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Blizzard Exposes Detailed WoW Character Data 233

Posted by Zonk
from the seatec-astronomy dept.
Gavin Scott writes "Blizzard has introduced a new web site called the Armory which lets you get information on any World of Warcraft character, extracted from their live databases, in near real-time. This exposes a great deal of information that was not previously obtainable including profession choices, skill levels for all skills, and the character's complete talent specification and all faction reputation data, along with all gear currently equipped. The complete roster of any guild or arena team is also available. Some players are upset about this, such as arena PvP teams who now have all their gear and talent choices exposed to the world, or players with non-standard or less-popular talent choices who fear they will have difficulty getting into pickup groups now that people can instantly find out everything about them. Are these complaints fair? Blizzard claims to own all the data and the characters, but at what point does this data represent personal choices and information about their players which would be covered by their own privacy policy? In a virtual society, should people be able to present a view of themselves that differs from (virtual) reality, or should all details be exposed?"
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Blizzard Exposes Detailed WoW Character Data

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  • by Samalie (1016193) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:33PM (#18200874)
    I'm a WoW player, just back & very casual in my playstyle. Do I give a crap if anyone can see my Character's build/gear/etc? Not one bit.

    I can see where some of the hardcore types might want to conceal their information, but IMHO its not a true "Your rights" issue - they are not revealing any information about YOU, just your character.

    The only "risk" here is if someone has some "secret" character build that kicks ass, its now exposed to the world - but on the same token, its not just about the build, but the player behind the keyboard.

    So a long-winded post to say "No I don't give a crap" :)
    • by cgori (11130) * on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:50PM (#18201066) Homepage Journal
      It's arena matches (especially among top-ranked players) that people care about. It's very different to know that 3 of the 5 opponents have engineering, therefore some crazy trinkets, and oh, that rogue is mutilate-build vs combat, or that mage is frost/fire/arcane spec'd. You might figure it out within 10 seconds of the match starting but if the match lasts 60 seconds tops, you lost a decent fraction of time to figuring it out, and probably didn't play the optimum counter-strategy.

      For the median player, or at least median arena participant it's a non-issue. It's only at the very top of the arena rankings (which are now going to be done like chess rankings...) that anyone will care. Those players will probably just respec before any match anyway so not as big a deal.

      • by Cali Thalen (627449) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @08:19PM (#18202060) Homepage

        It's more of a on-issue then people think...and most already think it's a non-issue.

        If you go into the arena, as soon as the battle starts (which is the first time you can see who your opponents are), drop into this website and look up one of the player's gear...by the time you see anything, you're already dead. The website isn't that fast, and you don't have that kind of time to research anything.

        Sure, you can look up every arena player on every server in your battle group, and try to memorize it all (thousands of players on each of 8 or so servers), and assuming that no one changes equipment in the mean time, and assuming that no one has equipment that they use only in arenas, and assuming that knowing all that will give you any edge at all (which usually it won't), then you may have an issue.

        Me...I'm less than concerned about it, and it's a cool toy whether or not it poses any kind of problems.
        • The website isn't that fast, and you don't have that kind of time to research anything. Sure, you can look up every arena player on every server in your battle group, and try to memorize it all (thousands of players on each of 8 or so servers)

          Or you could cache the pages locally :)
        • by Tjebbe (36955)
          I stopped playing long ago, and didn't do much pvp, nor have i used the interface plugin system, but i was wondering:

          wouldn't it be possible to make a plugin that uses this information to provide tips or maybe on-the-fly configurations etc to maximize your effectiveness in pvp? I can't see a problem with this site if it isn't possible, but if it can be automated it could very well throw the game balance completely to the side that uses something like that.

          I know 'the other side can use it too' (if it's publ
      • It's arena matches (especially among top-ranked players) that people care about. It's very different to know that 3 of the 5 opponents have engineering, therefore some crazy trinkets, and oh, that rogue is mutilate-build vs combat, or that mage is frost/fire/arcane spec'd.

        This whole point about arena matches is rather moot. When an arena match starts you have 60 seconds to hand out food, water, health stones, buffs, etc. During this time, however, you are given absolutely no information about the other t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Endo13 (1000782)

      I'm a WoW player, just back & very casual in my playstyle. Do I give a crap if anyone can see my Character's build/gear/etc? Not one bit. I can see where some of the hardcore types might want to conceal their information, but IMHO its not a true "Your rights" issue - they are not revealing any information about YOU, just your character. The only "risk" here is if someone has some "secret" character build that kicks ass, its now exposed to the world - but on the same token, its not just about the build, but the player behind the keyboard. So a long-winded post to say "No I don't give a crap" :)

      I gotta agree with you. But on the "secret character build that kicks ass"... well, there really is no such thing in WoW. There's about five different ways any class can spend their talent points that actually work well, and everybody who's been playing a while knows all of them and how to fight against all of them. Sure, the added talents and points due to the expansion might have temporarily muddied the waters a bit, but that won't last long. As for gear.. most gear doesn't drastically alter your playst

  • Bad Idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by celardore (844933) *
    I don't play this game, but I imagine that it would put people at a significant disadvantage in many situations. Trolls could find weaker players and go kill them easily. Personal privacy aside, I think this is a really bad idea. Imagine a war game (computer, real, whatever) where you know your enemies weaknesses, and they know yours. And it is not fair to say that everybody has access to this information and is fair game, because many will not know how to access this or even care about it. Bad move.
    • Re:Bad Idea (Score:5, Funny)

      by frosty_tsm (933163) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:38PM (#18200942)

      Trolls could find weaker players and go kill them easily.
      I imagine that the dwarves and night elves might try to do the same thing...
      • Re:Bad Idea (Score:4, Informative)

        by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Thursday March 01, 2007 @09:46PM (#18202766) Homepage Journal
        There was a add on for dark age of Camelot (heavy pvp game) that scanned the incoming data and got the name, did a http lookup on the server to get info on level, class, amount of kills, etc and would then feed it back into the game as a graphic floating above the players head, expect similar for WoW when the pvpers get wind of this, the DaoC version is of course banned and if you are caught with it you will be suspended.
        • Funny part is, that would be a legitimate addon for WoW, and Blizzard probably wouldn't even try to stop it.

          Anyway, the level and class of anyone nearby is already readily available info, and at one point the "kill count" sort of was (when PVP rankings were in effect).

          People knowing what gear you have? All they need to do is look at you; most high-end gear is pretty unique in appearance. Priests have been complaining for a year Benediction (a popular healing weapon) makes them a target to enemy players.
    • I don't play this game, but I imagine that it would put people at a significant disadvantage in many situations. Trolls could find weaker players and go kill them easily. Personal privacy aside, I think this is a really bad idea. Imagine a war game (computer, real, whatever) where you know your enemies weaknesses, and they know yours. And it is not fair to say that everybody has access to this information and is fair game, because many will not know how to access this or even care about it. Bad move.

      Easier

      • by toddestan (632714)
        For example, you notice Legolaughs is guarding the flag in a Battleground. Are you really going to ALT-TAB out, launch a web browser, go look up his talent spec, ALT-TAB back, then go to town? Of course not. Just knowing his class and level, which you can already get in-game, is mostly all you need. And then depending on what spells or skills he uses, you can get a pretty good idea of his talent specialization, if you really want to know that too.

        How long do you suppose it would be before you could install
        • by Rallion (711805)
          It would be tough to make, actually, and harder to keep it working for any length of time. It would have to be a standalone piece of software, and it would have to get past Blizzard's anti-cheating software to access the character's name.

          It would be far easier (and not much more difficult to use) to make a small program that you would have to type the character's name into.
        • by jchenx (267053)

          How long do you suppose it would be before you could install some tool, then all you need to do is click on Legolaughs and in a couple of seconds you'll be able to see everything about that character? Actually, I would be surprised if someone hasn't coded this up yet.

          I wouldn't be surprised if similar mods already existed before this site came out. As I said before, much of that information is already available in the game itself. A mod would just have to analyze the combat logs and make some educated guess

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordLucless (582312)
      Firstly, PvP in WoW is pretty much dead. There is no real point to it, apart from grinding rep in Battlegrounds. Nobody cares enough to look at their opponents builds. Now, with the addition of Arena teams, it might be different. If they take off, and there are some really skilled teams there, then that information might be useful. But knowing your opponents build and equipment is only going to be useful if you both teams are a) reasonable skilled and b) equally matched. Also, it's not hard to figure out mo
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ustum (1065134)
      If WoW were more serious about PVP (a la EVE Online, even with its...quirks?) then I'd call this a really egregious violation of player rights. However, since I regard WoW as largely PvE, that's where I would look for disadvantages. The harms here come up when someone doing something somewhat unique gets screwed out of grouping/looting/guilding/whatever because someone checked out some stats, and says "that's not what I think a fighter/healer/caster should use," and snubbed them. I play nonstandard builds
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Endo13 (1000782)
        I would consider your post insightful, except that WoW just isn't very flexible in that way. Maybe you can scrape by at lower levels filling a role that your build is not designed for, but at 50+ not a chance. This is not to say that any given solid (though non-conventional) build is not useful in its own way. For example, lets say you were playing a druid. And then lets suppose that you liked your own personal variation of a balance talent spec. Now your build may be good in its own right, but if you're ru
    • I don't play this game, but I imagine that it would put people at a significant disadvantage in many situations. Trolls could find weaker players and go kill them easily.
      Yeah, because doing '/who Level MyLevel' is soooo difficult.
  • Me (Score:5, Informative)

    by friedmud (512466) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:37PM (#18200904)
    I just took a look at my own character: http://armory.worldofwarcraft.com/#character-sheet .xml?r=Thunderhorn&n=Friedmud [worldofwarcraft.com]

    I personally really like it. I've used similar services in the past (Allakhazam / Thottbot)... but they left a lot to be desired.

    I often want to check what people in my group have both gear and talent wise, so I know what I'm supposed to be doing. For instance, I'm a full Prot spec warrior (as you can see on my page above)... so my main purpose in life is tanking and holding aggro... so I really need to know if that other warrior in my group is also full prot-spec and maybe has better gear/talents for holding aggro... 'cause then I can defer to him. Sure we could sit around and talk about it for a long time (which is what goes on now for the most part)... but it would be a lot simpler to just look him up and compare our stats....

    Anyway... I think people that get overly worked up about this are just too damn serious about the game... it's just that, a GAME! Cool off and go kill something....

    Friedmud
  • Great idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by obeythefist (719316) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:37PM (#18200916) Journal
    But like most corps, Blizzard forgot that people like options and they like to feel like they have rights.

    This should have been opt-in. Instead, I don't think you can even opt out.

    Sure, 90% of players won't care, but what about the high end gamers who develop a secret 2v2 PvP secret sauce?
    Since they don't actually have real lives, their performance and uniqueness in WoW PvP means a lot to them!

    Blizzard jeapardises this quite a lot without thinking too hard about the consequences.
    • by MooseMuffin (799896) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:42PM (#18200978)
      You can't directly opt out, but before you log off you could remove all your gear. Your armory profile will show you wearing nothing, and only your talents will be exposed.

      Err...maybe that came out wrong
    • by gweihir (88907)
      Sure, 90% of players won't care, but what about the high end gamers who develop a secret 2v2 PvP secret sauce?

      I don't think that is really possible. Despite some peoples conviction that equipment is everything. I don't agree. Playstyles and reflexes do count as does communication between teammembers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by obeythefist (719316)
        All else remaining equal, skill and co-ordination are decisive.

        But WoW is quite simplistic in terms of gameplay (really, it is very simple, warlock for example, dot-fear-dot, it's not complicated). As a result of the straightforward nature of gameplay, skill is a backseat compared to equipment.

        I know this because I play warrior a lot, and playing warrior is painful. It's painful because the blizzard developers balance the entire class around the 1% of warriors completely equipped with orange gear.

        It's tru
        • Re:Great idea (Score:4, Interesting)

          by gweihir (88907) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @07:27PM (#18201492)
          But WoW is quite simplistic in terms of gameplay (really, it is very simple, warlock for example, dot-fear-dot, it's not complicated). As a result of the straightforward nature of gameplay, skill is a backseat compared to equipment.

          Not my impression. I have a Mage, a Shaman and a Druid, and it is quite complicated what to do in what situation. Especially the Druid with changing forms at the right moment. By even the Mage allows advanced styles (it is an ice-Mage, fire-Mages are simple: do maxdamage, then die). I think that many players just don't realize what range they have at their disposal.

          And what about world PvP? You can now stalk your favourite enemy, work out how tough he really is, and exploit that information. Or, just as likely, he'll do that to you. Think about that next time you stroll out of Tarren Mill. Talk about emergent play.

          That may be an issue. But personally I think those playing on PvP servers get everything they deserve. Fairness is not really possible there. I am a bit too old for this type of foolishness.

    • Don't know if yours is a troll post, but oh well I'll bite.

      Sure, 90% of players won't care, but what about the high end gamers who develop a secret 2v2 PvP secret sauce?

      There is no "secret sauce" in PvP. All the stats of a fight are in the combat logs. You can get a pretty good idea of what the other team is doing, just by seeing what they do, as well as the stats. And if you're not looking at this data, then you're probably not the type to look at the Armory stats anyway.

      There also isn't a a simple "IWIN"

      • by karmatic (776420)
        And for those of us without instant reflexes, here's the easy way to obliterate people in PVP.

        ISXWoW [isxwow.net]. Bot your way to success in PVP!

        Now, you don't even need to think up your own talent trees and armor sets, and nobody has reflexes that can compare to a computers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:37PM (#18200922)
    Priest: I'm Holy Spec'ed!
    Raid LeadeR: We know you're not Holy spec'ed anymore... your heals are casting way too long, you're always out of mana.
    Priest: Look at all my healing gear! I am holy spec'ed!
    Raid Leader: We checked you out on Armory!
    Priest: Really!? Those bastards. Blizzard is not respecting my privacy!
    Raid Leader: Well, also the fact that you're in shadowform doesn't help your case. :D

    [I sympathize with the priest nerfage this patch.]
  • by Phs2501 (559902) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:37PM (#18200926)
    Maybe now that they have this they can frickin' fix Inspect so you don't have to stay within 3cm of another player to look at their gear. (Inspect was "broken" several patches ago such that the window closed when the other player walked out of the [tiny] range allowed.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by synoptism (1054066)
      See the third-party addon SuperInspect [curse-gaming.com]. While at the time of inspecting a player you must be within a 5 yard radius, it won't close if the player moves away. It also supports caching of the most recently inspected players as well as summarizes bonuses and statistics gained from items and weapons.
  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:38PM (#18200928)
    None of this is private information at all. It's like publishing sports statistics for everything from school games to professional sportsfolks.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:38PM (#18200934)
    I found out about this today. First I thought this may be a privacy issue. After some browsing, also of my own characters, I don't think so. One thing is that even if all your details are exposed, most players of other classes cannot really judge what works well and what does not. Also I doubt people will invest the time to ckeck on everybody they are inviting into a group.

    What I really like is the ability to get an overview over guilds and to get inspirations about skills and equipment by looking up people I know to play well.

    All in all, I think this is an interesting addition.

    BTW, it is fun to see how often names are used. Sadly, I don't have a single uniquely nameed character....
    • by Jack9 (11421)

      First I thought this may be a privacy issue.


      You never really explained why you thought this. Seems ridiculous to me.
      Have you tried to read all the TOS? Blizzard revealing information about assets they own is not even comparable to the Warden program.
      • by gweihir (88907)
        You never really explained why you thought this. Seems ridiculous to me.

        Pretty simple: In a very real, emotional sense it is your character. Never mind the legalese. Should be quite obvious, though.
  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:42PM (#18200984)
    I would like to see aggregate data, I do not really care about individuals. Knowing the percentages of people who play different classes, those classes preferred skills (and least preferred ones) is much more interesting than the choices a simple character makes. But then, I don't even play the game, so other people's opinions may vary.
  • I'd like to see everyones /played values.

    Nevermind... that would be too scary....!
  • by lytlebill (659903) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:44PM (#18200996)
    So if Blizzard is so proud of their "comprehensive and up-to-date database" of character and item info, are they going to stop giving people who've had their accounts hacked the total BS "we can't restore gear because we have no way of knowing what you were equipped with" excuse anymore?
    • Probably not. Which game recently had the political expose on game designers who were giving themselves and/or their social allies unfair game advantages? "Hacked accounts" are a convenient way of disguising those advantages similar to money laundering and it works both directions. It's also a source of profit like dropped Blackberrys or scratched CDs.
    • They have no way of knowing when your account was hacked; they have only your word for that.

      They may not be keeping track of every single change. Sure, you could screenshot their website, but that wouldn't prove anything.

      Even if they knew with absolute certainty what you had, returning your stuff would be a bad idea. This means they have to track it to whoever has it now, and undo all the transactions that were a result of your account being hacked -- but that could be a fairly large butterfly effect, and c
      • Anyway, is WoW uniquely "hackable", or are "hacked" accounts still the result of some moron who gave away his password to a phishing site, or snagged by a keylogger, or set it to "LeroyJenkins123"?

        I don't know how feasible it is to literally hack accounts in WoW. To the best of my knowledge most "hacked" accounts are usually the result of phishing, kelogging, ridiculously bad passwords, or from giving out passwords/account information for power-leveling services.

      • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Friday March 02, 2007 @06:46AM (#18205366) Journal
        I really, really hate the abuse of the word "hacked" in this context.

        I remember back when I was doing the whole oper thing on a well-known IRC network. Every day, we'd get hundreds (sometimes thousands) of complaints from people complaining that their account with the network services had been "hacked". In every single case I ever encountered, it transpired that the individual in question had just fallen for an extremely simplistic con designed to get them to reveal their password. There's no element of "hacking" about it - it's just the exploitation of gullibility, stupidity, and the belief that it's possible to get something for nothing.

        I don't play WoW very much (although I do have a semi-active account I log into occasionally, but until the end of last year (when I more or less went cold-turkey), I was a pretty hardcore Final Fantasy XI player. "Hacked" accounts were a perennial topic in FFXI and, once again, it was inevitably the account owner's incompetence that led to the account being lost or vandalised. I'd say that the cases I heard of could be broken down into three broad areas:

        1) Keyloggers and malicious software - probably the closest to actual "hacking", these still relied on user greed and stupidity to steal accounts. Essentially, many of the third party programmes available for FFXI (all of which are banned under the TOS) actually contained keyloggers and the like which stole people's account passwords and reported them back to the author. Most of the malicious software in question would masquerade as cheats (eg. movement speed cheats), so frankly, people who lost their accounts this way got what they deserved.

        2) Social engineering/phishing attacks - slightly less common - probably the rarest of the three categories - but by no means unknown. The old familiar tricks all applied here: masquerading on forums as admins, offering powerlevelling or gil to people who signed up on sites using their Playonline passwords, the usual rubbish. I dare say a couple of people were stung by this purely on the basis of being naive, but again, most of the people who fell for this did so out of greed.

        3) Shared account passwords - in no way does this resemble "hacking". However, it was by far the most common means by which people would lose their accounts (or have them vandalised). I remember being in a linkshell once where a number of the senior members shared account passwords (although happily, I always opted out). When one of the leaders went bad, he did quite a bit of damage with the logins he had. In these cases, my sympathy was again limited - if you share your account password with somebody you just know online, you're asking for trouble. However, there were a few genuinely unfortunate cases, where people would have their accounts trashed after a real-life relationship with another player (often a girlfriend or boyfriend) went bad.

        So in short, assuming the situation with WoW is anything like the one with FFXI and Blizzard don't actually have horribly insecure servers, nobody in WoW is actually getting their account "hacked".
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I hear you.

          I play a small MMO called Nexus TK -- 2D, nice community, and in-game bulletin boards. Every now and then I post on the boards attempting to clear this up, mostly because I feel the GMs and such who post to the board can do more harm than good with their suggestions.

          Essentially, their suggestions are to be paranoid in every way imaginable. Have anti-virus software, firewalls, etc, and don't follow any links anyone gives you, or download any files, at all, the end. So, I suggest that anti-virus is
    • So if Blizzard is so proud of their "comprehensive and up-to-date database" of character and item info, are they going to stop giving people who've had their accounts hacked the total BS "we can't restore gear because we have no way of knowing what you were equipped with" excuse anymore?

      "Up-to-date" means what you have now, not what you had previously. There is no reason to believe old database records are preserved anywhere before they are overwritten with updated data. Nothing has changed since day 1
  • This is such a non issue. 10 minutes of in game observation of a character actively playing probably gives you nearly all this information anyway. I mean when the mage I'm dueling pulls out a Water Elemental and silences me with a Counterspell, it's not going to be too difficult to figure out his build.
  • by Sciros (986030) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:46PM (#18201020) Journal
    Guild Wars has had "observer mode" up and running for a long time now. That lets you see not only the top guild's skill builds, but their strategy! You know how they act and react, and you learn *when* to use the skills they bring.

    Yet, the top guilds remain the top guilds because they're just better at doing what they do than anyone else. So, top WoW PVP folks should probably just have more confidence in their own abilities ^_^
  • It looks like the onslaught of billions of Slashdot readers has effectively de-exposed the information in question. Too bad, I wanted to go check the stats and loadout on my hode-side arch-nemesis.
    • by spyder913 (448266)
      Actually, yesterday it was worse. The forum population during mid-day seems to be quite high.
    • by Kalriath (849904)
      You'd think that OSDN has less money to maintain stable servers than Blizzard Entertainment huh. But no. Apparently Slashdot's pipe is bigger than Blizzards. Oooh kay... that sounded bad.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Old Wolf (56093)
        Did anyone else notice that the page is *extremely* resource-intensive?
        When I click the Ajax link to view a player's details, it takes about 20
        seconds to just render the page -- not including download time (I'm on a P2-333).
        That could explain why it seems to be less reliable than OSDN which is just serving text.
        • by Kalriath (849904)
          Runs like utter shite on my P4-3.2GHz with 1GB of RAM too. Blizzard's web designers and developers are an example of what's wrong with development these days - misusing intensive platforms because someone decided it looks pretty. When you're refreshing virtually the entire page, DON'T reload it via AJAX, just reload the damn page!
          • I'm not sure if it's as slow as you say it is... didn't seem too horrible on my box. But the AJAX is definitely a smart move here, when loading a character page. Most of the information on that page is actually not loaded until you start to mouse over things, and it takes maybe half a second for those to pop up for me.

            I hate AJAX as much as the next guy, but it's the best we've got. I'd much rather they do it this way than with, say, Flash.
        • I noticed how much the site chugged at work yesterday. But when I got home it was like butter on safari. Perhaps it was time of day, or the network. I don't know. Just some anecdotal observations.
  • And wonder if they installed the tracking devices in my Amazon Warrior Queen when she was killed by the Morlocs? ...

    Seriously, this not only violates the Fog of War principle - I can't Inspect someone to far away from me - it is ridiculous.

    Now, if it was limited to your Guild ... that might make sense ... or even if it showed your reputation ... but everything else?

    RPG means Role-Playing-Game not Ridiculous-Privacy-Giveaway ...
    • by jchenx (267053) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @08:48PM (#18202330) Journal
      I think what Blizzard realized is that privacy was gone anyway, thanks to a number of 3rd party sites that tracked much of the same data. And some of these places tracked a lot more information, some of which can be really used in a bad way. For example, there is a site that actually tracks your guild history (which ones you've been in, how long, etc.). So, if you're applying to a new guild, their leader could look you up at this site, and wonder, "Hmm, this guy has gone through X many guilds in Y months. That's not a good sign, so thumbs down to him!", even though you might have a legitimate reason for this.

      So, that said, I think the data that Blizzard has decided to make public is rather benign in comparison, especially since much of it is data that you can already access anyway (inspecting gear, reading combat logs, etc.). Rather than give a small minority of folks an advantage, who happen to know the right websites to visit or mods to install ... it's better to make it an official part of the game, and let basically everyone know where to find it.

      Additionally, there's a whole lot of people that want access to this information, and don't mind sharing out their own data. This is true especially for guilds. Why do you think these 3rd party sites and mods existed in the first place? So again, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

      • Indeed. _I_ want access to this information. In a _very_ small guild, people craft to keep each other in gear (drops are better though) and I was wondering if there were a third party website or utility that could do this very thing. It is a lot more convenient to be able to look at what someone's gear is offline and compile a list of possible upgrades (or not, drops are better) than to wait for each person to log on and waste in-game time discussing each piece of gear and upgrade options.

        --
        off topic: Bl
  • I'm not even a hardcore player and I'm not happy at all about this.

    I have a level 67 priest and there is a huge misconception that unless your completely holy spec'ed you can't heal well at all. Thats complete BS and always has been. Before all you'd have to do is lie about your spec not use shadow form, now you can't do that.

    It might be a little harder for some priests to get into certain guilds or PuG's now. I'd love to see an opt-out feature or something at least.
    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      It might be a little harder for some priests to get into certain guilds or PuG's now.

      Probably not. I play a balance druid, my husband plays a discipline priest. We are well used to being asked is we are Restoration or Holy respectively. Good players will know that you can be a perfectly good healer outside of the two 'preferred' specs. Players who insist generally aren't worth the time.

      I say this from being a Naxx primary healer on effectively the same L60 build as I have now as L70 (I put the 10 extra

    • by shalla (642644)
      I have no idea why you would WANT to be in guilds that limit you in that way. Besides, what did you do before? Lie and say you were holy spec and then once you were in and they caught you in shadowform try to smile and charm them through the lie?

      Seriously, find a guild that allows you to play the way you want to play. You'll be happier. Besides, the top instances now don't require the huge raiding guilds anymore. You don't need the specially built guilds who only allow certain narrowly constructed type
      • Seriously, find a guild that allows you to play the way you want to play. You'll be happier. Besides, the top instances now don't require the huge raiding guilds anymore. You don't need the specially built guilds who only allow certain narrowly constructed types in.

        No, you don't need a huge guild. However, with smaller raid groups, there is more pressure on the individual player to be specced right. For example, If I'm taking 3 priests into a raid, I'm going to want 2 disc/holy and 1 shadow. I MIGHT be flexible and take 1/2 instead, but that depends on other healers and the encounter. I won't take 3/0 or 0/3. I need the capabilities of both specs. This applies to pretty much all hybrids, and some of the 'pure' classes.

        If you want to be successful, you need ALL

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @07:07PM (#18201232) Journal
    You only have your gear and attributes exposed in WOW. Warcraft3 replays had real complaints. People could totally steal your build order and the creep order you did. They could essentially copy your game play by watching a replay and be almost as formidable as you. This made all the effective builds known, and there was very little creativity in that RTS.
    • You only have your gear and attributes exposed in WOW. Warcraft3 replays had real complaints. People could totally steal your build order and the creep order you did. They could essentially copy your game play by watching a replay and be almost as formidable as you. This made all the effective builds known, and there was very little creativity in that RTS.

      If build order was all you had then you're a fairly poor player. It's one thing to copy a build but another to copy all of your micro-skills. Even then a
  • by seebs (15766)
    As a WoW player:

    This saves me a huge amount of trouble on my guild website. :)
  • I found that old friends I used to play with were still active. Now I can reconnect!
  • Privacy policy (Score:3, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @07:15PM (#18201356) Journal

    Blizzard claims to own all the data and the characters, but at what point does this data represent personal choices and information about their players which would be covered by their own privacy policy?
    1. Blizzard does own all the data and characters
    2. The privacy policy covers stuff like name, age, date of birth, gender, home address, phone number, e-mail address, survey information, etc.

    I don't see how any of that was disclosed.

    What if I have a question or complaint?
    If you have any questions or wish to file a complaint, please feel free to e-mail us at privacy@blizzard.com, call us at (949) 955-1382, or send a letter addressed to Blizzard Entertainment Privacy Policy, Attention: Privacy Policy Administrator, at 6060 Center Drive, 5th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90045.
    • Privacy laws override that privacy policy completely. That policy is just restating the way the law works in most countries. Blizzard policy on the matter is irrelevant; it's just a bit of reassurance.

      That said, it's unlikely any interpretation of privacy laws would cover game statistics.
  • In the crossroads of the elements bbs game [crossroads...ements.com] on the board I used to play on a trend of instantly attacking any player that looked at you developed. look was a command to visually inspect things but the character descriptions would give away information about your levels and inventory. Oh those silly people that dared looking in the direction of a level 30 air mage.
  • EQ2 has had a similar service for a while now, and Vanguard went into release recently with such a service. Those services allow you to disable parts of the info that's displayed, however.

  • by Shadukar (102027) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @08:29PM (#18202154)
    To put it briefly: this information is publicaly avalible - you can get this info in game without trying very hard.

    Why?

    Talent specs:
    If you watch them for more than 10 minutes in game, killing things, you easily deduce most of their talent choices - certain builds for certain classes grant certain abilities, other choices make the player use certain spells over other spells. Even if you are on opposing factions, it doesnt matter, you can still easily tell what their spec is.

    Gear:
    You can walk up to any player (on your faction) and inspect them and see their gear. Even if you can't inspect them for some reason (on pvp servers you can only go one faction per server) - a lot of gear has unique graphics. Those that don't ...it really doesn't matter.

    The only possible thing to complain about with knowing someone's gear is when you are in PVP and want to know what trinkets the opponent has. Ok, there is potential here: trinkets let you do certain stuff and if you are ready for that stuff, you might have a small adventage. Thing is, the data is not real time! It is possible to instantly switch trinkets (out of combat) and whatever info you just got is out of date! To make this point even less relevant/less impact, most trinkets have visual/combat log notification to everyone nearby when they are used!

    Another point to consider: In the past (i am not sure if this still happens) there was a number of mods which upon the user inspecting another player, would suck that data and upload it to thottbot. I was quite surprised to find a few of my characters having character's gear profiles on that site - obviously someone insepcted me while running that mod.

    So why is this such a huge issue?

    People love to whine. Especially people who do nothing important/special whole day, maybe they are bored, they want to feel wronged, then they want to feel like they are doing something, then they want to feel vindicated. It doesnt matter how dumb it is, they just go for it..

    Lets look at one of the coplaints from the summary: "they will have difficulty getting into pickup groups now that people can instantly find out everything about them"

    This is probably the dumbest thing i have ever heard and i read the WoW general forums:( If you join a group that is super picky/elitist and your gear is crap/you are a newb, you will get booted with this information or without. If the group doesnt care you dont have the best gear or is not picky or can carry your weight or is not elitist, then this Armory thing will not matter one bit.

    Quite often, yes, there are elitist groups/guilds/people playing when you approach them to group/quest/join/etc they will scrutinise you. They will ask for your spec and check your gear. With or without the Armory, if you do not meet their expectations, you will lose. I really don't see what the difference between having it or not having it makes.

    If you have a non-standard talent build (you have no clue how to play) or non-standard (read:crap) gear you will get kicked out of the group as soon as it becomes apparent - and it will. If your gear is good enough and you are not a newb, this Armory will once again make no difference.

    In reply to the article's closing: the question of "In a virtual society, should people be able to present a view of themselves that differs from (virtual) reality, or should all details be exposed?" is irrelevant, borderline sensationalist when their virtual details are virtually exposed to all other virtual people.

    Virtually non story about virtual whiners/complainers virtually looking for virtually something to virtually do.

    Go outside, get job, girlfriend/boyfriend, learn to code or paint or spear fish. Do something meaningful so that you don't jump on dumb whiner-wagon just to feel improtant/like you are acomplishing anything by puffing up your hairless chest about small stuff like this.

    And no, don't talk about "slippery slopies" or "but what about government..." or "
    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      You are assuming that people are familiar with the possible talent builds available to other classes (or sometimes even other talent builds for thier own class.

      Last night I had another druid ask me if I was feral spec as I was PEWPEWLASERBEAMZOMG in Moonkin form with my tree pets out...

      • I have to admit: I laughed when I saw the PEWPEWLASERBEAMZOMG text.

        Anyway, yeah, it's funny how people ask that.

        Speaking of which, I haven't played my Druid in a while, is Moonkin Form still a 31-point talent in Balance? I know some things got moved around when 2.0 went live...
  • I think Armory is going to be great in also exposing trolls, both on forums and in game chat channels. I'm referring to Internet-style trolls [wikipedia.org], not the actual Warcraft race.

    There are always trolls that claim things like:
    1) X class/talent is over-powered, I always die to them, Blizzard needs to make my class/talent a lot better
    - Well, looking at Armory, your talent spec is a mess. Plus, you've made some poor item decisions. No wonder you're having so much trouble. Anyone would in your condition.

    2) I'm uber be
  • I am shocked at how many lvl 70s there already are! Then again, maybe I shouldn't be.
  • The input field for the search term is a flash program? (I can't type anything, probably some bug in linux flash 9 plugin). Whatever happened to using standards compliant html for web pages so the "World" part of the world wide web can use it? Are they hiring graphics people to do their cgi programming or something?
    • by toddestan (632714) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @10:50PM (#18203150)
      My guess is that they are trying to stop people from creating in game utilities that hit Blizzard's site in the background to pull character data. However, I'm going to assume that making it Flash will merely slow them down a little.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      Are they hiring graphics people to do their cgi programming or something?

      That sums up most flash on the net - and more annoying than the old blink tag becuase that didn't crash browsers.

  • From Day One of my WoW playing, I was greatly dismayed by the fact I couldn't look at my own character over the web. No stats. No info. Nothing. My expectations were set so high by the more-awesome-than-awesome web-available stats for Warcraft III profiles.
  • Someone explain to me why this is filed under "Your Rights Online"?
  • It's SETEC Astronomy, not SEATEC. This is important, because it's an anagram of "Too Many Secrets".

    SETECASTRONOMY
    TOOMANYSECRETS

    The reference is from the movie "Sneakers".
  • FINALLY, I can check which names are taken BEFORE creating my character!

    Being able to look at other people's gear is just a bonus.
  • RP'ers nightmare (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Friday March 02, 2007 @04:17PM (#18211754) Homepage Journal
    Many Rp'ers may have different gear for different events. The people at one event may not need to know about the gear at another event.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval

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