Scraping Warcraft Data: First steps

It’s time for me to start writing my addons. I need at least two, possibly three. I have downloaded the API, but I am a novice programmer, so I’ve also purchased a book that I hope will get me to the skill level I need.

So, what addons will I be creating? The first one is an auction house tool. The second one is a census-taker. The third one, if/when I get around to building it, is also a census taker, but a very specialized one.

Auction house tool: This would be a totally stripped down version of Norganna’s Auctioneer. What we are interested in is just scraping everything – including character name – and storing it to a file. We can take this data and save it for later analysis. It needs to do this as frequently as possible. Because we want character name, the addon will be more complicated (probably the most complex I design). Otherwise, we could makes use of the much simpler Blizzard-defined function QueryAuctionItems().

Census-taker addon 1: This addon writes /who output to a SavedVariables file. It will scan the major cities and other known high population areas for characters and append the results to a file along with a time stamp. It will scan as often as the game will let it. That’s it. It can also be used for initial surveys to determine what constitutes ‘high population areas’.

Census-taker addon 2: This addon is a little trickier, and may not ever be implemented. What we’re looking for here is an addon that allows a correctly placed character to “observe” individuals who are most likely utilizing the auction house. The addon scrolls through friendly targets in the character’s field of vision, and for each target it records the name of its target, the target’s level, the locale in which the target is observed, and a time-stamp for the observation. Designed properly, this addon affords us two augmentations to our study. First, it can be used to increase the total number of characters seen at any one time in populous cities like Stormwind and Orgrimmar. Second, it can be used to capture auction-cancellation effects.

This latter point is a major obstacle. While my WoW player’s instinct is that few auctions are cancelled, the truth is that a character’s likelihood of cancelling an auction is probably positively correlated with their participation in that market. I haven’t yet worked through the preliminary math on this, but the basic strategy rests on the realization that if a bunch of auctions disappear between scans, and the player whose auctions they were is at the auctions house, and [insert some sort of decision-making calculus here], then there is a high probability that the missing auctions weren’t purchased, but rather cancelled. In the absolute worst case scenario, we can just ignore any sales that take place while the seller is online, but this is overkill. The point of this addon is to try to finesse things a little more.


One Response to “Scraping Warcraft Data: First steps”

  1. Search terms: rearing their ugly heads again « Philosonomics Says:

    […] Philosonomics My Economics Research and Critique, and other Mental Meanderings « Scraping Warcraft Data: First steps […]

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