When we initially designed and implemented the auction houses, the driving goal was to provide a convenient and secure system for trades. But as we've mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot. With that in mind, we want to let everyone know that we've decided to remove the gold and real-money auction house system from Diablo III.
Please note that the shutdown will occur on March 18, 2014.
I have to say I am really excited about this news, as well as 100% surprised it's actually happening. Now there is no reason why the game needs to be always online. Hopefully news of offline mode will come soon too. (there wasn't much of a reason before this news, but now there is nothing)
If I could get an offline, AH-less version of Diablo 3 with "loot 2.0" it will be the game I wanted back in May last year.