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My friends and I were having a conversation about bitcoins, and randomly the question popped into my head.. why did Stones of Jordan become the "currency" at one point in Diablo 2?

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Diablo 2 had a barter economy, but gold itself was not valuable enough to trade for any high-end items (because there was a max amount you could carry). So the economy needed something that was more valuable to serve as a basis of comparison between the value of high-end items. That something needed to be small (so people could carry a number of them), valuable (so you didn't need 50 of them to equal a high-end item), and plentiful (so that you could get enough of them to trade for a high-end item) At times perfect gems were used, but even these were low enough in cost that it was hard to value high-end items. The Stone of Jordan became the default for several reasons

  • It was itself a high-end item that was useful to any character and most items could be valued as being worth a single digit number of Stones
  • Due to various quirks of the drop system where holding the other unique rings made it more likely to get SoJ, it was relatively easy to get, so it was not unusual for people to have several of them
  • Various duping bugs made it even easier to create Stones
  • As more people started to use it, it became the de-facto standard

This was around patches 1.06 and 1.07, way before Uber Diablo was created as a way to try to siphon off the ridiculous number of Stone of Jordans that were in the economy. Later Blizzard took actions to remove the duplicates, causing the economy to look for alternative bases for the economy, eventually settling on high-end runes.

Here are some additional references

http://diablowiki.net/Stone_of_Jordan

http://everything2.com/title/Diablo+II+Stone+of+Jordan+Economy

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    Aww, a reference link to everything2! That's so adorable! May 20, 2011 at 14:39
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    I remember trading 40 P-gems for 1 SoJ. Think of pence vs pounds.
    – zzzzBov
    May 20, 2011 at 14:45
  • @Nick I don't know anything about the site, but it came up in a Google search on the topic, and had some good information.
    – bwarner
    May 20, 2011 at 14:50
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    It's a pretty old site, my first experience with a wiki-like thing on the internet. I'm surprised it's still around but not surprised that it has a wealth of information from the time period of D2 and SoJs. May 20, 2011 at 15:03
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    Very interesting. I was wondering what that "x stones of jordan sold to merchants" message was that kept popping up! May 20, 2011 at 20:14
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The biggest reasons SoJ became the defacto standard is the ease of duping pre 1.09. Those SoJs are typically called pre SoJs and can readily be identified by their lack of a level requirement. The key to this is because after 1.09, all uniques came with a UID of some kind, and if there were ever 2 UIDs of the same item in a game, one (or possibly both) will 'poof' and be deleted. There was a way to get around this issue since all pre SoJs did not have this UID feature, and one could dupe them on the classic servers and then port them over to the expansion servers where they get newly generated UIDs.

Also, SOJs are just plain useful, giving +2 to skills and a lot of mana. Other than the duped rings or occasionally the BK Band, most people today still use SoJs.

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    Each SoJ only gives +1 to skills; you're assuming that you'd wear 2 of them. May 20, 2011 at 13:36
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    with low/no level requirements, there is really no reason not to wear 2 of them until you are high leveled enough to wear something better, like a duped ring
    – l I
    May 21, 2011 at 0:10

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