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Diablo 3 Auction House

Updated on September 4, 2012

The Hard Truth about the Auction House

Ok so you have heard that you can make some pocket money out of the Diablo 3 auction house, pay for the cost of the game and perhaps a little extra on top. You have seen the clip on youtube where some guy has sold his legendary sword for $250. I have no doubt that some players have done that but only after countless hours of tedious repetitive game play. The hard truth is you will only succeed if you are able to put in hundreds of hours replaying the same acts time and time again. You might be better off putting those extra hours into some kind of work. The Real Money Auction House has been set up to allow Blizzard to cash in on the lucrative black market that existed in Diablo 2. Players put up items for sale on e-bay and the like. Security was an issue with black market deals and the in game auction house ensures you get what you are paying for. It also allows Blizzard to take a 15% cut plus transaction fees. Auction house profits are possible and I will outline a few possible techniques but just be mindful that the auction house is more about allowing players to enhance their characters than about making a buck... From a players perspective at any rate.



I have read that flipping is not encouraged by Blizzard and some writers have suggested it can lead to account bans. You can however buy equipment and use it for a period of time before selling it, Things to look for when buying equipment are your key statistics for your character type. ie dexterity for monks and demon hunters, strength for barbarians, Intelligence for wizards and witchdoctors, vitality for everyone. Resistances are always useful whilst magic and gold find bonuses are nice to have.

When buying a weapon you need that all important DPS number. A weapon with an empty socket is often cheaper on the auction house and the addition of a cheap flawless square ruby will add to your dps and hence the likely sell value on the AH.

One method you can use is searching for items which are listed below their sell value. Believe it or not this does happen and you can make a guaranteed profit by picking up items at auction and immediately selling to an in game merchant. This technique alone will not make you mega bucks however it can provide an extra stream of income if you are farming for gems.

There are a number of strategies I use to auction equipment. At lower levels your buyers will be levelling quickly and will want to win the auction immediately so they can access the equipment before they reach higher levels. Competitive buyout prices are the key. Once you get to higher levels decent equipment is more constant and your buyer may be more prepared to wait. You may decide not to place a buyout level in the hope that bid prices will be beyond your expectations. Be mindful that there is a lot of rubbish L60 equipment. You should use the search filters to guide you in setting auction prices.

Farming For Gems

Farming for Gems??? Glad you asked. When you perform a search in the auction house the system will show up to 500 entries that meet your selection criteria. A useful strategy is to search for socketed items and filter by time ending soonest. You then need to scroll through the list and view the stats of the cheaper entries. You are looking for socketed gems but only the ones you can make a profit out of. At the time of writing Flawless Square Amethysts were trading around 400, Topaz at 500, Rubys at 2400 and Emerald at 6200. The cost to remove a socketed Flawless Square Gem is 1560. My technique is to bid on any weapons with socketed Flawless Square Rubys which are listed at their sell price. I will also buy weapons with socketed Flawless Square Emeralds up to 3000 gold over their sell price. This way I know I can make the purchase, unsocket the gem, sell the weapon to an in game merchant and then auction the gems at a profit. Farming for gems also leads to opportunities to purchase reasonable equipment very cheaply. You even come across an ocasional Perfect Square or Star Gem at bargain basement prices.

Several times I have bought mid tier legendary weapons at or near their sell value. These items failed at auction because there was no buyout price or the buyout price was too high. Having bought the item cheaply I am then able to set a cheap buyout price which still generates good profit. Gaining 10k at auction for an item you paid 1400 for is not a bad result. The alternative is to salvage the weapon through the blacksmith. This unlocks the gem and crafting material but destroys the weapon. Therefore if the weapon sell value is less than the unsocketing cost you will be better off salvaging.

I have started a table below with Unsocketing costs however I have not been able to find costs for unsocketing the higher level gems. If anyone can fill in this gap I would appreciate it.

Gem Unsocketing costs and Break Even prices

Gem Type
Unsocketing cost
Auction price required to recoup unsocketing cost
Flawless Square
Perfect Square
Radiant Square
Flawless Star
Perfect Star
Radiant Star

Crafting Gems

It would make sense if you could take gems, upgrade them and realise a profit to reflect the value that you have added. Unfortunately, even at lower levels most players have the ability to craft higher level gems. Level 60 players are picking up all the tomes and the majority of the gems that they need. Courtesy of this free feedstock they are able to sell higher quality gems at discounted prices on the AH and still make a profit. Before you look at any scheme regarding gems you should look at one of the numerous gem calculators available. My advice for noobies is to disregard the jeweller at lower levels and purchase flawless square gems through the AH as required. Lower level gems can be sold to a noob on the AH who hasn't worked out the economics of the game. Always remember the 15% that blizzard will deduct from your auction proceeds.

Gems and Tomes will always be in demand. Supply appears to be constrained by the game mechanics and by player hoarding. There will always be opportunities for players who are prepared to buy and hold items until the market improves. You must however be aware of market pricing.

The Real Money Auction House

Think before you list. Is the item you are trying to sell available at a reasonable price on the Gold AH? If so your listing won't sell. You should only consider selling top level gems, gold and high quality weapons and armour. You also need to make enough money to overcome the 15% deduction and $1 paypal transfer fee.


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