With Real Money Auction House gold trading down and the gold prices of items in the Gold Auction House skyrocketing it can be pretty hard to progress your Diablo 3 character without buying Gold from a third party gold seller - but is it worth the risk?
Before you whip your credit card out to ease the effects of gold inflation on the character that you worked so hard on you should first consider the risks and the rewards of doing so. With a string of recent videos and articles Diablo 3 gold farming and sales is becoming more and more understood and this means that you can really do your research before dealing with gold sellers and power levellers.
No, this is not an article designed to scare you off buying gold. I fully believe that a free market does and should exist when it comes to in game economies such as that in Diablo 3, and this includes third party activity. However, I strongly believe that people should be fully informed as to what the risks and rewards are before getting involved in the grey markets of the gaming world.
Where Does the Gold Come From?
This is a pretty big deal for most people and it's about whether this economic activity is ruining the game or affecting other people. Is the gold you are buying legitimately obtained? Is it farmed using bots or hacks? Is it stolen from hacked/compromised accounts? Most people aren't bothered by the first method and maybe even not by the second method, these things happen regardless of gold selling and the developers have to design a game that can deal with or prevent excessive farming while still allowing normal players ot enjoy their games. However, the third option doesn't sit right with many people and with good reason. A small proportion of the gold you buy is always going to come from hacked, stolen or otherwise compromised accounts - and this really hurts the people affected by this.
The interview with a professional 'Chinese gold farmer' below is quite long but it reveals a lot about the different sources of gold in the market and how you can never be truly sure about how 'clean' the gold is that you buy - regardless of what the seller claims.
Professional 'Chinese Gold Farmer' Tells All
Account Security - Will Your Account Be Stolen if You Buy Gold?
It's a pretty common misnomer that the most common form of hacking or account theft is due to people buying in game currency or items from gold sellers. This is actually very unlikely - if you avoid any site that asks for your account password. Kind of obvious, I know, but many of the shady sellers prey on people's gullibility and tell them that they need their account password to deliver the purchased goods. This is never the case and if you give out your password to these types of sellers be prepared to lose both your account and your money. 'Legitimate' gold sellers will always have an in game character deliver the gold to you, usually through a trade window in your game or by simply dropping the gold on the ground for you to pick up.
What about power levelling? Paying for your account to be professionally levelled is always a very risky move. You have no choice but to give out your password to have this service performed and you are essentially at the mercy of the service provider. I do not recommend using a levelling service for this reason, but if you still plan on going ahead with it make sure that you only use a service that you have recommended to you by someone your trust.
If accounts aren't hacked through gold sales then how are they hacked? Common knowledge in the gold selling industry and revealed in the video below is that the most common source of account compromises is actually through third-party fan sites and forums - and user error. Do you use the same password for your game as you do for forums and other fan sites? It's only a matter of time if you do...
Interview With a Diablo 3 Gold Farmer. Gold Farming, the In-Game Economy, and Account Security
Is it Illegal to Buy Gold for Diablo 3?
In short, no. You cannot be prosecuted for buying in game currency via a third party site and it is perfectly legal to do so. However, it is against Blizzard's terms of service to buy in game currency or to pay for power levelling through third party sellers and you risk your account if you do so. Blizzard can and will ban many people involved in these grey markets, if you regularly buy gold from known gold sellers then you have a high likelihood of losing your account at any moment. You have to ask yourself if the stress of this worth the benefit to you.
How Else Can You Make Gold?
Although it can be very quick and easy to buy gold through a third party vendor there are other fast ways of getting gold already in the game (or will soon be).
Wait for the Real Money Auction House (RMAH) to Start Trading Gold
The RMAH might be just about to start trading in gold and wouldn't you be kicking yourself if your account was banned for buying gold on the grey market only a week before the official channels opened? If you are not in dire need (think about it) you might be better off just waiting.
Gold Find and Magic Find Gear
If you have a bit of gold to invest try buying some gear with high (15% and higher) gold or magic find affixes and start farming a lower level are then you are currently on. You probably wont find any decent gear for yourself but you might be surprised at how much gold you can make for yourself in just a few hours time.
Start Working the Auction House
Working the auction house, or 'flipping' is the single fastest way to make gold in Diablo 3 - faster than any of the manual farming methods. Flipping is all about knowing what is valuable and underpriced, buying it and reselling it quickly for a higher price (at least 20% more than what you paid). The gold market is incredibly inefficient due to people just wanting to offload their gear quickly and not wanting to take the time to value each item correctly. Even at a low level with an initial investment of 50-100k gold you can start buying and reselling these items for a profit. If you study a niche well enough and learn what sells and what doesn't you could be earning millions of gold a day easily, even when you can't play the game.
Check out the video below for some of the most valuable item affixes and attributes for selling on the auction house. Take some time to familiarize yourself with these and you will get off to a quick start.