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Blizzard Entertainment makes great games. No one’s arguing with that. If you like real-time strategies, StarCraft II will be arriving soon on July 27. If you like dungeon crawlers, Diablo III is looking pretty sweet. And if you like MMOs, you can’t go wrong with World of Warcraft. But there’s one other thing that the company is great at: making money.
Blizzard Entertainment has just made the Remote Auction House service available for testing with characters on selected realms. The service will allow World of Warcraft players to access the in-game auction house from web browsers via the World of Warcraft Armory and the Mobile Armory app for the iPhone/iPod Touch. For those not familiar with the Auction House, it’s a hub that allows players to buy and sell items for gold.
With the Remote Auction House, players can browse items for sale, check on the status of items they’re selling, and bid on items. It will also give you notifications when you’ve been outbid on an item or when your auctions have been sold.
Above: Head here for more official images and details about the specifics of the Remote Auction House service
World of Warcraft fans will be very excited about the ability to manage their accounts, bidding, selling, and collecting gold for their characters without having to actually log into the game. But the service is only free during the current beta test phase. When the Remote Auction House is officially launched, access the mobile app’s most useful functions will require a monthly subscription fee of $2.99.
Playing the Auction House in WoW is one of the game’s finer pleasures, so we love the idea of being able to access it remotely. But the idea of paying real money for the privilege of playing with imaginary money just doesn’t seem right. Still, the subscription fee may help prevent gold farmers and botters from further abusing the Auction House – and many of the non-premium features will be available for free without the subscription.
Above: What will Blizzard do with all the gold they're making?
The announcement for the Remote Auction House follows the deviously profitable release of the Celestial Steed, an epic flying mount that players could purchase from Blizzard’s online store for $25. It was estimated that the mount raked in $2 million in just four hours after the item went on sale.
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