Binding

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Binding ("Soul Binding" in WoW) refers to items that are locked to a character or account once they are found, picked up, or equipped (depending on the particular rules for that item in a particular game). Binding is most often incorporated into a game to limit trading, either by removing items from the economy (once they are equipped they can not be traded) or to force players to find their own gear (bind on pick-up or account items can't be traded at all).

Some fans who felt unsatisfied with the Auction House economy in Diablo 3 tried to play the game self-found (AKA Ironborn) for a greater challenge and sense of accomplishment. Ultimately the Diablo 3 developers came to agree with them, that it was more fun to find gear than to buy it, and changed almost everything in D3v2.


Binding History in Diablo 3[edit]

There was no item binding when Diablo III launched, but subsequent patches added binding for special materials and crafted items, and then for practically everything in Diablo 3 version 2.

  • Patch 1.0.5 added the Infernal Machine, and made all materials (keys and organs) used to create Hellfire Rings as Bind of Account, so they can not be traded or sold to other players.
  • Patch 1.0.7 added five new level 63 crafting recipes, and the gloves, shoulders, bracers, chests, and amulets created by these recipes are all Bind on Account.
  • D3v2 and Reaper of Souls use binding for almost everything. All legendary items, crafting plans, gold, materials, gems, and many other items and commodities are Bind of Account.
    • The small exception is that legendary (or Set) items can be traded (given) to other players in the game when the item was found, for up to 2 hours after that game ends.


Item Binding Basics[edit]

The basic types of binding. Diablo 3 uses BoA in almost every instance.

  • Bind on Account "BoA" -- Items can be shifted between characters on the same account, but not anyone else.
    • All Hellfire Ring materials, the crafted bracers, gloves, chests, shoulders, and amulets added in Patch 1.07.
  • Bind on Equip "BoE" -- Item can be traded freely, but once equipped can only be used by that character.
    • No BoE items exist in Diablo 3 as of September 2013 in Patch 1.08.
  • Bind on Pick-Up "BoP" -- Items that are locked to whichever character first picks them up.
    • During early development most quest items were BoP and stored in a special inventory tab so players couldn't lose or drop them and prevent quest completion. By launch all such items had been removed or made virtual, mostly by tweaks to the structure of the quests.


Binding Coming in Reaper of Souls[edit]

After various high quality BoA items were added in crafting recipes in Patch v1.07, the developers liked how they worked in the game economy and there are plans for many more binding items in the Reaper of Souls expansion.[1]

Wyatt Cheng: On the topic of the Mystic, we are looking at methods for a Mystic to modify an item. Whether that be adding a property, or allowing you to reroll the stats on a property, or allowing you to roll another property, or you like an item except one of the stats rolled low and you want a shot at getting it higher. We are looking at that, and I lean towards the idea that you’d want that item to be Soul bound.

This concept blew up over time and eventually virtually everything, item or material or gold, became Bound to Account in Diablo 3 version 2.


Item Binding During Diablo 3's Development[edit]

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

We have no “Soulbound” or Bind on Pick-up, 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]

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.
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 Diablo3.cc. [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.