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Cross Realm Auction Houses? What's Your Opinion?
Is the CRAH a good or bad idea? What would you predict would happen to the auction economy? Would a CRAH be good or bad for WoW?
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Cross Realm Auction House - The Good Points
- could be great for low population realms with small Auction Houses. Small population often means low supply of all sorts of items including trade goods so it can difficult to level a profession without farming materials yourself.
- Much bigger buyer pool - with the inevitable lower prices (see Bad Points below), the larger buyer pool will likely take up the slack in all the extra items being posted - think of it as a discount style store - sell more but for lower prices = same level of profit.
- With more sellers in a market place, rare items might turn up more frequently - keeps recipe/mount/pet/rare items collectors happy & for a player who finds something rare occasionally, it will probably sell quicker too.
- Good for buyers, it will probably be much harder for any one player to control a niche market - not so good for gold makers who like to control certain markets.
- Could be good for realms with a severe faction imbalance - one of the suggested alternatives is for there to be just one auction house per realm - a Neutral AH if you like. That would be great for imbalanced servers - no more Neutral Auction House/2 accounts required to get items/cash from one faction to another.
Cross Realm Auction House - The Bad Points
- Mixing different levels of inflation & economies across multiple servers is likely to cause a fair amount of chaos & instability at first, not least of which would be price crashes & rampant undercutting in probably every market!
- Huge number of items listed will probably cause slowness in general and most auction house addons will break as they struggle to pull that much data from the Blizzard API. Imagine how cumbersome the current auction house interface will be when you have 200,000 items to look through instead of 20,000?
- Gold sellers & bots will have a field day - botters will be able to go to dead servers & farm undisturbed then just put their stuff on the CRAH. Gold sellers won't have to have 100's of different accounts to cover all servers, they will just be able to use the CRAH to transfer gold.
- Players who consider themselves gold makers (like myself) will face stiff competition from other goldmakers - we do already but now add in multiple servers worth of keen goldmakers & of course, don't forget the new breed of Kobolds & in game life will be a real challenge!
- Really rare or very high quality items will probably get listed with a bid price only as the seller takes advantage of huge demand to watch bid prices rise (just like the Black market Auction House but with players as the sellers)
- Raw materials of all sorts will probably see their prices crash as supply across multiple servers is way above actual demand - even with the larger pool of buyers. This could be counteracted by a reduction in farmers though - why continue to farm ores or herbs if the prices have dropped silly low? Eventually material prices will stabilise as a balance is reached but in the meantime, chaos!
Cross Realm Auction House - Other Possibilities
So what do I think? I think it could be an interesting option but only if designed with extreme care & attention to details. Some thoughts & ideas I came across whilst researching this offered possible variations although Blizzard haven't offered any real ideas as to how it would work yet! I sometimes think they leak these comments so they can pick our brains for their design process!
- Having one central AH per battlegroup for example, might be one way of keeping overall size down but if a battlegroup is full of high/medium population servers, it will still be a huge database required.
- It will undoubtedly be a great idea for low population servers which Blizzard seem reluctant to merge - perhaps when a servers population falls below a certain size, it could get added to the Cross Realm Auction House - leaving the medium & high population servers alone.
- As mentioned above - instead of a Cross Realm AH, maybe a Whole Realm AH could be implemented - great for servers with a big imbalance between factions.
- Just leave it alone & improve the current auction house interface - many players actually transfer servers to play different Auction Houses - Blizzard would lose those transfer fees if they implemented a Cross Realm AH!
For many players, especially those on low population servers, a Cross Realm Auction House could certainly offer a lot of benefits but for medium/high population servers, it could be equally as bad with chaos, price instability, lag & general 'arrrggghhh' factor every time an auction is undercut within miliseconds. I think Blizzard will need to analyse everything they can & to design a system which takes into account so many variables seems rather unnecessary to me. The current system isn't so bad - a bit of interface redesign, perhaps a few tweaks here & there & I'd guess most players will be happy with that.
For me - I do hope they leave it alone but if they do go ahead, I'll deal with that when it happens. In the meantime, I'm just poodling along, making a few gold here & there, quite happily thank you :)
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