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Diablo 3: Invest in Your Character

Updated on July 31, 2012

The real money auction house in Diablo 3 will make it possible for nearly every player in the game to make a little money on the side by just selling any extra items or gold that they acquire by simply playing the game. Most players will dabble a bit in the RMAH and enjoy the novelty of killing some virtual monsters for virtual loot, and then selling the pixels on their screen for cold hard cash. Some players, however, have the intention of turning their Diablo 3 experience into a full fledged business opportunity. I am one of those players.

The RMAH provides a legitimate business opportunity to MMO players that has been around since the times of Everquest and Ultima Online, but has never been fully condoned by the makers of the most popular MMOs...until now. Diablo 3's business model hinges on the RMAH. Because Blizzard will not charge its players a monthly fee to play the game, the only recurring revenue they will receive from the game will be the fees that are taken out of every transaction that takes place on the RMAH. Blizzard basically took control of the multi-million dollar virtual goods black market and are planning on lining their pockets with its cash. I intend to help them with that concept and line my own pockets a bit in the process.

Start Up Costs

Like any business, there are start up costs. Diablo 3's start up cost include:

  1. A decent computer with adequate hardware including a video card.
  2. One copy of Diablo 3
  3. Internet connection
  4. Research time prior to playing the game.

If you're thinking about making money playing Diablo 3, you probably already have numbers 1 and 3. The big difference between players who will make a little money playing the game and players that will make a lot of money playing the game will be in number 4, the time invested in research and planning. Since the announcement that the RMAH will be part of the game, there have been players doing countless hours of research on how to best utilize the system in place to make the most money possible while playing the game. There are blogs, websites, guides, and forums dedicated to making money playing Diablo 3. These players already have invested their time, which for most of them could have been spent on other entrepreneurial opportunities. Time is money, and if you are going to treat Diablo 3 like a business, the time you spend on any activities related to the game is an investment in your business.

Your Main = Your Cash Cow

Investing time into your research is important so that you can maximize your time in the game. If you already know what character you want to play, the build you will follow as you level up, and what artisans you want to focus on, you will not waste time in the game when you could be leveling, farming, or playing the auction house. Prior to logging in to the game for the first time, you should have a pretty good idea about what character you will make into your "main." For example, I will be playing a Barbarian as my main.

Your main character will be your cash cow. To be able to make money playing Diablo 3, you will have to have the means of acquiring gold, items, gems, and commodities. At the beginning, the only way to acquire these items is by playing through the game and killing monsters. To be successful, you will need to invest some time and resources into leveling your main and equipping him/her with items that will allow you to maximize your profits while playing the game.

For example, if level 45-50 items are selling for high profit margins, you need to be able to go farm those items as quickly as you can. If your main is only level 35 and you spend all of your time at the beginning playing the auction house instead of leveling, you will miss out on the level 45-50 item market. If your main is at level 60 and has some decent gear already, you can find the best place to farm for those hot selling items and quickly get them up on the auction house

Investmenting for the Long Run

To be successful at making money playing Diablo 3, players will have to find a balance between putting items up on the auction houses and investing resources into their main characters. At the beginning, it will be very tempting to put every piece of gold onto the RMAH and sell it off. Especially with the one week (at least) delay between launch and when the RMAH goes live, I think that the optimal long term strategy will be to follow a system that allows players to have auctions up at all times, but also invests resources back into the "business." I will be following something along the lines of:

  1. Make 100K gold
  2. Save 75K gold to sell when RMAH goes live
  3. Use 25K gold to level artisans, buy gems for main, or buy gear
  4. Repeat

Once the game goes lives, this strategy will probably be tweaked but the concept will stay the same. I will be saving gold to sell but also investing some back into my main character so that I can level faster, farm more efficiently, and make gold faster.

Investing in Artisans

The two artisans that are currently in the game are the blacksmith and the jeweler. The blacksmith has the ability to craft gear and weapons and also has the ability to "salvage" unwanted magic items and turn them into useful materials to craft other items. The jeweler will allow players to add sockets to their gear and also combine gems to create more powerful gems. To be able to create higher level gear and combine high level gems, you will need to invest some start up cash (gold) into each artisan.

These two artisans are meant to be "gold sinks" in the game, meaning that players need to spend gold to level up their artisans and spend gold each time they craft an item. Following the method I described above, my strategy is to select one of the artisans to master first rather than trying to level both at the same time. I will go starting off with leveling my jeweler, which seems to be against the conventional wisdom of most Diablo 3 entrepreneurs that I have chatted with. I will, however, level my blacksmith up a few levels and attempt to find a profitable market for a few items at the lower levels. For example, I expect boots with +movement speed to be very valuable and sought after. If I can level my blacksmith up two or three levels and craft a few boots to put up in some of my 10 auction slots, I'll use that strategy.

Overall Investment

The more time and money that you put into your main character, the more valuable your account will become and the more opportunities you will have as you progress through the game to make real money playing Diablo 3. Having a top level (60) character that is decked out in Inferno level gear means that you will be able to use that character to farm for some of the rarest items in the game, which will have the most value. It also means that you will have the ability to farm large amounts of gold, which you can turn in to real money or use on the gold auction house to buy and sell items for profits.

Other investments that you can make along the way include investing in leveling gear that has +exp, which will allow you to level alternate (alt) characters quickly. Eventually, Blizzard plans to allow players to buy and sell characters on the RMAH. If you have a few different +exp gear suits equipped with some high level gems that give extra experience, you would be able to power level new characters and put them up on the RMAH for a nice profit.

Overall, if you want to make money playing Diablo 3, you need to continually invest in your account and keep growing your business. However, do not get caught up in re-investing all of your profits into your characters. Put yourself on a plan like the one outlined above where you are selling a percentage of your profits and putting the rest back into growing your account. If you are serious about using Diablo 3 as a tool to make money, you need to treat it like a business and understand that your time is the most valuable resource you have. Iinvest it well.


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    • profile image

      spawn3d 5 years ago

      Hi guys!

      After 6 months i just finished diablo 3 forums - diablo 3 forums I'm looking for people who can help develope forum, I can even pay in game gold for nice guides... If you would like to help let me know on email or on (my nick spawn3d)

    • profile image

      John Dice 5 years ago

      Fast forward to now. Didn't work out how you thought it would, did it?

    • Sheepsquatch profile image

      Sheepsquatch 5 years ago from Springfield, MO

      I have been following this a little bit. I wonder how well it will take off or whether black market auction houses will continue. When selling items in the auction house 30% or more of the profits will be taken away by fees except in very valuable items where a flat fee is charged.