Buying stuff using wards requires about the same amount of effort as the AH from WoW. Basically, find your item, run to the retainer with a red star above their head, and buy. In WoW you have to run to a mailbox after buying your item, so its the same effort.
Look, I don't like WoW, but I also don't like misinformation, either.
Let's say I need to buy ten different items: a weapon, various pieces of armour, and some crafting materials and consumables. In WoW I can search for them (by name, level, or class if I wish), sort a huge list (that compiles every major faction city), click "Buy the item" on each item, and walk to the mailbox located directly behind me
(about two seconds away at most) to pick up every item that I just ordered.
It took me a couple minutes to search, and a couple seconds
to pick up everything
Now let's say I need to buy ten different items: a weapon, various pieces of armour, and some crafting materials and consumables again. In FFXIV I can kind of
search for the item, but the list is more unwieldy than it needs to be. I search for the first item, place a star over the proper retainer, zone to the proper place, find the retainer, and buy their item. That's one item finished. I now have to run back
to the edge of the ward and repeat the process nine more times, with walking, zoning, load times, and manual price-comparing in between.
It took me about ten minutes to search, and about ten minutes to zone throughout the wards manually comparing prices, walking to the right people and buying their items (assuming they weren't overpriced). Who knows if others were selling the item in different wards... I can't really search for that.
In short, the market wards are nowhere near "the same effort" as a simple FFXI/WoW-style auction house and mailbox/delivery system. Wards do mostly
the same things, yes, eventually, but they do them in one of the most laggy, inefficient, and convoluted ways conceivable. It takes significantly more time, too.