Gamer Claims to Have Made $10,000+ USD in Diablo 3

A Diablo 3 player using the alias "WishboneTheDog" claims that he has made over $10,000 USD using the real-money auction house in Blizzard’s Diablo 3. As proof, he not only throws up screenshots of his PayPal account and sales in the RMAH, but opens up a brief Ask Me Almost Anything (AMAA) on Reddit to discuss how he's raked in so much money.

"One of my favorite parts of gaming has been the economics of the item markets since I started trading in Neopets ten years ago. It is what first got me interested in economics, and I am now studying business at a good university. I hope to consult with game companies someday about balancing the economies of their games," he writes.

He said that when Diablo 3 first hit the market, he averaged 8 hours a day playing the game -- some days he played up to 14 hours. Playtime has recently dropped due to the slowing Diablo 3 economy and other responsibilities -- now he logs on to repost auctions and to quickly scan for items. Most of his business has been on the US- NA servers, but he's done some trading on the EU server too.

"I have never botted, scammed, used any of the number of exploits, or cheated in any way whatsoever. Before this game, I never made any money off of what I did because it was against the rules. Investing and trading in the item markets is part of how I have my fun, it wouldn't make sense for me to cheat. Anyone who played D2 with hacks knows what I mean," he adds.

Later on he goes on to explain why humans are willing to spend real-world money on virtual items: they pay to win, whether it's a payment in time or in currency. Some people are "rich" in time where others are "rich" in currency. Anyone who spends more time will also have the skills to back it up, but anyone paying for gear -- which is heavily tied to the hero's abilities -- is seemingly no different than a golfer purchasing a nice set of clubs.

"A thousand dollars for a good set of golf clubs gives you the ability to play the game of golf better than someone of equal skill playing with a $10 garage sale set," he writes. "It doesn't automatically make you good, but it helps you get there. And if you love that game, then by all means play your best."

"What people don't realize is that currencies are only a numerical representation of value," he adds. "As soon as there is a collective demand for goods, both virtual and 'real' value is created. Humans developed currencies to represent this value in a tangible way, and to make the exchange of these goods more liquid. When there is collective demand from real people for an item within a game market, the same value is created as anything else in the world, and you can put a number on it. That number can be different depending on the currency you are using to represent the value."

To read the whole Q&A, head here. Eventually he goes on to talk about the slowing Diablo 3 market, saying that in the first month, the turnover rate for the "market price" of an item was within 2 days consistently. Now the turnover of a "market price" can be a week or more. This slowing economy may be due to the issues surrounding the game's ending, a lack of PvP support and the exclusion of a ladder system. he said.

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  • proxy711
    Well i can see how this could be true. If you look at the first few days after the RMAH came out people were buying stuff like crazy. I saw streamers make $750 in a few days selling bad to decent gear, Not even the best item drops. Part of that was the game was fairly new and the amount of crazy good gear was very low.

    Out of maybe the 10-15 items that I put up on the RMAH I've made $40 after fees, none of them any good. If you play the market and dedicate your time to making money on the RMAH you could make some good money.

    I'm pretty surprised at the stuff selling on the RMAH to be honest. Its one thing to go out and buy a set of golf clubs for golf, but the way game items work is you never truly own the item you're just paying the money to rent it. Not to mention when you play golf its not like you will find a better set of clubs laying on the ground that you can upgrade too =P.
  • classzero
    I wish I enjoyed the game more to play and make some money. I did the endgame with three classes and said "To heck with it", and boxed it.
  • Netherscourge
    ...and that 10K is actually minus the 15% Blizzard nabbed from him.
  • nikorr
    ankit0x1hahaha...+10% tax +10% electricity bill +10% internet bills etcWhat is so funny?

    All that will be added to taxes.

    Including the PC+games and all the equipment with office space and portion of the electricity.

    Don't u know?
  • nebun
    if he thinks an expensive golf club set helps him play better then he really needs to learn the clubs has nothing to do with it, it's called skill
  • digiex
    Wow! Play Diablo 3, have fun, have money!
  • djscribbles
    In the meantime, he could have been made $10,000 at a real job AND contributed to society in a meaningful way.

    Trolling aside, I'm sure it takes quite a bit of chops to make that kind of cash just playing the virtual economy game, and is likely a pretty useful skill-set to build up for playing the real virtual economy game some day.
  • rosen380
    "if he thinks an expensive golf club set helps him play better then he really needs to learn the clubs has nothing to do with it, it's called skill"

    So you are saying there is no difference between playing with a cheap set of 25 year old golf clubs and an expensive modern set? Essentially, anyone spending more then $20 on a set from a thrift shop is just throwing their money away?

    What do the professionals use?
  • teh_chem
    Reminds me of the article about how Valve hired an economist to examine their in-game economies.

    How much actual time did it take him to make that $10k?

    nebunif he thinks an expensive golf club set helps him play better then he really needs to learn the clubs has nothing to do with it, it's called skill
    Not really--golf clubs have a profound effect on game once you get to a high level of skill--much like how any "enthusiast" object has a significant impact on your ability. Take competitive PC gaming, for example--high-end keyboards, mice, and network cards are geared toward giving the player an edge that they can't get with just average components. On the amateur level, these things are probably not noticeable, but as you increase your skills and abilities, you start to get limited by the components and not your abilities--so it all matters, it's not just skill. An expensive driver can get you more distance than a crap driver once you hit that skill level.

    Same goes for running shoes if you're a competitive runner. Or racing tires and car design for competitive racers. At some point if you're good enough at something, your ability to achieve more is limited by the components you're using.
  • buckcm
    This is nothing. People make $10,000 per month on games like Runescape by gold farming. It's been harder with all of the updates, but this is still true.