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Diablo 3 Closed Beta Hands-On: Part 5

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 20 comments

In this segment, we cover forging, leveling up the Blacksmith, and using the auction house.

Thulg the Barbarian and the BlacksmithThulg the Barbarian and the BlacksmithIn  this installment, we're going to cover the basics of forging and using the auction house. The latter is actually up and running, but for now beta lab rats are only allowed to trade weapons. To be honest, I really haven’t done any business in the auction house simply because I’ve generally found what I’ve needed within the campaign. What's more, I’ve collected just over 23,000 gold pieces between all five characters, so I really don’t need the money. Still, you’ll discover that the wares offered by the New Tristram locals are a bit underwhelming, so in one sense, the auction house makes up for that... and probably on purpose.

The inventory houses the Nephalem Cube which is needed for forging.The inventory houses the Nephalem Cube which is needed for forging.For starters, the player character’s inventory features three items. First there’s a Stone of Recall, which essentially replaces the Scroll of Town Portal, allowing users to teleport back to New Tristram for whatever reason, and then return back to the dungeon. The inventory bag also contains the Cauldron of Jordan that lets you sell items on the fly rather than having to head back to New Tristram and unload the collected goods to the local merchants. Then there’s the Nephalem Cube which will break down armor and weapons into materials that can be used in crafting.

This is essentially where the crafting starts: by breaking down the useless junk you gather in the dungeons. Regular armor and weapons are reduced to common scrap and magical armor and weapons are reduced to Subtle Essence. Both of these are required by the Blacksmith to forge armor and weapons. For example, the Apprentice Oak Wand, a one-handed weapon for the Wizard class, requires eight pieces of common scrap, four pieces of Subtle Essence, and 220 gold coins. The Apprentice Leather Cuffs require six pieces of common scrap, four pieces of Subtle Essence, and 220 gold coins.

Setting the Blacksmith up to create a cool weapon.Setting the Blacksmith up to create a cool weapon.Currently in the Witch Doctor’s game, the Blacksmith is a Level 1 Apprentice. In the closed beta I was able to uncover "recipes" that the Blacksmith was able to learn by right-clicking on them in the Inventory (while the Blacksmith’s window is open). However, he can also be trained by acquiring five Pages of Training and then binding them into a book. To reach level 2, the Blacksmith requires one Tome of Training, five pieces of common scrap, and 500 pieces of gold. By attempting to level up, he’ll learn two additional recipes, which include the Apprentice Leather Hood and Apprentice Leather Doublet.

For a while I suspected that the Blacksmith may remain consistent across all saved games, and after loading up several other characters, that seemed to be the case, as my Demon Hunter had several Apprentice Rope Fist recipes stashed away in his inventory which stated that it was already known - this was taught to the Blacksmith by another character (I forget who). But to prove my theory, I acquired the Pages of Training from all my characters by using the Stash chest, and then bound 5 into a Tome of Training. In addition to dipping into the same cash (gold) box, player character also share the same Stash chest. This means any weapon you come across as a Wizard, but is slated for a Barbarian, can be stashed away and withdrawn later by your Barbarian character. The same goes for any item you come across, including Pages of Training.

After all that work and then submitting the required materials, the Blacksmith gained experience but didn’t advance to level 2, yet he did learn the two armor recipes. Even more, he remained consistent across all five characters, meaning that any leveling up you do with the Blacksmith as one character in any part of the game will apply throughout any game and any character.

The auction house is limited in the closed beta.The auction house is limited in the closed beta.As for the Auction House, players must be out of the Campaign in order to access this area. As previously mentioned, most of this is disabled in the beta save for selling and purchasing equipment. All items that you have packed away in your Stash chest show up in the Shared Stash section. To sell one of these items, simply highlight the object and press the "Sell Item" button. A window pops up asking for a starting price and an optional buyout price. Blizzard also warns users that 15-percent of the final sale goes towards the
"Posting Fee." Honestly this should be free as compensation for not allowing customers to play the game offline (but that’s another rant).


The Auction House itself is essentially broken into four parts: Search, Buy, the aforementioned Sell, and Completed. In the Search section, you can find items for specific characters, and in the case of equipment, narrow down the search options to one-handed, two-handed, offhand and whatnot. Bids on the items you’re currently selling will show up in the Bids section, and the Completed area keeps a record of all completed transactions.

That’s it for this installment. There are other aspects that still need attention, so I’ll do that in the next installment.

If you missed them:

Diablo 3 Closed Beta Hands-On: Part 1

Diablo 3 Closed Beta Hands-On: Part 2

Diablo 3 Closed Beta Hands-On: Part 3

Diablo 3 Closed Beta Hands-On: Part 4

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  • -8 Hide
    fyend , October 8, 2011 4:52 PM
    Yawn. 2003 called, it wants its game back.
  • 0 Hide
    Harby , October 8, 2011 5:20 PM
    Care to elaborate? Or just a dumbass troll?
  • 3 Hide
    DroKing , October 8, 2011 7:44 PM
    To much of Activision touch =/ all over this poor blizzard game. Farewell Blizzard was nice being your customer but its time for me to turn else where for my gaming needs.

    @Kevin, Although I thank you for doing the review on this game to allow me to make a decision on whetever i wanna blow 60 buck on a mediocre game.
  • -2 Hide
    inthere , October 8, 2011 8:06 PM
    There was a guy, I believe went by the name Hercules on my server in WOW, that made 10 million in gold in the Auction House the 1st two years and got banned. He'll be able to retire in RL on this game.
  • 4 Hide
    nitrium , October 8, 2011 8:12 PM
    @harby
    I think what fyend is trying to say is that this game should have been released in 2003. It will be 2012 when Diablo 3 is actually released. Diablo is very old hat now. This is not necessarily my opinion, but it is imo a valid point.
  • 4 Hide
    NuclearShadow , October 8, 2011 10:42 PM
    Oh Diablo III I want to be happy for you and really want to support you but you make it so hard... as a long time fan of the series it pains me to not be able to do this. I can deal with some of bad decisions like the always online, sure I won't be able to play during long flights but at-least I will have you at home. I can deal with that. But that auction house... sure you may argue that I am not forced to use it and you would be right, but we both know your going to decrease drop rates
    making them so low to pressure people to use it and spend their real money. Then if this is successful we can only expect other games to line up and all start doing it as well.

    I'm sorry Diablo III but I won't be purchasing you. I feel like the woman I am madly in love with is begging for forgiveness to take her back after she cheated on me and to make matter worse she has genital herpes now (the auction house) and that simply will never go away. It hurts me deeply to have to do this but I have to say no and I think it's time we both went our separate ways. Goodbye old friend.
  • 3 Hide
    wildkitten , October 8, 2011 11:09 PM
    drokingTo much of Activision touch =/ all over this poor blizzard game. Farewell Blizzard was nice being your customer but its time for me to turn else where for my gaming needs. @Kevin, Although I thank you for doing the review on this game to allow me to make a decision on whetever i wanna blow 60 buck on a mediocre game.

    I understand what you are saying, but Blizzard fans need to be careful to point the finger at Activision. It gives those who blindly follow whatever Blizz does (which ironically shows they never were true, long term Blizz fans) reason to scoff.

    Activision has no authority over Blizzard. HOWEVER, the man who ruined Activision's reputation, and is probably the largest reason they lose money these days, Bobby Kotick, was inexplicably made CEO over the merged Activision Blizzard by Vivendi. There can be little doubt his fingerprints are all over a lot of the decisions that have happened with Blizzard titles since the 2008 merger.

    With the money Activision has been losing, and considering WoW lost nearly 1 million subscribers in the first six months after an expansion was released, Cataclysm, I would hope Kotick would be on shaky ground. With the 3rd quarter over at the end of September, the shareholders conference call which should happen in the next 2 to 3 weeks will be very interesting to hear. It's hard to imagine the downwar trend has been reversed with WoW because they just haven't done anything with it. If a lot more subscribers left in the 3rd quarter, and with Diablo 3 being pushed back till after new year for release, 2011 is poised to be a VERY bad year for Blizzard. They will have had no new titles sold, their main cash cow is bleeding subscribers very fast, during a time of supposedly new content being released, so hopefully the shareholders and Vivendi will sit up and take notice and replace Kotick with Morhaime soon.
  • 3 Hide
    reggieray , October 9, 2011 12:48 PM
    Don't care Acti-Blizzard, no LAN and constant connection DRM is a no go for me. Keep your over rated crap, plenty of other games to choose from.
  • 3 Hide
    trevorvdw , October 9, 2011 4:25 PM
    HarbyCare to elaborate? Or just a dumbass troll?

    What is there to elaborate on? It looks and plays like a game that should have been out in 2003. Seems pretty obvious what he was trying to say.
  • 0 Hide
    Jprobes , October 9, 2011 5:25 PM
    wildkittenI understand what you are saying, but Blizzard fans need to be careful to point the finger at Activision. It gives those who blindly follow whatever Blizz does (which ironically shows they never were true, long term Blizz fans) reason to scoff.Activision has no authority over Blizzard. HOWEVER, the man who ruined Activision's reputation, and is probably the largest reason they lose money these days, Bobby Kotick, was inexplicably made CEO over the merged Activision Blizzard by Vivendi. There can be little doubt his fingerprints are all over a lot of the decisions that have happened with Blizzard titles since the 2008 merger.With the money Activision has been losing, and considering WoW lost nearly 1 million subscribers in the first six months after an expansion was released, Cataclysm, I would hope Kotick would be on shaky ground. With the 3rd quarter over at the end of September, the shareholders conference call which should happen in the next 2 to 3 weeks will be very interesting to hear. It's hard to imagine the downwar trend has been reversed with WoW because they just haven't done anything with it. If a lot more subscribers left in the 3rd quarter, and with Diablo 3 being pushed back till after new year for release, 2011 is poised to be a VERY bad year for Blizzard. They will have had no new titles sold, their main cash cow is bleeding subscribers very fast, during a time of supposedly new content being released, so hopefully the shareholders and Vivendi will sit up and take notice and replace Kotick with Morhaime soon.


    Yeah, a very very very bad year. That revenue generated from 9 millionish subs isn't even worth it anymore. IMO Blizzard should just blow up their servers and every employee should eat some cyanide.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 9, 2011 5:32 PM
    dont hate because this game is going to be epic and you dont have the comp to run it.
  • 0 Hide
    wildkitten , October 9, 2011 7:13 PM
    JprobesYeah, a very very very bad year. That revenue generated from 9 millionish subs isn't even worth it anymore. IMO Blizzard should just blow up their servers and every employee should eat some cyanide.

    No one said Blizzard wasn't profitable. But to ignore the fact that in the first six months following the release of an expansion they LOSE nearly a million subscribers is hard to ignore, and I guarantee you shareholders aren't ignoring it.

    It would be one thing to lose subscribers in the year leading up to a new expansion, where there is very little to no real content updates such as there was with Wrath and soon will be with Cataclysm (4.3 brings out Deathwing, the last boss in Cataclysm and will probably be released when SW:TOR is released in December), but there is no way to spin losing that many subs just after the release of an xpac. If Blizzard doesn't make some dramatic changes in things, the slide will continue. Burying one's head in the sand and pretending all is well won't stop it.

    You will also notice I am not blaming true Blizzard employees. Had you even bothered reading the post of mine you quoted, I am wishing Mike Morhaime, a VP of Activision Blizzard who has been over Blizzard for several years to replace Bobby Kotick. Do you support Kotick, the man who in interviews has said he sees gamers as "resources" while companies they partner with, such as Facebook, as being their true customers?

    If people have been long time fans of Blizzard, they know that Blizzard pre merger was all about EXPANDING choices for gamers. Why else would a game developer who really only makes 3 titles be so successful. Any one who has any knowledge of Blizzard's and Bobby Kotick's histories can easily tell where ideas such as online only play and the RMAH come from, and it isn't from true Blizzard employees.

    So you can keep on with smart remarks about how much money they make from 9 million subs, which according to the last shareholder's conference call 3 months ago was 11 million (which by the way, over half of them are from Asia where they do not make nearly as much per sub as they do on North American and European subs). So if they are down to 9 million, that means they lost 2 million in just the last 3 months. The fact is when you see a problem you fix it BEFORE your product stops being profitable, not after.
  • 1 Hide
    DroKing , October 10, 2011 3:26 AM
    Kitten I see you made some good points but i hold this belief strongly because they murdered like all of my favorite games in past... Soldier of fortune to name one =/ and yes of course COD series till it hit #3 thats when i was like uhh ok where is this going?
  • 0 Hide
    wildkitten , October 10, 2011 4:27 AM
    drokingKitten I see you made some good points but i hold this belief strongly because they murdered like all of my favorite games in past... Soldier of fortune to name one =/ and yes of course COD series till it hit #3 thats when i was like uhh ok where is this going?

    Agreed, Activision is bad, because of Bobby Kotick. It's just that as a former WoW player who left because of obvious interfernece of him into Blizzard's way of developing games, I often saw people blindly going along with what they were doing post merger but who obviously had no idea of how "old" Blizzard was. A lot of people blamed Activision for the direction of WoW was going and that sort of helped the side who blindly support the decisions since Activision has no say so over Blizz, but of course Kotick does.

    You mentioning CoD (which I assume you mean Call of Duty) is something that I think Blizzard people are keeping in mind. When Vivendi bought out Infinity Ward to get that IP, Kotick wanted changes made to that franchise and when the Infinity Ward people stood up for the integrity of the game he fired them all. I have little doubt that is something in the minds of Blizzard people and they have to walk a fine line. Anyone who had ever heard Morhaime, Metzen, Samwise, etc talk pre merger, you know what sort of passion Blizzard had. Post merger they sound almost defeated, like they they are trying to straddle the fence. I can understand why as I would not want a Diablo or a Warcraft that had no involvement from the creators and caretakers of those franchises.

    That's one of the reason's I don't like the online requirement and the RMAH. Anyone who knows the old Blizzard knows those things are not in their character as those are things that exclude and limit gamers and Blizzard has never been about that. However, Bobby Kotick has because he has been very open that he does not see as the end customer but merely resources.

    I sincerely hope that Vivendi wakes up and sees the damage Bobby Kotick is doing to their Activision Blizzard games division and gets rid of him so that the real Blizzard people can fix the damage WoW and D3.
  • -2 Hide
    kartu , October 10, 2011 7:17 AM
    You know creating "good cop, bad cop" like myths about Blizzard is itarded.

    Blizzard has NEVER EVER been innovative, always picking up and polishing something that already existed. (but oh boy, they are good at it)
    Blizzard has ALWAYS supported PCs with weak graphic cards.
    Blizzard has NOT been particularly generous since the times of Starcraft I, when you could officially play with up to 3 of your friends, having bought only 1 copy. Having tested insane income on WoW, they want moar money from other titles.

  • 1 Hide
    wildkitten , October 10, 2011 9:18 AM
    kartuYou know creating "good cop, bad cop" like myths about Blizzard is itarded.Blizzard has NEVER EVER been innovative, always picking up and polishing something that already existed. (but oh boy, they are good at it)Blizzard has ALWAYS supported PCs with weak graphic cards.Blizzard has NOT been particularly generous since the times of Starcraft I, when you could officially play with up to 3 of your friends, having bought only 1 copy. Having tested insane income on WoW, they want moar money from other titles.


    What game company, especially those who create fantasy titles, ever do anything original? None.

    And Blizzard has always been customer and gamer friendly pre merger. As for their "insane" income, and them wanting "moar", please explain how fewer subscribers equals more? The more Bobby Kotick makes them a money hungry company, the more they are losing customers, especially the franchise fans.

    They already canceled the comics due to horrendous sales. The WoW magazine has already been canceled after like 4 or 5 issues. The novels are selling poorly now and they no longer cater to the lore fans who are the ones who grow a franchise. With the loss of so many subscribers and the lackluster reception of D3's "features", they don't have nearly the income they could be "test"ing.
  • 0 Hide
    ddt529 , October 10, 2011 1:19 PM
    I'm in Diablo 3 beta and I find it rather repetitive a boring. I know this is an early build, but there is nothing in the game as of yet that really distinguishes itself from other before it aside from the auction house. The combat system feels like Guild Wars, I can see the Torchlight inspired modifications to inventory, and the starting level lacks any real 'wow factor' for those who have been playing action rpgs since D1. The more I play D3 Beta, the more I want to install Titan Quest Immortal Throne + Unofficial Patch (yes, it fixes the dreaded rubber-banding graphics Iron Lore was unable to fix before they went defunct for those that felt it was a game killing bug). That, to me, is the best ARPG since Diablo 2. I'll be purchasing Torchlight 2 before Diablo 3. No question.
  • 0 Hide
    diablo3warrior , October 10, 2011 1:23 PM
    Awesome article, especially the coverage of the auction house.

    I've been wondering which of the 5 Diablo 3 classes seems to be the most profitable in terms of "real world" cash. I wrote a quick article making the argument for each of the 5 classes:

    http://www.diablo3warrior.com/which-diablo-3-player-class-is-most-profitable/

    Judging from your own experience, does one single class stand out as the best treasure hunter?
  • 0 Hide
    casualbuilder , October 10, 2011 1:39 PM
    Blizzard is that "cute girl next door that is sweet as pie". You get stupid one day and say yes to a date, and then before you know, it's been 20 dates, and you don't want to break her heart. I am one of those Blizz fan boys, but truth of the matter is, they have been slowly been going downhill over even WoLK x-pac. I agree, the Activision merge was probably the worst decision on Blizz's histogram, especially with Kotick as head, but don't for one minute think that Blizz isn't a struggling company with "fixing" things. WoW is just one personal example, primarily with their PvP.

    Outside of that, Kotick needs to start his own company, from scratch, and try to do the things he is doing. When he sees how "productive" it is, maybe he will stop bleeding out every company's business and customers (lifeblood) they have. The only thing that man is good for is Bankruptcy. Activision should stick to crappy console games they were never really good at anyways, like Street Fighter and sports games. If Blizz were to merge with anyone, they should have used the head above their shoulders instead of below, and looked at a company like Bethesda or even Microsoft. Not that they would have anything to do with them, but at least they would have improved instead of lost 20%+ of their buyer base/revenue.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 10, 2011 5:24 PM
    I am a die hard computer gamer, and since Blizzard primarily focuses on making games for the PC (so far) I want to support them and there quest to keep gaming alive on the PC. I LOVED Diablo 2, wasted many hours/days/months of my life playing that game. I wouldnt mind if they made Diablo 3 with new characters, and new levels and thats it! I say if it aint broke, why fix it. Diablo 3 is starting to look exactly like WOW (which I played plenty of and cancelled my subscription) Theres the hearth stone, the ability to craft, gold farming, auction house, and the inability to distrupt points into dex str etc. etc. Why dont they just add a flying mount the game next! As much as I loved blizzard in the past, I think I will be passing on Diablo 3 (and I never thought I would be saying that!)