To start off the morning, a blue has posted about changes to the auction house that will take place in the “near future.” Some of the changes are fairly significant, as it is indicative of the pricing model that we might see after launch. As we knew before, the RMAH originally had 3 fees. Based on the listed changes, this has been reduced to 2 fees that are slightly larger while active auctions are limited to 10.
Having such a low active auction maximum is quite a change, is it seems to target farmers that would swarm the auction house. On the other hand, it is possible for farmers to use a multitude of accounts to increase their daily active auctions. More accounts means more boxes sold, so it all leads back to an increase in revenue for Blizzard.
- 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.
With the removal of the listing fee, players will no longer need to worry about whether they’re going to run out of free listings for the week. In addition, introducing a limit on the number of active auctions means players won’t feel as though they should be trying to sell everything they find, potentially flooding the auction house with unwanted items. Under this new system, players will only pay an auction house fee if and when an item actually sells. This has the main advantage of allowing players to try to sell their items risk-free. In addition, because the transaction fee is already baked into the price when an item is listed (as part of the minimum listing price), it’s no longer possible to be in a situation where you don’t have enough Battle.net Balance to list an item, forcing you to have to charge up your Balance just to attempt a sale. We think this will be a much cleaner process for selling items and will ultimately lead to a better experience when using the currency-based auction house.
This new active-auction limit will also apply to the gold-based auction house. Because gold can be sold on the currency-based auction house, we need to ensure there are limitations on the gold auction house as well; otherwise, a player might be tempted to sell everything for gold and then sell that gold on the currency-based auction house, which isn’t supportive of the kind of thriving item-driven market we’re trying to foster. In addition, for the first time in the beta test, we’re planning to have both the gold- and currency-based auction houses active at the same time when these changes go live. Of course, one of our main goals in making these changes to the beta is to test how they’ll work out, and we look forward to hearing your feedback once you have a chance to try them.
Update: I wasn’t able to write a full commentary on this change when this new broke, and there was one other thing I’d like to point out is that it says “in the near future” and not “in the next patch.” We may or may not see this change in the next patch, but it’s still possible.
In addition to this, these changes mark a significant change for the RMAH. If you look at the change, it directly addresses “risk.” Risk can be interpreted many different ways, which is probably why such verbiage was used. From a financial standpoint, one could equate it to gambling. Trekking back to the Korea-RMAH-Gambling controversy last month, by removing the posting fee Blizzard is effectively eliminating financial gain from a large chunk of the original model.
While you can have a limit of 10 auctions per auction house, imagine selling only one of your posted items. Originally, Blizzard would take a small fee from all 10 auctions even if they never sold. This, in a sense, is a form of gambling since there is no guarantee that another player will buy your item. It’s significant financially, since the majority of profits would come from posts rather than from sales.
The legalities behind the RMAH have long been identified as one of the primary factors that are holding up the game. It is very possible that this change has been in the works ever since Korea rejected the initial version.