The Tinfoil Armory, continued

“I Put On My Robe And Wizard’s Hat!”

Considering that I haven’t had the time to make any updates for a couple of weeks, it’s a good thing that one of my last entries is still attracting a bit of discussion.

So, let’s look at some of the other issues raised by all this.

PvPers like the tactical transparency that the Armory’s data dump provides. They note, quite correctly, that if an opt-out was given for the Armory, every top-tier Arena team would immediately do so. Thus, for them, opt-out features for the Armory make it useless for what they see as its main use: recon of their opposition.

This begs the question, if this was intended to be such a key PvP tool, why wasn’t it integrated into the game instead of making you shell out to a web browser? (I’m sure add-on authors are diligently working to make that point moot in any event.) If the intent was for everyone to be completely transparent – not only in terms of gear (the inspection of which is locked to a short range in-game, as opposed to the Armory, whose range is, well transcontinental) but in specialization choices and even faction grinding? Well, it’s all out there now. And most PvPers are quite insistent that it remain that way, with no possibility of opting out.

But their vehemence is at least reasonable, and grounded in game mechanics – tactical transparency wins battles, after all. But there’s another side to this… many forum posters see this as another tool in their never ending battle as well. To quote a poster on F13’s related thread:

I’ve not seen any valid reason why there should be an opt-out from anyone yet, and I very much doubt you’ll be able to come up with one. Everybody can see your gear already, if your spec is shit enough you deserve to be laughed at, nobody gives a damn about your professions, and nobody really cares about your rep unless you’re trying to talk like you know something when you obviously have not had enough rep with the applicable factions to know whats up. In fact, if you never post on the WoW forums you will in all likelihood never hear from anyone about your armory profile ever.

In other words, the real purpose of the Armory is to prove that you’re not an idiot (apparently spec choices and gear acquisition in WoW being a foolproof IQ test). These are the players who are insisting that the Armory also display *all* characters on a given player’s accounts. Because privacy issues are trumped by the irritation of “low level posting alts” on the message board.

Which leads into the other reason for the Armory to be 100% data complete: explicitly, players should be able to mock other players for the choices they make. To quote a commenter on the previous thread:

So, I’m screwing around in game with my new blood elf hunter, level 28, and the only quests I have are the ones in Dun Garok. I put up that I’m LFG in the tool and I say something to that effect to the general chat. I get a tell back, “You should be able to solo those.”

“Been trying to, level 30 elites are tearing me up.” I check and see he’s a level 29 priest, “Want to help me?”

There is a long pause here…

“Dude, you really should go buy some gold or something, your gear is pitiful.”

I look around, I’m standing by myself in the middle of a field.

“And your talent spec is all wrong. Have you never played a hunter before?”

For one, my gear is the gear I have found and quested… I don’t buy gold. Two, I normally play with a couple other people, my spec is designed to play nice with them, not solo.

But this guy keeps talking, advising me on gear to buy and specs to change, I eventually put him on ignore when asking him to stop didn’t work.

Normally, I’d chalk this up to one annoying guy, but similiar situations have happened more than a dozen times. I want to turn off my profile.

And finally, there are those who believe the entire issue is silly, because WoW is a game, Blizzard owns it, it’s a fun game and they are cool developers who are sassy enough to make jokes about people with no lives, and they can do what they want, and who cares about bits on someone else’s computer. To quote another poster from F13:

Lum, wash the sand out of your vagina. Nobody gives a fuck about the deluded bleating of a few catasses who think showing their Longsword of Pwnage on the web violates their “privacy” somehow. Not even Blizzard, and good on them for telling the crybabies to STFU.

So, to summarize the points involved;

Blizzard should enforce 100% opt-in for the Armory because:

– Tactical transparency in PvP is important
– The ability to research other players in game is important
– The ability to research message board posters is important
– It’s just a game, who cares, Blizzard is cool and we like them
– stfu noob lrn2ply

Blizzard should offer an opt-out for the Armory because:

– Some people don’t want to have their player’s data open to ridicule or data mining

At first glance, it seems fairly conclusive. And given Blizzard’s stated stance on in-game privacy (they’ve been quoted as saying that an /anon command goes against what they see as the social nature of MMOs) it’s doubtful that this decision would be reversed.

Yet, I think what bothers me the most is that I was wrong. And not that I was wrong specifically – I’ve been wrong plenty of times and I’m quite comfortable with that, thank you. What disturbs me is why I was wrong.

Specifically, the vast majority of players, including quite reasonable ones as well as the usual loud suspects, think that concerns about in-game privacy is whining. And that the needs of the majority should overrun that of the loud unreasonable minority. It’s just a game, whiner. Blizzard knows what’s best for their game. STFU, suck it up and deal. Wash the sand out of your vagina, noob.

Welcome to World of Warcraft.