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Cross Realm Auction Houses?

Earlier today on WoW Insider Anne Stickney asked if we need cross-realm auction house, and it’s an idea that’s been floated around in the last couple of months. The supporters of such a move see it as a way to revive dying servers and their economies. The idea is, much like cross-realm zones, the more the merrier when things start getting deserted.

On low population servers, or low population factions, this could be a huge boon to the players on the realm. Pairing up auction houses could potentially double the activity on the auction house, possibly even more depending on which servers get paired. On low population servers and/or factions this could be a big benefit, small economies tend to stall and aren’t beneficial to either buyer or sellers. When you’re dealing with a server like Anne is apparently dealing with, a larger player base accessing the Auction House can only be a good thing.

Alright so we all pretty much agree that this could be great for neglected economies, but what about larger servers like mine on US-Stormrage? It would be a nightmare. Already the Auction House is so large that TradeSkillMaster crashes when it tries to pull the scan data from the Auction House in-game (it’s not TSM’s fault, it’s the game, every add-on does it), I have to use the TradeSkillMaster desktop application just to get my scan data. Imagine if we now had a second realm tacked on there, it would be a nightmare. Not to mention there would simply be too many players on it, there would be too much competition and the Auction House and it would end up worse than what Anne is facing now.

Admittedly prices would likely be at an all time low, so while some players may see this as a good thing, there would be zero gold making opportunities. While every day items would be driven lower, the mats required to make them would be lowered correspondingly. Essentially, the economy would deflate. With so much gold in the economy already there’s really no telling what kind of havoc this could wreak. My guess the economy would stall, there simply wouldn’t be enough gold circulating and profit margins would be nothing.

Here’s another issue, how would these Auction House be shared? Not from a coding stand point, but from a logistics standpoint. Would it be all the servers in a battlegroup share an Auction House? If so things would go to bad from worse, there’d simply be too many players on the Auction House, and server economies that aren’t currently “ruined” would be. Would every server have to share Auction Houses? That would be doom for server’s like mine that are large enough as it is. Or would Blizzard prioritize so only low populations servers would merge? If so, how would they chose which servers get CRAH? And would these be fluid connections, or would the connections be fairly consistent (i.e. the CRAH are set and never change)? And what would this do to tools like The Undermine Journal?

While historically Blizzard has been very careful about contaminating economies servers, trading items in Looking for Dungeon and the like have always been problematic at best (“No I swear you should be able to trade me that item…”), I have no doubt that Blizzard would have to qualms enacting something like this. We already know Blizzard considers gold making odd behavior and they certainly haven’t seemed to care about gold making before, and so I have no doubt in my mind that Blizzard would trash the economies in the name of accessibility. Honestly, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when Blizzard will roll out Cross Realm Auction Houses.

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.

8 comments

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  1. draxeo

    I’m a bit disappointed in your comments on this topic. They seem to reflect an elitism that works to the detriment of 99.9% of the WOW players that have endure various goldmaking antics on their servers. I’ve been a gold maker and have enjoyed it greatly, but I have also endured the realities of low pop servers where no mats are available, mats or crafted items are unsellable and items of value are monopolistically priced.

    Here are 5 arguments you make against such a change: 1) there would be too many players, 2) there would be too much competition, 3) prices would be at an all time low, 4)every day prices would be driven lower, 5) mat prices would be driven lower.

    All five of those arguments are actually favorable to the 99.9% of the players who are not full time gold makers. That fact alone argues in favor of any move for Blizzard to adopt this change.
    It’s pretty difficult to justify monopolization in glyphs where prices are fixed at $400 per glyph by 2 competitors on a realm. On this realm where I have toons, enchanting mats are monopolized so that you see AH prices like 100g for a Prismatic shard or cosmic essence.

    Breaking that monopoly would only benefit the vast majority of WOW players. Even so, I have no doubt that gold makers would still find ways to make vast amounts of gold. Bigger markets are a good thing and competition would lead to innovation and more specialization.
    I’d be looking forward to cross realm AH!
    Drax

    1. Eric Dekker

      I agree that on low population realms this could be a welcome change, for the 99% and the 1% alike. However Blizzard will have to be very careful not to trash the economies of servers that are already doing well (high population servers).

      I’m not trying to justify monopolization of glyphs, or any other market, but over saturation of the markets will not be a good thing.

      I’m sure there will be ways to make gold, but most of our manufacturing processes (professions, shuffle) would not be profitable if this were to go through on high pop servers (or even medium pop I’d imagine).

  2. glyph seller

    i already have problem on my server with retards who sell glyphs for 5g, gems below vendoring price or gear for 1/4 of cost of mats needed to craft it, and with “big ah players” who simply dont care about prices and undercut everything…

    all i need now is more retards from all other servers…

    i’ll give u example for glyph of stars… i reseted it recently back to my trashold of 400g… big player come 2 hours after me, posted at his trashold 250g… few ppl undercuted him for 10c-1s, and then 2 retards dropped price to 50 and then 10g…. 15 hours after i posted my 400g glyphs, price is 9g95s…

    1. Eric Dekker

      Honestly, glyphs are a trainwreck anyways, abandon ship, there’s not enough GPH in glyph making anymore. Also, sounds like you’re trying to force a market reset, which is difficult in the best of times, and 400g is way too much for a glyph nowadays on most servers.

  3. draxeo

    Glyph seller, your use of the word “retard” reflects poorly on you and pretty much negates any value to your weak arguments.

    Here are some reasons to explain the pricing you are seeing:
    1) Your competitors would like to make you frustrated and abandon the glyph market, 2) People who are listing for less than 400g are leveling and just looking to dump the glyph to recover the cost of the mats, 3) A price of 9.95G is all a glyph is worth on your server.

    By all accounts 9.95g is 3x the cost of the mats so you are getting a 300% return on your investment.

    Perhaps expecting to sell a glyph at a 400g price, which is 132x the actual value of the mats, is a bit unrealistic. I dont see people selling embersilk bags for 26,400g (132x the 200g cost of the mats). Perhaps you are the “retard” to expect people to pay such an outrageous price. It might be time for you to try selling something else or consider actually doing something else in WOW besides gold making.

  4. reen

    UNDERCUT WARS WITH AH BOTS? NO NOT ANY FUN! JUST DO THE MONOPOLY ON YOUR LOW SERVER AND THINGS WILL BE FINE.

    And the thing is, just gave my time to get max level at the jewelcrafting and? nothing. 50g on epic gems and max 100g on prismatic ones.

    1. Seqenenre

      I’m assuming you mean rare and meta gems, rather than epic and prismatic, since there are no MoP epic gems or prismatic gems (yet).

      If you do mean epic and prismatic, it’s no wonder the prices are low, since both are pretty much worthless compared to the MoP equivalents (some may be of use to twinks, but the market is very small).

      If current, popular rare and meta gem cuts are that price you either have some people trying to mess up the market or the raw materials (primarily Ghost Iron Ore) must be extremely cheap on your realm.

  5. draxeo

    You make two interesting claims: 1) that Blizzard would have to take care not to trash the economies of High Pop Servers that are “doing well” and 2) that ”over-saturation” of the markets would make manufactured items unprofitable on high pop or even medium population servers.
    Let’s explore three realm economies to test the veracity of those claims. Garithos realm of 19,200 the second smallest, Nordrassil realm of 65,200 and Tichondrius realm of 197,400 and also the largest. All three are about evenly split between horde and alliance but for brevity lets evaluate Horde only MOP mined ore and a few MOP crafted items.
    Realm Pop 19,200 Profit
    Garithos Mats Price Margin
    Ghost Iron Ore 3.45
    Ghost Iron Bars 7.00
    Trillium Bar 100.00
    Living Steel Belt Buckle 463.41 960.00 107%
    Ghost Reaver Breastplate 5,900.00
    Masterwork Spiritguard Shield 284 488.00 72%
    Ghost Forged Bracers-415 35 55.00 57%
    Ghost forged Helm 84 100.00 19%
    Contender’s Revenant Gauntlets 49 277.67 467%
    Masterwork Spiritblade Decimator 1635 5,000.00 206%

    Realm Pop 65,200 Profit
    Nordrassil Mats Price Margin
    Ghost Iron Ore 3.23
    Ghost Iron Bars 7.25
    Trillium Bar 98.40
    Living Steel Belt Buckle 419.74 493.50 18%
    Ghost Reaver Breastplate 6,365.00 9,916.00 56%
    Masterwork Spiritguard Shield 283.00 346.00 22%
    Ghost Forged Bracers-415 36.25 500.00 1279%
    Ghost forged Helm 87.00 100.00 15%
    Contender’s Revenant Gauntlets 50.75 366.00 621%
    Masterwork Spiritblade Decimator 2,124.33 3,200.00 51%

    Realm Pop 197,400 Profit
    Tichondrius Mats Price Margin
    Ghost Iron Ore 1.63
    Ghost Iron Bars 4.99
    Trillium Bar 45.86
    Living Steel Belt Buckle 300.00 389.00 30%
    Ghost Reaver Breastplate 3560.00 5,985.00 68%
    Masterwork Spiritguard Shield 151.79 268.75 77%
    Ghost Forged Bracers-415 25.33 387.84 1431%
    Ghost forged Helm 60.79 100.00 65%
    Contender’s Revenant Gauntlets 35.46 89.00 151%
    Masterwork Spiritblade Decimator 879.95 2,500.00 184%

    The obvious take-away from the charts is that Tichondrius not only had the cheapest mat prices on the largest realm, but also the highest profit margins on 6 of the 7 items that were compared to the medium and low population realms. Even with ten times the population of Garithos, gold makers on Tichondrius were plenty able to make lots of gold on crafted BS items even when they suffer with the cheapest mined ore!
    The medium pop realm Nordrassil seemed a bit more competitive in pricing than Tichondrius but profit margins seemed adequate even with mats that were almost 100% more expensive.
    Not discernible in the analysis is how poor the market is on the low pop realm Garithos. Even though pricing and profit margins seem comparable to the Medium pop realm, in actuality very little is crafted or is sold in the AH given the very small number of potential buyers.
    Of the 66 items shown in BS on the underminejournal.com, there are only 13 items even offered for sale on Garithos and usually only one of that item is for sale at any one time. Tichondrius offers 60 of the 66 items for sale in BS and there are usually multiple items available from multiple sellers and sometimes 10 to 40 of an item would be available to buy at any one time.
    So the question is, where does the over saturation occur? Certainly not when an AH is 3x to 10x larger than other realms as illustrated above. Given the profit margins on Tichondrius, a larger AH only results in cheaper mats and more profits. I think that we can safely conclude that cross-realm auction houses would greatly benefit buyers and sellers on medium and low population realms by dropping mat prices, increasing profit margins and making more items available for sale on those realms.
    Given that a larger supply of mats drives down prices, even large realms like Tichondrius would maintain or see profit margins increase with the addition of other smaller realms to their “Auction House”.
    Thanks for the opportunity to comment on this topic
    Drax

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