Pandaren monks and a new continent aren’t the only things Blizzard is testing in the Mists of Pandaria Beta. The Black Market Auction House will offer rare and no-longer-obtainable items from the game’s past years, like the Tier 3 set or the mount Ashes of Al’ar. These items are highly priced, with the lowest starting bid being 10,000 gold. Auctions last 24 hours right now, and there’s no Buyout, so you have to keep making sure you’re the highest bidder. The items are Bind on Pickup, so all those proto Gallywix’s won’t be able to repost them to the regular Auction House.
Blizzard is touting this as a goldsink that will remove large amounts of currency from servers and help drop inflation on server economies, thus lowering the prices of items on the regular AH. It also gives players with gold heavy toons a chance to spend it on something cool rather than just hoarding it. There are a dizzying array of choices for items that could be up on the Black Market AH at any one time, so it pays players to keep checking it.
Some players will undoubtedly complain that this lessens the “cool” factor of having a mount or item that no one else has; but new players shouldn’t be prevented from gaining these items just because they came into the game too late to get them. After all, they’ll have to work for the gold to buy them, watch the AH to make sure they can win them, and there’ll be fierce competition from the entire server, so it’s not a cake-walk to get them. Probably not as hard as defeating the original content or farming until it drops, but at least there’s a level of commitment required to get them.
And if some of the rarer items from the card game or maybe even the gift pets from BlizzCon show up, so much the better. Chances are, it sometimes might be easier to farm the item than to win it from the Black Market AH, assuming it’s still in the game at all.Cross-Realm zones are another new feature in the Beta. Now low population zones will have the number of players there at one time increased through making the zone open to many Servers instead of just one. Players will be able to form parties and complete quests with players from other Servers, but are under the restrictions on trading that are in effect for the Dungeon Finder. While this is an interesting idea, Blizzard toned down a lot of the group quests to be soloable, so I’m not sure this is really a needed change. This will be a big boon for world PVP though, since Servers with an imbalance on either Alliance or Horde will now have a chance to actually see a player from the opposing side and either kill or be killed by them. This will have a negative effect on gatherers, miners and skinners. They may find increased competition for the goods in their prize spots and perhaps even a ganking or two while they try to farm. But a little more excitement never hurt anyone.
With these changes and all the others Blizzard has announced, (plus whatever they’re hiding up their voluminous sleeves) it seems to me that Mists of Pandaria might change the World of Warcraft more than Cataclysm did.