My friends and I were having a conversation about bitcoins, and randomly the question popped into my head.. why did Stones of Jordan become the “currency” at one point in Diablo 2?
Diablo 2 had a barter economy, but gold itself was not valuable enough to trade for any high-end items (because there was a max amount you could carry). So the economy needed something that was more valuable to serve as a basis of comparison between the value of high-end items. That something needed to be small (so people could carry a number of them), valuable (so you didn’t need 50 of them to equal a high-end item), and plentiful (so that you could get enough of them to trade for a high-end item) At times perfect gems were used, but even these were low enough in cost that it was hard to value high-end items. The Stone of Jordan became the default for several reasons
- It was itself a high-end item that was useful to any character and most items could be valued as being worth a single digit number of Stones
- Due to various quirks of the drop system where holding the other unique rings made it more likely to get SoJ, it was relatively easy to get, so it was not unusual for people to have several of them
- Various duping bugs made it even easier to create Stones
- As more people started to use it, it became the de-facto standard
This was around patches 1.06 and 1.07, way before Uber Diablo was created as a way to try to siphon off the ridiculous number of Stone of Jordans that were in the economy. Later Blizzard took actions to remove the duplicates, causing the economy to look for alternative bases for the economy, eventually settling on high-end runes.
Here are some additional references