The folks over at Wowhead launched their new character profiler tool, Wowhead Profiler, yesterday. According to the announcement in their blog, it has been under development for over 2 years and they’re extremely excited about it. I can’t say my initial enthusiasm was matched… do we really need yet another caching tool? Nonetheless, it’s from Wowhead, which has a pretty good history of making good tools…. I kind of felt obligated to check it out, and I figured as long as I was at it I would regurgitate some of the experience for your benefit.
Wowhead Profiler has the bonus of a pretty familiar interface for searching. When you load up the main profiles page it will by default show you everything. You can then use filters to narrow your search down, or choose a Region, Realm and type in a character name to jump to someone specific. The filters are pretty nifty. You can narrow the results down by level, region, realm, character name, faction, guild, arena teams, gear rating, profession and… much more.
If a character hasn’t been seen yet, Wowhead Profiler consults the armory. (It does have a surprising amount of seed data, though a lot of it is old.) You can also tell it to manually add a character to the resync queue, though the refresh may not be immediate depending on current traffic. The site is designed to keep its armory requests spread out, which I’m sure Blizzard appreciates. Characters that haven’t been updated in a while seem to be automatically added to the resync queue when you pull up their profile page. You can tell, because the ‘Resync’ button becomes grayed out and there’s a message at the top of the profile letting you know that it is resyncing.
Theoretically, you can use the profiler as a sandbox to swap gems/enchants and items around and see how they affect your stats but I didn’t have much luck with that. Right clicking an item brings up a menu with options to choose from, but when I chose ‘equip item’ and entered the name of an item in the search field it did a whole lot of nothing. Thinking that maybe it was a browser problem (I’m using the Firefox 3.5 beta at the moment), I swapped to Safari (4.0) and discovered that right-clicking did absolutely nothing there. 😦
You can also save copies of the profile if you want to build multiple gear sets, which is potentially awesome for hybrids and off-spec planning… assuming others don’t have the functionality problems that I encountered when it comes to swapping gear around. (Presumably it’s working for someone or they wouldn’t have released the tool.)
Other features include a summary box that shows you at-a-glance where a character stands as far as gear ranking, raid progression, and badges earned. That has the potential to be pretty handy. While I don’t put much stock in gear rankings, being able to see whether someone has the raid experience they claim at a glance like that is pretty valuable. You can also quickly search for upgrades using Wowhead’s default stat weights or your own, which is handy.
Other misc thoughts…
It’s faster than the Armory when it comes to looking up item information, and as mentioned before the interface is very familiar to folks that have spent any time using Wowhead.
I found I encountered frequent slowdowns when loading character profiles while I was looking it over, but it is probably just due to traffic since the tool is so new.
I was a bit perplexed at first by the empty space in the middle of the character profile pages, uncertain what was supposed to go there until I switched browsers and discovered that it’s an advertising frame (thank you AdBlockPlus). That gave me a bit of a chuckle… a giant advertisement in the middle of the page? GG, Wowhead.
On the whole… it has potential but I’m underwhelmed. I’ll have to check on it later to see if I can actually use the gear-swapping options and play around with it some more, but in the meantime I’ll just keep using Chardev.