Diablo III: The Dark Side of the Real-Money Auction House

Most of us could only ever hope to make a few dollars off of Diablo III‘s Real-Money Auction House, but for some Blizzard’s controversial new feature has turned out to be a gold mine–and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s attracting a growing number of shady characters.

For Diablo III player WishboneTheDog, the Real-Money Auction House, or RMAH, has been a somewhat reliable source of extra income–a lot of extra income. In a post on Reddit, the player offers proof that they have made an astounding $10,000 since the RMAH launched around two months ago.

WishboneTheDog, a university student attending business classes, credits lessons learned from the stock market as being instrumental to their success in Diablo III‘s Real-Money Auction House.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about the markets in a game like this, especially now with a real money option in-game, and I hope I can clear some up,” he wrote. “I said amAa [ask me almost anything], because the one thing I’m not going to disclose is the specific items I have bought and sold, and a few specifics about my techniques and trade secrets, simply because it’s part of what makes me successful :P I will try to answer most things, though.”

The Diablo III player said that they accomplished this all without hacking, employing the use of automated programs, or scamming–but the same can’t be said for many who are making a killing off of the RMAH.

CNET writer Joseph Hanlon learned the hard way that Diablo III‘s RMAH has become so profitable that some are starting to target PayPal accounts for their RMAH money laundering schemes. Hanlon recently learned that his bank account was completely wiped out, and all of that money was used to rake in an estimated billion or more of Diablo III gold.

“When you think about it, it is sort of like money laundering; the dirty money is cleaned through the process of buying and then re-selling virtual currency,” Hanlon wrote in an article on CNET.

“Except that my money has never really been taken — it hangs in an electronic limbo until I can sort out the mess with PayPal and have it returned. In the meantime, the thief can successfully trade with the gold farmers and make off with the loot. I’m severely inconvenienced, PayPal has to field extra work investigating the claim and the gold farmers lose days worth of exploited game gold. The thief, on the other hand, makes off with several thousand dollars in cash and disappears into the ones-and-zeros.”

At least part of the reason that Blizzard employed the Real-Money Auction House in the first place was to thwart third-party sales of virtual goods–but from the looks of things, the RMAH isn’t doing a whole lot to help that. If anything, it could have made it worse.

Do you have any success stories (or horror stories) to share about Diablo III‘s Real-Money Auction House?