Disclaimer: I would first like to apologize if I violate any rules in writing this. I know that I am mentioning some topics which are forbidden, however I am not doing so for the purpose of fueling anything negative. Rather, these topics serve as the justification for why my proposed auction idea is preferable to the current one. To not mention these topics would entirely fail to make a convincing case for change.

The short and sweet explanation: Travian currently uses a standard auction format, but hides the seller's identity presumably to make silver pushing more difficult. There is a much better way of accomplishing this. There are two basic categories of silver pushing: (1) Perfectly legal but still not popular transactions from one person to another, and (2) The rampant bot & script driven variety that drives players and Multihunters crazy. The actual silver push is not illegal, however the bots/scripts/multi-accounts themselves are, and the pushing is the reason for their existence. A double-blind auction system would continue to allow the first (legal) type of pushing, though making it very difficult. And it virtually eliminates the second type.

The longer explanation: There are numerous variations of a double-blind auction, but the key reason why it is ideal in a game like Travian is that buyers are no longer able to directly bid on items. Without a direct-bid, pushing becomes incredibly difficult and often impossible. A double-blind auction operates by having buyers place bid offers (for example, 10 Ointment for 50 silver each). Each seller does the same thing as well. In predetermined, timed intervals (for example, once per day, or once ever 6 hours, or once every 2 hours, etc...) the auction house will then take the existing buy and sell offers and arranges them in order (from highest to lowest for buys, and from lowest to highest for sells). The highest buy offer is then matched with the lowest sell offer, 2nd-highest buy with 2nd-lowest sell, etc..., until the remaining buy offers are less than the remaining sell offers.

For the matched buy-sell offers, there are a few ways to determine what price will be used. One possibility is to take the average of the highest-matched-sell & lowest-matched-buy, and use this price for all trades (by all trades, I am referring to only same-item trades during this one particular auction. Each auction would recalculate prices in the same manor). Another method of determining prices would be for the matched buyer to pay their offer price, and the seller to receive their offer price, and the auction house keeps the difference. Obviously buyers and sellers may not like this method as much, however the loss can be kept to a minimum by not making excessively high-buy offers or low-sell offers. The advantage of this method is that this constant profit being earned by the auction house effectively helps combat natural inflation which occurs over the course of the game. Adventures continually pump silver into the game, and this type of pricing will continually remove some.

What both pricing options have in common is that they prevent buyers from receiving above-market-price offers. The market itself will fluctuate, and thus there is still room for speculation (if you're into that type of thing), however no individual buyer can push a large sum of silver to a designated seller. They do not have direct control over who they get paired with, and only limited control over the final price received. The buyer will never pay more than their offer, and the seller will never receive less than their offer. This system is both fair, and infinitely less exploitable than the one currently in place.

A nice addition would be a recent trade history; Not simply the individual player, but for the entire server. Because the double-blind system makes it difficult to know exactly what the market price will be for upcoming trades, having a recent history to reference would be extremely helpful.

In order for trade of a specific item to occur (artwork for example), a minimum number of matches would need to be met (5 for example). This minimum threshold prevents would-be pushers from simply using scarce items to do their pushing (where there is minimal competition, and thus a great chance of pairing the intended buyer and seller). The threshold could be determined however you wish; a fixed number, determined by server-size, auction activity, anything really. The keys is to make sure that each auction has enough participants for there to be competition (and thus prevent collusion).

Any offers (buy or sell) which do not get matched would simply remain active, and be part of the next auction. If you so desire, you could set a threshold for removal (for example, of not paired in 5 consecutive auctions, then removed with a short explanation [price too high, low, not enough competition, etc...]).

Additional benefits: Having to wait 24 hours to sell goods is entirely unnecessary. Under this system, items could be sold much quicker, and sellers would have the flexibility to adjust their offers at any time (rather than being locked into it). Furthermore, there would be no need to sell items in batches. A sell-order of 10 Ointments at 500 silver total would be considered 10 orders of 1 ointment at 50 silver each. The same goes for buy-orders. This would restore some flexibility that was removed by forcing fixed batch sizes, without offering any opportunity for exploitation.

It would also be unnecessary to auto-remove high bids (an attempt to combat pushing, but often infuriating when competition drives up the price and legit bids are removed).

Summary: Double-blind auctions are not common in real life. However, real life auctions do not experience large-scale problems with collusion. Video games do. For this reason, and specifically in Travian, a double-blind auction system would be infinitely better than the current standard auction system. Numerous steps have already been taken to combat the problems I mentioned above, however their effectiveness is fairly limited and they have added some unnecessary constraints to both buyers and sellers. A double-blind system would be quicker, as well as restoring flexibility. And it would make silver pushing very difficult, and should greatly reduce collusive action on the auction house (and thus the incentive to attempt to cheat).