Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of Starcraft, Warcraft and the Diablo series, released the details for their newest patch in Diablo 3. This patch (2.2.0) is purported to include new legendary sets, changing of the effects of some items (mostly legendary), new cosmetics, and the adoption of a new file system called “CASC”.
This patch also backdoored an announcement to include even more changes to the Asian region only. Those changes are the new addition of a micro-transaction currency called “Platinum” along with new cosmetic items and timed experience boosts.
If the news of the “Platinum” currency has a Déjà vu effect for some of the readers out there, you guys wouldn’t be far off. Diablo 3 when launched (May 15th 2012) had a place where users can spend real money and/or game currency (gold) on items in a virtual auction house. This was a response to Diablo 2 where people were selling items on Ebay. Previously in Diablo 2, Blizzard wouldn’t get a cut from people selling their items on Ebay and the consumer could easily get scammed with fake items.
The in-house auction system was plagued with numerous problems that were well-known at the time. The Korean government wouldn’t allow Diablo 3 to be released because of the in-game real money system used due to their ban on gambling in video games. The Korean market for Blizzard games is some of the biggest thanks to the success of Starcraft and losing out on it caused headaches to Blizzard. Diablo 3 got the sought after Korean release by cutting off the real money auction house.
Their foray with peer-to-peer micro-transactions didn’t just end badly within Korea; it affected the gameplay for everybody. Many stories started to come out about people being scammed (some of those stories were completely factual while others were histrionic ramblings of a person claiming victimhood). In either case, this brought a litany of issues to Blizzards porch. A company that just wants to sell games and cosmetic items was brought in to the world of banking, going from monitoring servers and clans to monitoring financial transactions through Paypal. Blizzard’s method to profit off of their game by cutting off unregulated peer-to-peer sales backfired tremendously.
Blizzard announced on September 17th, 2013 that the auction house will be phased out to only accept gold (currency you get from monsters). This meant that the first expansion in to real money was an utter failure which only lasted for about a year. Blizzard, which had spent an enormous time on their real money auction system, cut their losses short until patch 2.20. The new patch isn’t even out yet.
Platinum is the new currency Blizzard wants to amp up and push into the game. It’s reported to be in Asia only, though as we gamers should know by now, any method that can be used to wring out money for pixels is a method a developer will use. Coinciding with timed exp boosts and the fact that Blizzard announced cosmetic changes to the User interface means it will probably hit NA/EU later. If it works in Asia, expect this new change to come to the Western World within a year or two.
Blizzard as a company does make gigantic follies, such as the auction house and not capitalizing on the moba franchise by acquiring DOTA when offered to them. Their follies however are not irredeemable failures. The DOTA failure made them invest a lot of money in to big successes like Heroes of The Storm. Even Diablo 3 itself was met with huge derision on launch but has managed to improve itself within 3 years of it’s existence. Blizzard has only one chance to go platinum because they can’t fool consumers with white gold anymore.
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