The theme of this article is the new Blizzard site for World of Warcraft released simultaneously with the Cataclysm major game update December last year. While it is generally not a good idea to write a guide for a web site, i think it would be beneficial to give a general observation of the new WoW Armory possibilities and tendencies which drive them.
The new World of Warcraft site (http://eu.battle.net/wow/) unifies lots of information: general game information such as races and classes descriptions, beginner’s guide, items catalogue, PvP ladders, realms status page, world lore stories, games patch notes; community sections such as forums, contests, fan art, comics (make sure you don’t have anything to do for the next hour before opening), screenshots, videos and wallpapers; support and account pages; and finally the WoW Armory, that is live players and guilds information from realms.
He says he’s revered with WSG. Let me check that…
If you login in the World of Warcraft site you will see the portrait of one of your characters (which one you can select) and clicking there will bring you to this character’s page. You are offered two different views (and one being still under development) and i recommend you the Advanced view because you immediately see quite good analysis of the character’s equipment. This analysis very neatly shows you everything to do with what the character wears: the average item level (be sure to check the equipped number, not the general), which became the crucial equipment measurement tools after WotLK’s gear score; gems, enchantments, reforged stats, unused profession perks, non-optimal armour type and unspent talent points or empty glyph slots. Below you can view character’s talent builds, stats, profession scores, honourable kills and news. Even below that comes the handy raid progression pane and then the arena teams information.
I should warn you that there are different delays for the information displayed: while raid progressions update almost immediately your armour or arena team rating might take a day to refresh.
To the left of the character’s portrait there is a menu where you can view any character’s talents, glyphs, achievements, statistics, reputation, PvP information and the news feed.
Now, what is there to do with all this data. First of all it is a good place to look to improve your character. If you think that your equipment won’t change that fast and you want your character to show the best performance with it then you should generally pass the Character Audit. The average equipped item level number is very compact and very informative and cannot be found in game, which is sort of funny (and “Equipped Item Level” addon fixes that). Secondly the WoW Armory offers great possibilities for learning about other characters: you can see what is the best build and equipment for your class and spec, how to reforge your stats and what priorities to have while geming. You can browse other players statistics or achievements or PvP information for whatever reasons you might have and read their news, although they do not support RSS right now. However i see the most value of all this information for raid leaders, guild officers and other recruiting people.
I don’t have WoW on this computer. I probably should be tentative about today’s raid then…
If you are logged in and are viewing your character’s page you will be able to access two more pages: events and auctions. Both of them are peculiar as they let you access some parts of the game without launching World of Warcraft itself.
On the Auctions page you will see the amount of gold you have, all items of your possession which are available for trade (click the Create button), your current auctions and your bids. If you subscribe to World of Warcraft Remote you will be able to bid and buy out existing auctions and create new ones. Also this page enables you to browse all three auction houses in game (Alliance, Horde and Neutral), which maybe handy if you earn money on Alliance and Horde price differences.
On the Events page you will see events you have subscribed to, events awaiting your attention and general guild and world events such as PvP, fishing and holidays events. What is important is that you can subscribe just from your web browser.
Stay classy with the guild
As guilds become of more and more importance with the unwinding of the Cataclysm expansion, the demand for information on them grows, and this is where the Armory guild page comes in. It shows guild’s members, achievements, perks, rewards, news and events (rewards and events for members only) and displays a daily message for those browsing the page.
Today while the “Realm First! Guild Level 25” guild feat of strength is yet to come you can review which guilds are competing for it and how fast do they level up (news page will contain “The guild reached level XX” entry with the approximate time).
While the new World of Warcraft community site is really great, especially considering the new stunning design, I do not think that it will ever provide information on quests, minerals and herbs locations, items drop sources and chances and so on. Blizzard seemed to realize that too and now you can see many links to wowhead from the Armory where all that kind of information is available.
Though technically combat statistics and log analysis is in-game phenomenon I do not think that Blizzard would ever do anything for that and for those features you should still visit third-party tools like World of Logs or similar.
Discussing the possible
However I think that the general trends can already be seen and I would name them rigid roles and breaking game boundaries. With the Cataclysm talent tree alterations you are more rigidly placed in one of the roles of your class and I believe that your equipment, glyphs and so on will soon also be classified for one role or the other.
New Armory features make some of the previously in-game actions available to you through the browser. And I think that is just the beginning for the tendency is obvious and beneficial. I believe that in-game chat, craft, vendor buying, selling and repairing, bank and guild-bank operations, guild management, event management and maybee ven some travels will be available without World of Warcraft game client through browser and smartphone applications quite soon in the future. And then I would finally /wave you somewhere in the city.
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