The Auction House (abbreviated as AH) is a wonderful place to find what you need or even make some money for yourself. You can find or sell weapons, armor, trade goods, recipes and reagents. Auction House fees and deposit costs are also one of the largest gold sinks in the game.
Most cities and some towns have their own Auction Houses. All Auction Houses in a realm are connected, and offer the same items for sale, regardless of location or faction. (In earlier versions of the game there were separate Alliance, Horde and Neutral auction houses.) Players with trial accounts can see the items listed for an auction but cannot buy or sell through the Auction Houses.
- Orgrimmar in Durotar
- The Trader's Hall in the Valley of Honor – run by Auctioneers Drezbit, Kuvi, Vizput and Zilbeena
- The Pool in the Goblin Slums – run by Auctioneer Fenk
- The Inn in the Valley of Spirits – run by Auctioneer Ziji
- The Auction House in the Valley of Strength – run by Auctioneers Auctioneer Drezmit, Auctioneer Fazdran , Auctioneer Ralinza and Auctioneer Xifa
- The Auction House in the Valley of Wisdom – run by Auctioneer Sowata
- Thunder Bluff in Mulgore
- Undercity in Tirisfal Glades
- Silvermoon City in Eversong Woods
- Dalaran in Crystalsong Forest
- Shrine of Two Moons in Vale of Eternal Blossoms
- Frostwall in Frostfire Ridge
- Unlocked in Trading Post
- Warspear in Ashran
- Ironforge in Dun Morogh
- Stormwind City in Elwynn Forest
- Darnassus in Teldrassil
- The Exodar in Azuremyst Isle
- Dalaran in Crystalsong Forest
- Shrine of Seven Stars in Vale of Eternal Blossoms
- Lunarfall in Shadowmoon Valley
- Unlocked in Trading Post
- Stormshield in Ashran
- Gadgetzan in Tanaris
- Booty Bay in Cape of Stranglethorn
- Everlook in Winterspring
- In the building with the huge telescope – run by Auctioneer Grizzlin
Characters on the same account cannot bid on items put up for auction on any Auction House by a different character on the same account, even if the characters are of different factions (Alliance or Horde).
Blizzard does not prohibit "giving away" items to friends on opposite factions by putting an item on the auction house with a buyout fee of 1 copper, and expecting their intended recipient to buyout on it quickly. However, anyone is entitled to buyout the item at that price, and even if someone is not the intended recipient of that item, "stealing" it is not punishable by GMs.
Auction system mechanics
Opening the Auction House dialog
Right-click on one of the auctioneer NPC's to open a dialog box where you can interface with the auction system. These NPC's always have the title Auctioneer and you can find them on your Minimap by checking Auctioneers under Townsfolk; the gold coins icon () shows where they are. The dialog has three tabs, Browse, Bids, and Auctions, located at the bottom. Buyers will need the first tab to find an item to bid on, and the second tab to track current bids. Sellers will need the first tab to check prevailing prices, and the third tab to track the items they currently have on sale.
The dialog starts on Browse tab where you can find items currently for sale. If you know the name of what you wish to find, simply enter all or part of it in the Name box, and click the Search button on the upper right, and the system will list all the items that match the string you entered. If you already have the item in your bags, most likely because you want to check the market on an item you want to put up for sale, Shift-click the item and the name will be filled into the box for you, avoiding any spelling issues.
If you don't have a specific item in mind, there are other ways to narrow down the list from the many hundreds of items available. To search for a specific category, click on one of the headings (weapon, armor, spell, recipe, etc.) on the left. Most categories have sub-categories, and many of these have sub-sub-categories, so you can choose how narrow the search will be. For example, you can list just Armor, just Leather Armor, or just Leather Armor for the Head. You can mix and match a category search with a name search as well, for example enter the phrase 'of the Tiger' into the Name box if you only want to see equipment with that specific enhancement. Click Search any time you want to find items that match the current options, or click Reset to clear the existing criteria and start over.
If you're looking for a specific range of levels, useful for weapons and armor, fill in the level range next to Name box. Note that this refers to the 'Required level to use' property, not the Item Level. So, for example, it your current level is 25 and you're looking to upgrade you Dagger, select Weapons/One-Handed/Daggers as your category, and a level range of 20 to 25. Next to the level range is a box that allows you to narrow down the list to items of a specific quality. Only items that match the selected level (Poor, Common, Uncommon, Rare, etc,) or above will be shown.
Next to the quality box are check-boxes for Usable Items and Display on Character. If Usable Items is checked then only items which you can currently equip or otherwise use are shown. For example, if the category Recipes is selected and Usable Items is checked, then only those recipes which you can learn with your current professions and skill levels, and haven't already learned, will be listed. Check the Display on Character to display a paper doll showing what your character would look like with the item equipped; this only applies to weapons and armor.
Items for sale
A list of the items matching the conditions you set, if there are any for sale, will be displayed in the right pane of the dialog. Note that if no items appear it could be because none happen to be on sale, even though a matching item may exist in the game. The list of items for sale includes:
- Item icon (including quantity) and name. The icon is redded out if it's not usable by your character.
- Required level to use item. Again, this is not the same as the Item Level.
- Time left on the auction:
- Short - Less than 30 minutes.
- Medium - Between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
- Long - Between 2 hours and 12 hours.
- Very Long - Between 12 hours and 48 hours.
- Two Prices: the current bid and the buyout price. All prices are given in (Gold), (Silver), and (Copper). (1 Gold is worth 100 Silver, and 1 Silver is worth 100 Copper.)
Click on one of the column headings to change the order in which the items are listed, and click a second time to toggle between ascending and descending. The possible sorting options are Rarity, Level, Time Left, Seller, and Price per Unit. The Price per Unit sort goes by the Buyout price and items without a buyout price set are listed last.
Buying an item
To place a bid on an item, click on it and press the Bid button on the lower left of the dialog. The amount of the bid is deducted from your current cash and, assuming that no one places a higher bid before the auction expires, you'll receive the item in the mail. The amount of the bid will default to either be the initial bid amount set by the seller, or the next highest bid amount if there is an existing bid. You can adjust this amount in the price entry areas at the bottom of the dialog. When you place a bid, the amount is placed in escrow until the auction is over and you get the cash back in the mail if you lose the auction.
If you don't want to wait for the auction to expire, then press the Buyout button instead to pay the Buyout price and get the item in the mail right away. The Buyout price is usually higher than the Bid price as a premium for getting the item quickly. A Buyout price isn't always set though, in which case is only option is to place a bid.
Once you place a bid, you can check its status in the Bids tab of the dialog. This lists your currently active bids with the same item information listed in the Browse tab, along with the amount of your bid. Note that once you make a bid you can't cancel it; the only way of getting your money back is for someone else to outbid you.
If an item receives a large number of bids in a short amount of time, the duration on that item will be automatically increased by the AH (for example, a Short length will be changed to Medium, and a Medium to Long). It appears that the change in length is to the minimum amount for that length, not the maximum, so a change from Medium to Long changes the length to 2 hours, not 12.
To sell an item, select the rightmost Auction tab at the bottom of the screen. But before doing so, you might want to search for the item in the browse screen to get an idea of how many are currently on sale and the going price. When the auction pane comes up, drag an item from your inventory to the Auction Item slot on the upper left. For non-stackable items, all you have to do next is enter the price at which you want bidding to start ([ ] [ ] [ ]), and the Auction Duration (12, 24, or 48 hours). It is often a good idea to set a buyout price. These amounts may be the same, or different, as is the player's wish, but the buyout price cannot be lower than the minimum bid price. The bid suggested when you place an item up for auction is 150% of the vendor sell price (VSP). The minimum starting bid is 1 copper. Items with no sell value will suggest a bid of 1 silver.
For stackable items you also need to set a stack size. Since buyers can't break up a stack when they buy, it may be a good idea to break up large stacks when you create the auction. You can set the bid and buyout prices per item or per stack according to the selection box at the top of the pricing area. Make the Number of Stacks value greater than 1 to create multiple auctions at once, but it has led to the auction house being flooded with single stack items. This can be beneficial to the seller, as it means that people can buy the exact amount of an item that they want, but it may also mean that people who sell in single stacks lose money, as many people will want to buy items in relatively large stacks (see Auction House tips). When you're ready, press the Create Auction button to place the item on sale. A deposit will be deducted from your available cash and the item now appears in the list of items you have for sale in the right pane of the dialog.
You can cancel any auction by clicking the item and clicking the Cancel Auction button at the bottom of the screen. However, you will lose the deposit that you paid when first placing the item up for auction.
|Auction length||Pct of VSP|
The deposit fee, or listing fee, is the amount of money needed to place an item up for auction. It depends on the item's vendor sell price (VSP) and the amount of time you want to put the item up for auction. The deposit is paid immediately when you list the item. If the calculated deposit fee is fewer than 1 (including the case when item has no vendor sell price, VSP=0), then final deposit fee will be 1. This often happens with low-level fishes and enchanting reagents.
When you successfully sell an item on the auction house, the house will take 5% of the winning bid as its cut. The amount of money you will receive by mail will be the winning bid, minus the cut, plus the return of your deposit:
- Amount Received = Winning Bid - Cut + Deposit
- = Winning Bid*(0.95) + Deposit
When an item fails to sell, you will receive the item in the mail, but your deposit will not be refunded. When you cancel an auction that has no bids placed on it, you simply lose your deposit, and the item is returned to you by mail. When you cancel an auction that has a bid in place, you will lose your deposit plus a fee equal to the house cut of the current bid. Note that you can't bid on an item which you placed on auction to avoid paying the deposit, even if you use another character on the same account. In most cases the house cut would be more than the deposit anyway.
Auctions are a great tool for finding items you might need. These items can get expensive, so be prepared when locating and pricing items at auctions. Auctions are also a convenient means of getting rid of excess inventory one might not be able use due to level or class restrictions, or products that you make using your professions. The game is set up so that some players get items they don't need while others who do need the items will find them difficult to obtain. An example of this is cloth since every player will get more cloth than they'll use for first aid, but tailors need a constant supply. So the auction house is designed to be an integral part of the game. Auction house prices reflect, as well as directly influence, the inflation ratio of the economy.
Whether buying or selling, your most important resource is information. For buyers, you need to know whether the price for an item is a bargain you can't pass up or a rip-off you should stay away from. For sellers, you need to set a price low enough for the item to sell quickly, but no lower than that.
What you can find out directly from the auction house is the current supply of an item and an idea of its 'going rate'. Unfortunately, the action house does not display what the item was selling for in the past, so if no items are currently on sale the going rate is more difficult to estimate. If there are few auctions for a specific item, try looking up similar items as well to get a clearer picture.
What you can't find out directly from the auction house is what is the current demand for an item. For example, you may have an item to sell and, seeing that the going rate based on 4 players having the same item for sale for 5000g, you put the item on sale for 4900g feeling confident that you've undercut the competition. The problem is that just because there are five people trying to sell the item for 5000g doesn't mean there are any people willing to buy the item for 5000g, as you may discover when the item comes back to you 48 hours later. The vast majority of auctions are unsuccessful, so finding the best price which will get your item sold in a reasonable time can be very tricky.
Ideally, you'd check the item every hour for a week to get a complete picture of the current market on your realm, but that's not really practical. But third party web-sites and apps have appeared which do just that. See the External links section below for a list of some of these tools.
- Before buying from the auction house, first look up the item (on Wowpedia for example) to see if the item is available from an NPC. In most cases, if an item is sold by an NPC then it will be for a fraction of what you'd have to pay for it at the auction house.
- Similarly, don't try to sell an item on the auction house for less than vendor sell price (VSP), which you can easily find by mousing over the item. To get the most money you need to allow for the auction house cut as well, but your time is valuable too and selling to an NPC is easier and more convenient. So it's probably not worth your while to sell on the auction house unless you can get at least several times the VSP. In particular, you probably shouldn't accept the default value as the initial bid price.
- With very few exceptions, don't bother trying to sell Poor quality items on the auction house. It's called vendor trash because only NPC vendors are willing to buy it.
- Don't flood the market with one item. We know it's tempting when you're trying to level up your Blacksmithing skill to make a dozen Copper Maces, but you're unlikely to find twelve people who are willing to buy them. Try to sell one at the auction house and treat the others like vendor trash. An exception to this is Uncommon or above quality equipment since enchanters can turn these items into materials they can use, but lower your price accordingly.
Tips for selling
- Set a buyout price. You will usually get a better price, and sell more often and more quickly. People shopping at the auction house are typically in a want-it-now situation and do not want to wait for 8+ hours to get it; they tend to buy out auctions instead of bidding and waiting. So set the buyout price as the price you'll expect to get for your item.
- That being said, consider setting a starting bid at substantially lower than the buyout pride. Not so low that you'll be losing money, but low enough to tempt potential buyers who are willing to wait. Remember that once you get a bid on the auction there must be a sale.
- Remember that buyers can't split up stacks, so break up your stacks into convenient sizes. If the item is expensive, and is only used in a few recipes, and only a few are needed, selling in small lots may work better. If, for example, a common recipe uses four of the item, then sell in stacks of four or multiples of four. A stack size of one can be good, because it lets the buyers select as many as they need and not buy excess. But if you expect to sell more than a few of the item then make bigger stacks so buyers don't have to make so many bids. Consider discounting the unit price on large or odd sized stacks to get a faster sale.
- If you have an item which isn't selling well then try lowering the price to increase demand. It's generally better to sell the item for less money, but actually get that money, than to hang on it indefinitely hoping for more.
Tips for buyers
- Be careful when you are buying out large amounts of items (i.e., trade goods), and make sure you are not paying full-stack price for a stack that is not full. Sort the items by unit price (see above) to avoid this issue.
- Look for bargains in the bid price instead of just looking at the buyout price. It may mean waiting for your item but the savings may be worth it. This is especially true of a glyph or a recipe, things you don't generally need right away but will be nice to have in the future.
- If the bid price is close to or equal to the buyout price then there's really no point in waiting, so just buy the item out.
- If you see an item selling for substantially less than it normally does then consider buying it and reselling it sell it for a profit. This can be risky because you need to actually sell the item for it to work, and you may end up spending a lot of time getting it sold. But if you see an item on sale for less than its VSP then go ahead and flip it before someone else does.
- Players often have a weekly pattern for what they do when, so weekend prices tend to be different from the weekdays' (Mon-Fri). For example you might see a higher demand for raiding supplies over the weekend. Use these fluctuations to your advantage.
- Auctions will still count down during realm downtime, so you may be less likely to be outbid if bidding right before the server shuts down for extended maintenance. Of course, many others will have the same idea. This also means it may be wiser to wait until after an extended downtime to set up an auction.
- It's generally cheaper to craft an item from the raw materials if you have the relevant profession. On the other hand, especially for low level items, you may get a bargain if the item is often used for skillups.
- At the release of a new expansion, raiders and speed levelers will pay top dollar - sometimes ridiculous amounts - for profession materials. Don't be afraid to take advantage of this and sell materials instead of using them for your own professions. For what a person may pay for a single stack of ore three days into an expansion you may be able to take that same amount you got for selling it and buy many stacks of the same ore just a week or so later when the prices settle.
Keep in mind
- Remember that the cost of doing business at the auction house is more than just deposits and fees. There is also the time it takes to travel to an auction house, set up and track auctions and bids, and gather data so you can make informed transactions. The benefits of using the auction house will usually outweigh these costs, but there are often alternatives.
- An auction house features as an attraction in the Blizzard World in-universe map in Overwatch, but is not seen in the in-game map itself.
- Patch 9.2.7 (PTR): Auction Houses across all realms on a given region will now share commodity listings (gems, herbs, flasks, consumables, etc.). Items that aren't commodities — like armor and weapons — will continue to be realm-specific.
- Patch 9.0.1 (2020-10-13):
- Sold auctions will now show buyer or bidder player names in a tooltip.
- Commodities (stackable items) are now sold by selected stacks before other stacks from the inventory.
- Personal auctions can now be sorted by time remaining.
- The "Level Range" filter now also filters battle pets by level.
- A "Runecarving" option for Profession-crafted armor pieces for Legendaries has been added under each Armor category. These materials are not yet available until Shadowlands.
- Patch 8.3.0 (2020-01-14): Revamped.
- Hotfix (2016-08-09): (Work in progress) You can again successfully search for robes in the Auction House.
- Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14): Items listed for sale on the Alliance, Horde, and neutral auction houses have now been combined together on a per-realm basis.
- Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Auction Houses are now available in Shattrath City, and the Dalaran auctioneers (which were previously engineer-only) are now available to everyone.
- Patch 3.2.0 (2009-08-04): Auctioneers added in Dalaran, which can be accessed by Grand Master engineers only.
- Patch 2.3.0 (2007-11-13): The Auction house time periods have been changed. Now items can be put up for sale for 12, 24, or 48 hours. The option to put up items for 8 hours has been removed.
- Patch 2.2.0 (2007-09-25): Auction House generated emails for successful auction sales now have a one-hour delay.
- Patch 2.0.1 (2006-12-05): Exodar and Silvermoon City Auction Houses added.
- Patch 1.9.0 (2006-01-03):
- Auctioneers have been added in Undercity, Thunder Bluff, Stormwind City, Darnassus, Everlook, and Booty Bay.
- Players will now be able to buy and sell goods with greater effectiveness using the Linked Auction House system. Auction Houses in Orgrimmar, Undercity, and Thunder Bluff will now share the same pool of Horde player-created auctions, and Alliance players will find the same to be true when visiting Ironforge, Stormwind City, and Darnassus Auction Houses. This system has been expanded to support the neutral Auction Houses as well. Tanaris, Everlook, and Booty Bay will all be linked for players of both factions to access.
- Player now receives a statement with the payment which shows the winning bid, house cut, and returned deposit listed.
- Patch 1.8.0 (2005-10-10):
- You can now search for random suffixes such as "of the Monkey" in the Auction House.
- When you place an auction up on the Auction House, the auctions tab now displays your minimum bid and buyout price even if there are no bids on the item.
- Patch 1.7.0 (2005-09-13): Dressing room function now available at the Auction House. Rethban Ore, Black Diamonds, and Pristine Black Diamonds may now be found in the Miscellaneous Junk category of the Auction House.
- While not noted in patch notes, these items have long since been returned to the Quest category.
- While not noted in patch notes, these items have long since been returned to the Quest category.
- Patch 1.6.0 (2005-07-12): Librams are now considered to be Books when searching for these items in the Auction House.
- Patch 1.5.0 (2005-06-07): Players can no longer auction an item that they've just disenchanted.
- Patch 1.4.0 (2005-04-19):
- Recipes you already know will not show up in the auction listing if "Usable Items" is checked.
- Fixed sorting items in the auction house by current bid.
- Patch 1.3.0 (2005-03-07):
- Fixed bug with incorrect minimum bid display when outbid while monitoring your auctions at the auction house.
- The auction interface now displays the gold, silver, and copper values for all items, even if those values are zero. This should make it more difficult to "hide" an item that costs several gold among items that only cost several silver, for example.