We all knew this was going to happen. You might already know that Blizzard has announced a fully safe and superb new feature — The Auction House — which players can use to sell or buy in-game items, artifacts, or rare weapons to or from other players across the server.
Since the first major Dungeon Crawler or RPG (I'm talking about them specifically since those game usually have hundreds of items to collect), the player would just throw away or sell items they don't need to an NPC merchant in the game, and I daresay, those guys just rip you off .
With the Auction House, however, if you are playing the game as the Barbarian and you find a rare artifact which can only be used by the Witch Doctor, instead of throwing away such a great item or just selling it to an NPC, you can sell it online for gold or real money. There are more features like item requests, advanced search, and character to character trading (1:1 trading) for gold or real money or even trade between items.
There are two different versions of the Auction house — one using the currency as in-game gold and the other uses real money. Blizzard does promise that the experience will be hassle-free and completely safe (which I am inclined to believe since we all know how high level accounts sell in WoW). You can use one of the authorized methods for money trading or use the balance from your Battle.net account — both ways, I suggest you ramp-up the use of your PayPal account since Blizzard annouced it as their official auction house partner.
All money received from the Auction will have a 15% transfer fee (if you are wondering, that is too much) and you can link your PayPal account directly to the Battle.net account and the money will be transferred directly. You can buy or sell anything including armor, weapons, special artifact and even the in-game gold. Blizzard however wants this to be a strictly Player-driven experience and announced that all the items in the market will be posted only by other players and not by Blizzard (which is a welcome decision). They have also announced region-specific Auction Houses, so if you are in the US, you will be able to trade with players inside the US.
Here are the region specific servers and their money handling services:
The Americas Game Region
USD Auction House – Battle.net Balance and PayPal
MXN Auction House – Battle.net Balance and PayPal
AUD Auction House – Battle.net Balance and PayPal
BRL Auction House – Battle.net Balance only
CLP Auction House – Battle.net Balance only
ARS Auction House – Battle.net Balance only
Europe Game Region
EUR Auction House – Battle.net Balance and PayPal
GBP Auction House – Battle.net Balance and PayPal
RUB Auction House – Battle.net Balance only
Asia Game Region
TWD Auction House – Real-money auction house not available at launch (WTF?)
Players also have to attach a Battle.Net Authenticator or one among the three other authentication services to carry a balance of over $100 in their Battle.net account.
Also, the limitations of setting a tab for an item are:
Gold – min 100, max 100,000,000,000
Money – min $1.25, max $250
All supported modes of transaction are as follows:
The Americas: Battle.net Balance, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover
Europe: Battle.net Balance, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Visa, Electron, Virtual Visa, Visa Delta
To bring fairness to all of this, there will be a level cap on each item — meaning that you need to be of a certain level to use an item. So, players just cannot breeze through the game. Also, Hardcore-mode characters can only trade with other Hardcore characters and that can only be done with Gold. Blizzard said that they were limiting the Hardcore character's ability to trabe because the basic idea of playing in Hardcore is that there is a constant threat of being killed, so it would be unfair if you spent $250 on a new sword and got killed a few minutes later (no you cannot restart the game holding the same item so be careful). Also, you will not be compensated for any lost or dropped item which you had bought, so players are adviced to take good care of all your stuff.
Here's Blizzard's general information page on the Auction House…