Over at Broken Toys, Scott has brought up an issue that was the butt of one of Blizzard’s April Fool’s Day gags. How much of a game’s data is public fodder?
Personally, there are only two valid reasons I can see for having the Armory work as it currently does.
- Virtual dick measuring. Some people love to compare gear, to lord over others the awesome gear they have. It is naturally inherant in any item-centric game.
- Harassment. I, personally, have already had one instance of someone telling me I should be able to solo certain content, then retracting that statement after they pulled up my Armory profile and began telling me how crappy my gear was. And the number of gold and item auction site tells and mails I have gotten has increased.
Honestly, I could do without the dick measuring. There already exists enough of it within the pre-Armory game, but localized to servers. Now you can pull up the inventory (including bags, bank and talent builds) of any character anywhere. Do we really need that?
As for the harassment, sure my story is anecdotal, but that doesn’t make it less true. And if its not being used for this widespread yet, it will.
There is really only one “good” use for this tool, and that is statistic gathering. No game has ever made available (that I know of) this level of character information to the public. But this one good function would not be hurt by allowing players to “opt-anonymous” of the Armory. Show my gear and talents and bank and everything, just keep my name and my guild out of it. That would solve both of the aforementioned problems and have no impact on statistics gathering.
I’d really like to see Blizzard offer this option.