Friday, February 17, 2012

New AH changes make me happy

Today Blizzard announced some changes to the way the auction houses (gold and real money) work. Here they are.

  • Listing fee is being removed.
  • Transaction fee is being increased to 1.25 Beta Bucks.
  • Minimum listing price is being raised to 1.50 Beta Bucks.
  • You will be limited to 10 active auctions per auction house.
To me, this is excellent news. Chief among them is the combination between removing the listing fee and limiting the number of concurrent auctions to 10.

The old system had a listing fee, except for an undisclosed number of free auctions every week. I was uneasy at the idea that I might have to limit my postings because, especially at the beginning, I would be very cautious not to waste money posting stuff over and over again.

Now that there is no more listing fee (and obviously the concept of free weekly auctions is out of the picture) we can all breathe a sigh of relief. We can post items (and gold) at our own leisure provided we can sell it for minimum 1.50 bucks (this will probably translate 1:1 into dollars or whatever real currency you're using).

An even bigger advantage for me (and others like me) that these changes bring is the limit of 10 auctions that run at any given time. This change alone should do a great job in limiting what farmers and especially speculators can post. This, to me, is amazing.

From a personal point of view, I can't stand speculators. Speculators are a necessary byproduct of a free market and we can assume that the Diablo 3 RMAH will be quite free once the rules imposed by Blizzard are obeyed. I won't play Diablo 3 with the purpose to make money. Instead, I will play it for fun, with the hope that occasionally I can make an extra buck by selling some rare item that I don't need. Speculators, however, can ruin the game for me and those like me by artificially raising AH prices (buy low, sell high and all that).

Now, the playing field is leveled for everyone. No matter how much you play the market, you still won't be able to post more than 10 items at a time. Of course, the hardcore people will get past this limit by purchasing additional accounts which should place a financial limit on how much of these accounts they can buy. But perhaps Blizzard will prevent this by imposing a 1 person - 1 account rule.

Softcore players who are reluctant to try their luck on the Real Money Auction House won't have any barriers now to posting items because they won't lose anything if the item doesn't sell. We can all continue to post that item over and over again until it sells (or we get tired of posting). This makes it possible to make a few bucks at any time during the game, whether you're level 1 or 60, without any financial risk.

The 10 auction limit will also put a damper on some people's dreams of hitting the mother lode by flipping hundreds of dollars worth of items a day. In the vast majority of cases that won't happen, unless, I repeat, they can juggle a dozen or more different accounts.

As for the transaction fee, I couldn't care less, especially if it is a fixed amount. It's not like I'm investing any resources in making that money. I play the game anyway for fun so any drop that I can sell is pure profit. Whether it's $0.25 or $1 is irrelevant.

I doubt these will be the final AH changes until release. Blizzard still has their work cut out for them. For my part I can't wait to give the new-and-improved AH a whirl.

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