How to Make Money Playing Diablo III

EDIT: This post was originally written 6 months before Diablo 3 even existed. For a more updated strategy that is making players $5 per 100,000 gold right now, please take a look at: Everyone Can Make Money Playing Diablo 3.


Diablo III's separate auction houses (one for gold, one for real money) is causing quite a stir amongst gaming sites and news organizations alike. The comments made by excited gamers can all be boiled down to two categories:

1. Players are upset that Blizzard is somehow supporting the sweat shops and prisons which have reportedly been used in china to run gold farming businesses in games such as World of Warcraft.

2. Players are rejoicing that they will be able to turn their excess gold into cash while playing the game. In essence, they believe that all players will be able to make money playing Diablo III.

Both of these ideas are misconceptions due to inexperience with manipulating both online and offline economies. As an expert multi-millionaire gold maker in World of Warcraft, which appears to have a virtually identical auction house setup from screen shots of Diablo so far, I am already seeing inconsistencies in these misconceptions. Let's leave misconception number one for another time and instead focus on players incorrectly believing that they will be able to turn their excess gold into real money. I'll then show you my initial theory on how it will be possible to make real money from your Diablo gold.

So Can You Make Money Playing Diablo III?

If you played World of Warcraft, you know that the auction house in that game requires a deposit in order to post items. Diablo will have a real money deposit for posting auctions in the real money auction house as well. You don't get this deposit back unless you sell the item and even then you pay a % fee for your sale. In order to make actual real money from your gold in Diablo III (or items or characters or whatever you intend to sell), you will need to beat both the lost posting fees on unsuccessful sales as well as the auction house cut of your winnings. Oh by the way, Blizzard will also charge a fee every time you remove money from your Blizzard account and transfer it through a yet to be announced third party to your personal bank account. Those are three separate fees you will need to beat in order to make real money playing Diablo III.

Not so easy now is it? Especially if all of Diablo III players are housed on a handful of servers, competition is going to be fierce. To make matters worse, the average player will not watch the auction house frequently enough to understand what they should be charging on any given day for their gold, characters, items, etc. They are going to always post for the lowest amount hoping to cash out right away. Depending on the fees associated with posting, they could lose real money just as often as they make it.

This is where I'm going to come in and help you. I, Markco, pledge to dominate the Diablo III real and gold auction house alike, just as well as I did in World of Warcraft. For starters, I'm going to identify the cycles of Diablo III's auction house, speculate on the best times to buy and sell, as well as help you with finding ways to beat the fees which Blizzard will impose upon all of your auctions. I'll also try my best to discover the best methods for turning your gold into cash, which may involve selling characters, items, or other commodities instead of the gold itself.

Initial Theory

I don't like to play games just to make money, so I will focus on ways to earn real money while actually playing Diablo III for the fun of it. What I'll show you over time is how to gauge the flow of the auction house and keep track of how the gold to dollar ratio develops over time. Since players tend to play more on the weekends and less during the week, I can assure you that the value of gold will change drastically during each weekly cycle. Vacation times and summers should also see large differences in value from say a typical school weekday in America. Learning to track these cycles and predict the value of gold days in advance will allow you to not only sell your own gold but also buy out other players' gold stashes to sell later.

Obviously making as much gold as possible from your artisans and slaying monsters will be a part of making real money from your Diablo III gaming, but it won't matter if you're the richest gold tycoon in the game unless you know how to successfully sell your gold off. Many players will make the mistake of amassing gold and then trying to sell it with no concept of how to overcome the Blizzard fees.

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Please share your thoughts on the matter!



  1. I followed Just My Two Copper to great success, and I'm looking forward to following this gold guide as well!

  2. I met Blizz's decision with skepticism at first. Then, after thinking about it for a minute, realized that the buying and selling of items and gold for real world currency happens all the time. This simply replaces Blizzard for account hackers as the middle men.

    I've been able to use jm2c to make around 400k in just a few months, and that was with a minimal amount of effort. I look forward to following your journey through Sanctum.

  3. Thanks Jeremy, I'm so excited for this game!!!

    So. Excited.

  4. Congrats RKramden! I hope to help you make just as much gold in Diablo III!

  5. Hey Markco!

    Longtime fan, haven't played since Wrath, but when I saw the AH announcement the first thing I thought was to check JMTC for some ideas! Sure enough, whadya know? You already got a D3 site in the works!

    Looking forward to hearing of your upcoming endeavors!

  6. You seem to have missed some information in the interviews...

    "You don't get this deposit back unless you sell the item and even then you pay a % fee for your sale"
    That is not true. You pay a flat fee, not a percentage like wow.

    "finding ways to beat the fees which Blizzard will impose upon all of your auctions"
    You will get a certain amount of "free" auctions pr week that you can post with no fee even if they dont sell.

    1. I'm on the Europe servers and there is no listing fee at all just the fee fro a successful transaction I've had a good read through the F.A.Q, forum and the T's & C's and can't find any reference to listing fees for the real money AH.
      I've listed 30 items so far this week (well the same 10 items 3 times, not got time to watch the market and go to work lol) and not bee asked to pay a listing price yet.

      I've either overlooked something or you chaps across the pond are unfortunate.

    2. This post needs to be updated sorry... it was written 6 months before diablo 3 came out!

  7. I'm so glad you decided to do this. When I heard the news, I was literally saying in my head "Wheres Markco when you need him", but you've never let me down. A wish come true.

    All of your knowledge in these matters cannot be matched, especially in gaming economics. Now this blasted late game needs to come out, hopefully for a December release.

  8. Markco, mate, if there's anyone out there that can make a success out of this, its you mate! Waiting with baited breath for the game as well as your input into it. You've taught me so much already - not just about making gold in WoW, but IRL as well. A lot of your principles apply perfectly into real world economics and business.

    Looking forward to dominating with you! :)

  9. @Lax I was not specific enough, thank you for that. I believe that the flat fee is there to prevent people selling one gold at a time.

    @Adam and @Eddie I'm excited to see you both here and I won't let you down!

  10. You are missing a key point Markco,

    There will be 1 Auction House linked across the entire regions (Read: Likely 1 US auction house)

    This means that everyone in the US is competing with everyone in the US.

    Now addmitedly this also means that you can sell to any buyer in the US.

    Just be prepared that as you and a select couple other savvy players unravel the intricacies every time you post regarding a new idea the masses will jump into it killing the profitability.

    Now this will actually work in your favor from a RMT perspective as only you will know what gets posted in advance and what markets are about to crash.

  11. lol
    Didn't take much to bring you back.
    There has been lots of hate over this, so funny to see someone soooo excited.
    But we all knew if this didn't wake up the sleeping Markco from the gold game, nothing probably would (well except for World of Starcraft on the real stock exchange)
    So this can only mean one thing - CTA rises from the ashes. Hope the boys r into this style of gaming as you will be.
    I loved D1, but not D2 so much. D3 is gonna be big no matter what.
    oooops BG just popped, must go focus that prot PVP war

  12. I can't say I am as happy as you guys are. From where I am standing the link between game and real money will only draw hackers to attack the company database, like it happened before in other situation.
    I do hope I am proven wrong.

  13. If your on beta, the auction house is still available. So my question is can you make money through the beta at the moment?