Build Auction House Spies With Eternally Free "Starter Edition" Accounts

This is post is my entry into Cold's Gold Blogging Carnival for July, 2011: "Create Your Own Ideal Alt".

Blizzard recently changed the way their trial accounts work. Instead of being limited time accounts they are now eternally-free with not time limit. You never have to pay a cent. What Blizzard has now dubbed "World of Warcraft Starter Edition" includes the Vanilla and The Burning Crusade expansions.

While these free "Starter Editions" are eternally-free there are many restrictions on the account to prevent abuse. You can't use mail or chat in general chat. Can't be invited to a guild or trade with other players. You can reach a maximum level of 20 and you can't purchase or sell items on the auction house.

One thing these accounts can do is search the auction house. Follow me after the jump when I'll teach you how to use these completely free accounts to build your own auction house spies.

Spies Like Us

If you've read many gold blogs I'm sure your read about players who maintain two accounts. Doing this is a fantastic way to be able to check prices on the opposite faction or check for undercuts while they are doing other things in the world like dungeons or raids.

For many of us paying for a second subscription is just out of the question. While our in-game gold may be piling up our real-life "gold totals" often preclude us from justifying spending the money to maintain a second account solely for gold-making.

With these recent changes to trial accounts Starter Edition accounts every single gold maker can build their own eternally-free second account. We can use these accounts to keep a close eye on the auction house. We can use these free accounts to create what I'm dubbing "Auction House Spies".

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

These accounts, while severely limited in almost every other way, still have the ability to search the auction house. Having an auction house spy allows us to do some very important things:

  • Search the auction house for undercuts of you main's auctions.
  • Check prices on the opposing faction in real-time.
  • Monitor trade chat for new Chuck Norris jokes deals and opportunities.
  • Have all your competition on one friends list. Always know when your competition is on or offline.

These four actions alone provide a deadly gold-making combination. I have been able to use Auctionator shopping lists to keep tabs on my auctions while I'm out in the world doing things on my main account. These accounts essentially un-tether us from the auction house.

While these accounts will never be able to post auctions they can easily let us know when its time to switch over to our main account to cancel and re-post.

Another that having a free auction house spy allows us is simultaneous cross-faction price comparisons. Say I need Volatile Life. I can be on both accounts and the same time and easily search the opposite faction's auction house for the price of Volatile Life without ever logging out of my main character.

If you have two monitors it makes this much easier but if not you can play in windowed mode with two version of the game running and easily swap back and forth.

One other thing that should be noted is if you use a ton of addons (like me) you can limit the addons loaded on your "Starter Edition" account to just a few (your auctioning addons for example) and your logins/logouts should be much quicker than your main account. Time is money.

We Can Build It. We Have The Technology.

So how do you get a free Starter Edition? It so simple I about fell over. Sign in to your account. Once you see a list of your World of Warcraft accounts look for a "Play Free" link to the "Starter Edition". (Apologies for the lack of screenshots here. Apparently I reached my limit for WoW accounts in my region and couldn't get the link to show up anymore.)

Once you get your Starter Edition account set up (it might be named WoW2 or WoW3 etc.) simply select it in the log in window drop down list. You should now be at the character creation window. Double check that you are on your main server and start creating your auction house spy alts. Create one on each faction if you do cross-faction trading.

The easiest auction house spies to create (due to the ease of running to a major city) are humans for the Alliance and Orcs/Trolls for the horde. That said almost every race can be used. It's just a matter of running your level 1 to a major city. I'd choose which ever race you prefer looking at. Also the starter edition includes The Burning Crusade content so you can create Draenei and Blood Elf characters as your spies.

Once you are in a major city simply head to the auction house and search the auction house as you would on any other character. Addons such as Auctioneer and Auctionator can be used for these purposes and I recommend building (or importing) Auctionator shopping lists for items you want to keep an eye on. (For more detailed info on building Auctionator shopping lists see "Buying And Selling Valor Boots For Profit".)

(NOTE: You can not create or buy auctions on the "Starter Edition". You can only search the auction house.)

(Real gold-makers create Draenei Auction House Spies. Why? For the Disco ofc!)

But Wait. There's More!!

But who wants to be a level 1 stuck in the city all the time? If you're like me and like to doo goofy stuff in World of Warcraft feel free to get creative with this new account. Below are a list of a few additional things to do with your eternally-free Starter Edition account.

Use "Have Group Will Travel" to summon alts across the world to locations of rare spawns like Burgy Blackheart. (You can't invite others to groups but they can invite you as long as you are on their friends list.) They may drown but that won't stop your _NPCScan from going off if you log into them and he's active.

Create "Starter Account" level 20 twinks (See "Twink" in our Glossary) for PVE or PVP and see how well you can top damage meters/battleground charts with only the equipment you can acquire from dungeon and world drops. (You can have a high level toon from your main account invite you to a group and power level/farm low level instances to get your the best gear.) If you'd like to learn more about twinking (including BiS gear lists) check out the forums.

See how much gold you can acquire solely by farming mob and dungeon drops. You can't use the auction house. Because this is your only form of income it provides an interesting challenge as to how to get your "Starter Account" gold as quickly as possible. (See advice above for having a high-level help you dungeon farm.)

I'm sure there is lots of other ideas for how we can use these accounts for fun and profit.

Free (As In Beer)

Blizzard has given us all a free second account that we can use to keep a constant eye on the auction house. We can check when we're being undercut on our mains and much more. If you've put off getting a second account due to the cost this is the perfect opportunity to try one out at no cost and see how you like it.

The things our newly created auction house spies can do may be limited but they provide a powerful new tool to gold-makers who can take advantage of them in the right way.

Your Thoughts?

What other uses can you see for these new eternally-free "Starter Edition" accounts?

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  1. Does this also give you the xp boost from the free account as a invite a friend? cause that is what I would be interested in more.

  2. I dunno, without purchasing and selling abilities, I think it's a bit over rated myself, way too much hassle for me.

  3. @Kalvien Maybe if you recruited your self in Recruit-a-friend. However unless you are wanting to pay to turn the "Starter Edition" into a regular edition you would only get the 3x XP up to the Starter Edition level cap of 20.

  4. @Fluxdada Do both accounts when you recruit a friend not get the 3x xp for one toon. So if that is the case then my Main account i could lvl up a toon easier that way and use my second for your ah idea.

  5. @Kalvien You get 3x XP when you are grouped with one char from each account that are withing 2 levels of each other.

    So you could recruit yourself and level a new char on each acct to 20 and then if you wanted the mount you would purchase a full second acct and put a 2 month game time card on it. You would than have a full second acct and 3x xp up to 80 (although reg wow is 1-70 now).

    If after your 3 months (1 free + 2 mo card) if you decided to not keep paying $15 per month for your second account you could let it expire and just start a new "Starter Account". Add just use it for AH spying.

    Lots of options.

  6. Away from the gold making stuff, this is perfect for me too - I have altitis which means I periodically delete a low-ish level character so I can run the starter areas again. I know I can run lwbies on different servers but I always have the urge to get back to my main server. This way, I can have another 10 alts per free account on my main server! woo hoo! oh happy days!