There's nothing new about buying and selling items in role-playing games. Hell, it's a staple of the genre.
But when we enter the realm of real honest-to-goodness money, the whole complexion of the buying and selling changes. Blizzard Entertainment has revealed its Battle.net service, which features cool stuff like friends lists, cross-game chat, full matchmaking services, etc. But as Joystiq elaborated upon, we'll also get an auction system.
For use in Diablo III , players will be able to spend real money on in-game items. Players will actually buy items from each other; you can try to sell stuff you don't want and buy other stuff you need…all with real dollars that reside in your real wallet. For the service, Blizzard will take "fixed fees" and although we don't have any pricing details just yet, they said these fees would be "nominal." Any money you earn can be kept in your Battle.net account for spending on Blizzard products and services.
Vice President of game design Rob Pardo talked about this idea (click the link above for more) and explained:
"Ultimately, players want it. If Blizzard doesn't do this system, I'm not so naive to think that it's not going to happen. In the past we've really taken this hardline stance of, we will just try to stamp it down in every place that we can. And we could take that approach. But I actually think that with Diablo, it actually will end up being a good thing, at least something that players will be excited about. It really is something that a lot of players are already looking to do."
He's referring to Diablo II players unofficially buying and selling in-game items, by the way. So if the hardcore would do it before, why wouldn't they do it again? Might as well have the publisher sanction it, right?
Related Game(s): Diablo III