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Blizzard Exposes Detailed WoW Character Data

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the seatec-astronomy dept.

Privacy 233

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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233 comments

I don't see the big deal here (5, Interesting)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 7 years ago | (#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" :)

Re:I don't see the big deal here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201046)

Will please someone think of the children !!??!

-- a concerned parent

Re:I don't see the big deal here (5, Insightful)

cgori (11130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201066)

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.

Re:I don't see the big deal here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201206)

if you face the same team again, you pretty much know what to expect and how they killed you before or what methods worked. that also brings up the point of information overload: there are a lot of characters! I mean a *lot*.

What I would be more concerned with (at least in the pre-BC days) would be if a character had a ton of BoE epics/rares ... which means they probably bought gold [or ran an AH mod]. Now though, gold is in such flux everyone is spending and receiving huge amounts, so 1-2 BoEs arent going to mean they bought anything (maybe just delayed thier epic flying mount purchase).

Re:I don't see the big deal here (5, Insightful)

Cali Thalen (627449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202060)


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.

Re:I don't see the big deal here (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203364)

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 :)

Bad Idea (2, Insightful)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200880)

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.

This could make things like the WoW funeral massacre much more easy, and common. A group of assholes could easily pwn a group of noobs. Not fair, not cool in my eyes. I did download the trial after hearing a load of hype recently; Not my thing. Found it unentertaining, so I played Counter-strike instead for a bit with my real life friends over Ventrillo. That was much more fun.

Re:Bad Idea (5, Funny)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (3, Informative)

Barny (103770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202766)

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.

Easier said than done. It's not much an advantage. (2, Insightful)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201170)

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 said than done. Yeah, you may find out that player NoobSauce isn't very good, since his gear sucks and his talent trees are a mess. But how the heck are you going to find him? For all you know, he's not even logged in or playing the game anymore. It doesn't help even in the reverse situation. 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.

Where this DOES have an effect in PvP is with Arena teams, as several others have already suggested. Even then, I don't think it's terribly disruptive. Armory or not, just by playing the game and through normal means of communication (forums, chat, etc.), players were going to find out what class and talent combinations are used by the best teams anyway. Now that's information available to everyone, and not just those who frequent the WoW message boards.

Re:Easier said than done. It's not much an advanta (1)

toddestan (632714) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203110)

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 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.

Re:Easier said than done. It's not much an advanta (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203414)

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.

Re:Bad Idea (2, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201174)

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 most builds after fighting someone a couple of times, so it's not like the information couldn't be found anyway by hardcore players (who are the only ones who will really be able to benefit from it).

Re:Bad Idea (2, Insightful)

Ustum (1065134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203160)

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 as a rule; I've taken flak a number of times from people who expect a cookie-cutter response from me and find something slightly different. This is especially true for folks performing central roles in nonstandard ways: clerics, tanks, crowd controllers, and such. When I play those classes, especially with groups I'm less familiar with, I sometimes have to play a role I'm less than perfectly suited for. I get by and so does the group in the end, but you sometimes wouldn't have thought it likely given the builds I run. Making this information available shifts the social burden of being a "good player" one more step towards equipment and away from play skill. Is that shift outweighed by the very real convenience of having your character gear visible outside of the game environment? Maybe, but that's the question at hand here, not just a blanket statement about player privacy.

It's just a video game (1)

kasek (514492) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200884)

There is no personal information being made available. There is no privacy concern. This is just a case of pvp kiddies getting upset that they might lose a slight edge in a PvP system that isn't even based off of skill, but rather time invested. It remains to be seen if the new arena system will change that at all. That, and arena matches are pretty short anyways, so the odds of someone looking you up to see your gear/build before a match are pretty slim.

and yes, I play, and I could really care less if anyone sees what PvP team im on or what gear/skills/etc i have.

Re:It's just a video game (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201002)

I love the way people play MMOs and don't even understand their attraction to the medium.

Re:It's just a video game (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202226)

What I don't understand about the arenas is, Why bother? There's no role playing there, they don't even take place "in the world" but in a shard with no effect on the world whatsoever.

So they're basically souped-down versions of 3D multiplayer FPSs where any element of skill (say.. being able to hit someone in mid-air with the spinfusor) is replaced by a button that automatically does the thing.

also, no jetpacks.

Re:It's just a video game (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202746)

I was going to write a scathing, flaming post just for you. However I can't bring myself to flame a fellow Tribes 2 player.

Me (5, Informative)

friedmud (512466) | more than 7 years ago | (#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

Re:Me (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201100)

it's just that, a GAME!
Yep, and clearly you've come to this conclusion after reading all the literature [mud.co.uk] on the subject. Cause I can tell you, the guys who made WoW sure have.

Great idea (2, Interesting)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200916)

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.

Re:Great idea (5, Funny)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 7 years ago | (#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

Re:Great idea (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200982)

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:Great idea (1, Interesting)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201054)

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 true there's not much room to be unpredictable in your class, but you can keep an edge by keeping your capabilities hidden until the very last moment, just ask Sun Tzu. Blizzard have removed the ability for players to be secretive.

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.

Re:Great idea (3, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202354)

I think that many players just don't realize what range they have at their disposal.

fire-Mages are simple: do maxdamage, then die
I love contradictions more than WoW, hurray!

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202898)

really, it is very simple, warlock for example, dot-fear-dot, it's not complicated
Bad enough that players like you QQ all over Blizzard's forums about warlocks. Now you do it on /. too?

DoTs got nerfed back to pre-TBC levels after all the QQing on the forums. Fear has been changed more times than I can even remember. Lasts 12 seconds maximum now on the first application. If they get another on you it sure won't last 12 seconds thanks to diminishing returns.

Do you even have a warlock? At 70? Do you remember when deathcoil wasn't called noobcoil? Remember when you were a "free honor kill?"

Remember rogues stunlocking you from 100% to dead with absolutely no chance to do a damn thing the whole time? Oh wait, that was just yesterday.

Warlocks are just fine. You bunch of little QQ-babies just won't stop until we're all the way back to being free honor kills.

Go DIAF. Kthxbai.

There is no secrecy in PvP (2, Insightful)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202070)

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" button in PvP, despite what some forum posters think. Even if there is a certain combination of talents, spells, and classes that excel in PvP, you still have to be skilled enough to push all the buttons at the right time, have the reaction speed, etc.

Re:There is no secrecy in PvP (1)

karmatic (776420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202486)

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.

I'm Holy Spec'ed! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.]

Great - now fix Inspect (2, Insightful)

Phs2501 (559902) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Great - now fix Inspect (3, Informative)

synoptism (1054066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201294)

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.

Re:Great - now fix Inspect (1)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202300)

It was actually "fixed." I don't feel like trying to find the patch note, but Blizzard said that the former long range of inspect was a bug, and the recent patch fixed it. You used to be able to inspect by typing /inspect at a farther range than the menu would let you inspect. Now they are the same. I still think they should go back to the old way. I never understood why they made it so once you inspect someone, the window should ever close unless you close it (or that mousing over items should simply say "Head" or "Legs" instead of the actual item info).

Not a big deal - like sport statistics (5, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200928)

None of this is private information at all. It's like publishing sports statistics for everything from school games to professional sportsfolks.

I am not too concerned (2, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 7 years ago | (#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....

Re:I am not too concerned (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202470)

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.

What would be most useful (4, Interesting)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:What would be most useful (2, Interesting)

ADRA (37398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201202)

I agree, basically one gigantic pivot chart would be where its at.

I'd like to see everyone's /played... (1)

AdamTrace (255409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200994)

I'd like to see everyones /played values.

Nevermind... that would be too scary....!

Does this mean they can now fix hacked accounts? (5, Insightful)

lytlebill (659903) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?

Hacked accounts (2, Interesting)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201212)

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.

Re:Hacked accounts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202640)

Which game recently had the political expose on game designers who were giving themselves and/or their social allies unfair game advantages?

That would be EvE, not WoW.

Problems with that: (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204050)

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 could result in a major disruption of all kinds of people who were only very loosely connected to the theft of your items.

The alternative isn't much better -- simply generate your items out of thin air, which means there are now dupe items. I believe the other poster was suggesting a simple scam -- you let your account be hacked, the hacker gives your equipment away, or sells it or trades it, leaving your char with nothing, then you whine to Blizzard and get all your stuff back -- which means you just GAVE the hacker a pile of free stuff. Rinse and repeat a few times, then you both get rich off of it and start playing the market.

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"?

Please (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201016)

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.

Top PVP guys shouldn't be upset (5, Informative)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201020)

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 ^_^

Not Anymore... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201088)

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.

Re:Not Anymore... (1)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201200)

Actually, yesterday it was worse. The forum population during mid-day seems to be quite high.

Re:Not Anymore... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201228)

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:Not Anymore... (2, Interesting)

Old Wolf (56093) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202040)

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.

Re:Not Anymore... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202452)

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 for one welcome our RFID medieval overlords (2, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201166)

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 ...

Privacy was gone anyway, thanks to 3rd party sites (3, Insightful)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202330)

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.

It's just a game! GET OVER IT! (0, Flamebait)

pestie (141370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201186)

I don't usually post things like this, but seriously... Slashdot, WTF? "Your Rights Online?" There's a reason I have my account set up to minimize all the "Games" articles and maximize all the "Your Rights Online." And that would be because my rights actually matter, whereas video games don't. Maybe this would matter if it involved the exposure real data, but it didn't! You gamer fanboys get that it's all pretend, right? Like, it's not real and doesn't (or shouldn't, anyway) have any bearing on your real lives? OK, then. Jeez.

Re:It's just a game! GET OVER IT! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201368)

If it's just a game, why do you put up with so much that is "not fun".

Hint: it's about immersion.

Re:It's just a game! GET OVER IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201502)

I wonder if you grasp the irony of the fact that you're at least as worked up as those "gamer fanboys" you allude to.

Re:It's just a game! GET OVER IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202620)

The "offtopic" mod would help, obviously a gamer faboy modded it so. Fanboys need to get a life.

Bad idea - Here's why (1)

apachetoolbox (456499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201222)

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.

Re:Bad idea - Here's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202906)

Unless everyone in that guild is PvE speced (including mages, rogues, hunters and warlocks - yes there are PvE specs for DPS characters), tell them to fuck off if they want you to spec PvE. If they are all PvE spec, and you're not, then its probably not the type of guild for you.

Re:Bad idea - Here's why (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202986)

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 points into blance).

Complaints are fair, but Blizzard has done worse (2, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201232)

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.

RTS replays are bad? (1)

Krakhan (784021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201882)

Knowing a build order, and figuring what clever uses of units you get from them are one thing. Also how does one 'steal' a build order? Does knowing it yourself automatically make the person forget to? If you use a build order in a game, it's no longer secret.

However, actually managing to execute them with success (especially if it's a real weird or complicated one) is completely different. Does actual reflexes and coordination not matter? How about in-game decision making that had to be made? Blindly copying what a player did in one game could easily fail in another due to some circumstances not being present.

In any case, more of this information made available is good, since counters can be developed, and so on. The very nature of what happens during the span of any real time strategy game.

Myth and Myth 2 were (I believe) the first RTS games to have in-game replays in them. And there was no less creativity that resulted during the life span of those games (even though they were purely tactical). Same with Starcraft and other games once they implemented that feature.

So in the end, everyone benefits from the replay, since with this knowledge, everyone improves, and the game can get more interesting over time.

Re:Complaints are fair, but Blizzard has done wors (1)

psychrono (1030230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202466)

They could essentially copy your game play by watching a replay and be almost as formidable as you.
I'd like to see you move as fast as the pros (averaging 400+ actions per minute, some 700+. Some of their "builds" need to be perfect, and if the pros mess up, most people don't even stand a chance.

WoW has nothing that intensive (nor do most MMO's), but PvP along with a good sense of humor is what keeps things interesting (in my eyes, I never played WoW more than a week), not what "godly" gear you have so you can make yourself feel better about dropping thousands of hours playing plus tons of cash (monthly fees, hurray).
On a really unrelated sidenote... I used to like watching replays for WC3 because it was interesting to see what was possible in terms of strategy... yes, it is mind blowing to "research" strategies in a strategy game I know.

Hackers delight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201332)

I seem to recall something like this back a few years ago for EQ. And I seem to recall that some hackers used the info to find players who had uber gear, but who did not log on every day. They used common-password attacks to get access to some of the players, transfered all their gear (where it was later ebay'd), and in a couple of cases, deleted the characters.

Hopefully WoW is well-protected from hacking, and hopefully the players don't all set their passwords to 1-2-3-4-5.

Hardly a Hackers delight (1)

kn0tw0rk (773805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202094)

It only shows characters, not account names.
Now in game spammers might make more of a go at it, ie - I noticed you have a "blah blah 2 handed sword", would you like to buy a "mega blah 2 handed sword".

I found it useful (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201352)

I found that old friends I used to play with were still active. Now I can reconnect!

Privacy policy (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201356)

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.

Personally, I do object (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201420)

Yes, it's perfectly within Blizzard's right to do this, that doesn't mean I have to like it. Why bother with the ?? levels in game if I can look the person up online now and get a complete load out of data on them? This is a kinda of silly contradiction in handling of the issue. Overall, I have to give Blizzard a big thumbs down on their implementation of this thus far.

Re:Personally, I do object (1)

BinaryOpty (736955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203062)

Oh no! A ?? level character? Let me look up his name right quick here... alt+tab... load up site... type in name... pick right character from search results... wait for it to load... oh, he's 15 levels above me! Well, let me alt-tab back into the game and--! Oh no I'm dead!

UI Weakness Helper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201634)

How long until someone comes up with a little UI/DLL combo that can real-time look up a targets information and recommend weaknesses and strategies for PvP? There are already things that hit web back ends for information about critters, treasures, maps, etc.

Reminds me of playing a bbs game called crossroads (1)

ChaseTec (447725) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201848)

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.

Not the first (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202134)

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.

NOT A BIG DEAL - complaints unfair (5, Insightful)

Shadukar (102027) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 "in soviet russia personal info...", this is not what the story is about. This is about a computer game opening its database for curious people to persue, nothing else.

Personaly, I like it. I hope when i am radomly looking at other player's specs/gear i'll look at someone who in real life is crying in the corner, shaking and whimpering "my inf0z, my precious, precious private INFOZ!"

Veilo, Frostmourne :)

Re:NOT A BIG DEAL - complaints unfair (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202940)

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...

Re:NOT A BIG DEAL - complaints unfair (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203128)

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...

Re:NOT A BIG DEAL - complaints unfair (1)

Shadukar (102027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203258)

Yes, I was assuming a rather high level of knowledge on behalf of people using this system against other people.

The reason I did so is because with skill/knowledge level below that level will not get any benefit/adventage due to Armory existing:

1. they are probably not fast enough to alt+tab, look up their opponent/attacker/possible victum, then alt+tab
2. even if they did have the talent/gear build of their opponent, they probably wouldnt know how to counter opponent's abilities
3. Some people are so ...hrm, how to put it, out of touch with what they are doing, that seeing someone else's spec/gear will be like looking at a bunch of scattered cryons and lego blocks ...um...nice colors ?

The reason for the above was this: only players of certain skill will sucessfuly utilise the Armory and only under these parameters will this new thing have any impact - and even then, this impact will be negligible/irrelevant in most, if not all cases.

This however made me further see Armory as beneficial. Lets take a regular "noob". They get "owned" by a superior player (more time/more skill/better gear/whatever). They take down the name, look it up in the Armory. They study their ganker's gear and spec and learn a bit about what gear is good, what gear is better than theirs, maybe look up that gear and try to get it. Maybe they see a talent build that they didnt think of and decide to explore it/learn more about it.

In the end, the "noob" learns a bit maybe and becomes a better player and feels more confident/informed. He then gives more challange to people trying to kill him, is more useful in groups/raids. asks less annoying questions. really, a win for everyone playing the game! :)

Great tool for exposing trolls (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202250)

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 because I have all these epics and have gone through all these 40-man raids. Bow down to me!
- Oh really? According to Armory, you're still outfit in greens/blues, and you barely have any rep associated with those raids (such as the Hydraxian Waterlords for Molten Core). Lying much lately?

3) I'm the uber-PvP king, so you should listen to what I say
- Uh huh, well it says here that your Arena record is piss-poor, and you only have a couple thousand lifetime honor. Yeah, right.

I'm tired of people lying or misrepresenting themselves. It's almost always gamers who want to make themselves better than what they are. Typically, the people that ARE good at the game, don't need to advertise themselves, because it's already apparent.

One real negative to this site, though, is that it well definitely increase the elitism in this game. Yeah, pointing out the fault of forum and General chat trolls is one thing. But it could get ugly if elitists start pointing out flaws with normal Joe Blow players, who aren't trying to misrepresent themselves in the first place.

and... down at 6:09PM Pacific Time (1)

Jon47 (979674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202514)

count it. Nice work Slashdot, that's a website designed to accomodate millions of concurrent users

Optionality (1)

TimeB (933628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202518)

Why not just make exposure on the Armoury optional? A simple tick box in the character options.

Lvl 70s! (1)

Taulin (569009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202534)

I am shocked at how many lvl 70s there already are! Then again, maybe I shouldn't be.

Re:Lvl 70s! (1)

danikar (896514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203990)

For any hardcore players it only took like 3-5 days to level 60-70. For addicts with no time it takes about 2 weeks (thats me =)) For average players id say a month. And for the slow ones, 2 month. Burning Crusade has almost been out 2 months now.

As a current avid WoW player... (1)

djones101 (1021277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202642)

Well, as avid as one can be when work is involved.

  • 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. - This is the exact same as plenty of other profile sites out there. The only difference is this isn't opt-in, so the information is available by default. The last item, currently equipped gear, is something that anyone who is in the game world can see by just running up to you an inspecting you.
  • The complete roster of any guild or arena team is also available. - Complete guild rosters have already been available via warcraftrealms.com, thanks to the addon Census Plus. Arena teams aren't hard either, using the same addon with some slight modifications.
  • 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. - Unless you're a known ninja or gold farmer, you'll still get into PUGs with no problem. Heck, even the ninjas and gold farmers get into PUGs (and even high-end raiding guilds). On the flip side, this allows guilds to properly review the information on a particular recruit, without having to rely on that recruit's honesty in posting information about themselves on sites such as ctprofiles.net.
This isn't a privacy issue, pure and simple. If Blizzard started shelling out what your alts are named, your credit card number, or other such demographic information, then you got yourself a full-fledged privacy issue. Otherwise, WoW is not a democracy, and night elves/dwarves/etc. do NOT have a set of laws that allow them to keep their privacy. Heck, we barely have any privacy in our RLs, why expect more from a game?

flash text input field!? (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202852)

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?

Re:flash text input field!? (3, Insightful)

toddestan (632714) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:flash text input field!? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203294)

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.

IT'S ABOUT TIME! (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202948)

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.

LOLZ (1)

nanowired (881497) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204076)

Actually, the problem here is really that people will exclude you purposefully because they dont like your build. Thats the real issue, People are Assholes. Take the thing down.
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