Introduction to the Auction House and the Classic Economy

Introduction

Welcome to this guide on the auction house system in Classic World of Warcraft. In this guide, I will teach you the basics of the Auction house, and it's mechanics and share some of my tips for utilizing the auction house to generate gold so you can hopefully buy your epic mount!

If you are familiar with retail or with Classic, some of this will no doubt be well known as this guide will cover everything that needs to be known. Feel free to skip ahead if that is the case. The current screenshots are taken from the live BfA version of the game and will be updated to the correct classic versions as soon as WoW Classic launches.

What is the Auction House?

The Auction House (usually abbreviated the AH by players) is a system that allows you to trade items for gold with other players. You can post your items for sale and others will be able to search them up and purchase them from you. Once you've posted your items they will remain on the AH until the auction duration is over, or someone has bought the item for the buyout price.

The AH plays a vital role, particularly concerning professions. It will allow you to get rarer items that are harder to farm, as well as items that you may not be able to acquire yourself such as materials from gathering professions you do not have.

It is also the main avenue to earn gold, either by selling materials you've farmed, items you've crafted or by buying low and selling high.

Where can you find Auction Houses?

Each faction has three auction house locations. The locations are linked (they were connected in patch 1.9 and Classic will begin with patch 1.12) which means you will access the same list of items for sale regardless of which of your factions auction house you go. The Auction Houses are faction-specific though, so you will only be able to trade with other alliance players on the alliance AH.

In addition to the factioned Auction Houses, there is a set of Neutral Auction Houses that both factions can access. These auction houses have a much higher cut, and they are quite a bit more annoying to get to, which means they are not used particularly much. They represent the only way to move items or gold across factions, however, so they do fill a niche.

The Auction house maps are currently sourced from the main game and will be updated as soon as Classic launches.

Horde Auction House Locations

  • Orgrimmar
  • Thunder Bluff
  • The Undercity
The Auction House in Orgrimmar is located just inside the city from the Durotar entrance. You will find it on the right of the Valley of honor.

You can see the location marked on the map to the right.

Alliance Auction House Locations

  • Darnassus
  • Ironforge
  • Stormwind
In Darnassus you can find the Auction House in the North-West end of the Tradesnmen's Terrace in the building marked on the map to the right.

Neutral Auction House Locations

  • Booty Bay
  • Gadgetzan
  • Winterspring
There are three Auctioneers spread around Booty Bay. One is in the house closest to the inn on the lowest level, and one is just by the bank on some crates, the last one is on the north end on some crates.

The positions are all marked on the screenshot below.

Basic Auction House Mechanics

So let's take a look at how the AH works.

The basic building block of the auction house is an item listing (or an auction). This is an item or a stack of items listed for sale. Each auction has several characteristics:
  • The name of the item: you need to know which item is for sale so you can search for it.
  • The quantity for sale: You can sell more than one item at the time, but only for items that stack and only up to the maximum stack size. In Classic this will be capped at 20 items.
  • The Seller: The name of the character offering the item for sale
  • The Time Left: the time left until the auction expires. The indication can be either short, medium, long or very long.
  • The required level of the item
  • The Bid Price: the current highest Bid
  • The Buyout Price: The price to buy the item instantly.
In the following, we will take a slightly closer look at these characteristics of an auction.

Bid Price

As the name Auction House implies the basic way to sell an item is through an auction where you set a minimum bid price and players can increase the bid. When the auction expires, the highest bidder gets the item for the bid price they paid.

Buyout Price

In addition to the bid price, you can set a buyout price. This is a price someone can pay to buy the item immediately. In practice, the buyout price is almost always used as the main price as most players do not want to wait for hours to get their items.

Duration

When you make an auction, you can choose one of three different durations: 2 hours, 8 hours and 24 hours. The main reason to choose a lower duration would be to decrease your deposit costs, which mostly matters for items that have a very high competition where you will either sell the item within 12 hours or be undercut (Undercut means to post your items at a lowerprice than the current cheapest auction) by someone else.

The Time Left column when you search for an auction has 3 potential states, corresponding to different time intervals as shown in the table below.
Interval name Interval
Short 1 minute - 2 hours
Medium 2 Hours - 8 Hours
Long 8 Hours - 24 Hours

Deposit Cost

The deposit cost is the price you need to pay to post an auction to the auction house. The deposit cost is based on the price at which you can sell the item to a vendor, and it is higher for the higher durations. The price scales linearly though, so if you want to post it for 48 hours it will cost you the same amount to post two 24 hour auctions as one 48 hour auction.

The deposit cost is different for the faction-based auction houses and the neutral auction houses, with the neutral auction houses having significantly higher deposit costs. The table below shows the deposit costs for the various durations.

AH Type Duration Deposit Cost
Faction 2 Hours 5 % Vendor Sell Price
Faction 8 Hours 20 % Vendor Sell Price
Faction 24 Hours 60 % Vendor Sell Price
Neutral 2 Hours 75 % Vendor Sell Price
Neutral 8 Hours 150 % Vendor Sell Price
Neutral 24 Hours 300 % Vendor Sell Price

The Auction House cut

When you successfully sell an item the auction house takes a cut of the purchase price. The buyer always pays the full bid or buyout price, but you will get less than that. This ensures that the AH continuously leeches gold away from the economy.

The AH cut is 5% for the faction auction houses, and a whooping 30% for the neutral AH, which is one of the reasons why the neutral AH is not particularly widely used.

When you successfully sell an auction you get the gold that was paid minus the AH cut plus the deposit cost you paid to post the auction.

This also means that you can save some gold if you trade directly with players through the trading system, but it does require that you are both online at the same time to execute the trade, which makes it less enticing.