You know... in my opinion, it's not just the Real Money Auction House that I feel this picture represents. In my opinion, this picture represents the real mentality of the entire game itself.
Why? Because you can say what you want about 'dark fantasy' and 'simple combat' and saving the world, I'm willing to bet that there is one and only one reason people (the player and possibly the player character) fight in the Diablo games:
It's to get their hands on the phat loot.
When you get right down to it, The entire game is built on the character looting and pillaging for more money, shinier weapons and armor, and more XP. That's what the game revolves around. If that isn't a metaphor for desire and greed, I don't know what is.
It's true that the kack and Slash always revolved more around the loot hunting than an actual plot line and an "adventure". To be honest, D3 kind of tried to introduce more storytelling than usual. My two cent on that is that the "multiple difficulty level system" is actually slaying the story, as doing the game multiple time make the storytelling irrelevant. And in addition, the randomization tend to negate the exploration feeling : what is the point in searching carefully an area, if you can just make another run in a straight path to have the same result ? You know, I would love a hack and slash with only two difficulty levels with more content, with exlusive areas on the higher difficuly, more bosses, and, possibly, a "B ending" and a "A ending" for each level. Sorry, I think I'm writing too much !
Wouldn't it make more sense if Diabo was surrounded by dollar bills? My first impression of this piece had nothing to do with the real money auction house. The effect of dollars (Blizzard is a US company) would lead more people to realize what this is meant to represent, as they would see the bills and not gold. Sense a dollar is not native to Diablo it would surely induce thought on the matter, making them question what the money was for. This leads them to something that DOES introduce real money, the real money auction house. The rest of your work is quite clear, the chained up barbarian shows this is hurting the player.
If I've missed the boat here, please tell me. Your artwork really is quite clever.
Thanks ^^. I wanted to do a picture which could blend in the game, and bills would have been too much on an anachronism. Honeslty, I think that the message is already not so subtle . But, yes it could be one way to do a harsher criticism.