Kali's Review of the new Armory Item Database

For those of you who missed it, Blizzard announced their official item database on Thursday as part of the new Armory site. It claims to have the most comprehensive item listings, in addition to the official seal of approval. Well of course I must investigate...

At first glance this seems like a nicely done database, they have filters and advanced searching options. But I've noodled with it several times over the past few days and I don't think they are going to be sending Thottbot or Allakhazam running to Mama just yet. The main reason for this is drop rates. While they have included skimpy "Source" information, for the most part there isn't the level of detail we've come to expect. For static drops they will list the boss or dungeon, but no actual percentages are given. On some items they merely say "Boss" with no indication of what instance, which won't be enough to satisfy most players.

For recipe filtering, I noticed that if you try to combine the two filtering options on the main page ("Source" on the left and "Item Type/Recipes" on the right), you get some wacky and very wrong results. I tried searching for Reputation Rewards + Recipes + Leatherworking, and got a very incomplete list of Leatherworking drop recipes. So it's obviously still a work in progress with regard to filtering. It looks like if you stick with the filters on the right side of the page it works better, I haven't fully tested that yet.

The upside is that this database opens up items that I had no idea existed, namely epic recipe drops from Mount Hyjal and the Black Temple. I've already updated the Jewelcrafting list (should go online today-ish) and will continue adding the missing recipes this week and next. The downside is that their database only includes physical items in the game, so all trainer recipes are missing from the searches. Yay for me!!

Next I decided to step away from the recipes (omg!) and play with the item database itself. They've actually got some weird stuff in here like mounts, pets and keys. So I decide to poke around in the pet category and see what's up. It's here that I begin to notice some chinks in the Armory. Their item data seems to have a fair amount of inconsistency in it. On the very first page of game pets, you can see that all the new Orphan pets (Egbert, Willy...) have no source listed. Yet just below them the Miniwing is listed as a quest reward. So clearly they have a "quest reward" designation, yet a good number of items aren't marked as such. They also have a source called "Created" which doesn't seem to apply to crafted pets, in fact I can't even find the crafted pets in here.

I'm not sure what to make of this, but based on my cursory searches I don't believe this is currently a comprehensive data resource. Perhaps in combination with other sites, yes. I'm sure the item stats themselves are accurate, since that information is pulled directly from game servers. But if you want to know how to get something, you'll probably have to find that elsewhere.

Check it out for yourself

5 comments:

  1. In short, the problems with the searches you are running are typical with search tool that is this new and this complicated. All software like this needs time to mature. On the user's end, all we can do it be patient unless you want to take an extra step by posting bugs in the appropriate section of the Blizz forums.

    Personally, I would have liked to have seen Blizz make an offer to the guys at wowhead to make them the programming leads behind this new Armory Item thing. Those guys know what they are doing. Then again, for all I know Blizz did make an offer and wowhead refused. That kind of knowledge often doesn't go public.

    Overall, I am glad Blizz finally made a tool like this one since it is the only tool out there which is 100% accurate. Making it the only tool to have the potential of becoming what all of us have been hoping for from the beginning.

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  2. The "find an upgrade" tool is totally flawed.

    I'm a feral druid. I want feral upgrades. But its giving me balance items as upgrades. I don't even have +spell damage items in my inventory. Also, i have multiple sets of gear. If i was wearing my tanking gear when the armory was updated, theres so way to "find an upgrade" for my cat gear, resistance gear, etc.

    Nice concept, but i give it a solid thumbs down for now.

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  3. Hey Kali, great site by the way. I notice you keep mentioning Thottbot and Allakhazam, but not Wowhead. For me, Wowhead has already far surpassed those sites and if you haven't tried it yet, you should really check it out. A matter of preference I'm sure, but I find it much more efficient and user friendly to say the least...and it isn't run by gold sellers.

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  4. Xavier: I agree with you that it would be nice to see Blizzard improve on this concept or partner with an existing site to expand what they've done. Unfortunately I've noticed that they tend to make a big push with something new and then abandon it with little or no maintenance. I hope that doesn't happen here, but I fear that it will which would be a shame.

    Justus: I actually had the same thing happen when I tried to play with the "upgrade" system. With the druid factor in there, it also lumped in some gear that didn't really match the item I selected. For example, if I wanted to upgrade my healer kilt, show me healer-oriented upgrades. I realize that's a bit sophisticated, but surely they have internal categorization that indicates if a particular piece is "healer" gear or not. So they should only show healer items if I ask for an upgrade, not feral or hybrid gear. Plus with no ranking system of any kind, the further down the list you go, you drift from actual upgrade items and into side/downgrades.

    Flap: You're right, I don't mention Wowhead even though I do use it occasionally, mainly because I don't know how many people know about them. I mention the other two sites because I know most players are familiar with them, so it's a common frame of reference. Also, Allakhazam has a free data feed of the WoW mouse-over data and icons that we utilize, in addition to location links on our drop data. At the time we designed this site they were the only major site offering free access to their data, so that's who we went with for the items we didn't want to track ourselves. If at some point Wowhead were able to offer the same information, I would have no problem switching (assuming hubbie was up for recoding, lol).

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  5. Thought I would toss this site into the mix since there seems to be interest here. There is a guy who runs a site at http://www.wow-loot.com/ who has come up with a cool system that he calls the class gear planner. In addition to the rest of his site's features which I recommend exploring, the class gear planner is an in depth search engine to find upgrades and play with different sets of gear for your class and build. The system is only in beta right now, but he continuously works on all of his site. It isn't a "dream come true" or anything, but I do find it very useful.

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