Monday, January 18, 2010

The activity feed in Armory should be optional

13 hours and 28 minutes ago Larísa killed Eregos, the end boss in Oculus. It was the 23th time I did it in her lifetime. Saturday she had another go with Loken. Friday night was more intense with six boss kills in ICC, of which two first kills. This run provided her with two upgrades - a trinket and a pair of trousers (or to be more precise, a kilt), of which she equipped both. She ended up doing the weekly raiding quest in Naxx and ran the dungeon daily as well, which turned out to be Drak'Tharon Keep. This was by the way the only 5-man Larísa did this day.

It's all there in the new Armory activity feed for anyone to read. To be honest I don't think many will. Who cares about how Larísa spends her time online? Not many. I't's not as if I'm Kungen. (He on the other hand can expect some stalkers.) But still. There's something in this new armory feature that bugs me. I feel naked. I used to slip into Azeroth to have time for myself, seen and known by no one. Now I feel as if someone is watching over me, every step I take.

Personal integrity
Probably I'm just a bit old fashioned, not belonging to the twittering, facebooking and bigbrothering generation, who is used to expose everything in their life including webcams all the way into the bathroom and bedroom. Probably I'm just not keeping up with the modern way of living. But I fail to see how complete transparency in every action I take in game will make anyone more happy or entertained.

I never understood the point of the profile tracker that introduced last spring. And honestly I don't think many other players did either - you haven't heard much about it lately, so I reckon it didn't become any big success However what was good about this feature is that it was absolutely optional. Displaying your activities at Wow Armory isn't. And that bugs me.

Oh well. Admittedly I'm a grumpy old gnome. The personal integrity topic isn't exactly new at the PPI. Over a year ago, when they started to show achievements in armory, I protested against it, and they didn't bother at that point, so why would they now?

However I think this change is worse, taking it one step further. I'm just waiting for them to link together your different characters, displaying the recent account activities. They've already crossed every border you can think of, so why stop now?

Make it optional
And yet a solution would be so very simple. All it takes is a tiny little check box. I can choose whether to display my cloak and helm or not. Give me the same opportunity for the activity feed and I promise I'll stop bitching about it. OK?


Taz said...

I couldn't agree more, Larisa. Somehow the new feature makes me feel my character is overexposed...Too much information!!!

Klepsacovic said...

Armory says what we have done. This is a big step closer to what we are doing. What's next, /who from outside the game? It's a bit creepy.

Rhii said...

I hope they never make it account-wide!

My secret alts exposed... I'd never get time away from my guild again.


Ysharros said...

You're not alone. I've always hated public tracking stuff of any kind that I can't choose to turn off. It's my own business what I do when I play (or even *when* I play), or what stuff I have, or what stuff I'm working towards.

As for Twitter... I've got a Twitter account but I'm not installing cameras in my bathroom (or even my computer) yet. I don't use voice chat if I can help it. There is, as always, a happy medium. And for Twitter and bathroom webcams, at least it's MY choice. The Armory isn't.

Anonymous said...

Blizzard has already stated their intent to move toward a Steam-style rendering of Battle.Net. Letting players across all their products have a global list of friends and being able to see from within Diablo III that your friend is playing World of Warcraft, and being able to use B.Net to "whisper" them across games. Steam even allows you to, as some have commented, just log into Steam itself without launching a game and see which games your friends are playing. Granted, you can always sign out of Steam, but this new Armory feature is a running log.

I do agree it should be optional.

The Rokk said...

The Character updates on the Armory feels more like someone wanted to flex their programming muscle to show what they could do, rather than fill a demand of some kind.

At first glance, it seems like an interesting little addition. I just can't see a practical application for something like that. Creating an RSS feed for a character update? Why would a person need something like that? Are their people that obsessive about someone else's character that they need to be updated on their every in-game success or gear upgrade?

Ice said...

Likely will see this used to filter/scrutinize and filter apps even more than they already are from the Armory. On a slightly more helpful note, it allows you to see what guildies are saved to. Have to think that information will eventually be displayed in-game with an addon.

Fitz said...

This is definitely the same thing as the news feed on facebook, which also drew a lot of ire. Enough in fact that facebook had to change it and allow you to limit what was shown to some extent. After all, there's no reason every dick and jane to know how I spend my exact minutes and hours online. the armory was a useful tool before the recent activity feed. Now it's just becoming kind of crazy.

In the end, if enough people make a formal complaint, Blizzard will change it to be optional. So go for it!

Miss Medicina said...

You know, i AM part of the twittering/facebooking generation but... I have a choice on how public I can make information about my life even in those fora.

Jessabelle would like a little options about her privacy too :( Sometimes I don't want everyone to know all the minute details should they desire to do so... I'm with you Larisa. Optional please!

Meg said...

I agree...I think it's bad enough that this information is revealed. An ABSOLUTE invasion of privacy is that the feed shows TIME OF DAY that the item was accomplished if it was done that day. Horrendous.

Gevlon said...

These information were already available. If I log on to the little banker I made on your realm and type "/who Larísa" it will write "Larísa (Adrenaline) gnome mage Drak'taron Keep"

Anyone could do it. Granted it's much more convenient to just look at the Armory. But if someone wanted to stalk you, could do it already.

BTW grats to the "3 lights in the darkness". Can we expect an "Alone in the darkness" before Cataclysm?

Morrighan said...

I'm going to come down on the other side and disagree entirely. I like the new feature - I've already added the RSS to my blog.

So why do I like it? For me Morrighan is a public character. She has been ever since I started blogging and posted her armory link, even if her public is very small. Before that she was just one character in a long list that no one I didn't know would ever look at. But I chose to start blogging. I blog about what I have done in game - this isn't really any different than my stories and screenshots. I think the character feed was created with bloggers in mind. I like that it shows what I'm doing when I'm not blogging, that it shows the things I don't have time/forget to blog about.

Also, just because the information is out there, doesn't mean anyone will look at it. A lot of it was already available. For hackers, armory data was always less risky than downloading addons, for example. I don't see that this puts me at any great risk that my authenticator doesn't protect me from. And I don't expect to get any stalkers! I'm not that exciting. For those who don't actively make their character public in some form, they are just one character in millions and I doubt anyone is going to latch on to their character feed just because its there.

@Rhii I do agree with you about the alts! Please let my secret alts remain secret!

Rem said...

Aww, come on, as a stats junkie I love it!

Seriously though, I do what I do, and I don't mind anyone knowing. Not that anyone cares. A simple rule is that if you find yourself not wanting what you're doing to become known, it's probably a good sign that you should not be doing it in the first place. If you do it anyway, be a man (or woman - or gnome) about it. We're easily offended about our privacy, but in some cases you really have to ask: what is there to hide?

Shintar said...

I'm only bothered by the fact that some of the information provided by the feed is plain WRONG! I sure boggled when it claimed that my druid alt had just completed Trial of the Grand Crusader for the seventh time, when I've actually never done that on any of my characters.

Carra said...

This feature does remind me of facebook.

"X has gone to the library".
"Y visited London".
"Z killed Ragnaros"?

People seem to feel the need to share whatever they've done with the rest of the world. Or at least their list of facebook friends.

I personally don't feel the need to do this but if I look at my younger sister it seems to be a common thing to do.

virile said...

While I do like looking at my own feed, I agree that they need an option to turn it off.

This is kind of extension to real life. These days privacy is becoming more and more rare.

Prelimar said...

i look at it this way: sometimes the best place to be in order to not be noticed is to be in the middle of a crowd.

Tesh said...

It's just one more piece of the puzzle that is the spy network. Klep, if memory serves, "/who from outside the game" is indeed coming as part of the integrated "service".

Bleh. I don't like it at all. But then, I don't like Facebook. Must be my dinosaur genes asserting themselves. Rrarr!

Fremskritt said...

I really fail to see how knowing what I did when in a game is an invasion of privacy. For it to be one there would have to be a way of tracking your character to your real self, which (at the moment) there isn't.

Once they begin displaying my account name (which nowadays has to be your email address) I will start making a fuss though, because this can be tracked back to me by anybody who knows my email address, and the last thing I want is that my WoW habit is used against me when looking for a job.

Until that happens though I won't mind that people know that character X on realm Y killed boss Z at whatever time. Only those I actually know, ingame and out of game, will know it was I who was controlling character X.

G-Rebel said...

I don't like it, but to say it's an invasion of privacy seems a bit too much also. Wouldn't that mean that we have a right to that kind of privacy in the first place? I'm not sure that right exists.

That said, I would like to be able to turn it off; it seems like this could and will be exploited by somebody at sometime. Gear checking, achievement checking, now activity checking. It's not an outlandish jump in logic, it's the next thing that allows others to judge us unreasonably.

Larísa said...

@Magma: well, I started to play so late so I don't know anything but a world with armory. And I think it's been pretty ok until now - even though I had doubts about the achievements I could live with it. But this is really to take it too far.

@Taz: You're not the only one.

: ... and then they'll publish our whispers and party chats? Who knows...

@Rhii: well you might be a bit with the new battle-net thing. Not quite sure.

: yeah. No possibility anymore to come up with any surprises on things you've been working on secretly when noone else was online...

: I don't know about Steam, but it sounds creepy to me. But then I don't have any rl friends who are into gaming.

@Rokk: well, there ARE a few people out there who no doubt will put their rss feeds on their blogs. Trust me on that. But I doubt they're so many that it justifies pushing this feature for everyone, wanted or not.

@Ice: yeah, I imagine it could be a sort of tool for top guilds wanting to check out if an applicant tells the truth about what they're focusing on in game.

@Fitz: there are quite a few upset posts about it on the official forums already.

@Miss Medicina: thanks for the support! Yeah, an choice is the key to it.

@Meg: yes, that time stamp is really not necessary. I guess it's there to add a feeling of everything being updated in real time...

@Gevlon: in practice this is a lot different imo. You can't stalk anyone 24/7 online in-game. And even if you do it you won't know the outcome of it - if the bosses were downed or any loot was picked up. This is way beyond what's been available before. A tool designed for stalkers.

Thanks for the congratulations! We were there for a specific reason, more about that tomorrow. Tbh I'm far from sure that well make "Alone in the darkness". It depends on how much time there will be left for us to fill between that we've beaten ICC and Cataclysm is released. Right now the interest for running more Ulduar is pretty low in the guild.

: I too am a blogger, but I really don't feel any need to tell the world about EVERYTHING I do in game. I pick my cherries and I want to keep some stuff to myself.

@Rem: It's not that I'm embarrassed about anything. There isn't anything to hide. It's just that sometimes we want to do things on our own... Never ever had that feeling?

@Shintar: very flattering for your druid! But yeah, it sounds weird and a bit worrying that it's so unreliable.

@Carra: We're just too old. Dinosaurs.

@Virlile: yeah. I won't unsubscribe because if it, but it really is unnecessary and a bit annoying.

@Tesh: Yet another dinosaur! Welcome to the club!
: I think this boils down on how you see your characters. Maybe I'm just a little bit too attached to mine. But for me this feels rather personal.

@G-Rebel: I think some privacy of what you're doing is what you expect. Like when I'm going to the gym - noone is posting how often I do it, how long I run or how much weigh I lift. I can surely post it on a blog if I want to but then it's my choice. Imagine that the gym owner posted it without asking for permission! I think people would complain a bit..

gnomeaggedon said...

Remove it? - No
hide/mark as private? - Yes

to be honest I would much prefer that the increased the wry of recent achievements.

Nothing worse than ending a night, think wow what an achievement filled night only to go to armory and only see the last 4 achievements.

gnomeaggedon said...

Ohhh to me this stuff is fluff.

What I want out of the armory is the important stuff, a lot of which has been improved this time around.

Now I want to know (me only thanks) about my currency and bank/bag contents.

Issy said...

Me:*But ofc I spent all day cleaning the house from top to bottom Koch, and now I deserve to have you cook me a meal, pour a glass of wine and rub my feet*

Koch:*but it says here you killed 5 instance bosses today at x times*

Darn armory :P

Carlos said...

I know! What If I call off work cause I wanna play WoW. I have several people I work with that play also. We talk about our characters and such, now all they have to do is armory me and 'OMG Carlos was at home playing WoW, he wasn't sick at all!"
damn there went my anonymity....

Rem said...

@Rem: It's not that I'm embarrassed about anything. There isn't anything to hide. It's just that sometimes we want to do things on our own... Never ever had that feeling?

I'd really like to differentiate between "actively broadcasting every single thing one does, particularly in real-life" and "there is a mechanism that tracks externally defined milestones, specifically in a game, and passively provides access to an overview of the most recent".

If I want to, for whatever reason, go and play around in Deadmines on my own, I can do that (although both friends and guild lists will give away my location immediately anyway), and do not feel my on-my-own-ness harmed by it showing up on my Activity Feed after I log out. Not to mention that if I wanted to be for myself, you'd much rather find me on some beach in Sholazar - and that wouldn't even be tracked.

So, counter-question: can you think of any specific example of an activity you'd feel should rather not show up in the feed? Because the examples you listed in the first paragraph of your post are, in my opinion, perfect instances of "innocent little side-notes on a character's life".

Larísa said...

@Gnome: oh, what if you could even reach your bags and make some cleaning when you're offline... an armory vendor... wouldn't that be something to dream of? But yeah, I have no problems with extending it, as long as there's a private option available.

@Rem: well, I think Issy's and Carlos suggestions are examples.
I don't say it's good to lie about your playing, but on the other hand I don't think it's Blizzards buisness to expose what you've been doing.

But I can also imagine other situations. Maybe you there are people in game who are pushing you to do a certain thing and this way they can find out that you've been engaging into other activities. Yeah, they partly can that already seeing you online, but this way it's much more available.

Rem said...

Maybe there are people in game who are pushing you to do a certain thing and this way they can find out that you've been engaging into other activities.

This would be a conflict that needs to be resolved, not ran away from. I've done similar things myself, created "secret alts" I didn't really want to play, just to "get away" for a while. Guess what, it didn't really solve the problems in the long term.

Being in the company of people who want you do to things you do not wish to do means you need to reconsider participation in that company itself. Sometimes, the mix just doesn't match. Sometimes, that realisation hurts.

Cross-referring to your next post, I can't imagine Adrenaline would have announced a Yogg-raid to complete the legendary, and half the people would've said they have urgent stuff to attend to, and then played anonymous alts instead. Or chickened out of primordial saronite donations with "sorry, no emblems" only to be caught purchasing frost gear the next day via the Feed. You wouldn't have written the post if the attitudes were like that.

Yes, you may say, but that comes from the heart, not from fear of being uncovered. Yes, I'd respond, exactly. When you act noble to begin with, you're not afraid someone may peek over your shoulder at an unfortunate moment. I'm not arguing against privacy, merely saying that the information currently provided on the Activity Feed, even if it was made account-wide, would not invade anything I consider private about myself.

Oh, and, no, indeed, I do not consider covering up for lies and infractions a good argument or example. That's deceit, not privacy.

One more note, I do not intend to paint myself as a perfect person. I may do shit, in real life and in game. We all do - we're human. But let's not pretend that wrong stops being wrong when no one can see it.

Larísa said...

@Rem: well, for disagreeing I think we're pretty much on the same side. I don't lie about what I'm doing in game or what I think or want to do or don't want to do. Ever. I've never been any good at lying anyway. But still I wouldn't deny other players the possibility to hide if they want to and tell white lies when they need to. I don't feel any urge to force my morality on them, to have complete transparency so I can check them out completely.

I was once upon a time told that the reason why they have so big windows and transparent curtains in Netherlands was due to the calvinistic heritage. You were supposed to display everything to everyone to show that you had nothing to hide. To me that feels just weird. I want to be able to close the curtains every now and then, seen by noone but myself. I don't do illegal stuff at home. I just enjoy not offering people the opportunity to check out every move I make. Is that really so strange?

But let's just agree that we disagree i guess.

Rem said...

Oh, I agree that I wouldn't like Netherlands-style windows either, so .. let's agree not to disagree too much? ;)

Larísa said...

: yeah, I don't know if my post will make any difference, but I certainly think - or hope - they'll listen if enough many players raise their voices.

I can't imagine that it would be complicated or require a ton of developer time to make it optional.

Rem said...

...and there, we crossed over from founded and legitimate (because it is, all argumentation aside, indeed everyone's own business, how much to disclose) privacy concern straight into full-out paranoia.

*sigh* I know I should shut up on this topic already, and I'm sorry, but...

Larísa said...

Who is paranoid? Are you referring to the thread on the forum? Yeah I admit there is some crazy argumentation around there. Isn't there always?

But I really don't think that the concernes experessed in the comments at PPI are exaggerated.

We're not asking for it to be taken away. Just a simple tick-box so you can chose for youreself. It's a very modest thing to ask for imho.

Rem said...

I keep asking myself why I ever met guildies in RL or told friends about me playing WoW. What about "bring your friends to Azeroth" now? Guess for many this won`t be an option any longer, if they don`t quit the game anyway. I don`t say I will right now, but it gives me a strange feeling when I do play.

This is paranoid.

A tick-box to choose? Yes, by all means, you have my vote (even though I am just fine without). But this "sky is falling, and I can't enjoy playing unless I have total, utter and complete anonymity" pitch some people bring in is just creepy.