I believe they stated that an auction house will be available at release/beta. We should know within the next month or so. But, yeah, the current client would have required too much work to build an Auction House into it that wasn't piece-mealed together. So, they did as much work as they could to make the Market Ward as usable as possible without taking too much out of the current development work... Sucks it started that way, and I really can't wait until we have a real AH (and hopefully they remember to put in something to seperate out +1s as well as Materia melded stuffs... However, I have a feeling people will be using Retainers for the High Ticket items, and the AH for the fast sellers/high volume items).