Beware the perils of Cross-Faction Auctioneering…

Sometimes, something happens that makes me stop and think about why people play this game. This is the story of one such episode.

Having established a viable Horde presence on my server, I decided it might be nice to transfer a few items from my Hunter leatherworker to my Horde hunter to help her level via the wonders of the Neutral AH. It’s a standard procedure: list them on the Booty Bay AH for a few coppers, grab them with my Horde AH watcher (also in BB), avoid excessive AH fees, job done. I’ve done this on many occasions over the years, but for the first time last week I fell foul of a trend that’s becoming increasingly common: the Neutral AH Sniper. As I listed my two items they were bought before I could reach over to my second PC and buy them myself.

Establishing the identity of the Sniper (on the Horde side), I decided to have a chat. I wasn’t rude or offensive, I decided to open with a genuine question: how much money had the guy made like this? It became immediately very apparent that my sniper had little or no interest in the gold at all: he was more interested in seeing ‘how you will react’ to the snipe. This struck me as odd enough a reaction to raise a ticket on Blizzard’s Customer Service Forum. Being well aware that I’d lost my items (sniping like this of course is not illegal, you list at your own risk, and if you want to avoid losing your items the only safe way is to list at a sensible price.) I wondered where Blizzard would stand on what had transpired. This is a guy who clearly wasn’t interested in the cash, he just wanted to wind people up. He also had the balls to turn up on the alt that sniped my items in the Customer Service Thread. This was someone who clearly loved the spotlight. Blizzard’s response was, given this and my explanation of the problem, a decent one:

An interesting discussion and I can see where you are coming from.

In terms of what actions we would take against the behaviour of the player, it would depend on what was said at the time, but we would certainly investigate if you were to report them for harassing you after taking the items.

For more information about how we deal with harassment, please take a look at our policy spot light here.

09/06 Policy Spotlight – Harassment

I appreciate that you are frustrated there is no “safer” option to allow trade between your horde and alliance characters. If you feel that there should be a service implemented in order to facilitate this, then you are very welcome to post your ideas in our

Suggestions forum.

I would agree with you that the best thing to do would be to advise other players who participate in the transferring of items across neutral auction houses to carefully consider their actions. Placing items for very low prices will seem like a bargain to many players and as you quite rightly pointed out, once a transaction has been completed, sadly we will not be able to reverse it.

However should you find players abusing the system through exploits or unauthorised 3rd party software that is against our Terms of Use, please do report them to us so that we may take the appropriate actions.

Armed with this I duly raised a ticket the following morning (in the vain hope that my sniper’s behaviour might be considered as harassment) and chalked down the incident to experience. However, today I discover there is more to this story than I was first aware of.

My server has an ‘independent’ forum (run by one of the bigger Alliance Guilds) onto which I thought it sensible to post details of this guy’s actions after the incident in order to warn other people of the issue (as Blizzard do not allow the process of naming and shaming on the official forums). Ironically it transpires that another sniper had done the very same thing to someone else via the Tanaris AH on the same afternoon. I assumed that the two were probably connected and put my information with the original poster. I also speculated that this was probably how my sniper knew about the Customer Service Thread I’d posted in.

Having checked back on that Forum post I made this evening, it appears I was correct in my assumption. My sniper has a website, which a ‘friend’ helpfully posted on his behalf. It makes for very interesting reading. It appears that this guy has a plan:

Send me your stories how to piss people off legally and make gold.

He lists transcripts of conversations of people who’s items have been sniped. It occurs to me now, looking back on all this that there is nothing to stop people playing like this. What I consider as unacceptable could easily be viewed as entertainment, especially as there are no rules against what’s being done here. The question then becomes: when does this kind of behaviour become unacceptable and how does one deal with it as a result?

I am considering my options on this one. Watch this space.

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