Blizzard is hoping to reduce player reliance on the Auction House with a new loot system to be introduced via patch.
The new loot system will go live via title update when upcoming expansion Reaper of Souls releases. It adds "smart drop" items which are tuned to your character, more legendaries, and an artisan who will allow players to transfer statistics from one item to another, as well as a Loot Run generator which allows for new, unique 20 minute dungeon crawls, which will result in the most efficient gear gathering, mathematically. In short, it takes some of the randomness and frustration out of loot runs, making you less likely to turn to the Auction House out of desperation.
"It is fun to go buy something instantly, the instant gratification feel, that sugar high, however it’s not the core fantasy, it’s not the most fun and by the endgame, for a variety of reasons, they tend to check the auction house first and play the game second," lead content designer Kevin Martens told PCGamer of Diablo 3 players' reliance on the Auction House.
“That’s not what we intend, and we do want to address that, so 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.”
The idea is that players should treat the auction house as a last resort, because it's less fun than actually playing - but the option will still be there.
"Trading’s not invalid, it’s just that its been skewed so if you’re a character who’s spending money maybe you’re getting 80% of your gear from the Auction House, and 20% 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 wan’t the best gear, let’s put it in a place in-game where you’re killing monsters," Martens said.
Thanks, Shack News.