Diablo 3's upcoming expansion is adding quite a bit of content, but Blizzard is using the opportunity to correct some things too. The studio is making no bones about it, either, as lead content designer Kevin Martens says the revised loot system is targeted squarely at the auction house.
"The loot system and the enchanting and crafting systems are both intended to cut the legs out from the auction house; to make it unnecessary to go on it to some degree, where the most fun way to play the game becomes the best way to play the game," Martens told PC Gamer. He said this is in reaction to users over-reliance on the auction house at the end-game, rather than getting new loot through play as intended.
The update will add smarter drops with more legendaries and extra effects, in addition to a new Loot Run mode that will randomly generate a small dungeon to grab some loot.
Blizzard has no plans to do away with the auction house completely, as Martens says that trading is still a perfectly valid way to gain items. "It's just that it's been skewed so if you're a character who's spending money maybe you're getting eighty percent of your gear from the Auction House, and 20 percent in game. It should be the reverse at best. It's more fun to kill monsters. It's the same thing I said about Loot Runs. If you want the best gear, let’s put it in a place in-game where you're killing monsters."
The auction houses have been criticized before, as former game director Jay Wilson said it "really hurt the game." It was the root of some technical problems as well, like a gold-duplicating bug that forced Blizzard to pull the auction house altogether, temporarily.