Blizzard's Jay Wilson may not be involved with Diablo 3 anymore, but he was at GDC this week to talk about the work he did on Diablo III as game director. Kind of a big deal, and all. Incidentally, the man who many love to blame for the game's issues openly admitted during a panel that Diablo III's Auction Houses were detrimental features.
For anyone who wasn't aware, Diablo III has two Auction House systems: one uses in-game gold, the other uses real money. During development, Blizzard sort of assumed that these would somehow reduce fraud while providing a wanted service to Diablo players, and that only a small percentage of the community would use it, thus keeping the market in check.
Unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan. Instead, nearly the entire Diablo III player base began using one of the two Auction Houses, and over 50 percent use them regularly. Money became a huge incentive to play the game, and players had plenty to complain about. As Wilson puts it, the system they implemented "damaged item rewards" in the game, though he noted that "gold does much more damage than the other does" to the game itself.
"I think we would turn it off if we could," Wilson went on to say, but its not so simple, given how huge the game's become. As of now, Blizzard really "has no idea" how many players actually like the system and how many dislike it, and the company is hesitate to axe a popular feature. He did say, however, that the team is working on solutions.
Back in January, Jay Wilson stepped down from his role as game director for Diablo III, and went on to work on other projects. In 2012, he and other Diablo III devs got into some hot water when they trash talked the lead designer of Diablo and Diablo II.