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Dan Stapleton over at GameSpy managed to get some hands-on time with Borderlands 2. He does a fine write-up of the stuff you would expect from an FPS loot-grinding sequel. However, at the very end of the write-up he asks Gearbox's design producer, Randy Varnell whether Borderlands would consider a loot-based auction house like a Real-Money Auction House and Varnell lets it all hang out.
Expounding on Varnell's response, Stepleton writes...
...since Borderlands 2 is such a loot-driven game, will we see a Real-Money Auction House like Diablo 3's show up in the future? "I would say it would be unlikely," he answered. Whew! "It's certainly something that we're watching with great interest." Uh oh. "I know a lot of people are thinking about it and seeing where it is, but getting good loot from drops and creatures in the game is so important to the growth and the experience, and really the fun. It's what the loot games are really all about, you know?" Whew!
The main thing to take away from this is that Varnell basically makes it known (like probably every other developer out there) that they're watching the progress of the Real-Money Auction House with great interest because plain and simple, an RMAH enables a developer (and more likely the publisher) to create a revenue stream simply from player trades. As a company, you're making money basically on nothing more than players trading loot. Of course everyone is watching with interest.
The good part about it is that Borderlands 2 is two months out from release. An RMAH is practically impossible to implement within that time frame and it's something that would have to be considered more-so for Borderlands 3. Hopefully, it's not being considered for Borderlands 3 because as a lot of gamers have already expressed, an RMAH takes all the fun out of adventuring in a fictional world for cool loot. Added to this, the RMAH dictates loot drops for everyone who plays the game, which is really unfortunate for people who just want to log-in for a little while and loot-grind for a bit.
That's also not to mention that if Gearbox followed suit behind Blizzard, you'd have a game where the multiplayer is restrictive; always-on would be required to use the RMAH and it's likely that there would be no client-side offline mode.
I don't think I really need to explain how much worse Borderlands as a franchise would be if it utilized a real-money auction house and I'm glad Varnell sees that finding good drops is half the fun, something that becomes obsolete with the presence of an RMAH.
That's also not to mention all the legal hassles that come along with an RMAH and players who are currently losing money to policy loopholes in Blizzard's RMAH.
Thankfully, Borderlands 2 will be RMAH-free and we can all cheer about that on our way to local retailers to pick the game up this September. You can check out the entire article over at GameSpy.