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.