Why Diablo 3 Might Work Out This Time Around

So recently Blizzard has made the decision to do away with the Auction House in Diablo 3. So what do you think guys? For those who finds D3 lacking (like me), would you be considering to get the expansion to try it? For those who are still playing the game, what are your opinions on this? Good? Bad? Personally, I am happy that they do away with the AH. It was destroying the game. Video game design are very psychologically based. The reason why the Diablo franchise was so addicting was because the game designers made use of Dopamine and Dopamine receptors to influence gamers to grind tirelessly for their equipment. Here is an excerpt from this game psychology site.

What this means is that dopamine receptors are part of a system that’s about pattern recognition and figuring out how to get more good things out of life. Schultz and his colleagues discovered that presenting a lab monkey with a bit of fruit caused the creature’s dopamine neurons to light up. They also discovered that when they repeatedly preceded the treat with a light or a sound, the neurons would start to fire when the monkey saw the light or heard the sound, but then remain relatively inactive when the fruit showed up. The system they had discovered was, at its core, about anticipation and trying to predict rewards based on what was happening in the environment.

What’s more, it turns out that unpredicted gushes of dopamine really get us fired up. This is because unexpected dopamine rushes highlight failures in our predictive system, and it’s a system that’s designed to help us figure out why we didn’t see life’s good things coming and thus how to find them again in the future. This is why the random nature of loot drops in many games is so effective at getting us to keep playing: it capitalizes on our brain’s attempts to predict the unpredictable. (See here for more on dopamine and loot drops.)

So now that we know of this. Here comes the part on the Auction House.

The reason is that the auction house is actually a FAR more effective but much more predictable way of finding better gear for your character than hoping for good loot drops from fallen enemies or treasure chests. In my experience it was super easy to buy equipment so good that the magical “ting!” sound soon lost its effect because the loot that dropped was no longer a reward. It was just gold in a slightly more inconvenient form, destined to be sold to a vendor or at best on the auction house for a little more. In effect, the auction house system excised the entire dopamine rush, loot drop appeal of the game.

So now that the biggest problem is gone. Is it an ‘aye’ or a ‘nay’ for Diablo 3’s expansion? 😉 For me it’s an ‘aye’. I am willing to give them a chance. Just like how I gave FF 14 a chance. 🙂

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2 responses to “Why Diablo 3 Might Work Out This Time Around

  1. I haven’t been involved in the auction house, but to me it sounds like a terrible idea, for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I’m playing D3 on PS3 and even without the auction house, I’m not 100% loving it. It took some trial and error to find a reasonable difficulty, and like a lot of fantasy-action-RPGs, it starts to feel repetitive after a while…. I’m gonna play it through, but so far I have very mixed feelings. Safe to say I won’t get any expansions.

    • I see. You are right I can see where you are coming from. Even without the ah something is missing in d3 and it’s unlike it’s predecessor. It is like it lost it’s magic touch.

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