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Gold Capped: Mobile Auction House functionality updated

auction house mobile versus in-game
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen and Fox Van Allen aim to show you how to make money on the Auction House. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

The WoW Remote, or Mobile Auction House, has been upgraded. Here are the new features that have been announced:

-Automatic price undercutting: Set the default buyout price of your auctions to match or undercut the current lowest buyout price for an item
-Aggregated buyout search results: Multiple auctions posted at the same buyout price can now be viewed as a single group
-Support for the following Guild features: Level, Perks, Rewards, Achievements, News, Events, and MotD
-Realm Status
-Search now suggests terms based on previous searches and matching items
-Talent Calculator
-Various bug fixes


While some of the features are available to everyone, whether they pay the $36 a year mobility fee or not, most of this concerns auctioneers. There are a bunch of welcome and much-needed changes and bug fixes in this patch -- so many, in fact, that it's left the vanilla (unmodified) Auction House so far behind that it's actually eating the in-game Auction House's dust as it laps it.

The change Blizzard is clearly most excited about is the automatic undercutting. Now when you post an item, it shows you the competition and allows you to define a default undercut value by percent or gold. It also lets you remember and reuse the last price you posted it at or match the current cheapest price. This is almost as good as an addon, and if it stopped treating the bid price separately from the buyout price, it'd be perfect. It's a zillion times better than the old system (or the in-game AH), which pre-populate your price columns with some sort of dangerous nonsense based on vendor price.

The other basic functionality change is that search results when you're buying group similar auctions together into a convenient group that can be bought together. You can buy an entire posted batch of items with one command; however, each one will count toward your daily limit of actions. Also, while saved searches are not yet supported, the search will try to suggest things you've searched for before. This saves a lot of time, especially when using a fiddly little touchscreen keyboard. This puts the mobile AH on par with the likes of Auctionator, which has been essentially required to make the in-game AH a usable vending maching.

#OccupyTheAH?

The in-game AH users are stuck with an interface that's been fundamentally unchanged since the launch of patch 3.3.3, and even those changes were minor quality-of-life issues that didn't touch the major usability issues that persist to this day:
  • Difficult-to-use search results and search interface
  • Difficult-to-use posting interface that doesn't show competitive auctions
These usability issues are the barrier that lets the 1% of Auction House users who know how to use addons take all the money from the 99% of users who don't. The search interface doesn't properly serve the needs of either power buyers or regular buyers. Power buyers want to see all the auctions grouped together for ease of mass buying, and regular AH users probably want the ability to at least save searches. The posting interface is less bad than it used to be when you had to sell a stack at a time and prices would never be remembered, but it's still not showing you competitive auctions.

I define an Auction House as working properly if it meets the needs of the majority of its users. This is clearly still not the case of the in-game version -- however, it's just become true of the mobile (paid) version. Right now, if you want the AH to simply work the way it feels like it should, you need to either install an addon or buy the WoW Remote.

WoW Remote addons

Right now, the only way you can legally use the mobile Auction House is as it's downloaded. You can't automate anything, and you can't attach more information than what's being presented. In game, however, if you care enough about the efficiency of your Auction House experience, you can install addons. The main purpose of the most popular addons are:
  • Showing you additional information
  • Simplifying repetitive tasks
For example, when I hover over a cut red gem, I can see the average price of the quantity I've sold, and when I visit the Auction House to sell a batch of crafted goods, it pre-fills my post page with the quantity and price for every item in my bag (allowing me to post my entire stock in 30 seconds).

When I visit the mobile Auction House, it's certainly better than a raw in-game AH, but it's nowhere near as good as what I've customized my UI to be. That said, I think that it would make sense to allow people to develop addons for the remote AH the way they currently can for the in-game one. It's not possible to restrict the actions of other programs running on an Android or iPhone like can be done on a real computer. All they'd need to do to level the playing field would be create a simple API or write a blue post indicating that they don't mind if people build addons to the remote.

Splurge or not?

If you don't already have a subscription to the remote, these changes are hardly a reason to get one. It was a fascinating toy when it came out, but the combination of some really dangerous and long-lived bugs in the price entry interface and the fact that you couldn't do more than a few hundred actions a day made it not worth the money to anyone who could reliably log in from a real computer. Now that these bugs have been quashed, the only persistent negatives are that:
  • While it's infinitely better than an un-modded UI in-game, it doesn't support addons.
  • It's surprisingly easy to hit the limits on daily activity simply by reposting unsold inventory.
That said, the way I've made most of my money with this is by babysitting high sticker value items on my commute or on break. If I have BOE epics or expensive recipes up for sale, I can use the mobile AH to cancel/undercut my non-mobile competition much more frequently. I can also use it to check for sales much more frequently, so long as I don't need to buy anything in volume. Buying with the remote AH makes sense for high-ticket items you want to keep a price floor on, but you'll quickly run out of daily transactions if you buy even a medium quantity of ore or enchanting dust.

Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped. Do you have questions about selling, reselling, and building your financial empire on the auction house? Fox and Basil are taking your questions at fox@wowinsider.com and basil@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Economy, Add-Ons, Gold Capped

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