Friday, March 02, 2007

How will the Armory change WoW?

The recent outcry over privacy violations about Blizzards new character information tool are slowly starting to be outpaced by praises for its utility. Not all the suggested uses for the tool's utility are positive though since the information provided could be used against players in certain situations. However, most of these situations are rare and actually only involve revealing when a player might be lying about their spec or gear. The positive uses for the Armory far outnumber the negative and could go a long way to providing guidance on gear and talents to newer players.

The Main Arguments against the Armory

1) Increases Guild Control:

The main and most powerful argument against the armory is that it allows guilds to know the talent builds and gear quality of their members. A lot of the more hardcore guilds have policies which limit members to only having talents points spent to fulfill their raid role. These policies usually aren't enforced too much and oftentimes guild members can simply lie to avoid being harassed by guild officers. However, with the addition of the armory it would be very easy for officers to track member talent points and make sure they follow policies. Hybrids and healing classes would suffer the most since they often take damage talents to help in solo fighting but are expected to have only have tanking or healing talents.

2) Prevents Casual Gamers from getting into Groups:

The next most common complaint with the Armory is that allows players to very quickly check a player's gear and could effect invite decisions. For example when a Pick-Up-Group is forming the leader could easily check a player's gear to determine if they would be owned by a dungeon. So if a 70 warrior wanted into a Shadow Labs run the leader could bring up their gear and find out they were wearing mostly level 66 greens and only had 10pts in protection. What do you think the leader would do? If you said not invite the warrior then you get a cookie. (mmm cookies)

Now that I described the situation I need to clarify that there are two groups of thought about it. One group thinks that this is a bad situation and that the warrior could be a very skilled player who would miss out on an invite. The other group thinks that this helps prevent wasting two hours of your life finding out that even outland greens can't keep a noob alive in the Shadow Labs. And lets be honest here the average PUG player in WoW breaks out into something like the following.

50% chance of being undergeared
20% of not understanding basic tenets of their class
20% of being both
10% of being omg you rock, have my babies

So if I can have a tool that makes my PUG sessions have a 70% better chance of success by early filtering of the severely undergeared then I'm all for it. Even if it means I might skip over the rare gamer who kicks ass but is geared like your retard cousin who wears herod's helm despite being level 60.

3) Allows Spying on Super Secret Specs:

The third most common complaint is that talent point combinations are unique enough that people want to protect their own spec. Some people honestly think they might be copied and their talent selection could become a new cookie cutter build. Realistically the only ones at risk of this happening are the top leaders in arena brackets and raiding guilds but most of them are going to be using cookie cutter builds anyways. The only valid worry is that arena teams gain a slight advantage by studying the talent builds of their opponents. Though as long as their is no opt out option for the armory then the advantage is shared among all the players with enough smarts to plan ahead.

These are the major arguments against the armory I found on the forums though I'm sure they're numerous variations of the three. All of them are knee jerk reactions to worst case scenarios in the three areas of World of Warcraft: raiding, grouping, and pvping. This means this is one of the few issues that won't simply turn into a hardcore vs. casual argument though casual raiders might be the most anti-armory. Still I hope this doesn't force Blizzard to include an opt-out option since I think that would slowly force most players into removing their profiles. After all if people can hide their profile then allowing yours to show would just be a weakness if you ever seriously started pvping. This would destroy a lot of the actual utility of the armory and would just make it into the new pvp ranking page.


doctiloquus said...

"All of them are knee jerk reactions to worst case scenarios in the three areas of World of Warcraft: raiding, grouping, and pvping."

Knee-jerk is right.

Good information is good and wants to be free. "Super secret specs" my ass. There are only so many things you can do to min/max your 'toon, min/maxers.

Mr. Min/Max needs to relax. The rest of us will enjoy the increased flow of information.

ps If someone doesn't want to group with you because your spec isn't "just right" -- screw 'em. Who'd want to play with that kind of a tyrant anyway?

WoW is a game. Spelled G-A-M-E.
Fun, anyone?

Ralex said...

In my case, I can definitely see it coming into play in guild spec raid "screening". It's unlikely that we'd mandate folks specs, but quite possible we'd leave home non raid spec'd toons.

I almost never do PuG groups, and hadn't thought of that use, but that seems like its not likely in casual use. If you're casual enough not to be in a guild that allows you to run instances without PuGs, it doesn't seem like you'd on the other hand be hard core enough to armory screen your PuG members.

As for arena "snooping", those who think they have found some "secret weapon" spec need to get over themselves. On the other hand, its quite interesting to see, for example, that virtually all successful arena rogues are combat fist. I'm sure Blizzard is looking at things like this for its next list of what to nerf/buff.

Relmstein said...

In casual PUG dungeon groups I'm sure the group leader won't use the armory to inspect people's loot and specs. Now if they are trying to do a Heroic or Kharzhan and need to PUG one more spot then I can see them using the tool to be picky.

At the moment I usually use the Armory to inspect a person after I've grouped with them. If they performed really well I like to compared them to other people of the same class that I know. If they perform poorly I like to know if its their gear or if they are just new to their class.

Anonymous said...

As an officer in a guild about to break off of our multi-guild raiding alliance, striking out on our own, we're going to have to recruit some folks of certain specs (and not just "Main specs" but many specs). Being able to weed through them and tell who's lying about their spec just to get in, or specs one way, gets into the guild, then casually changes spec without mentioning it. Now I'm not saying people can't change specs if they want to, but changing spec right after you were recruited for the spec you changed out of reaks of dishonesty. It's possible that a person on a whim, decided to change spec, I won't deny that. But to me it would practically scream that they lied to get into the guild, only to change specs to what they really wanted, hoping no one would notice.

DM Osbon said...

My views so far on The Armory. Nice post Relmstein.

Mindkiller said...

I like the Armory. Nice feel to it. It still need a bit of work but he its beta. I really think they should add profession descriptions with recipies known in them. Hell throw in the mats and you can say good by to rpgoutfitter carp. I hate outfitter. I have never been able to get it to work properly. My guild had sort of required its use for easy access to available crafting possibilities. I was unable to ever use it. Still not sure why. I also like the fact that i can see the degredation in bonuses gaind from certain stats that occurs as you get higher in levels. I compared a friend rogue at 60 to my level 68. He has more armor, crit, dodge, parry,yet has almost half the agility i do. Reverse scaling bonuses suck teh balls.

Keystone said...

First off, I like Armory.

Second, the funny thing I've noticed from looking up big-named people on the server is that they have HORRIBLE specs.

I'm talking the specs that make no sense at all (you know the kind), with talents that do nothing to benefit the other talents selected.

I know, to each their own...

Relmstein said...

Its funny but in general most of the emails and comments I've gotten have been positive for the armory. Either the people who orginally hated it were actually few in number or else they have changed their minds.