Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Blind auction system explained
Several people yesterday commented that they didn't know the blind auction system some MMORPGs like FFXI use, so here is a basic explanation of how it works, and why it is less susceptible to market manipulations:
When you look up an item on the auction house with a blind auction system, you don't get a list of all the different prices for which these items have been posted. Instead you get only the number of items available, and the prices of the last 5 sales or similar historical price data. To buy an item, you make a bid, basically stating how much you would be willing to pay for the item. If there is an item available for that price, you get it. If there are several available, you'll get the one from the seller who put it up for the lowest price. Easy.
But you pay your bid, not the sellers offer price. In fact you never even see the sellers' offer prices. In theory you could buy the cheapest item at the offer price by incrementally bidding up the price copper by copper until you hit the lowest item, but that would be a lot of work. In practice you'll fire off a low bid hoping to get lucky, and if that doesn't work you up your bid towards historical prices until you get to buy what you wanted.
As you can't see what other players put as price on their wares without buying them, it is also not possible to undercut the competition by 1 copper. And the player who puts up some copper ore for 10000 gold in the hope of manipulating auctioneer averages also has no luck in the blind auction house system. But the main advantage of the blind auction house system is that the prices you see are those of items that actually sold, which is a lot better than the WoW system in which you only see the price of items that didn't sell.