear from the economy. They will not directly be turned into gold at least. In Diablo III, you will sell a lot less items than in Diablo II, and that way earn a lot less gold, also because we have lowered the sell value for items that you have found, and also because we have lowered the amount of gold to be acquired on the battlefield. You will thus earn a lot less gold, even though you will need the gold more than before, since you need to pay the Artisans for their services.


[edit] Gold Loss on Death

There are no plans to include death penalties (outside of Hardcore) in Diablo III, aside from possibly some equipment durability loss. Players will not lose gold when they die, since the team doesn't feel this is a necessary or useful gold sink. Bashiok commented on it in October 2010:[4]

You lost gold when you died in Diablo II and it was still worthless. Losing gold on death isn’t a necessary sink to make it worth something. Balancing gains and expenditures properly will make it worth something.


That said, I don’t think we’ve made any final determinations on death penalties. Though I wouldn’t expect it to take anything away from the player. Gold, experience, etc.


[edit] Blizzcon 2010 Update

Nothing new was revealed at Blizzcon 2010, but Jay again stressed their basic economic goals for the end game in an interview.[5]

GP: What are your plans for the game’s economy?
Jay: One of our big focuses is to make sure that the gold economy is viable and we’ve got several ideas on that. Part of it is fixing what was wrong with the system in Diablo II. In it, one of the ways that we rewarded the player was by throwing buckets of gold at them. It felt great to do that but the problem was that long term it didn’t really have any meaning. So we’ve just bitten the bullet and said we’re not going to put as much gold into the world.
On top of that, there were issues with how items were valued for sale. Paladin sceptres, wands and things like that, one with with specific +skill attributes on them would tend to have an enormous sell price. So we’re really leaning towards saying it’s OK if items undersell to vendors. Normally that’s kind of contrary to Blizzard design philosophy, but because items are now useful in other ways, for example in the crafting system, we’re comfortable with having less gold and a more controlled economy.
The other side of it is that you actually have to have things to spend gold on, recurring things. Again, when we introduced artisans a few months ago, that was a great example of a system that has an enormous amount of gold put into it: Pulling gems out of items, enchanting, adding sockets and creating items through items you’ve destroyed rather than sold, which circumvents putting gold into the economy. All those things are big, recurring gold sinks that stabilise the economy.
We really want to enable player trading, because Diablo has always been a trading game, that’s the focus of it. On that front, we don’t have anything to announce yet but we are working on some systems that are really going to enable it, make it easier for players to trade with one another.


[edit] Inventory

Gold drops from monsters are deposited into your inventory by simply walking over or near the gold pile. To drop a specific number of coins, right-click on gold in your character's inventory. Type in the amount of gold that you wish your character to drop, and press the Enter key.


[edit] Background

During the long reign of peace that existed in Khanduras most towns and cities agreed upon a standard gold coin to use in trade. The Church of Zakarum has tried to have its own currency accepted as the new standard, but so far it has gained little acceptance. Although it would seem that the minions of the Three would have no use for gold coins, many demons hoard all the wealth that they can find.


[edit] References

  1. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers February 8, 2009
  2. Jay Wilson Interview @ Blizzcon 2009 - G4TV. August 2009
  3. Jay Wilson Interview @ Gamescom 2010 - Tweakers.net. August 20, 2010
  4. Bashiok forum post - B.net forums, October 25, 2010
  5. Jay Wilson Interview @ Blizzcon 2010 - GamePlanetNZ. October 25, 2010