Latest version of action-RPG hindered by controversial in-game real-money shop.
Stieg Hedlund, the original lead designer behind classics Diablo and Diablo II, has said that Blizzard’s Diablo III was damaged by its in-game auction house where gamers could exchange real money for better equipment.
Speaking with PC Gamer, Hedlund explained that it was hard for him to view his successor Jay Wilson's work dispassionately, describing a lot of the changes to the game he helped create as being "perceived negatively".
When asked about the real-money auction house, the designer replied: "I think it had detrimental effects on gameplay throughout."
He explained that particularly good items were restricted from being freely available through gameplay in order to encourage people to splash out extra cash.
"I don’t think it's a matter of being greedy," Hedlund emphasized, saying that Blizzard looked at the success of Diablo II, which is still being played over 10 years since its launch, and wanted to find a way of monetizing that.
"We're still a business. We need to make money," he continued, adding: "But we need to do it in a way that feels natural and doesn't feel bolted on and forced on the player, but that actually makes sense to them."