A bad time to be auctioneering

11th October 2008 – 11.12 am

The content patch for World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion is being released early next week, with the expansion itself due in a month. With ten more character levels added there will be appropriate new equipment to be found and crafted, where crafting will require different materials than used previously to allow for coordinated progression in gathering professions. As faction reputation became important in the Burning Crusade expansion I expect that most long-standing 70th level characters will have achieved at least the revered standing with the major factions, and all serious players will be exalted with them, requiring different factions to be introduced in Wrath of the Lich King to enable similar progression. The new factions will want different relics to be unearthed to gain reputation with them than are available in the Outlands of Burning Crusade.

All of these items that once had a high value placed on them because of their rarity or effort required to collect, combined with their utility in providing access to crafted or reputation-bought equipment, will be replaced by entirely different goods. There is little point in seeking arcane tomes if anything the Scryer faction offers will be surpassed by a basic item from a new faction, and trying to find dozens of primal elements in order to craft an epic item will be a waste of effort if that crafted item is only as good as a green drop from a world mob in Northrend. With equipment drops, crafting materials, and reputation-boosting items all about to undergo a radical change many high-level players are dumping their bank stock on to the market in the hopes of getting some monetary return on items that will soon be significantly devalued.

It can seem like a time for bargains, but it is not a time for profit. Prices are plummeting for items that once had significant value, but caveat emptor. There are bargains to be had if the bought item has inherent value to yourself. Pick up the fel armaments if you want a quick reputation gain with the Aldor to get an easy equipment upgrade. Buy some primal elements cheaply if it will boost your crafting profession skill. If you are looking to buy a bargain hoping only to sell it on for a profit you could get badly burnt by the deal. The prices have dropped, and will continue to drop, not because of a lack of attention when listing the items but because they really are losing value.

The World of Warcraft auction house market will be in a state of rapid flux for the next couple of months and will not stabilise until 80th level characters are commonplace. Until that time comes one needs to be cautious with speculative bidding. Items that appear on the auction house for a thousand gold soon after the expansion's release may turn out to be relatively common drops, with the seller hoping for a finder's fee of sorts, before the market value is realised at less than a hundred gold later on. There will be money to be made, but it will require patience if it is to be made from the comfort of Stormwind.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.