Diablo 3 diary: Auction house frustrations

A bidding feature in the Diablo III auction house allows players to place bids and walk away. And while I understand it, it's frustrating as hell.

My monk finally hit level 60 working his way through Hell difficulty in Diablo III. While having five stacks of Nephalem Valor makes it easier to farm for better gear drops from bosses and elite mob groups, the randomness and vast array of stats makes it exceedingly difficult to find upgrades to prepare for Inferno. So I have found myself spending more time in the auction house and the early experience was as useful as the items I've been vendoring and as exasperating as a group of molten arcane desecrator jailer elites. I'm not a power auction house user. I usually go in looking for upgrades and leave. Occasionally, I will put things that I find on the AH, but I have not spent a lot of time there, as the experience can become a mini-game unto itself. But with the launch of the real money auction house, the prices of items selling for gold have seemed to skyrocket. Prior to launch, I'd occasionally see quality rare level 60 items selling for a few million gold. Two days ago, I counted hundreds of items selling for more than 50 million, with several selling for 2 billion! Unless you are a gold farmer or have no life, there is little chance most players will be able to afford those prices. Yes, bargains can still be found on some lesser quality items can be found, but on average, the things I need (item level 60+) are way out of sync price-wise to how much gold I can afford. And while the real-money AH is a nice idea, I sure as hell am not going to spend $250 (the top selling price allowed on the RMAH) on a single item for my gear-hungry monk. I'm adventurous, not rich (or stupid). It was this realization that forced me to start up a new character. I created a demon hunter and decided to use my monk's shared gold reserves to buy some quality rare items. The good news is that lower level rare items are a lot more affordable, but the bad news is that most sellers don't post a buyout, preferring instead to let bidding wars drive up the price of the items they are selling. It was here that I became educated about one of the more frustrating aspects of the AH system: The ability for players to keep bidding on an item without even being in the AH. Here's how it works: An item is selling in the AH for 245 gold bid, with say a 50,000 gold buyout. I don't want to pay the buyout, but I know the standard 5 percent incremental bid the auction house requires will not get me the item because I will surely be outbid on this really nice piece of gear. So I bid 10,000 gold as a maximum bid. Here's where it gets interesting: The auction house will not show the bid as 10,000 gold. It shows the bid as the next increment up. However, any time someone places an incremental bid, they are immediately outbid by my 10,000 bid's next 5 percent increment. This will keep happening until someone bids MORE than my 10,000 gold. If no one outbids me, I win the auction with my top incremental bid, and not the 10,000 gold max bid. The system is similar to the one that eBay uses.

The auction house prices are a bit out of control

I had not been educated about this system, even though an explanation was available (but relatively hidden) in an AH FAQ on the official Battle.net support site. So here's what I saw BEFORE I became enlightened: I find a cool piece of gear at a more than reasonable bid. I place an incremental bid on the item, not knowing someone has placed a max bid. My incremental bid is NOT accepted because it is too low. Every attempt I make to increase the bid is met with the same "too low" rejection. I wait a few minutes to see if I just happen to be bidding against someone who is really quick on the bid button. I see no changes, so I bid again, but again I'm too low. Welcome to the beauty (and frustration) of the max bid system. You can keep outbidding people on an item WITHOUT being in the auction house and babysitting your item. But for those unfamiliar with this feature, it can be confusing and discouraging. The Diablo III forums have numerous threads from players wondering why their bids are being instantly rejected as too low. It also is radically different from the World of Warcraft auction house experience, so you can't assume both work the same way. This also becomes a great way for sellers with more than one account to drive up the price of their own items, or buyers to make sure they are in the bidding until the bitter end, without going too high. I can't say I'm a fan of the system, especially since it took a bit of research to find out what was happening. People who don't frequent the forums or read FAQ's will get frustrated. But I can see its merits. Now I'll just have to wait for the novelty of the RMAH to wear off so that items being sold for gold come down to a more reasonable price. Hopefully the 1.0.3 patch changes that hit today will help.
Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 19, 2012 12:00 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Diablo 3 diary: Action house frustrations.

    A bidding feature in the Diablo III auction house allows players to place bids and walk away. And while I understand it, it's frustrating as hell.

    • reply
      June 19, 2012 12:01 PM

      gonna wanna throw a u in there, keef!

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        June 19, 2012 12:06 PM

        I looked at this 10 times and caught 2 minutes AFTER it posts. Story of my life. But its fixed.

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          June 19, 2012 12:07 PM

          Too bad I can't edit the post itself ...

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            June 19, 2012 12:58 PM

            Sure you can, just call up sTeve. Heard he's working in TV now.

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      June 19, 2012 12:43 PM

      Well....that explains alot. I did not mess with the auction house much either, and admit that i pretty much quite diablo 3 after getting to inferno Belial, but reading this explains alot of frustrations i had as well.......

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      June 19, 2012 12:47 PM

      Action House, the spin off series with House and Wilson on the road running from the law

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      June 19, 2012 12:54 PM

      Kudos on the bad pun btw

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        June 19, 2012 1:20 PM

        ?? Oh, unless you mean "frustrating as hell," which was seriously unintentional, but the truth nonetheless.

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      June 19, 2012 12:59 PM

      it makes it harder to snipe, which is nice

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      June 19, 2012 1:18 PM

      I much prefer the eBay system.

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      June 19, 2012 1:32 PM

      Prior to launch, I'd occasionally see quality rare level 60 items selling for a few million gold. Two days ago, I counted hundreds of items selling for more than 50 million, with several selling for 2 billion!

      People have been throwing overpriced shit up there since launch. The RMAH didn't change anything in that respect. If you're looking for a buyout, you need to set a max threshold to filter that crap out.

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        June 19, 2012 1:40 PM

        Still waiting on a filter for a "greater than" function on all stats. I want >43 Resist All, not this +11 garbage.

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        June 19, 2012 2:26 PM

        I've gotten the max threshold down, but again, most of the gear that is a good upgrade for me is all this overpriced crap. And I know it has been around since launch, but it seems to have gotten worse with the launch of the RMAH. Emphasis on "seems to" ...

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          June 19, 2012 2:41 PM

          The good shit that's priced accordingly sells in the first 2-3 hours of listing. The rest is overpriced.

          You've gotta keep at it, tbh. People listing things are too focused on a single "get rich quick" item and aren't considering the audience they're trying to sell to, and end up ridiculously overvaluing their listings.

          Think of it like a BMW dealer in a ghetto. Sure, there's a bunch of people who want to buy one, but they don't have the cash to do it. If one of those cars does suddenly become available for an affordable price, then it's gone almost immediately.

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            June 19, 2012 2:52 PM

            yeah, good analogy. I'll keep at it, but TBH, the repetition and babysitting necessary just means I will get tired of the game before I finish Inferno. Or I'll end up having my monk farm gear for my demon hunter.

            Or because of the nature of my job, I will have moved on to another game ;)

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              June 19, 2012 2:57 PM

              I'd just open it up and search a bit before/after runs, or when watching tv, or after checking the news sites in the morning. Probably about 20-30 minutes a day whenever it crossed my mind, but no real babysitting.

              I'd say I averaged a deal every day or two with extremely limited funds (<2-3 mil). When I had a bit more funds (5-25 mil), many more deals opened up.

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        June 19, 2012 3:01 PM

        The posters are hilariously insane. Is there even one single person in the game with a billion gold???

        I also wish it was like the WoW AH, where they charge you to post regardless of sale or not.

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      June 19, 2012 1:43 PM

      selling and listing are two really different things...

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      June 19, 2012 5:13 PM


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      June 19, 2012 5:35 PM

      I won an auction earlier thanks to this it rules

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      June 20, 2012 7:18 AM

      This is how eBay works, too. It's a very good idea for online auctions to prevent people with more time than you from having an unfair advantage.

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