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I just learned about Diablo 3 Real Money Auction house and I wonder how much money could I expect to gain from selling item on it.

More precisely, Is it reasonable to expect to retrieve my initial investment for buying the game?

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Can you cash in your Diablo money for real money? That would be very cool. –  Emerica. May 15 '12 at 19:13
    
Yes, you can have it sent to your Paypal account for a 15% fee. –  dlanod May 15 '12 at 19:15
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Making back the money shouldn't be too difficult, but in most games this typically takes far more time than a normal job would offer –  Domocus May 15 '12 at 19:44
    
@dlanod & emerica. No you cannot sell your G at this time. The commodity part of the RMAH is not up yet. In the future you will be able to though. Also when you convert your sale to real money, blizzard takes a 30% cut. They only take a 15% cut if you keep it as blizz cash.. –  Dave Jun 21 '12 at 14:44
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Please note that this question is being discussed here and in chat. In particular (aside from the bounty issue) it seems that this question is really subjective. As the answers state, it depends what items you find, how much time you put in, what you charge for items, etc. What's "reasonable" isn't really something that anyone can determine but you. It also seems to border on being a shopping question, and from my view isn't about gaming so much as personal finance/economics. –  Matthew Read Jun 23 '12 at 17:49
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4 Answers

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This question is ultimately down to how much you play, there are already answers both for and against you making back the cost of Diablo 3 on this question.

The truth is that if you play very little then NO - it is unlikely you will make your money back. However over time you may get lucky with individual drops that you may wish to sell on the auction house. It's not possible to give a definitive answer against making your money back.

If you play frequently then YES it is perfectly reasonable that you will make back the cost of the game. I personally have already made mine back and I know many others who have as well but this is from the point of view of having played for 300+ hours in a little over a month since Diablo 3 was released.

This all basically comes down to how long it takes you to get to the 'Inferno' difficulty, and how frequently you play the game within this difficulty. Once you get further into inferno difficulty (Act 2+) about 5% of the items that drop on average will be of a quality that people are looking for when they're willing to spend real money. The method that I have used is selling lots of items at low prices, but in contrast to this others have made the full cost of the game back in a single transaction.

The other thing to bare in mind, is that as more players get into this difficulty, the value of the market will begin to decrease over time as more items will become available to more players - again further demonstrating the inability to give a definitive answer to this question.

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No, I don't think it is reasonable to go into playing Diablo 3 with that assumption. There are currently too many unknowns to be able to reasonably say whether or not that will be the case, for example:

  • Will you get lucky with drops?
  • How much will items go for on the RMAH?
  • How much time will be needed to farm items to make gold?
  • Are you willing to spend that time?
  • Will the RMAH be overflowing with items because of the millions of players playing Diablo III?
  • How will non-binding items affect prices comared to WoW?

As it is an in-game facility, it can't be compared to D2 to get a historic idea of prices. Only dedicated players bought and sold in D2, whereas anyone can sell (and buy) in D3.

This answer will obviously change in time, as we know more about the unknowns above.

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Yes you can, but are you willing to invest the time?

Once you can farm inferno well, it's only a matter of time and luck before you find something that will bring the big bucks. Unfortunately this usually entails a 200-300 hours of play time, and tens of millions of G spent on items.

I wouldn't expect to make the money back for a few months or even a year if your a casual player, but if you stick with it, you can definitely find gear in inferno that will compensate the initial cost. Just don't expect to be making an income off of the RMAH.

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Yes

enter image description here (image credit)

Of course, this was for the initial surge of the RMAH where prices were unknown for buyers.

However, there is obviously a market for high quality (ilevel 61+) items:

Since one good item can easily sell for the maximum of $250, that is over 4 times the initial "investment" in the game. However, even the modest seller can rack up $60 worth of gear with lucky Inferno-level drops.

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These are interesting data points, but unfortunately don't speak to whether it's reasonable to recoup one's investment. For example if it takes hundreds of hours of play and/or insane lottery-winning luck to get a drop that sells for $250, the OP has a rough road ahead! –  Wikwocket Jun 21 '12 at 16:46
    
It is perfectly reasonable to expect that you would make your money back simply by playing the game. The important definition here is playing the game - once you've got to inferno about 5% of the items that drop on average would be suitable for listing on the RMAH. Many people have already made more than they paid for Diablo III (myself included) without aiming to do so - I have a playtime of over 200 hours though, but this 200 hours was spent playing the game, not farming for the RMAH. At this time I have not specifically farmed for RMAH once. –  kalina Jun 22 '12 at 9:58
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