Blizzard invited several members of the press earlier on Tuesday to their headquarters in Irvine, California, revealing two controversial features: a constant Internet connection (that is, no offline mode) and an auction house that uses real money (click above image to enlarge), along with one that uses in-game gold.
Though the auction house is completely player-driven, the catch is that Blizzard, much like eBay or TD Waterhouse, will charge players a fee to list an item and another fee for a complete transaction. It can be seen as measurements to prevent spam on the boards, but if I might borrow Eddie Murphy for a second: "Sounds to me like you guys a couple of bookies."
My hope is that the fee will be at best a break-even venture for Blizzard, earning enough money to run the auction house and maybe a little profit along the way. However, I don't see how this prevents players from just doing trading the old-fashioned way on a third-party site.
This also gives a huge incentive the gold farmers, though they can't join a player's game without permission. Still, don't be surprised to find the most valuable items in the game just chilling in the auction house for pennies on the dollar posted by some guy in America who got in from
a prisoner another guy in China. Since the Diablo franchise is essentially a lootfest, this just might ruin the "fest" part. Sure, you have the same chance of finding an item as any other person, but against a million gold farmers, chances are that your rare item isn't special at all.
But perhaps the more pressing matter is the constant online connection, which effectively removes any and all mods whatsoever. And since there is no offline mode, there will be essentially no modding work whatsoever. That's a large sacrifice and measure to prevent cheating.