For as amazing as Diablo II was, the economy was rather quickly ruined by the sale of virtual items. Most of the better loot required a significant time investment - or luck - so many players naturally flocked to the more convenient option.
Blizzard, being the savvy developers that they are, has come up with a work-around for that: A flood of reports are coming in that Diablo III will feature an in-game auction house that will allow you to sell and buy virtual items (including virtual currency) for real cash.
In order to list your item on the real money version of the game's auction house, you'll have to fork over a small fee to Blizzard. As Diablo III executive producer Rob Pardo explained to GameSpot, this is to prevent players from crowding the auction house with junk.
Upon selling an item on the auction house, you have a number of options for handling your cash. If you'd prefer to use the money to pay for, say, your World of Warcraft subscription, you can have the funds placed into your Battle.net account. If you'd prefer that money winds up in your real-life hands, you'll have to go through a third-party payment provider, and another fee will be incurred.
The "real life" auction house will likely end up garnering mixed reactions from among the community, but the next bit that Blizzard revealed will have a difficult time finding favor with.. well, just about anyone - especially those with a shoddy internet connection.
According to IGN, Blizzard announced at a recent press event that Diablo III will be jumping aboard the always-on DRM bandwagon, meaning if you have any intent to play Diablo III, even in singleplayer, you better be connected to the internet.
"In both Diablo and especially in Diablo II, I think the intuition for a lot of people when they're playing the game is 'I want to make my character offline away from that scary battle net environment. And then once I have this powerful character, I'll jump online.' But the problem with that concept is we can't really detect if they're cheating. They might have the capability to hack their character, things like that, so at that point we can't really allow that character to be in the battle net environment. Then they're going to have to restart their character, which is exactly what happened in Diablo II, which was really unfortunate."
Blizzard has yet to grace Diablo III with a release date, but a beta is expected to kick off in the coming months.