It's a late night at Blizzard HQ, and Watcher Dev's trawling the Forums, looking at posts. He finds one concerning the fact that someone in Beta has noticed that Alliance and Horde Auction Houses are currently merged and working as a single entity. Because he's the one on Late Duty tonight, he decides to clarify the position for the poster:
Of course, I have no idea if that's actually how it transpired, but in my head that's how I imagine it might have happened. And there a major news story was born. No fuss, no huge announcement and certainly no waiting weeks for a blog post, because I'm strongly suspecting this is just another of the various Quality of Life changes Blizzard know people have been asking for (and they have) that they just made happen. However, for quite a few people on my Twitter feed, and in the Blogsphere, this is news so large that it DEMANDS more than simply two lines of blue text, which is odd, because the last time we checked (which was yesterday) Blizzard don't actually need to tell anyone anything. They certainly don't need to give us the reasoning behind a change that, at least on paper, is a no-brainer. This helps the Auction House Economy balance out on servers where faction imbalance will not be helped by server merges. It gives EVERYONE a chance to buy and sell regardless of the numbers of people. It is, in effect, a stroke of genius.
|This is the bigger picture.|
However, there are consequences to be considered, the most notable for people like me who have relied on the Neutral AH to ferry materials between Horde and Alliance. Should all AH's be merged into a centralised unit (and I'd suspect for ease of use they may well be) this will once and for all see an end to a means of transporting items from one faction to another. It won't be a massive inconvenience, especially as Garrisons will allow players access to multiple professions simultaneously, but it will mean I'll need to look at possibly levelling a third Hordie to compensate for the shortfall. It does mean the Bankalt Population is going to be further decimated, as it now becomes utterly pointless to have anyone in Booty Bay, should this change go to Live.
|DON'T MAKE ME GO DOWN THERE ^^|
|HE DID IT FOR ME YAY \o/|
But there are other issues here, not simply for the VAST number of people who live and work the Gold Making Game on Live at present (of which there are many.) I'm sure they'll tell you this will simply mean they have to rethink the odd strategy here and there, but the wider mechanical consequences of a merge are considerable.
This change will have serious implications for institutions such as the Undermine Journal and anyone using an addon which gives access to the Auction House, quite apart from the obvious Faction 'concerns' that are bound to emerge from such a major alteration. As for firm details of how this change will now play out for Live?
We'll need more than two lines in a Forum for that.
[EDIT: There's a good point made here too:
Again, we're probably going to need someone to sit down and explain this change in a *wee* bit more detail to be sure of the changes :D]