WoW Remote Auction House App Beta Impressions
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.