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Privacy Games

Blizzard Adds Timestamps To WoW Armory 318

Kharny writes "In a move that could cause serious privacy problems for players of World of Warcraft, Blizzard has added timestamps and an RSS feed to the game's online armory site. This new feature will mean that anyone can follow 'real-time' developments in a World of Warcraft character, which display the exact time and date, so that others can see that person's playing habits. Many players have already complained about the fact that there is no opt-out setting, and this opens very big possibilities for online stalking."
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Blizzard Adds Timestamps To WoW Armory

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  • by Ailure ( 853833 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @06:44AM (#30817644) Homepage

    Steam shows how much you have played a certain game in total: http://steamcommunity.com/id/robinwalker/ [steamcommunity.com] and you can view the inventories of TF2 players ( http://www.tf2items.com/ [tf2items.com] ).

    However unlike WoW, you can opt out as player info can't be obtained from private player profiles. When someone asked Valve why you can't grab "information" from a player who marked their profile as private, they said it was a recommendation from their lawyers. Interesting...

  • beyond stupid. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @06:46AM (#30817652) Homepage Journal

    are these people aware that it takes ages to upgrade even a tiny piece of your gear, if you already have reached a certain item level ?

    unless you go changing your items for show or for leisure like a monkey, and just leave your top tier items where they are, noone will be able to make out anything about your 'habits'.

    and if you are a raider who also does rp or does pvp and you routinely change armor sets, all they will be doing is knowing at what hour you raid. but then again after all there are a lot of guildies knowing that, and you people probably arrange those times on a forum which is probably open to public anyway.

    then whats the ruckus ...

  • Re:It seems (Score:1, Interesting)

    by HNS-I ( 1119771 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @07:07AM (#30817744)
    I don't mind that there are bots in WoW. It doesn't ruin the game for other people at this moment. The bots are just simple, harvesters. It would be nice to see what interaction you'd get when someone implements a proper ai.
  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @07:13AM (#30817764)

    Or fire you for playing on work machines on work time. Or use it in the divorce suit because you're neglecting your kids. The possibilities are endless: I wouldn't consider all of them improper, but it does create some risks.

  • Re:Already possible (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CisJokey ( 1625407 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @07:14AM (#30817778)
    See census plus, it does exactly what is described here. Scans a whole server every 15min. However you need an account and the proper server. Its not that easy like viewieing the website, but regardless of that, its areldy possible.
  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @07:30AM (#30817840)

    Just glancing at this cursorily (it's slashdot, after all...), this seems like a WoW character's twitter feed. Blizzard prolly thought that was a cool feature: I mean, who doesn't want to communicate their every activity throughout the day in real time to a thousand of their closest friends, and via a website to a billion more complete strangers? Blizzard has watched a generation replace their privacy with "oooh, shiny" and figures they are just giving customers what they want.

    Congrats to Blizzard. Shame on the rest of us.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @07:33AM (#30817858)
    I've never understood the draw and allure that WoW provides, and why people get addicted to the point that they drop out of schools.

    WOW and most other MMOs are like fruit machines. They are attractive, bright and entertaining worlds that train the user to perform repetitive tasks for the expectation of a random reward (e.g. item drops).

    Like gambling some people know when to stop and others don't. Some people play for fun and many more because of force of habit or addiction. More fool them.

  • by CFBMoo1 ( 157453 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @07:50AM (#30817916) Homepage
    The lure is to get out of the eventual grind that is adulthood in this society. People like having a get away from the regular work 9-5, pay bills, etc. This gives them something they can do to change things up a bit but unfortunately it's carried to an extreme.

    From zero to virtual hero in 80 levels.
  • by Mormz ( 1690440 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @08:01AM (#30817978) Homepage
    You good sir, are very much mistaken... Plain and simple :) Of course there are people who get hooked on to anything... Your college room mate is an idiot, in every sense of the word. I've never understood the allure TV provides (except for watching a good premiership match or two), never got addicted to gambling, or drugs or cigarettes. I play WoW regularly, almost every day, but it doesn't interfere with my social life. And I like to think I've done something with my life, if being a sys engineer in a big financial institution, having a fun relationship with a nice girl, having your own apartment and such accounts for something. You see, that what you are doing is called generalizing, and it's bad. If playing WoW = having no life, then I probably fit in the no lifer category. IMO, no lifer is somebody who posts trashing posts on /. about a topic he doesn't know shit about. Most WoW players are normal hard-working citizens who play for fun. Not all, but most. Online fake enviroment ... LOL ... if by fake you mean sth. not tangible, then guess what, everything on the internet is fake... Your logic is flawed and your opinions suck. And yes, you probably have a Facebook account don't you? ;) Yes, yes, you do, admit it... ;)
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @09:56AM (#30818584) Homepage Journal

    One of the major problems is that you can be harassed by people full time because of the friends list. The issue is that you cannot block people from putting you on that list or hiding from them by using the /ignore feature. While I understand that "loot ninjas" want to hide they can't on the server from their name being trashed.

    Throw in that paid names changes don't remove you from friends list and it just gets more of a pain to hide from in game bullies. I fully expect blizzard one day to really screw the pooch and provide a means to see "this person's other characters"

    Even changing servers is no protection unless your willing to give up the character name you chose

  • Real Reason (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kenp2002 ( 545495 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:04AM (#30818632) Homepage Journal

    Since this went live I have gotten over 700 requests from employers wanting to contract me to compare those time stamps to select employees known to play WoW to ensure that they are not playing during work hours.

    I wrote a perl script years ago that scans and dumps Lotus Notes email containing select keywords and back then it was targeted towards Everquest players but I'm sure they have since updated it for other games. It's trivial to correlate email to character info if you, for instance, raid with coworkers. (I also wrote a juggle-bot script for DAOC at the time that auto-juggled 3 instruments for bard-bots at the same time on contract...)

    That is the reason for the time stamps plain and simple for I can see no reason to provide anything beyond the date (really does it matter you cleared Naxx at 1:00 PM or 10:00 PM last Thursday... only an employer would care) and I for one regret retiring since I could clear $75 and hour for cross-checking that kind of info.(Which is what I used to charge to check ... well... slashdot and other popular forums against employee info. Litigating a wrongful termination is expensive but slapping 4 pages of online posts that show deteriment to the company solves most of those claims and challenges.)

    Keep this in mind: If your employer knows you play WoW and you have EVER played during the work week start checking the job boards my friend. They won't bother to check if you were on vacation, they'll simply red flag you none the less. There is a frenzy brewing and anyone looking for an excuse to show you the door this is a great little tool for that.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.