Blizzard is taking steps to fix item spam in World of Warcraft’s Auction House. Changes to the way the game’s deposit system work mean that it’ll now be far more economical to sell one big stack of items, rather than dozens of smaller stacks.
In a post on the World of Warcraft forums, community manager Ythisens writes that Blizzard is “reconsidering how deposits – the refundable fees you pay to list your auctions – are calculated.” While the change isn’t likely to be permanent (more of a temporary fix until a longer-term solution is brought in) it does promise to make the Auction House easier to use.
In the full forum post, Ythisens says that “one thing we’ve identified as particularly troublesome is a large volume of trade skill materials being auctioned off in stacks of 1.” Those single-item stacks regularly resulted in “dozens, if not hundreds, of pages of auctions for a single item.” Obviously, scrolling through hundreds of listings just to get to bigger stacks was far from an optimal solution, so Blizzard has, hopefully, taken steps to fix the system.
Blizzard isn’t aiming to change the Auction House too much – as Ythisens points out “we prefer to avoid inflexible solutions such as caps on the number of listings a player can make, or increased minimum stack counts, which might interfere with many players’ common gameplay habits.” With that in mind, the plan is to increased the deposit costs of some professional materials – those used in skills like herbalism – “which should provide incentive for players to post items in larger stacks.”
Offering an example, Ythisens says “Let’s say that a player is trying to sell 200 Tidespray Linen for 10g (gold) each. Today, each item has the normal deposit cost of 1c (copper), with a 1s (silver) minimum deposit, so 1 auction of 200 linen requires a deposit of 1s, and 200 auctions of 1 linen each adds up to a total deposit of 2g.
“Now imagine an additional 20% deposit added to the listing fee per auction. With an asking price of 10g each, that raises the deposit by 2g per stack. In the case of 1 stack of 200 linen, the total buyout price is 2000g, and the new deposit is 2g 1s. In the case of 200 individual stacks, the new deposit of an additional 2g per stack brings the total deposit up to 402g.” For those of you keeping score at home, that’s more than a 2000% increase.
It is, of course, worth noting that deposits are returned to the seller when the item sells, which means that successful auctions aren’t affected by the change. If players now stand the risk of losing loads of money on deposits if their items don’t sell, however, it’s safe to assume that they’ll be less willing to post dozens of individual listings.
Ythisens points out that “this change will likely be a temporary measure, as we’re also working to broadly improve the default Auction House in the future.” The suggestion is that “a temporary change to deposit fees will help” reduce the number of players using Auction House addons in the short term, but watch out for further changes in the future.