So, 4.0 is around the corner. Probably next week. One thing that will happen is big guilds will not be able to recruit anymore until their membership roster is below 600 characters (not players). This is a bummer for the big guilds like Taint and AIE that kind of pulled off the huge community thing very well. Even the moderately-large guilds like It came from the blog will be hamstrung. And yeah- just split into subguilds and use guild2guild to link your chats together, fine. Still it sucks.
That doesn't suck as much as the Auction House crippling that just happened in beta 13131. In this, all my fears came true- they changed the StartAuction() function to protected and requiring a hardware event. That means, if you want to post an auction, you have to click. You don't have to use blizzard's lousy interface (blech), but you can't say, "post everything in my bag" and walk away like you can with Quick Auctions now. I imagine that Auctioneer's appraiser interface is still okay, since that just uses one call to StartAuction() every time you press the button, but it does mean the Batch Post functionality in Auctioneer is broken too.
I'm sure this is a shot across the bow of people like me, who cancel and repost auctions. Cancel-repost strategies (or just repeatedly posting a small number of stacks with a big stock and undercutting the market and letting your previously-undercut auctions expire) sort of require automation in order to maintain profitability. I don't mind sitting at my computer for an hour while processing mail and auctions because I am more or less alt-tabbed the whole time, doing other stuff and occasionally returning when the process is finished.
The real bummer here is that while this change is likely to push people like me out of the market, it will not be good for the purchaser at all. There will be less amateur competition for AH markets, so prices will probably trend upwards (who is going to post 2000 glyph auctions at 1g profit per auction if they have to actually click 2000 times? might as well go farm mobs). The people who will stay competitive in the auction house will either have illegal software automation (like it's all that hard to have a secondary program simulating a click every 5 seconds) or they will have human automation (dudes getting paid $1.00 an hour to sit and click). Either way, this change is likely to see more gold getting into the hands of goldsellers.
Of course, it's all a big reverse psychology goldsink. Blizzard is keeping a handle on mudflation more-or-less, but they want things to get better. So instead of adding regular gold sinks (like Old Weather Flying or something - yeah, I know its a couple hundred gold, but it could easily be 5k gold instead), they just set up market conditions so that gold sellers are running most of the AH. Then, when they descend on the sellers and confiscate all their stock, they take all the gold out of circulation.
I'm happy that I was planning on retiring anyway. I'm working on a stopgap addon to post glyphs between 4.0 and Cat, mainly because I think it's likely there will be a HUGE demand surge at 4.0 when everybody buys one of each glyph (for all their alts no less), but after that, I'm out of the market. Too much work.
Until the next big thing comes along and I'm back in. You know how it goes.