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Auction House manipulation: how far is too far?

Over the past few weeks, I've heard now of two different AH plots coming to fruition. A while back, Seth sent us a tip about a character named Zygar on Maelstrom who'd bought out every single item on the AH that was selling for less than 2g, and relisted it at 2g. Apparently it worked (because lots of people were willing to spend 2g on that stuff), but it didn't make lowbies happy, because they didn't have that kind of money to spend on the items they wanted.

And yesterday, I heard from Cheryl, who told us about Flaggen on Kirin Tor-- he did the opposite, and started way undercutting the other jewelcrafters on the realm. Another interesting idea, and one that's also working, because he's outselling (obviously) every other jewelcrafter out there.

Is this kind of AH manipulation "griefing"? Should Blizzard step in when one character, either by sending prices high or low on the AH, changes the whole economic system on a realm? I'd think not-- these economies were designed by Blizzard to be run and controlled by players, and all the players on a realm can stop this kind of thing easily-- just stop buying from Flaggen (if you disagree with him, although some players have rightfully pointed out that what he's doing drives down prices for the gem customers) or the guy on Zygar. But on the other hand, great discrepancies in the amounts of gold at level 70 vs. the lower levels (buying out all the items below 2g probably wasn't possible before Outland) could classify this as griefing, and cause Blizzard to step in-- perhaps by limiting the amount of auction purchases by one character. What do you think? How laissez-faire should Blizzard be about AH takeovers like this?

[ Thanks Cheryl and Seth! ]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Economy, Making money

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