Hi guys, first time posting here.
Quick background about me:
I've been playing video games for all my life, first contact with Blizzard's game was WC2. Still remember the days when I played Diablo over dialup and Bnet with my dad. One of the few ways he kept in touch with me since he's always travelling (though most phone calls started with "Can you please help us get our equipment back?" Man the penalties in games were harsh back then). Then I got involved with Ultima Online, got bored, started looking selling digital goods, it really took off in the late 90s, early 2001, with plots of lands and gold. Made a few grand. Never pushed and capitalized on it since I was from a traditional family so off to University I go. Bounced around a few MMOs, made some money selling CoH currency as well (I remember just spamming the in game chat to see if anyone would buy. Very reckless. Very profitable).
Then on to WoW. Now the market is really taking off, with chinese farmers, peons for hire, ige, eBay removing all digital sales, it became harder and harder to make a money off a hobby I loved. During WoW, I had to resort to maintaining a client list (trust was hard, thanks to all the chinese account hackers) and botting. Max bots I ran was 16. It was retarded. Went on a 4 month spree before getting caught. I'm a through and through guy, so I asked Blizzard if I could retain my original account, admitted my mistakes, etc. They were cool with it. It's funny, I'd go into my Bnet account and see all the list of banned accounts except 1. Guess I'll never be able to work for Blizzard eh?
So all this time, I was working towards some kind of career in design, honing my skills, hitting the books. (UI/UX/IX Designer are usually what I tell those who ask what I do. Really into startups, products with value, lean methodology and all that jazz).
Now that Blizzard is 'legalizing' trading/selling of real money/items between players and players, it's definitely going to shake things up. In our industry lingo, it's creating a 'disturbance'. It's doing something different and everyone's going to pay close attention. Take out your note books and observe what is going to happen kind of event.
This has my attention. Opportunities will rise, products and features will be created, value of them will be validated. It's very exciting.
So I'd like to ask a question, or start a discussion:
Blizzard's fee is rather exhorbent. A fixed listing fee kills any incentive for small value trades and a massive 15% cut to boot. These are the price you pay for a secure transaction.
But is there value in a site where people can trade easily? With no fees or cuts? (Current trade forums are a joke. I'm not sure why anyone haven't really paid any attention to creating a feature for a better trading experience. Using a forum/message board for trading is pretty ghetto. Time to shake things up.)
The big question is if there is a service that provides a better trading experience, (but it will be outside the game), and you avoid the fees and the cuts, is that incentive enough for people to use it?
(Related Question: Since D3 will be a much, much more item and economy driven game than WoW, will people barter? Does Blizzard have a solution to those that wish to barter instead of using RMAH?)
Second question: What happens to those that doesn't want to use the AH? Or the deal value is too low to be on AH? What happens to those traders? (Since this isn't WoW where you can spam /2 on just your server, chat channel is a poor solution to this problem).
What are your thoughts on this?