Have you ever wondered what happened to so many American poker players after Black Friday? How many of your players simply disappeared overnight?
Especially the professional poker player. Some moved to countries like Canada and continued to play from there. Some switched to live games. Others went to a 9-5 job, giving up on poker.
Then there’s people like my friend Kevin Newland, who looked at unconventional methods of making money.
Like playing Diablo 3.
Kevin was one of quite a few people who decided to make money online via Diablo 3. He started to tell me about it, and I found it so fascinating I just had to interview him. I love hearing about methods of making money online that are unconvential, and I’m sure you guys will too.
You used to play online poker regularly until Black Friday. Just how much were you playing prior to Black Friday, and since then how much did it hurt you?
Black Friday didn’t hurt me as much as others. About a month prior, I got a stake+coach deal for a 6-max super-turbos and cashed out my entire FTP roll. The only thing I lost was about $600 in frequent player points. Unfortunately, I spent a ton of time studying the new game and never got to take advantage. I would have been in a much tougher spot if Black Friday hit earlier, as I had about 80% of my cash locked up on Full Tilt.
Can you briefly explain exactly what Diablo 3 is. I for one just have a general idea, as I’m scared to go near any of those games due to the potential addiction factor. I lost a lot of good friends to World of Warcraft.
Diablo 3 is a “hack and slash dungeon crawler.” It’s primarily a single-player/co-op game where you control your one character, level it up, and attain better skills and items.
You ended up making money online via Diablo 3. How much exactly have you made, and in what timespan is that?
I profited about $6,100 in exactly one month.
What exactly did you do in Diablo 3 to make money?
I had two main methods of making money; using a bot program to farm in-game currency for me that I would sell off, and buying low/selling high as a gold reseller.
The bot program would continuously run your character through certain parts of the game, farming gold and items repeatedly, 24-hours a day. The botting community was extremely small when I started, so it took a long time to optimize the bot to farm at a decent rate (when I first purchased the bot, it was only making me about $2-$3 per hour.) Eventually, I added accounts, continued optimizing the bot, and got up to around $20/hour for doing nothing but turning on my laptop and walking away. The real-life value of gold started dropping significantly as more people started botting, and the existing botters added more Diablo 3 game accounts to make money at a faster rate.
As the price of gold crashed, I got out of the botting business up about $3,000 in just over 2 weeks. This was also around the same time that the RMAH (Real Money Auction House) was released; that is, a built-in trading system where you can buy or sell Diablo 3 items for real money.
After the RMAH came out, there were two active trading markets — one in which you can buy/sell items for in-game currency (gold), and the other which involved real life dollars.
With the botting community blown out of control, there was still no formal way to sell off the excess gold that the bots were farming for people (you can only sell items for cash in the Real Money auction house, not gold). Sure, you can simply use your gold to buy items, and then sell those items on the auction house, but botters are lazy and simply want to let their programs run and sell off their gold at minimal effort.
Because of this, I was able to buy hundreds of dollars worth of Diablo 3 gold from botters at low rates, and then invest it into in-game items which I sold for real life money legitimately through the RMAH. This netted me another $3,100 in exactly 2 weeks.
What sort of education and experience is required for someone wanting to do this – make money online via Diablo 3 or other games of that type?
The only really important knowledge to have when trying to turn in-game currency to real money through a blackmarket is Paypal security. These types of gaming communities are filled with scammers, and people will use stolen paypal accounts and credit cards to make payments which will eventually be stripped from you. Countless people tried to play the market similar to how I have, and were inevitably cheated out of hundreds upon hundreds of dollars until giving up.
Is this something where “the early bird catches the worm” applies, or is it something where someone could join up tomorrow and start making money?
There is still some money to be made from both botting and reselling gold and items, but it has required a lot more effort with significantly less profit. Neither of these methods can still be used to start making significant amounts of money. If there is money to be made, people will exploit it, tell their friends, and never leave until the market is completely dried up. As the game grows older, less people are spending real-life money on items, and more people are just looking to making a quick buck now that they’re bored with the game.
Was this your first time doing this in an online game? Or have you had experience from other games?
This is my first time making a fairly large sum of money in such a short period using a video game, but I’ve had a ton of experience in the market for the past 8 or 9 years. People really underestimate how many people there are, kids as well as adults, who are willing to spend money on buying a better weapon for their in-game character.
Is this a solitary job, or is there a community of people like yourself all working together? And how many people would you estimate are doing this?
At least in my case, it’s a completely solitary business. There is basically nothing to be gained from working with others unless you own and operate a massive gold-selling site, in which case it’s possible to have people work under you to find more players to buy from.
Most of the major resellers such as myself are actually still in the market, but they work differently than I do. Some are simply Chinese men who are only in business because of the language barrier between American botters and Chinese resellers, and others are using different methods than myself to profit (which I am unsure of, but if I had to guess, I’d say they own a gold-selling site where they sell at a markup.)
Does this ruin the enjoyment of Diablo 3 for you now?
Yes, actually, it already did. I haven’t truly “played” the game since I first bought the bot program. I ended up selling all of the items off of my character just to make additional money. After spending hours a day putting a price to items and gold, it’s really hard to justify playing a video game character that has $500-$1,000 worth of items equipped.
This is common for me, though. After my brother first showed me how he was buying and selling on the MMORPG “Everquest” in 1999, I’ve always been more interested in the economics behind games such as these rather than playing the games as intended.
What is next for you now? Will you still work on Diablo 3 making any money, or will you move onto other games if the opportunity arrises?
I’ve taken a break from Diablo, as the market has fallen a lot and I’d have to start yet another new project to get a new profitable business up and running. Live poker has also taken up most of my “work” time recently.
Thanks very much for the interview Kevin. It was much appreciated, and thanks for being so open about everything too.