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What are useful tips and tricks to use when searching through the auction house?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'm not going to repeat the good points @Nevir raised about filtering on search.

Repair all equipment before using AH If you are buying items for someone and they have damaged equipment, you cannot easily compare stats.

Rare amulets/rings These are snapped up immediately when they show up with a low buyout (like 2000) - if you have filters set properly and see one of these, consider just buying it asap instead of viewing stats.

Bid-only items Usually these should be filtered out, but periodically check the list without a buyout filter in place. What you're trying to do is find some bid-only stuff that is

  • expiring in the next few hours
  • still at a low or reasonable price (sometimes it might be overlooked and not even bid on)

and then place a low bid on it. This will almost never work if you are looking for highest value possible of popular attributes like gold find, magic find etc., and the AH doesn't allow you to sort by expiration time which is a severe disadvantage.

However this is worth trying as you can get lucky and find some decent gear quite cheaply. It is easier to do with more unpopular categories like follower specials or class-specific items. Also, it is easy to place multiple low bids on items ... worst case, you have bought 4 rares for 250 each but its more likely that they get bid up later and you're lucky to get even one.

Recommendations The gear recommendations you get on the Sell page by default, are targeted solely towards your class. This also means that you may miss out on a good item for your current class, just because the system thinks it is better suited for someone else (or even if it is a perfect fit for an alt).

Choose the correct character When you have multiple characters, make sure to choose the one you're buying things for. I have noticed that sometimes, trying to compare with what you already have won't work properly if you last logged in a different alt -e.g. Wizard 20 is the toon who wants a sash, but last time you played Monk 6; items are filtered in level range for wizard but the comparison screen shows Monk sash. If this happens, just login the monk and then logout.

Using Filters - If you set multiple filters and want to void one of them, just select None in that box even if its the first one (others will still get applied).

  • Remember to use the 'min value' field; e.g. I was looking for gloves with Magic Find equal or better to current ones with 6% MF, then ignoring all those with 2% MF etc. It was much simpler after putting in a 6 for minimum value!
  • Be aware of impossible mods if you are not getting a result; don't try for MF on weapons.
  • When getting too many good hits despite filters, add on secondary stuff you normally won't care about too much but is nice to have, like life regen etc.
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Repairing has no impact on the stats of an item. Item condition is binary - either the item is broken, in which case it is at 0 durability and has no stats, or it is not broken, in which case 1/60 is equivalent to 60/60. Either way, even at 0 durability, the stats of an item are clearly shown - their display is not altered as a result of item condition, merely their effect. –  LessPop_MoreFizz May 22 '12 at 1:45
    
I wasn't even thinking about item condition - try to compare items on auction with something you are wearing but is damaged –  Alok May 22 '12 at 1:47
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@LessPop_MoreFizz The sell UI won't show you tooltips unless the items are repaired –  Nevir May 22 '12 at 7:10
    
@nevir You don't need to look at the sell UI to compare items to your own though. Mouse over any item in the buy UI, and after a second, your currently equipped item in that slot will appear as a comparison tooltip. –  LessPop_MoreFizz May 22 '12 at 13:32
    
It's handy to use if you are trying to determine which slot you want to buy for next - or to compare stats across items –  Nevir May 22 '12 at 15:18
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Always filter!

The auction house is inundated with a tremendous volume of items; you will spend far too much time paging through items, and most likely you'll miss some great deals.

  • Set a level range that makes sense:

    • For weapons, try to get weapons that are within the nearest multiple of 5. (if you're level 32, search for level 30-32 weapons). Weapon power seems to stair-step at each multiple of 5.

    • For armor, use a wider level range (maybe half your current level as a minimum)

    • For other items, set a max level range and don't bother much with the minimum - there's some particularly well-distributed stats on low level items, too.

  • Pick a stat that you are trying to focus on. Filter to it. (For me, that's gold find)

  • Pick additional stats that you care about and add them to your filter. (For my monk, dexterity and vitality)

    • Be aware that some stats, such as vitality/resists, are undervalued in the overall item price, and are handy to filter to. You can often get a great mix when adding them to the filter.

Narrowing Down the Competition

Once you've identified what you want, you're ready to narrow down your results to something that you can quickly scan. (Good deals are often picked up within seconds of being posted)

  • If you have 5+ pages of results, slowly bump up the minimum stat values on your filters.

  • Don't forget that potential stats in gem slots aren't evaluated; if you set your filters too high, you'll miss out on some great socketed items. (mid-tier gems are cheap!)

    • If you are seeing a lot of socketed results, it's best to restrict to rare items. (and don't forget to check legendary every once in a while)

Pricing Items

  • Always set a buyout. This filters out any bid-only items, which you really shouldn't be worrying about until you hit the level cap.

  • Start low with your initial max buyout. If you got no results, bump it up a bit.

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+1 Didn't know setting a buyout would remove bid-only items, very useful! –  Andomar May 21 '12 at 21:26
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