The one feature that is dividing the gaming culture is the addition of an auction house (the term marketplace seems more appropriate, though). The auction house will allow players to buy and sell in-game items using either in-game currency or real-life money. The auction house will also allow players to buy in-game currency with real-life money.
The market for real-life transactions in gaming is a touchy subject for most in the past few years. Many feel that in a multi-player situation, the size of your wallet should not be a determining factor in terms of game skill. In the minds of many players, the addition of an auction house using real-life money in Diablo III creates an unfair advantage for others in the game.
Despite the market for it, Blizzard says they will not be selling any items themselves. They want the economy to be entirely player-driven, with Blizzard only acting as an oversight to ensure safety and security when buying and receiving items and money. Blizzard is taking security a step further with loot, as each player will receive their own loot. Anytime a creature drops an item, each player will see their own iteration of loot, eliminating the ability of players to steal other player’s loot drops. Sellers on the auction house will also be anonymous, preventing players from only selling to certain players or preventing other players from becoming hostile with each other through the auction house.
Ultimately, the biggest complaint by players about the auction house is that it creates a situation where players can gain power through their wallet, but in a single-player game, does that matter? Diablo III is, by and large, a single-player game. Many claim it to be a competitive multi-player game due to the inclusion of PvP arenas, unveiled at last year’s BlizzCon. Blizzard themselves said that they will not be supporting the arenas in an official fashion, like they have with StarCraft II. If Blizzard isn’t worried about the competitive aspect of Diablo III, why should you be?
Though there is no announced release date for Diablo III, Activision-Blizzard stated at their last earnings call that beta testing will begin sometime in August or September of this year.