Wednesday 7 November 2012

Cross Realm Auction House - Yes? No? Maybe?

Cross Realm Auction House - Carnival Entry
It's that time again, thinking of a post for Cold's Gold Blogging Carnival proves a challenge most months for me. This month is no different. I'm not the most organised gold maker or a particularly deep thinker about tactics or strategy so this was really tough once again! Thanks Cold! lol

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?

Whilst it's only a remote possibility, the spectre of a Cross Realm Auction House within World of Warcraft has set gold makers minds spinning & numerous debates have sprung up across various forums.It all started because of this blue post (see screenshot below) & from what I've seen, if it ever does happen, it will need to be designed very carefully to ensure the viable economy he talks about.

WoW Cross Realm Auction House Blue Post

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 :)

Image © Mishimoto under Creative Commons licence


  1. They should be trying to combine same-server faction AHs.

    Making the leap to multi-server AH is too large a leap for a first attempt.

    1. I agree with that for sure although I'm sure ther ewill be many cross faction gold makers tearing their hair out at the thought of it :)

    2. It'd also require they provide that missing cross-server mail system, another heavily requested system, to work with the new cross-server AH.

      I could see there being a lot of issues between both systems (e.g missing won auctions/income mail), unless the new multiple-server AH system detaches itself from the mail system altogether.

    3. oh yes! I'd love that cross server mail - need to get my heirlooms to lonesome lowbie alts! I'd also like a global server system - I've made so many friends on US servers, would be fab to actually get to play with them.

  2. I might actually be able to buy old content mats to flip or craft with if this happened. Im on a low pop realm, haomarush(us), and most of the time if you want older mats like cloth you have to go farm it yourself. I control several markets and could definitely see the competition this generates cause chaos.

    1. yeah I think for low pop realms it would probably be a really good thing although I'm sure there will be naysayers on that too. I think the problem will be if they try to combine high/med & low pop all together - the low pop realms won't know what hit them tbh! But it's all speculation for now so I'm not going to worry about it :)

  3. You've made some excellent points on this subject! Really enjoyed reading them :)

    1. hey Jojo, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Just popped over to your blog - looks like we have a similar thing going as I just started my new general WoW blog last week - I shall go have a proper read & look forward to hearing more of your adventures in Azeroth :)

    2. Aww thanks! I was a bit wary about doing a generalised blog but I think it's the only way I could make blogging worthwhile as I enjoy so many things in WoW. Now I just need to get into the swing of things - posting regularly etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

    3. I think the best advice I can give is 'it's your blog, for your fun, don't stress yourself to get posts up regularly but do try to keep it going' Trying to post everyday for example will drive you crazy very quickly unless you have a lot to say (umm, yeah, I might have that problem!)Also if you force yourself to write stuff, it can show thru to your readers that it's forced & that turns them off. Just try to enjoy it & reach out to other bloggers & soon it will feel normal :) Maybe join us on Twitter? there's lots of us out there

  4. No, and here's reason why...
    Or maybe if blizz limit undercut % to (for example) 1%... If something cost 500g, 1st undercut can't be less than 1% down of 500g, or 495g... On my server, i have 2 retards... One post everything 50% down and other post everything in large stacks for 20g...

    Imagine that 2 guys x 100...

  5. oh I know your pain! I have about 6 pages of glyphs on my server at 5g or less! Cold over at Cold's Gold Factory has nicknamed them Kobolds - wannabe goblins who just haven't got a clue!

  6. Nice article Nev. :)

    I have very mixed feelings about widening the AH to be cross-realm. On my server I control a number of the markets and don't like the thought of these markets suddenly being 'flooded' with players from other realms.

    That's a selfish view, of course, and I do feel for players on low pop realms. My first step would be to do away with the neutral AH and bring together the Horde and Alliance AHs on each realm. I know on my realm that the Alliance population is quite high but the Horde is quite low by comparison - bringing together the two faction AHs would very much help the low-pop faction and would seem like a sensible first step. Obviously this would be one of the areas in the game where gameplay reasons would need to rank above lore but Blizzard has always said that in these crunch situations that gameplay trumps lore. There would most likely be a period of price stabilisation here – the prices between Alliance and Horde on my server have a fair gap between them relatively speaking but this would level out quite quickly I think.

    However, this would also kill off one of my really good markets which is buying ‘high price’ items on the high-pop, lower price Alliance side and then ‘exporting’ these over to the low-pop, higher price Horde side. I jokingly refer to this as my ‘Luxury Goods Export’ business. lol

    1. Thanks Robert :) Yup, I have mixed feelings too but I do think it's a very long way off, if ever so I'm just going to wait & see what happens :)

  7. i don't mean to be a debbie downer but why are we still talking about this, just look at the problems they had implementing the AH for diablo with the reconciliation and lag errors....the systems that would be needed to underpin the transactional load balancing alone would have to be similar to the ones used by the nasdaq and other world exchanges(realtime, accurate, error correcting) if players wanted their items at the price they see and within a time frame of less them 5-10 mins(not instant mind you). The AH interface would have to account for the flux of millions of items and milllions accessing and changing a relational DB of an immense size...its just not feasible for blizzard to try and implement with the sole benefit being "choice"

    TL:DR prohibitively expensive, waste of dev team finite resources, no benefit to player base, and would lock out a large population of the playerbase due to hostile market conditions is almost every area

    ...i also hate to try and quell discussion as a thought exercise, but these posts and others are being used to spread misinformation and FUD (unintentionally), WOWs rumor mill does not need the help.

    1. Hey Epic - thank you for your comment - we're talking about this because it's quite a hot topic at the moment - as with all 'will they/should they/how could they' type subjects - it is just speculation but when a blue poster brings it up again, then brains start working overtime.

      I agree with a lot of your points - massively complicated project to do correctly but it is just speculation for now. As for quelling discussion - no worries - it's the internet - it would probably take a worldwide EMP to wipe out communications before rumours & speculation would stop & even then, I'm not so sure! :)

  8. Great blog about this subject. I hope it doesn't happen but I will survive and adapt regardless :)


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