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I understand the basics of the auction house and it would seem logical to draw some parallels between that AH and this AH. There are two differences between them however that makes it seem like the AH is something to be picked up later in the game, hence my question.

The AH in WoW was generally used from level 1 for me as I could supply gathered crafting materials and low level green items to supply people training their crafting skill. This leads to both of the differences in that crafting skill levels are now account wide and you do not actually need to practice the skills to raise them, you just need gold (and eventually specific items).

With the salvaged materials selling (very often) for less than what you could sell a magic item to the merchant it seems a waste to enter into the AH in the early game. At what point in the game (Act or Level) does it make sense to start selling items on the Auction House instead of to a merchant?

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Hard to say because it's not clear yet how much gold items are going to go for on the AH. Last night I saw prices for magical (blue) items in the 10-20 level range for anywhere from 100 to 80,000 gold. Given that the vendors sell these type of items for about 1500-2000 gold, that could likely determine the price ceiling. –  aearon May 16 '12 at 16:42
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I feel like this is very legit question. Just because it involves speculation right now doesn't mean that it isn't a question many people will ask and want to know the answer to. –  EBongo May 16 '12 at 17:05
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My close vote didn't have to do with speculation, but rather the ever-changing nature of player-driven economics and the fact that I don't think this can really have a definitive answer due to how broad it is (where are you farming? How are you farming? etc). I look forward to the reworked version! –  Sterno May 16 '12 at 17:15
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I think this is a perfectly fine question and must be allowed. The reason for closing this question is invalid imho. –  user12190 May 16 '12 at 17:28
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This question is probably fine, but it's not going to get a very good answer for some time. The economy is too new to have settled into any sort of meaningful pattern, especially with the RMAH looming on the horizon next week. –  LessPop_MoreFizz May 16 '12 at 18:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It isn't really an either/or thing, because there is no cost to a failed listing on the auction house. If the auction ends without any bids, you get the item back and can sell it to a vendor. So the only limitation is that you can only have 10 active auctions at a time, and you should consider using the auction house right away. You will make a profit anytime that you can auction for more than vendor price +15%, and as long as you never set your price lower than that, you can't lose money by trying to auction something.

My guess is that there won't be much of a market for magic (blue) items on the auction house, since rare (yellow) items are significantly better and will remain pretty cheap since they can be resold when you upgrade (unlike in WoW). So in practice, attempting to sell blue items will probably not get you anything, and you'll just end up vendoring it anyways, but unless you hit the 10 auction cap or needed the money right away, you didn't lose anything by trying. And there might be some blue items which can auction for slightly above vendor price + 15%.

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You should be continually looking for upgrades to purchase on the Auction House.

While you're leveling, especially early on, you can buy amazing items often for just a few hundred gold, a small fraction of the cost of equivalent items from in-game vendors, and the items themselves are almost always much better.

The only time I'd consider refraining from buying items is when you're level 55-59. If you can get to 55, you can probably make it to 60, and once you hit 60, you can gear up with Inferno tier blues with your core stat that are nice upgrades from pre-60 gear for a relatively small amount.

Unless you find an amazing deal, blues are much better than yellows, because there is a much larger supply of blues that are really quite good, and the supply of yellows better than those blues is extremely limited.

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While I agree with everything you're saying, I think the question was asking about selling on the AH, not buying. –  bwarner May 22 '12 at 19:38
    
Good point. You should vendor almost all equipment you find, and should sell good items well under market price so they sell very quickly. If you don't play very much, you can sell them at market price, but you'll quickly fill your 10 AH slots doing that. In Inferno, you should salvage bad Inferno tier items and sell the crafting ingredients on the AH. You should always assume ppl will just use buyout before max level, always set that, unless the item is truly exceptional. –  fcrick May 22 '12 at 19:51

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