WoW Remote Auction House App Beta Impressions

New from Blizzard! The ability to post auctions whilst on the toilet!

New from Blizzard! The ability to post auctions whilst on the toilet!

The World of Warcraft Remote Auction House was announced the other week but as I was deeply engrossed in Age of Conan I never gave it much thought. However, since I’ve started a new Horde alt in WoW on Sunday to play with my bro and RL friend who’s returning to the game I’ve been on a quest to earn some low level cash and found myself visiting the AH quite a lot. Thus is seemed like the perfect opportunity to give Blizzard’s new Auction House app a whirl.

Although there is a web site service available, I’ve been using the iPhone app and the first thing to note is that it’s not actually a new app but rather it’s integrated into, and part of, the existing Mobile Armoury one. Kudos to Blizzard for the smart move ’cause this means it’s going to be sitting there, waggling it’s digital behind in the face of everyone who currently runs the free Armoury app, tempting them to subscribe. Yes, that’s right, to fully utilise the remote AH (in any format after the beta ends) will require a paid monthly subscription fee of $2.99. Worth it? Nope. But I’ll get onto that in a bit.

The app itself (or rather the new features of the Armoury) is, as you would expect from Blizzard, incredibly slick, well polished, and, frankly, completely awesome to use. The UI is painless and I was very surprised at just how intuitive the whole thing is to operate. It’s also fast – very fast – and there’s barely any noticeable delay in browsing or searching the items for sale. The functionality in itself is very comprehensive and, in a nutshell, it lets you search and buy from the AH for any of your characters, view your bids and auctions, cancel them, create them and even collect the money from your sales directly into your pocket, something you can’t even do in the game without visting a mailbox. You can see a full list of what it does here.

The ‘non-in-game’ features are the most interesting because they can potentially change the way you play. For instance, you can post auctions directly from your character’s bag from anywhere in-game, regardless of where they physically are. This means theoretically you could be out on a gathering fest with your toon, log out right where you are and then later on put the entire contents of your backpack up for sale without returning to a major city. You could also cancel an auction and repost it at a different price or collect your profits directly, all without logging in or moving your toon. All of this was quite handy for me as, for example, I was able to check my alt’s auctions during my lunchbreak at work and repost one that wasn’t selling at a lower price to help it shift.

In theory, this is all very cool and gives diehard auction-monkeys the ability to monitor their sales, the competition and make adjustments on the fly. The reality is though that most people won’t use the app for more than a quick check for their sales, making an adjustment to an auction or keeping an eye out for that special item they’ve been hunting for. The problem is that more serious sellers will miss the functionality that something like the Auctioneer add-on provides or will spend most of their time in cities near an AH creating crafting goods anyway.

The Remote Auction House app is fun, it’s handy and it does have it uses and is also an incredibly impressive piece of software. However, all of these things are, in my opinion, marred by Blizzard forcing a monthly price tag on it. If the service was free then I’d be singing it’s praises until you thought I’d potential ditch my wife in order to elope and marry it but paying 1/3 of my game subscription just to create and update auctions out of game seems silly and excessive to me. The geek inside of me loves the idea of 24/7 access to WoW but the pragmatist in me says that I’ve lived a happy life without it so far and never suffered from the problem of not being able to immediately, right there and then without delay, post or collect on an auction.

If I’m being really honest then I’ll tell you that I just wish Blizzard had released the Remote AH for free or, at the most, charged a couple of dollars for the app itself as a standalone product or, heck, even allowed a basic number of free transactions. I know people will say that thus is life and Blizzard are just a company, like every other, out to make a buck and we shouldn’t expect freebies but I see it more as an added value service that they could’ve provided, sharing the benefits our millions of monthly subscriptions are bringing to the game.

-Gordon

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Related Posts

  1. Remote Auction House Review
  2. Remote Auction House Goes Live (And Rips Off Europe In The Process)
  3. Looking Forward To Diablo 3’s Real-Money Auction House
  4. RIFT Open Beta Impressions
  5. Why’s It All About Money Now?

17 Comments

  1. Scopique says:

    At first, I thought the same, but then someone mentioned that the monthly fee MIGHT (with absolutely no knowledge of how the money would actually be spent) be used to cover the bandwidth costs. They already know how many people are accessing the Armory from the iPhone, and while they missed the bus on that one, they might be trying to make up for it with AH access.

    • Gordon says:

      Yeah, I can appreciate that they have overheads to pay for and development costs to recoup. Still, $2.99 would buy me a virtual server host with anywhere upwards of 200GB per month of bandwidth and that’s after I’ve paid the middle-man fees. I’m sure Blizzard not only have a much better deal on hosting but also that each user doesn’t use anything more than a few MB bandwidth a month. I could understand them charging $0.99 a month to cover costs but $3 seems a bit much to me…

  2. spinks says:

    OK, so it isn’t worth a third of the subscription fee, but would a month’s access to the auction house be worth:

    1) a latte
    2) a box of cornflakes
    3. anything else that costs about $3

    I think comparing everything to the sub fee isn’t helping you to evaluate the absolute value here :)

    • Gordon says:

      Agreed! Value is very relative indeed. Of course, I also happen to think that $3 for a latte is overpriced ;) I guess it boils down to personal opinion and mine is that $3 for this service is too high… although I’m am liking it a lot now…. blah!! :D

  3. What a nice write up. I haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, but it does look cool. I probably wouldn’t spend the subscription fee for it either, even if it is just a few bucks. I can’t think of any reason why I’d need to check on my in-game auctions while on the go. I mean, if it was ebay or something I could understand, but WoW AH? Maybe not, I’ll wait until I get home to manage my auctions, save myself $3 a month.

    You’re right though, in that it would be a nice tool for those people who love to work and play the AH. I can see it being worth it for them.

    • Gordon says:

      The funny thing is how surprisingly addictive it becomes… you keep checking your auctions on and off through out the day waiting to see if you’re sold anything! It’s rather terrible really :)

  4. I don’t think I’ll ever use it. I mean, I barely sell things on the AH as it is. When I do, it’s DE’d mats I get from running Heroics or camping my Druid in Halaa. And if I were a real AHer, I’d never be able to survive without Auctioneer, anyway. I can see the benefit in having it, but the Auction House is such a trivial part of my WoW game that I don’t ever see myself using this Value Added Service.

  5. boatorious says:

    New servers, maintenance of the servers, and bandwidth cost money.

    You could also look at the fee as retroactively paying for the Armory, which was free, and the free portion of the remote AH.

    I would definitely pay three bucks a month to improve my WoW experience. I put enough leisure time into WoW every month that I could pay twenty more bucks a month to improve my WoW experience and it would be a bargain.

    The remote AH doesn’t do that though, and it’s hard to imagine something that could while still fitting within Bliz’s narrow (and correct, in my opinion) definition of what’s acceptable.

    • Gordon says:

      I just think $3 is a tad too high… $0.99 and they would’ve won me over. I think SOE offered (maybe they still do) additional web features such as guild sites etc for around $0.99 a month and it seemed like a fair deal.

  6. Bootleg says:

    @boatorious

    Isn’t the current monthly fee supposed to cover new servers, maintenance, bandwidth and… continued development?

    I fully support Blizzard charging money for pretty much everything they’ve done up to this point. Server transfers? Faction Changes? Greed Steeds? etc etc. I think they are all fantastic and they can charge any amount they wanted. But the thing each of those services/gimmicks, whatever you want to call them, all have in common is that they do not affect game play for other players.

    I’m fully against this new AH app. Regardless of how great the app is. For most the AH is simply a place to buy mats instead of farming them, or simply a vendor that pays more than the actual vendors do. But for many the AH is a PvP mini game; the fact that Blizzard charges extra money (regardless of the amount) for a competitive advantage over players who don’t pay the fee is wrong.

    Now obviously, I’m being a bit over dramatic. Gold in WoW is easy to acquire and easy to not spend. When you ding 80 if you work hard and efficiently for a week running H’s and farming mats… There is pretty much nothing around to bother spending money on. So the reality is that this auction house app isn’t really going to affect anybody that much at all. My main concern is the precedent it sets “It’s ok to give a player a competitive advantage in exchange for extra money.”

  7. Tesh says:

    Speaking of value for cost… what if it were a standalone beastie? Say, let a player ramp their account up with “seed” money and *stuff*, and then go off the grid, as it were, cancel their “real” subscription, and do all of their WoWing in the Auction House for a spiffy $3/month? It’s practically a game in itself for some people, so what would it do if they could play it that way and totally avoid that pesky PC client, the game world and such? Tack on access to your bank/vault, and you could play the WoW economy game like an Azerothian day trader.

    You know there would be people who would do it and love it.

    • Gordon says:

      I think they should’ve just charged for the RAH as a separate app. I would’ve happily paid $2.99 as a one off fee. I know it doesn’t sound a lot but as a monthly fee it adds up. I mean, it’s close to $36 a year! That’s more than the sparkly pony :)

  8. [...] been a week since I posted my initial impressions of the Remote Auction House for WoW and figured it would be a good time to write up a more in-depth review. Yeah, I know, [...]

  9. Vlad says:

    You are right. This should be free. I hate this games, when they actually make you believe that if you pay the subscription fee, you will benefit of the hole game and afterwards they charge you for different things. So they are ruining the game by changing the equality between players. I think it is our right to ask blizzard to take out this services, to make it free for everybody or to raise the subscription fee for everybody.

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