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Sold to the highest bidder, or is it?

Amanda Rivera

The Auction House system in WoW is one of the more popular mechanics in the game. Having a way to trade goods is one of the ways that Blizzard puts the Massively Multiplayer in MMO. But I know that when I use the AH, 90% of the time I buy something using the buyout price. I don't have the patience to participate in a bidding war. And evidently this is a trend within the game.

Tobold explains that the system is actually designed so that players will be more than likely to choose the buyout rather than play the bidding game. Part of this comes from the fact that to not have an item sell is to lose the down payment we place on it when a bid is first posted. With the Auction House as it is currently designed the bidder gets no sense of the bid prices, of the history of bids, of really any of the information that someone might see on an auction site like eBay. It's actually too transparent for the purpose as an auction system.

There have been suggestions as to how this might be improved. Perhaps, like Tobold says, tweaking the interface so that the auctions have more information provided might work. Reader Joe Szilagyi wrote in with a different suggestion. He mentioned the possibility of making the AH like the PvP system, system-wide rather than server-specific. He explains that this would be a way to bolster the economies of lower population servers while at the same time allowing loot to be available to both the Horde and the Alliance. The daunting task of such a reconfiguration makes this an unlikely solution, but it poses an interesting hypothesis. Either way you look at it, the Auction House system is a good game mechanic with some room for improvement. What would you suggest as a way to fine tune the AH?

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