Blacksen predicts higher AH prices in 4.01

Blacksen’s got a very intelligent article up today on his expectations of the patch’s effects on AH prices, and specifically the effects of the changes to mods like QuickAuctions. As of 4.01, posting auctions can no longer be done automatically – instead, each AH interaction will require a hardware event.

It might seem like this levels the playing field on the AH and is generally good for everyone, but Blacksen’s of the opinion that, by reducing competition on the AH, it will cause global price increases – and make it more difficult to play the AH at the same time.

Personally, I’m ecstatic about the changes. I’ve been talking with the other auctioneers on Zul’jin, and they’re all equally happy. Isn’t this the first sign that Blizzard is making a huge mistake? We’re not going to have to compete with average Joe anymore simply because he won’t have the skills and time to actually participate in the market. In fact, average Joe is probably going to lose money to us when trying to enter. Price is expected to go up, and with that, total revenue is probably going to go up as well. The 10% margins on gems and 1% margins on enchanting materials will all disintegrate. The consumer is probably going to suffer, and ironically, Blizzard thinks they’re helping them.

Is he right? I fear he may well be. Certainly, there are ways to automate AH-playing, perfectly legitimately, still – they’re just harder work to set up, and that’s going to create more of a distance between the established auctioneers with the knowledge, skill and hardware to do that, and those who don’t. And economically it’s very hard to argue against his analysis that prices will rise again – although that might mean it’s actually possible to make money on enchanting mats occasionally.

Overall, this seems to be in line with Blizzard’s ongoing very heavy-handed interventionist attitude to addons. Is it a good idea or a bad idea? What do you think the effects on the economy of 4.01’s changes will be?

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