Daily Archives: September 28, 2009

A Call for a Unified Auction House

With a couple of characters at level 80 I have been playing more with the copious alts I have on both sides of the Horde-Alliance divide.  Most of these characters are down in the 20-40 range.

Like many servers, the ones on which I play tend to have a population skewed in one direction or another.  The Census data over at Warcraft Realms seems to be a bit wacky these days due to low participation (for example, I don’t think Eldre’Thalas is at a close to 80-20 split between Alliance and Horde), but population differentials of 60-40 to 70-30 were quite common back when that census project was getting a lot of participation.

The main pain of unbalanced servers used to be the queue to get into a battleground.  There was a time when you could spend hours waiting for a battleground on a server that was really out of whack.

Blizzard has addressed that with cross-server battlegrounds.

For me, now, the main pain of server imbalance is the auction house.  If you’re on a server’s weaker faction, the auction house can be really bad.

Unless you are trying to sell something, especially raw materials for trade skills.  Then it can be the goose that laid the golden egg, as with no competition you can gouge your fellow players something fierce.  And somebody will always pay, no matter how much you charge.

But if you want to buy something, if you need some herbs to make just one more vial or ink or some ore to notch that engineering skill, then life is miserable.  There are days when you feel fortunate that somebody is even bothering to try to gouge you, because the most likely response to your search is no items found.

And this is especially painful if you play a class that gains a new armor wearing ability at level 40.  You want to trade in all that leather and buy some chainmail for your hunter or your shaman?  Good luck on that!

Try back tomorrow, I might have something then!

Try back tomorrow, I might have something then!

So I think Blizzard ought to just bite the bullet and unify all the auction houses.

I’m not even suggesting something that might be considered herasy.  This isn’t like, say, allowing people to change the faction of their characters. (Not that I am actually concerned about that in the least, but it seemed like a sell-out to some people.)

There are already cross-faction auction houses in the neutral cities of Azeroth: Booty Bay, Gadgetzen, and Everlook.

The problem is that almost nobody uses them, except to transfer assets from one faction to another. (You need a friend to help you out, since you cannot bid on auctions created on the same account.)

So I say combine the whole lot of them into a single, unified server-wide auction house.

The upside:

  • More choice for buyers
  • More customers for sellers
  • Auction houses in neutral cities might seem viable

The downside:

  • Can’t think of any

I am sure that somebody will come up with a reason why this is a bad idea, but none leap to mind here.

So why is this a bad idea?