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The players and the auction house

auction house
Like many, if not most, players, I regularly use the auction house to buy and sell items that I need or want in WoW. And, like many players, I regularly experience frustration in doing so -- either I can't find what I want and/or it's exorbitantly expensive, or I can't sell what I'm trying to get rid of! I'm not sure which scenario I'd rank as more annoying -- not being able to buy what I want versus not being able to sell what I want -- but I find the latter to be exasperating in a particular way, especially if I know that what I'm selling is something useful.

I admit it: I get really frustrated when things I want to sell don't sell. Relisting is annoying, and if I'm trying to sell an item, it's because I neither need nor want it, so carrying it around isn't something I feel inclined to do. Part of it is wanting to make gold -- who doesn't, after all -- but in addition, those bag slots are space I need for other things that I don't want to sell, like transmog gear. Hence, I am forced to admit that I can sometimes be one of the people that player Kidja complains about in this forum post. If I can't get a buyer on the AH for something at the price I think it deserves, I will sell it for as under-market as I dare simply to get the goods moving.

Sometimes I feel badly doing this. I mean, it's really annoying when you list an item, or several stacks of an item, on the AH only to find out two hours later that someone else is selling it for a fraction of what you are. That's happened to me too, and I have griped about huge undercutters among my guildmates just as much as any WoW player, I'd imagine. Sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly enterprising, I'll buy out the undervalued items and list them myself at higher prices. But lately I find myself on the other side of this particular looking glass, and being the culprit, guiltily listing those six stacks of Felweed for 5 gold per stack, just to get rid of the dang things.

Here's the thing: I don't remember it always being like this. There was a time in my WoW life when competition for just about every common item I listed on the AH was healthy, and nearly everything I listed would reliably sell within the 48 hour timeframe. Then again, in MoP, I did move from a high-population server to a medium-population server. That most likely explains the difference, but it's so drastic that I have trouble believing it's the only cause. I find myself wondering if, considering the game is so old at this point, a critical mass of players simply have a reliable army of alts and almost never need to use the auction house or other playe resources for gathering materials the way they used to.

For example, it used to be that even if you had an enchanter of your own, you still needed another player to enchant your gear unless you had two separate accounts. That changed with the introduction of Enchanting Vellum and now there's no longer any need to purchase an enchanting service from someone else, even another guildie. Glyphs, too, were once destroyed upon removal, and needed to be repurchased each time you switched them around. Now, while I can understand why that system was scrapped after a relatively short amount of time, there's no denying that the change has utterly gutted the market for glyphs, much to the chagrin of both of my scribes. Faithful readers of WoW Insider: do you find it more difficult to move items on the auction house now than in the past? Why or why not? Do you think it's a problem or does it not matter to you at all? If so, what would you see the game do differently?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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