Greedy Goblin

Monday, May 11, 2009

Suggestion to AH

There is a serious problem of the AH: the players and Auctioneer can only see what's on sale and cannot know what's sold. So if someone post something for irrationally high price, while no one going to buy it (except for a gold seller if it's a cover of a deal), the addon will still consider it a sell and include it into its price calculation.

You can only see what other people want to sell, and how much they want to get. On the other hand you cannot see what people want to buy and how much they are ready to pay for it. So it's quite possible, that you have something to sell, someone want to buy it, you would both agree on a price, but there still won't be business, since you never meet. In the current Auction House the seller have to make the first step, has to offer his ware and has to find out a price, the buyer cannot do anything, except hoping that someone has the thing he wants for sale and offer it for a proper price.

In the case of large quantity items, like Infinite Dust or Cobalt Ore, it will happen, since lot of people offering, some will set proper price, the others will see that those items are bought and adjust their prices properly. In the case of small quantity items, it's very different. It's possible, that the junk you are just vendoring for 10s is a rare material for some lvl60 quest that someone desperately seek and would pay 200G for it.

The suggestion: change the Auction House interface to allow buy offers. How would it work:
  1. The wannabe buyer select the item he wants to buy, set the quantity and price he wish to pay and press a "Buy offer" button. The money offered is taken from him.
  2. The buy offers are listed when someone search the item.
  3. If someone has the needed item in his backpack, he can select the buy offer and press the "Buyout" button. The item is taken from him, and he gets the offered price via mail. The buyer gets the item via mail.
This way both the people and the addon would know what people want to buy and how much they want to pay. If someone has to sell something, he can get his money instantly (or after 1 hour waiting) if someone had a buy offer.

This is more than just a "make your life easier" change, like battlemasters in the capital cities. It would be a fundamental change that would change the one-sided market system of AH two-sided.

This would help a lot for people who don't know the prices, save them from either spend time and effort to analyze prices or losing a lot due to underpricing their item (or losing time by overpricing). It would drastically decrease the efficiency of flipping, since the typical victim of the flipping (the dumb one) will either take the highest buy offer, or list his item higher than that, so he would not be underpricing (that much).

I've not posted this suggestion yet, since the dev team is surely overloaded by the 3.1 errors. Will do when everything runs fine. Until than, I'd like to get feedbacks from the other businessmen outside.


Lupius said...

What you suggested has already been implemented in the auction system in Entropia, a Second-Life type of virtual reality. You should check it out.

Seth said...

This would be very, very, very nice.
It would make the life of the buyer and seller a bit easier, and with other words, makes uss sell more so:
great thought!

Hirvox said...

EvE's market system is like this, and it works quite well. If there's a pair of matching buy and sell orders, the trade is done immediately, with the seller keeping the price difference. Otherwise the orders are kept active for up to 90 days (player-configurable, of course).

Moreover, the buy and sell orders can be of varying sizes, so you don't have to worry about stack size. If you have 100 cobalt ore to sell, you can use a single sell order for that. If your buyer only wants 20 ore, you're left with a 80-ore sell order. Likewise, if you really need 1000 ore and there's ten sell orders of 100 ore each, you can buy them all by setting the price high enough to satisfy all of them at once. The seller will keep the price difference, so a large buy order can result in unexpected revenue for the seller.

In addition, the players can also change the prices every five minutes without cancelling the order, allowing them to engage in relatively rapid undercutting wars. And while there are some graphs available, the market data can also be exported in CSV format for further analysis.

G said...

Transforming the AH into a Brokerage system would be an interesting idea... Where you can post buy or sell orders. Maybe even buy/sell auctions.

Observ said...

While this is great for "goblins" i cannot see how great is for the regular player.

Yes, some people will ask for some things, but most of the buyers have one and only one tought: Get my item instantly or not get it at all.

Example: Strong Troll's Blood Elixir

Usually the AH lacks it, or it has an price on 8g + for it. It is a nice profit for starters (and not limited to) but most of the time you can't find it or you wont pay for it.
Lets say someone goes to AH and pays and uses your "feature" and says he/she will buy 1 of them for 2g a piece, what will you do (put 10 players over the course of a week that want it).
With some calculation you have 1.5g the materials
2g - sell via this
0.2 g AH cut

= you have just made 3g in a week. Thats not really acceptable.

1. The buyer wants its elixir (to be read Q item) instantly while he plays, not over an hour or tomorrow when he logs in again.
2. As a goblin you would want a better (certain) way of making money.
3. As a buyer, it is in my best interest to actually pay less for an item than its current market price, so it will be in the seller hands to actually sell his item for lower than he would do if he will leave the item on AH for 2 weeks maybe. (everyone is greedy and want a quick buck)

I hope what i wrote above makes some sense :P

Jong said...

"There is a serious problem of the AH: the players and Auctioneer can only see what's on sale and cannot know what's sold"

Agreed. Data points formed exclusively of offered prices can be irratically skewed. Market participants should have insight to either 1) both the bid & ask price or 2) executed prices.

Tsiar said...

Observ, this IS a great feature. Lets say I need lesser bloodstone ore for a quest, it pops up on the AH fairly often, but in small quantities. I know this, so before I even need it, I post a buy order, that will hopefully be filled before I need it. In addition, lets say I'm leveling tailoring? but darn, all the runecloth is gone :( Well, while i go quest/farm/whatever, my buy order is sitting there, doing my work for me.

"you have just made 3g in a week. Thats not really acceptable." According to your math it's 3g, it could be higher, or lower. However, it keeps popping up on the AH, and people keep buying it, so there is a market for it and is apparently acceptable to someone.

"The buyer wants its elixir (to be read Q item) instantly while he plays, not over an hour or tomorrow when he logs in again." Not always true, I grab items for quests at least 5 levels before i need them, and I have most already stockpiled for my alts. Not everyone puts things off to the last minute. And if they desperately need it now, well, then BUY it. You'll have it instantly. The buy orders are convenient, but you can still buy things the "Old-fashioned" way.

Zekta Chan said...

Another good point of having the buy order is that, the crafter and farmer will know what's in demand before they farm/make the item.

The situation now, the crafter had to spam the trade channel or pre-made a epic, to sold on AH. if we have a buy-order system, the crafter is more "safe" if there are couple of order already at hand (He's still possible to be snap-shooted by other crafter though...)

Contrast to Observ's view,
I think this is more hurt to our peers than to regular player, since the information will be more clear, and we can't do the "buy-low-sell-high" thing afterwards. But it's nice to trading though. Previous sale's price is important for that too, since we now can only guess, what the market price is.

If this improvement will be made, the whole market will change dramatically.
Risk-reduced -> Profit reduced, we need another gold mine to be found :)

Sparks said...

What I'd like to see is a way to know what's not being sold in sufficient amounts. Auctioneer is great for finding deals, but pretty lousy at determining what markets are under-supplied at the moment. There's too much to keep track of there.

Well, unless somebody knows a setting I don't know about.

Sojourner said...

It looks like an interesting idea. One that would almost change the AH into a stock exchange of some form.
An idea i though of as well, not sure how plausable it is however is to almost list exceptional guilds onto a stock market type environment. I havn't though of all the mechanics behind it but would prove interesting, the guild could get money depending on there stock price. Just a though

Anonymous said...

Buy order would make the market more complex than Blizz will go, imo.

What they could do however is record past transactions and display a transaction history so that people know what price led to an actual sale.

Based on that, the default UI could also recommend default pricing for new auctions. And sellers will have an idea what the equilibrium price is.

Philip said...

To all the people saying "this is how Eve does it" or whatever,

This is how the REAL stock exchanges work. This is probably the best thing that Blizz could do for the ingame economy.

Also, you don't need to go and wait to buy things, you can always put in a bid that would be matched to an existing ask.

Jeff said...

This is how real exchanges work, they have evolved into this model due to efficiency, and that drives all markets.

It benefits all players as you do not have to either constantly visit the AH to see if an item is listed, or pay an outrageous price if it is. You simply add your buy order at a price that you're willing to pay and wait for a match.

It benefits farmers and sellers - if a market has a set of buyers, you can go off and grind for an hour to fill those orders, knowing how much you'll make.

It allows other players to perform market-making behavior (and yes profit from it) by providing the service of both buying and selling a range of goods. So you can always dump those Arcane Dusts etc.

To get really complex, it can go towards margining and short-selling - real world efficiencies that allow for tighter markets and fairer prices.

Finally - this would also allow for decoupling all the AH's. This provides for greater arbitrage opportunity, and expansion of the meta-game that is the AH.

Observ said...

Lets look at it from a diffrent point of view Tsair:

Out of a player base of 11.5 milions how many know they will "I grab items for quests at least 5 levels before i need them" . I would say 5->10 %.

Add to those 10% another 10% as being those other people that would wait for the item to pop up at some point.

So we have 20% of posibile buyers from the all player base on the quest items alone.

I would give a 30% for those that would wait for an good buy on materials needed for leveling up an proffesion.

And an 15 - 20% of so called idiots that will just fill the LFB tab with all the crap they need at an insanely low price.

This are some procents over the top of my head, not something certain, but rather my opinion.

While this can be extremely usefull for a vast majority of players, it will steady the prices (slowly over time) for items at their correct price.

And my whole goblin way of doing "gold" is to profit over the markets with large fluctuations

Example: The other day i bought an Staff of Jordan from AH at 15g and sold it in a day for 993g. With the LFB option all the twinks will offer a price if it will ever pop up. So there would be no more Staff of Jordan @ 15g for me :D

Dan said...

I think this would be the best change to the game Blizzard could make. Here's a few examples I can think of as to how this would benefit the general population:
• A casual player who may not know how to run Auctioneer or any of it's alternatives could quickly find what (s)he has available for sale and accurately give an ask offer. This player could in return accurately give bid offers on items (s)he uses.
• A time-strapped raider or PvPer who may know how to run Auctioneer would be able to save some time by placing bid orders on items (s)he will use for raiding or may need in the near future (such as an anticipated gear upgrade). While they may not save time with ask auctions or listings, at least one area is covered.
• Goblins or Ferengi like the majority of us are would use standing bid offers for our high-volume business supplies and perhaps standing ask offers on our products. This could help with inventory and supply issues that many of us face from time to time. It can also help us identify new markets to move into.

Okrane S. said...

Volatility is a goblin's friend.

At least that's what I think your blog is about.

I do agree that introducing the bid levels into the market would definately regularize prices and lead to a better market overall, I also think that with the current state, a clever person can make more money.
If the demand is hidden, a clever person, read a goblin, will deduct it from reasoning, analysing game changes and from various testing and be able to decide the right price for an item. Whereas M&S will get constantly screwed by this.

It can go the other way though as you might be able to short stuff when designing long term strategies.

So do you think this is going to improve money-making or not?

Anonymous said...

"There is a serious problem of the AH: the players and Auctioneer can only see what's on sale and cannot know what's sold"

Long-time reader, first-time poster.

I encourage you to discover ways to take advantage of this truism to manipulate the market in your favor.

My buyers and sellers are primarily Auctioneer users who have strong faith in the numbers it spews out. They are tipically much more active in the AH than the average player and most are making enough profit in the AH to not analyze individual markets in details.

Does that make me a con man? No more than the average Auctioneer user in my opionion. They had access to the same information as I did.

Is this strategy sustainable? Certainly if you have a few bank alts and delete them every so often.

The methods I used are not producing as high an income as yours, but 1,0000 to 7,500 gold a week for 3 1/2 years is not exactly chump change either.

ZacharyPruckowski said...

This works the best for casuals. If I'm out questing/grinding and come back with my 88 bagslots full, all I'm really interested in is clearing up my bag space and going back out there. 5 minutes saved in Orgrimmar every hour or two adds up quite a bit if your playtime is limited. The hassle of "grr, this crap didn't sell, now I've got to go relist it" is more annoying than leaving a few silver on the table. If someone can make 300 gold/hour* on an 80, then spending 5 extra minutes to AH stuff for 20g more is actually inefficient (opportunity costs).

Teej said...

Yet another long time reader, first time poster.

And yes, ever since playing EVE and seeing how well they implemented real-world market mechanics, I have wanted these capabilities in WoW. Is it "more hardcore"? Perhaps. Is it more flexible? Yes. Would it drastically change WoW AH/market dynamics? Absolutely.

For those acting like this would kill volatility: not necessarily. Expirations exist for "for sale" items, and they should/would exist for "wanted" items as well. A dedicated trader would have to continually repost buy orders which, while certainly not impossible to do, it would require enough effort to help keep the "buy spam" (if I may invent a phrase) lower. Don't forget: "buy orders" (should) have listing fees too...

As has also been mentioned: combine this system with a decoupling of *ALL* the AH's and you have an entirely new player-driven "profession": trader. Just like in EVE ;) Frankly, I love with super-big-puffy-hearts the idea of player-driven content, yeah, that's a large part of my rationalization for the "this would be good" argument.

All in all, I'm a big +100 to the idea -- the concept of what is essentially a bi-directional escrow system. EVE started out with that, not realizing the full implications (if I recall my EVE development history correctly).

Geoffrey said...

Yes, this is how real work stock exchanges work. Buyers can offer bid prices and can wait for a matching seller.

Hirvox said...

All in all, I'm a big +100 to the idea -- the concept of what is essentially a bi-directional escrow system. EVE started out with that, not realizing the full implications (if I recall my EVE development history correctly).They do now. One of the employees at CCP is a full-time economist.

Tsiar said...

Your first post said "While this is great for "goblins" i cannot see how great is for the regular player."

While your second post said "While this can be extremely usefull for a vast majority of players... And my whole goblin way of doing "gold" is to profit over the markets with large fluctuations... Example: The other day i bought an Staff of Jordan from AH at 15g and sold it in a day for 993g... So there would be no more Staff of Jordan @ 15g for me :D"

I was arguing that it IS useful to regular players. I realize that this will make that type of easy profit disappear (Maybe not completely, but mostly), but I think the benefits outweigh that. And if they were to make it so that each AH was it's own system away from the others, then you could still have that type of profit making, just too a lesser degree.

Mentat said...

I know what price I'm willing to pay for something. This is the best way to let someone who has that thing know what it's worth to me. Once he or she knows that then they can decide if it's worth that to them to sell. It works very well in EvE and would *dramatically* increase market efficiency in WoW.

Molinu said...

Makes sense to me. At the current time, it's a lot easier to sell consumables than it is to sell BOE epics because the demand for the epics tends to vary wildly. An epic item can sit on the AH for weeks, eating away at profit until somebody picks it up. Letting people place 'buy' orders would let crafters create items on-demand and would prevent BOE buyers from being stuck yelling in trade to find what they want.

Jason said...

This would also clear up a lot of WTB spam in /2

Eve's system works wonders and WoW should incorporate it. However, I really do not see this as a cost effective use of a developers time, so I doubt it will get implemented.

MyName said...

I have often wanted some system that was better than this as you generally only have pricing information on items that are just overpriced enough that they fail to move right away.

I think there may be many practical reasons why it would be hard to make a new system that does this while still retaining the old data. It would probably have been alot easier for them to build something that does this from scratch (rather like the problem of not being able to fly in old world azeroth because huge parts of the map don't exist).

Still it might not be that hard to at least have a side database which tracks only the buyer bids and has a deposit or something.

Anonymous said...

Nice post.

I like your suggestion of supporting the posting of buy requests. But that wouldn't solve the problem of auctioneer not being able to see which auctions actually sell and the sale prices. I see those as two separate things, both of which would be big improvements.

Sean Mars said...

yeah that is just like what eve is and it's fantastic.

Ramblin Man said...

Another first time poster here!

My thought: why not let the AH host Reverse Auctions as well?

A player could post the highest price he is willing to pay for a particular item, and let the sellers bid down to the lowest price they'd be willing to sell it for. You could even have a low-buyout option. This is a strategy some larger companies in real life use to find suppliers, and would be interesting to see in a MMORPG. I don't think its particularly feasible, but an interesting thought experiment.

Anonymous said...

Hell no. I make plenty off gold from stupid people who likes to buy over inflated things. The only people that will benefit from these changes are the lazy ppl and farmers who cannot be bothered with AH research.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I have been reading your blog for a while now and agree on a lot of the phylosophies presented. (Both in game and out). I had a quick question. I just got an addon (Audit), but I am not sure the /commands to actually use it. I do know it is working because it tells me how much I spend on a transaction and how much I receive in the mail, but as of now I can't access the weekly, daily, or session reports that it can provide. I was wondering if you had experience with this addon and if there is something I am missing.

Noak said...

While it's a good idea in theory, in practice it would bring prices down too much.

Buyers *always* want to buy an item for below market price, right? so here's what would happen:

1. The buyer puts up, say, a request for a Dream Shard for 20g. The current market price is 25g.

2. A "quick seller" sees that and, not wanting to risk the dreaded Auction Expired in his mail, sells the dream shard for 20g.

3. Rinse and repeat until the new market price of Dream Shards is 20g, and 25g is considered way above market price.

4. Now a buyer, always wanting to buy for below market price regardless of what market price is, puts up a request to get a dream shard for 15g.

And so on. Over time, overall prices in the AH would plummet even faster then they currently are and there would be no way to make a decent amount of money off of selling things.

Mentat said...

@Noak: It would only drop as far as it was worth it to people to sell. The same principles would apply as now except that sellers would know what people will actually willing to put money down on. The real value is probably above that in most cases or else all the buy orders would immediately be filled. There are real restrictions on the cost of supplies (in your example blues) that determine what the actual value can be. Yes, people do regularly sell at a loss because they're stupid. As a seller you can set buy orders too to buy from these people. Unless the supply of all items in the system is fairly immediately infinite, prices won't drop to zero. There are always limiting factors. EvE uses this model and prices are definitely not zero, the prices just get to optimal levels faster.

Sam said...

I've wanted this feature since day one of using the WoW auction house, and I have mentioned it to my friends before. Doing economics experiments as an undergrad, I got used to being able to post buy orders, and I definitely have felt the lack.