Anyone who has played Diablo 2 on Battle.net long enough can speak of the horrors and frustration that go along with muling items. For anyone unaware, muling is the process by which you transfer items from one character to another. Players do this in order to transfer more useful items to characters and classes that can use them, rather than the character that looted it. In order to accomplish this, players must drop the items to be transferred, exit the game, then re-enter it with the intended character.
It sounds easy enough, but there are always pitfalls associated with such a task. For one, another player is liable to stumble upon your goodies and claim them as their own. Typically it’s best to drop the items in a discrete location, usually outside of town. However, sometimes players can become careless and/or other people in the game may suspect that muling is going on, then immediately run to the drop location to scarf up the items just after the player has logged.
Another method of doing this is to create a password protected game and invite someone in to watch your stuff and help you transfer. This is actually the most reliable method if you trust the player you’re entrusting with your items’ security. If you only know them casually through Battle.net, it’s highly possible temptation may get the best of them, and they’ll scoop up your shinies and exit the game with your loots.
Other times, the game you were using to drop and transfer items may just disappear, along with all of your stuff. 🙁 That is the epitome of gaming frustration.
At any rate, one of the big concerns about Diablo 3 is whether or not muling will be allowed, or if there will be a system in place to allow the sharing of items between characters on the same account. As of yet, Blizzard hasn’t settled upon a plan for this. There have been mentions that a new system will be introduced that will allow players to share items easily and securely between characters, but no details have been given.
It’s understood that the collecting and piecing together of items, and item sets, is a big part of the Diablo experience. It’s obvious Blizzard won’t want to dissuade the transferring of items, but how exactly will they facilitate it..?
One idea has been to create a shareable stash. This would be an awesome solution. If we could have a trunk, much like the inventory chest in D2, yet it would be accessible by all characters within the account… oh man… that would solve a lot of problems. It would have to be much larger of course, but to me that sounds like a winning solution.
In today’s gaming experience, and especially by the time Diablo 3 is released, I don’t think anyone will be willing to accept an item transferring method such as the one used in Diablo 2. Players will demand something more tried and true than the, “I hope to god this game doesn’t disappear or my items get stolen before I get back in” system.
I think Blizz will find a practical and reasonable solution that will allow us to piece together awesome gear combos for our various toons. Well, let’s hope so anyway. 😉
Here’s what Bashiok had to say recently when the topic was being kicked around in the Battle.net forums. It’s not very indicative of what lies in store, but his statement does hint at the fact that Blizz won’t be using the old drop-game model.
Quote from Bashiok
No update, it’s something we hope to do, it’s not designed or in any sort of implementation phase so until we reach that point and either hit a revelation of it working or not we won’t know for sure. But yes, still hope to have some sort of easy way to share between characters. “Drop games are dumb.” – Bashiok (Source)