April 21, 2009
Good progress is being made here. I’ve updated my armoury crawler for 3.1 and have just taken it out for a test-drive. Unfortunately it fell flat on its face, but nevermind… we’re getting pretty close now. One of Blizz’s more annoying habits is to leave tags in the XML that clearly are no longer being maintained. Or perhaps this time the armoury servers are still not quite right yet.
One thing that did catch my eye is that guilds now have a key. I’m just looking at the XML for a random character now. He’s in guild 6093755. It seems a safe bet that this is an integer key starting at 1, so it gives us a clue as to how many guilds are in known to the system. 6,093,755 at least and probably a whole lot more.
(It’s also not entirely clear yet whether the key is global or region-based; my guess is the 6 million is just in the US region.)
Of course there must be one guild busy being born and another busy dying every minute so this is most likey not the net number of live guilds. Still it’s a reminder of the immense scale of the WoW datasphere. I always compare it to the population here in Australia – there are only 20 million people in Oz. Azeroth must surely exceed that by a good margin when you take into account all the regional armouries.
UPDATE: It’s wasn’t hard to find the problem with my crawler – a lot of the character statistics have disappeared from the armoury. The PvP-related ones seem to be the main group to have gone. Whether this is a bug or a feature remains to be seen. Unfortunately, Blizz do have a habit of dropping these stats without any announcement. The original armory stats pages had data on characters’ wealth but that disappeared soon after the feature was added to the armoury.