It didn't, but this weekend we finally got to see the corner of the curtain lift when the invaluable EQ2Wire team unveiled their sister site EQ2U. It's beautifully designed and extremely easy-to-use. I particularly like the slightly oversized look, which makes reading character information a more pleasant and less eye-straining experience than I'm used to in-game. EQ2U gets its information directly from something called an EQ2 Data Feeds API. That sounds like something a long way above my paygrade but as far as I can tell it's an always-on database provided by SOE that holds a copy of pretty much all the data about your character that you would be able to see in-game and updates it every time you zone or camp.
Really, though, the roots of this debate go back as long as I've been playing MMOs. The old Everquest boards, the ones that SOE eventually had to take down because they were so toxic, where the "Gameplay" forum was widely known as "Flameplay", often held overheated debates about the legitimacy of the "Inspect" command and the correct etiquette involved in using it. People have always wanted to see their characters out of game, too. For a while it was de rigueuer to have a Magelo account. Even I had one for a while, although I never really knew what to do with it.
|My look. You all want it. Don't kid yourselves!|
Which is all very well. These are heavyweight cultural and political issues that will occupy a lot of serious-minded people for many years to come. Whether or not people can look at your computer-game character might be on the spectrum but at most it's emblematic of a problem, not a problem in and of itself. And anyway, as the guitarist in a band I was once in told me when we went for a drink after rehearsal one night in a club that seemed a tad too hip "No-one's looking at you. They're too busy looking at themselves".
|I had him dyed to match my ensemble|
I'm going to leave my characters opted out for now. But I might change my mind. If it ever so happens that I need to look at them on a website rather than in-game then EQ2U will do nicely. EQ2Players is going to have some work to do to catch up, if it ever does.
Oh, and the title? How soon they forget...