Beta Auction House Changes


To start off the morning, a blue has posted about changes to the DiabloWikiauction 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.

In the near future, we’ll be implementing several changes to the posting limits and fees related to the beta version of the Diablo III auction house. Here’s a quick summary of what’s in store:

  • 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.

Comments

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  1. Hmm.. seems the RMAH will only be for high-end items. Nobody is going to put an item for 2 betabucks and only get 0.75 in profit. 

  2. I like this. I think it will push most of the more common items into the GAH and only higher end items will end up on the RMAH. This should keep the GAH from becoming a ghost town.

  3. Don’t really see how “in the near future” refers to as “in the upcoming patch” ?

    • I didn’t realize that this incomplete version of the article went live. I had a whole section of commentary that was lost/altered. You’ll see the extra exposition now.

  4. I love the removal of the listing fee. I’m more than happy to pay Blizz if my item sells and I make money – but I’d hate paying them and then getting nothing. Too high-risk gambling for my tastes. This is a perfect balance for my lifestyle.

  5. 1.25 and they say they want to keep the price low as possible ? >.<

  6. Does that mean if I dont have any dollar in my account I can’t start posting my first auction, because I dont have any free listings anymore? Or am I allowed to try to sell an item on the RMAH even though I have zero money in my account and – if it sells – only get the back final positive balance (25 cent if I sell an item for 1,50 dollar with 1,25 dollar given to blizzards pocket)?

    • They removed the listing fee, meaning that it’s not a barrier to selling anymore. The reason you mentioned is exactly why they say they removed it.

    • There is no more listing fee, only a selling fee. Therefore you can post to your hearts content, up to ten items total in the AH at any given time with 0$ in your account.
       
      Annnd scrolling down my captcha is heart’s content. Weird. *Scary ghost noises*

  7. Inb4 shitstorm from people who thought they would actually make money from this.  lololol.

  8. I think this is a good change.  I definitely feel like these changes make using the RMAH an easier/clearer process.  As the blue states, with the minimum listing fee built into the listing price, you don’t have to worry about losing $.  While people won’t be cashing out 75cents, I think this will encourage people to make smaller trades and accumulate blizz bucks that can then only be spent on blizz gear.  I know I’d prlly want to cash out 10 bucks, but if it was like 2 or 3? I’d rather just put it towards more trading/buying.

  9. So, the minimum profit is 0.25¢… and Blizzard gets 1.25¢. I guess this is a good thing; it creates an incentive to, of course, sell high and prevent total crashes. And the GAH will retain relevance for smaller items.

  10. Is the ten listing limit for both the GAH/RMAH at the same time, or can you have 10 RMAH listings and 10 GAH listings simultaneously?

  11. This is interesting and an awesome change. The main objective with any rudimentary economic system is to perfectly match supply and demand. I was kind of getting the feeling that supply in the RMAH would far outweigh demand. With the 10-item limit that is no longer the case. It will not restrict farmers though, as Nizaris guessed. Blizzard will have to weed them out personally. I guess IP routing will have a big part to play here.

    I fail to see how the listing price removal is helping Blizzard or anybody else, frankly. All it does is make people list more items on the RMAH. Which was never really a problem anytime.

    • IP routing? Haha. Really? What has IP routing got to do with weeding out farmers?

      Other than that, excellent post. I agree with you. But IP routing.. please. Don’t talk about the technical side if you don’t know how it works. They use all sorts of stuff that make IP information meaningless, like proxy’s and the fact that IP’s are shared and you can’t do anything with IP information today.

      • Geolocating of IP addresses is actually fairly widespread and of great use.

        In fact I’m not sure how much of a problem item farming will be. Aren’t sales in each location region-locked? And you can only use your RMAH in your parent region. So farmers in China won’t be able to sell their goods for real money on the US realm. The only issue is if people in China can somehow register the US realm as their parent region, which is where geo-location of IP addresses (‘IP routing’) could come in to prevent that.

        • If asian/chinese gold farmers get region locked and can’t set their home realm to NA/Europe where the real money’s at it will effectively ruin what the RMAH was originally intended to do (keep the 3rd party sites & their spambots away).
           
          At least that’s what I think Blizzard was aiming for when they concocted the RMAH. If they put too many restrictions, the professional sellers will go back to using 3rd party sites for SC (if they’re smart, which they are, they’ll already do this for HC, adding SC loot & SC spammers won’t be too difficult)
           

  12. The heck? Blizz wants 1.25$ per transaction? Didn’t they say it will only be a small Amount? Because 1.25$ ain’t small.
    If i want to buy something that’s worth 1$, i’ll have to pay 2.25$. That’s ridiculous! Not that i really plan using RMAH, but i thought transaction fees will be maybe like 25 cents.

    • I absolutely agree. Ebay takes around 7-10% (after paypal fees), which I felt was kinda steep the one time I sold something. In the RMAH, items will have to sell for $12 before they approach that percentage (not even including the cash-out option). I believe that very few items will warrant such a high price. I’ll wager that, on average, Blizzard will take more than half of the selling price of all items.

      • Maybe the very idea is to discourage anything less than $10 on the RMAH?

      • I’m not really sure how to handle this news, but I’m assuming that this will cause sellers to have to jack up their prices to counter-balance this fee and make a worthwhile profit.  Which is a good thing, since RMAH prices should — in some way — reflect the time investment it would take the ‘legitly’ find the item yourself.

        With this system, high-level items SHOULD be somewhat prohibitively priced, meaning they aren’t as cheap and easy to buy as, say, an iTunes song. 

    • Your reading it wrong, the seller pays the transaction fee, not the buyer.  So the minimum profit a seller will make is 25cents(1.50 minimum listing, 1.25 transaction fee)

  13. I think the 10-auction limit is an elegant solution to the no listing fee vs. market flooding situation. And yeah, if farmers need to buy more accounts to sell their goods, that’s good for all of us since that means more money could potentially go back into developing new features for Diablo 3.

  14. “money could potentially go back into developing new features for Diablo 3” Ha! Yea right, look how things have been going so far and how good Activision is at keeping up with their games. If anyone bought MWF3 Elite you’ll know what I’m talking about.

  15. I haven’t been following the AH too closely, but I had been under the impression that a certain number of auctions per week were “free”.  Though this seems to imply that those auctions were only exempt from the listing fee and still subject to the transaction fee.  And now there are no (pseudo) free auctions at all.

    I’m really disappointed to see how high they’ve set the transaction fee.  Seems like that will probably shift most trade to the gold auction house such that only gold is being bought and sold on the RMAH.

  16. Most people will use the gold ah and only use the rmah for gold selling, maybe also for some very valuable items but that’s it. It’s pretty cool since it means the gold AH will still be used, as it is still more convenient to us players.
    And there’s also still the possibility to make some money to those who are dedicated enough, simply through selling gold.
    The most important thing would now be the gold ah fee. Hope it won’t be too high 🙂

  17. The 10 auction limit tells me that they’ve failed to eliminate duping exploits and this is a bandaid measure to limit the damage done.

    And with these changes Blizzard is saying that they are the only ones allowed to profit from people buying items.

    • Not really, it would actually be easier for them to spot a duper, selling an abnormally high number of rare items. Smart dupers will sell items one at a time anyway.

  18. Oh my god! They finally realized how crappy was the listing fees. I (and many others) suggested this change so many times, glad they finally heard.

  19. I like the removal of the listing fee a lot and have no problem wrapping it in with the sale cost instead.  I didn’t ever want to worry about having to loose money on a posting.  The new posting amount limit is also a minor price to pay for this for me.  I figured I’d post gold a couple times a week and hope to find one to two items that were worth putting on the RMAH.  All in all, not bad.  $1.25 could be lower, but ultimately you’ll get that money back since you can turn gold into RM.

  20. Good changes, AH was flooded by trash items. Hope there is a significant change. Great news! I’ll finally get to try a real AH (gold based)

    • I made like 750k in 3-4 days when it was first available (I think patch 4). It was funny because all I would do was buy out every blue item listed for less than what the unlimited supply town vendors would sell them at and salvage those blues to craft items (back then you couldn’t list crafting materials). Currently the cheapest blue item from a vendor costs 180gold so you’d buy everything listed under that price, then just mass craft or salvage and resell.
      In theory it will be possible to make money without actually playing the game at all.

      • There was a gold blogger, Markco, that got his account banned for doing that exact tactic. If I were you, I’d keep that low-profile.

  21. 10 item limit is good, hopefully people will just list with reasonable buyouts to up their sales volumes and we won’t have to spend a week “bidding” because numbnuts put his BO @ 2x the real value of the item.

  22. 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.

    Surely there will be no limit on the hardcore gold-only auction house then?  Wonder what excuse they’ll pull out of thin air for keeping the limit there, assuming they even bother to give us a reason.

  23. 1.25!? Are you kidding me? I don’t know how much people were planning on using this, but unless decent items are worth 20 bucks each there’s no way I would ever use the RMAH.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t plan on spending 20 bucks on an item any time soon, but that’s the only time that listing fee isn’t highway robbery. 

    I thought blizz was finally going to fix this, but for the first time since I’ve been following D3 I really, really see myself using forums, d3jsp (which i think is inevitable now), and 3rd party “shady” sites if I ever want to actually spend real money.

    Just think about it this way. I find Item X, which is an awesome wizard item that’s worth 6 bucks in real life. I’m a barbarian, and don’t want to make a Wiz, so I go to sell it and then buy a sweet item for my barb instead. I sell it for 6 bucks, get 4.75 of that back, and then buy a sweet barb item. Except the barb item won’t be sweet, because the person selling my barb item is only making 3.5 off of it because by this point blizz has jacked 2.50 out of the origional 6 bucks i spent. So the simple act of finding an item, selling it, and buying something else with that money costs 2.50. Laughable. Useless.

    • You really think sites that buy items buy them up at 75% of what they sell them for? No chance in hell. 
       

      • Oh, no, I didn’t mean that I would try to Sell to 3rd party sites, just that if I wanted to put money into the game I would probably just do it that way.
         
        Either that or if I decided to sell my items in game for real money on the RMAH I probably wouldn’t turn around and spend that money in the RMAH again and get hit double by blizz taking it’s cut. I’d probably just cash the money out and head on over to d3legit.com or whatever the equivalent is

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