after reading that, I'm left thinking "wtf". Can you elaborate on this, such as what's incomplete or how real-money extra costs are required?
Bashiok stated that the Auction House factors into the frequency/quality of items that are dropped in any given game:
Given that this affects all players (the always online requirement) I am left in the awkward position of being one of those few guys that only plays solo, and refuses to use the auction house. That means I play with nerfed drops, without the counter (the AH) to balance it out. Is it silly of me to want to play without the Auction House? Yeah, maybe. I never traded in D2, either, but at least there my drops weren't nerfed to compensate for trading. I'm not in this to participate in some kind of virtual economy meta-game. I want to play the game by making use of what I find, self-sufficient and self-contained.
In fact, it boggles my mind that anyone would want to use the AH, rather than, you know, actually playing the game. Given that gear in D3 is the sole means of customizing your character, what you are doing by buying the best gear you can find on the AH is in effect paying to skip past the best parts of the game. The only reason you need gear is to be able to take on tougher enemies. Tougher enemies drop better loot, better loot helps you take on tougher enemies. It's a feedback loop that forms the very core of the game. The real money auction house allows you to skip all that and go right to "I win teh gmae!!!" Where's the fun in that? Blizzard has gone the route of free-to-play, pay-to-win, whatever you want to call it; only with the added fiendish cleverness of making you pay $60 bucks up front.
My character when I quit, in Act 3 Nightmare, was still wearing most of the equipment he was wearing when he finished Normal, because stuff just wasn't dropping. I was getting lots of loot, sure, but it was an overabundance of gear that was not an upgrade. Plenty of stuff with Strength; I even found a couple magic wands with +Strength. How stupid is that? Coupled with the lack of character customization, and the fact that the skills and runes I wanted to use had all been unlocked for quite some time, meant that I was effectively playing a character who had not progressed, at all, in over 10 hours. That's when I decided to hang it up. The feedback loop was broken, even though I wasn't using the AH to purchase "I WIN" gear. Now, sure, if I had grabbed my ankles, bit my lip and hung on I eventually would have squeezed out an upgrade. But 10 hours without any progress was enough for me. Funny that if they had retained the incremental upgrade system of D2s skill trees (instead of eschewing them in favor of this recycled FPS weapon loadout crap) I would have hung in there. The incremental progression would have kept me on the hook.
I guess I've kind of overreacted on all of this, though. I wasn't nearly as angry as I seemed to be. Mostly sad, because like many others I looked forward to this game for so long. But I'm pretty much over the whole thing now. Got my refund after a couple hours on the phone, I'll probably use some of it to buy Torchlight 2. That game, at least, is shaping up to be a worthy Diablo 2 sequel.
I reckon this'll be the last time I gripe about D3. Done is done. The world has moved on, the writing is on the wall.