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Given I want to snatch a cheap item with defined preferred stats. Can I hit the Search button over and over again, or do I retrieve a cached version?

If there is a caching mechanism: Does changing stat values/types or max buyout slightly force a non cached request? What is being cached? When does the cache expire?

Is there a throttling mechanism in place, do they slow down a client which is constantly requesting results?

The reason behind this question is that cheap items will be bought out seconds later, and you really need to be very quick to get the item.

I know that only a Blizzard system designer can answer this question with 100 percent certainty, but I am interested in your observations, for me its a black box right now.

Own observation: The Windows Resource Monitor shows network traffic for Diablo III.exe each time I hit the search button, implying there's no local caching going on.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

My observations in the Auction House do indeed show there is server-side caching going on with requests. My completely uneducated guesstimate is it will refresh your cache approximately every 60 seconds. However, there is a way around that:

Let's say you're looking for a cheap item with a buyout of less than 5000. Do your first search on 5000. Then re-search with 5001. Then 5002, and so on. The reason why I say this works is researching the same amounts over and over again always return the same response through the first 60 seconds or so. If I change my max buyout amount, I WILL find items listed that I didn't see before that match the previous criteria (i.e. change my max buyout from 5000 to 5001, and an item with a max buyout of 1499 will show up.)

Hopefully this helps.

EDIT: I realized on re-reading I need to clarify something. What caches with the AH is the specific items listed, not the time left in auction or the ability to buy them. When you refresh the identical query over and over again, if the item listed sold it will change to "Sold". The time left in the auction will appear to be the same. However, the query will not search for new items that meet your criteria, which is what the question is referring to.

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The answer of Beofett might not be entirely true but lead me to an interesting thought: They might cache the entire result set sever side, to enable a quick cached paging, and only check the status for those auctions listed, but do not need to query for stats again. –  Nappy May 28 '12 at 20:49
    
@Nappy Out of curiosity, which part of my answer is "not entirely true"? –  Beofett May 28 '12 at 21:02
    
@Beofett The part, that no server side cache exists, as opposed by this answer. I cant tell it right now. People should up vote on what they believe. –  Nappy May 28 '12 at 21:05
    
@Nappy voting has nothing to do with it. If you're not sure which is correct, saying "this one sounds better, so the other is not true" is irresponsible... and possibly wrong. In fact, I tested this out, and I can find no evidence of a server side cache, in that while spamming "search", new items were added at irregular intervals, and not every 60 seconds (i.e. when they were added by users). However, Sold items do seem to persist for a time, even on brand new searches (i.e. my very first search returned two "sold" items). –  Beofett May 28 '12 at 23:01
    
@Beofett I said it might not be true. But yes voting might not be the best way to find the answer, we should probably make a more precise test case with an item where you know when its going live for auction. –  Nappy May 28 '12 at 23:11

From my observations, the data set of matching records is retrieved when you hit search. The status of each individual item is refreshed whenever you move to a new page in the search results. This can be seen as you can see items show up with a buy out price, change to a different page, come back, and see it now listed as "sold" (I've lost a couple of bargains that way). However, the overall list of auctions that match your search is only refreshed if you hit search (but it is refreshed every time you hit search, as opposed to changing pages)>

Similarly if you find an item that is about to expire, you can page off, then come back and see it is expired.

Statuses do not update if you don't page off, though. I've had a few where the item showed as available, but when I selected buyout, I got a message saying it had already been sold.

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I guess you are right for those auctions listed the status updates on page change, but you might not get new auctions matching your criteria by changing the page, which is what I intent. –  Nappy May 28 '12 at 20:38
    
In my experience, you definitely will not get new auctions by changing the page. As I said, you get a new record set when you hit search. I'll edit to clarify. –  Beofett May 28 '12 at 20:47

I do not believe there is a local cache, at least for commodities. You can (assuming the AH is working) repeatedly search for a commodity (like gems, etc) and watch the price fluctuate in real time. Using this technique, you can indeed buy low, when someone posts a gem far below market value, and then re-list at a higher price.

I can't say for sure if this applies to items as well, since it depends on how frequently people post the items for sale. I suspect commodities are traded (for arbitrage and legitimate use) much more so than items.

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