Remote Auction House Review
It’s 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, writing a review while the product is still in beta… the horror. Good thing that never happens about anything in the gaming industry.
I’ll start off with a rather shameful admission: I’m utterly addicted to the bloody thing. No mater how much I try, I can’t just can’t stop using the iPhone version. I check it on my walk to work, I check it during my lunch break, I check it whilst standing in the queue at the supermarket, I check when I’m having a boring conversation with someone, I check it constantly. Blizzard have managed to hook me, line and sinker, and even though I still resent the fact that it’s going to cost $3 a month in addition to my WoW subscription I’m really wondering how I’m going to live without it.
Of course I think the release of the RAH has come at a perfect time for me given my sudden interest in mining, skinning and general money-making schemes. Had it come out at any other time since my venture into the World of Warcraft I doubt I would’ve given it much of a second thought but, the fact is, the Remote Auction House is an excellent resource for “amateur” auctioneers, those players that sell 3-5 items a day. Obviously people who sell fewer items than that won’t have much need for the tool and I also truly doubt it will appeal to the more hardcore professional as it’s definitely no substitue for the in-game Auctioneer add-on. In fact, it’s probably detrimental to it’s use as collecting your gold or items using it will by-pass the BeanCounter add-on meaning you have no record of what you’ve received. Kinda annoying and one of the reasons that I always just wait and collect my cash from a mailbox in-game.
The hot question on nobodies lips is “does it give players an advantage?”. To that the answer is positively yes, it does. Sorry folks but it’s the truth. It’s not a massive advantage and it’s by no-means going to suddenly destroy the economy or create virtual rags-to-riches stories but it does help. For instance, it’s allowed me to quickly react to market trends and make adjustments to my portfolio in response (man, I sound just like Gordon Gekko saying that). Is someone trying to undercut me? No problem, give me 15 seconds and I’ll repost my items at even lower price and undercut him back. Is my ore selling quickly at a good price? Great, I’ll just post up another few stacks directly from my bank vault. It’s not going to turn me into Donald Trump but it definitely helps.
I’ve been talking pretty much solely about the iPhone app functionality instead the web site but that’s because I use it 99.9% of the time and, frankly, I find the web version a little clunky in comparison. Not to say that the web interface is bad by any means, but just I prefer the app interface and find it a lot easier and quicker to navigate. Also it’s portable which is a big factor in the appeal of the Remote Auction House. As many people have pointed out, if you’re viewing the RAH in a browser, chances are you could and would just log into the game instead. The iPhone version though is perfect for when you’re out and about or can’t access your PC ’cause you’re in the bath (cautionary note: don’t use your iPhone in the bath).
Performance wise both the app and website are excellent and respond very quickly which is a huge achievement on Blizzard’s part. The app version works fantastically well with just a 3G connection and it’s probably a contributing factor as to why I use it so much because I don’t need to a Wi-Fi network to get it to run properly. I suppose I have to mention the connectivity issues everyone’s been experiencing and there are times when it throws up a connection error but, given that it’s all still technically in beta, there’s not much point complaining about it. I’m sure Blizzard have it sorted before it finally goes live.
I really have to take my hat off to Blizzard for being so darn crafty. Their extended beta test is not only giving them an opportunity to iron out every last little bug in the system and deal with the initial huge rush of traffic but it also lets people get so used to using the Remote Auction House that it’s going to be difficult for them to live without it. Do I think the RAH is a great service? Yes. Do I think it should be charged at $3 a month? No. Am I going to subscribe when it goes live? Maybe. But if I do, I’m going to make sure I resent Blizzard for it. Bitterly.