Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ya didn't see this coming, did ya? is reporting that Blizzard is working on a way to allow the Auction House be used through an iPhone app from outside the game. Some of you may remember my doom-and-gloom post from a while back. It turns out that I hadn't thought of even half the things Blizzard can do to milk more money from the game and perhaps screw it up in the process.

This new development shouldn't come as a shock, really. Activision, or whoever the hell is pulling the strings now, is figuring out new ways in which to milk this fertile cow. I'm sure an offline AH will have a lot of success. As a commenter under the article said: many people would be willing to pay any amount of cash for this ability.

While at one point I was also wishing for a way to manipulate the AH from outside the game (heh, on a smartphone from work for example, though I don't have a smartphone), now I don't think it's a good idea anymore.

For one thing, it looks like the new "feature" will be a premium one, meaning that people will have to pay in order to use it. For another, you will probably need an iPhone to use it, or at the very least a smartphone. Not everyone has access to one, me included. These two factors alone will put everyone who's not willing to 1) pay for the app and 2) own a compatible smartphone, at a disadvantage.

Why is this important? Because by this, Blizzard is kinda hinting that it's ok to buy gold. Mind you, it's a backdoor way of doing it because you are not actually buying gold, let's face it, but it will allow certain AH junkies to continually make use of the AH on an almost 24/7 basis. Whether in the crapper, or having lunch, or at work, whether thousands of miles away from their computer, these people will have the opportunity of conducting business as if they were logged into the game.

In other words, Blizzard is saying this: if you pay us some real money, you will have the opportunity of making even more WoW gold. Neah, huh? Yeah, I know, I'm a selfish bastard for hating this proposed feature but I believe it would be fair for everyone if AH manipulation would be impossible, unless logged into the game. If Blizz goes this route, they might as well just sell us the damn gold.

Your thoughts?


Unknown said...

I think it may be good if there is one item you are looking to buy. Maybe it gets put on the AH while you are at work, and sells before you get home so you never had the opportunity to buy it.

Wookie7 said...

I think a better solution to that would be to implement buy orders. Just place an order and how much you are willing to pay, and someone fills it for you -- assuming they think the price is fair.

Darraxus said...

I think this is crap tastic. I have to deal with enough campers as it is without having to worry about people doing it from work on their phone.

Stranic said...

The overall feeling I get from you is that you are upset about this new feature but I do not understand why is so? I mean, so what if only some will be able to visit the AH from a smartphone when they are not logged in. I do not find it that Blizz says it is ok to buy gold but it is ok to be alert and involved in the game more then before. And if by this one will make more money than ok. And you use the AH to make gold, I for example was using it to buy items and at one time I actually hunted for a special sword for a long time. For me it sounds as a good marketing strategy: they want you to be more involved in the game and you want to be rewarded for it.

Steve said...

I think this idea is problematic, particularly as a paid service; as someone else pointed out the paid etxras so far have been things that don't affect game play, while this would obviously change game play quite a bit.

One thing where I believe you're heading down the rabbit hole tho Darth, is the idea that you need an iPhone for this.

Reread the post -- it says that you'd be able to access the AH *directly through the armory* OR via an iPhone app. So while you may need to pay for it, it looks like you'd be able to access it at a computer.

To be clear, this was really just a floated idea and nobody has any idea what, if anything will come of it. But based on the info available so far, this would not be limited to smartphone users.

Eversor said...

Seems okay to me. Everyone has different levels of play. The guy who can log on for 5 hours a day shouldn't be held back because I can only get in an hour if I'm lucky. Of course I don't AH all that much so.....but it seems more of a convenience issue rather than an advantage. We all choose how much time we'll be on.

Elkagorasa said...

Sounds like wishful thinking than a possibility. To make it a useful gold-mine, you'd need both mailbox access and AH access. Yes, I can see the AH and place BID/BuyOut orders, but can you post items? Can you access your mailbox/bags to get items? Probably not.

I see the possibility of sending real-world messages to in-game players happening before you get full AH access. Or me getting a Phoenix mount, when I play only a few hours a week.

Darth Solo said...

Yeah, they might not implement mailboxes and the possibility of posting items. However, even if they allow you to bid for items, it still raises some ethical issues. People using (and paying for) this feature will be able to snatch very cheap items if they get lucky, and they will, given enough time spent scanning the AH. So these people will still have an advantage.

Now if they only allow you to check the state of your auctions without the possibility of buying or selling, I'm all for it. I still won't use it though (especially if I have to pay for it) because I don't give a rat's ass whether my auctions are selling or not, given that there's no way I can interact with them.

Edgar said...

Please, I like your articles a lot, I like your blog a lot, but please stop with the random, pulled out of thin air, speculation. What, if anything, could possibly lead you to believe this was a smartphone/iphone application only??? The news item was related to the armory PERIOD, with a little info thrown in that the iPhone now has an armory app which may be included in this news (or may not). The armory is accessible from almost any device with internet access, and it would be stupid of them not to allow people to mess with this premium feature fromt heir computers/laptops. Some people have access to the internet, but not the game so they may, for instance, do some AH sales from work. On top of that we have no idea how it will work, and whether it will be as useful as you think. It might also help if you posted the entire info rather than just making your guests guess or take your word for it:

This is a fairly complex service to develop, due in large part to its unprecedented integration with the game, so we don't have an exact release date yet. It's important to note here that certain elements of the service will be premium-based, which we'll go into more detail on once the service functionality is finalized. As with all of the services we offer, we plan to integrate the Auction House and Armory in a way that won't disrupt the gameplay experience, and we won't release it until it meets the quality standards that we've set for our other features and services.

This was posted by blizzard, and it clearly states they DON'T know for usre yet, and they say "certain features" might go premium, leading me to believe there are things that might be free to use.

Enough with the end of the world stuff, and lets stick to what we know shall we?

Darth Solo said...

@Edgar both our reactions are a direct consequence of being so passionate about this game. So it's all good man. I did pull the "iPhone exclusive" thing out of my ass, though I knew it wouldn't be exclusive to it.

I'm aware that it won't be easy to implement this but I just hope they won't allow people to actually trade. As long as you have to pay for it, it will definitely be an advantage to those who are willing to do so. This is my stance.