Data API (Census) Frequently Asked Questions

Discussion in 'Developer Announcements' started by Feldon, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. Feldon Well-Known Member

    Q: What is Census (the Data API)?

    A: Census is a public web service allowing Daybreak websites, third-party sites, and player-run fansites to access data about certain Daybreak games. Currently supported games are EverQuest II, Planetside 2, and DC Universe Online. Support is planned for Landmark and/or EverQuest Next.

    Q: What data is available from EQ2 Census?

    A: Static data includes Quests, Recipes, Items, Spells, Alternate Advancements, Achievements, Factions, Languages, Skills, Beastlord Warders, Collections, and Marketplace. Dynamic data includes Characters and Guilds. For instance you can determine which quests a character has completed, which achievements they've earned, and what items they have equipped.

    Q: What about player privacy? How do I "Opt Out" of the Data API?

    A: Players have the ability to "Opt Out" their character from the Data API using an in-game setting in the Character/Persona window by unchecking the "Enable EQ2Players Updates" checkbox. Websites that use the Data API should respect this flag and, within a reasonable time, remove characters which are no longer available in the API.

    Q: What is the official website for Census?

    A: The official website is http://census.soe.com/ and you can read more rules and documentation there. Although it has a Planetside 2 logo, the site is applicable to all Daybreak games which offer the service.

    Originally, Census was made available at http://data.soe.com/ however this URL now points to Census.

    Q: How do I register or sign up to use Census? Do I need an API key? Do I need to request permission?

    A: Census is a public web service available to everyone and you do not need to request permission or an API key to use it. If you intend to launch a website using the service, you should register for a Service Key and then use that key for all data requests from your site. As an anonymous user, you are limited to a certain number of queries and results per hour. This is due to some flooding issues that arose in the past. If you reach this limit, go ahead and request a Service Key and then you'll be able to continue using the service.

    Q: Is the query syntax different between EverQuest II, Planetside 2, and DC Universe Online?

    A: Certain functionality and query syntaxes are only available on newer games like Planetside 2 and DC Universe Online. Specifically, EQ2 makes use of predefined c:resolve requests to bring information together such as populating a guild roster with character information. In contrast, PS2 and DCUO allow website authors to freely use c:join requests to join database tables at will. PS2 also offers a "socket" service for push updates due to its very high volume of dynamic data. We still encourage aspiring developers to refer to documentation and discussions about all Census-enabled games as much of this information is widely applicable.

    Q: What data formats can I request from the EQ2 Data API?

    A: You may request data in XML or JSON formats. JSON is the default. The current incarnation of Census does not support JML, a nicely formated version of JSON that's easy to read and also has node "hinting" allowing you to see exactly at which node specific data points are to be found. Fortunately, there is a plugin available for Chrome and Firefox called JSONView which provides similar functionality.

    Q: Where are the Census forum archives?

    A: Up until mid-February 2015, the Census forums were located under the SOE General Forums. In the interest of streamlining its forum operations and management, Community has archived the existing forums while new forums have been setup under each game:
    Q: What are the policies in place for using the Data API service?

    A: The policies can be read here, but in short, you may use all assets made available via the API such as Item/Spell/AA icons, character paperdolls, etc.Fan site rules already allow in-game screenshots, icons, graphics, etc. to be used, and by its very nature, Census publishes icons and other in-game graphics. Because of the way the Census EULA is written, you must get written permission from Daybreak to use registered trademarks and logos such as the Daybreak logo, the EverQuest II logo, expansion logos, etc. If you have further questions, your first point of contact is to e-mail data-feedback@soe.sony.com.

    Q: Can I be blocked from the service for too many requests?

    A: Access to the service may be revoked due to extreme traffic usage or DDoS attack. Signing up for a Service Key protects you because an e-mail address will be associated with the key. In the unlikely event that issues crop up, the Census folks can see your recent queries and help troubleshoot issues.

    Q: Are there any guarantees about data availability?

    A: The service is intended to be available at all times, but there is no guarantee to its availability. It may be unavailable from time to time for system maintenance. The system has been designed such that game data can be provided on a near-realtime basis, but there is no specific guarantee to when the data will become visible. Under heavy load, specfic data availability may become delayed.

    Some portions of game data may be omitted from results due to business requirements or to ensure account privacy. Any attempt to use game data from the interfaces described within this document to impair the game experience of any player is considered to be a breach of the SOE Terms of Service and could result in suspension, termination and/or cancellation of your Station Account or access to the REST interface.

    Each application that uses the service should take care to limit their access of the service appropriately. If a particular site or application appears to be denying others from accessing the service, that site could be blocked from the service. If this appears to be happening, please contact data-feedback@soe.sony.com for the best course of action.

    Q: How long has Census existed?

    A: Census has been continuously available since November 2011. The first fan-based websites appeared in February 2012.

    Q: What are some example websites where I can see how this data is used?
    A: Here are just a few of the sites out there that use Census data:
    Q: Are there any videos I can watch about EQ2 Census?

    A: You can watch 2012 and 2014 panels from SOE Live.

    Q: Is there any kind of Authentication available such as OAuth or OpenID to allow players to use third-party API-driven sites while still keeping their characters hidden from the public?

    A: There have been many discussions on this topic and even some proof-of-concept work done, however at this time there is no authentication method currently available to fansite developers. If a player wants to view their character on your API-driven website, then they must be fully "opted in" to the service. Currently, the only place an opted-out character can be viewed is by the character's accountholder at EQ2Players.

    Q: Do you work for Daybreak Games or Sony Online Entertainment?

    A: I am not nor have I ever been employed by SOE or Daybreak Games. I have volunteered in a limited capacity to help maintain the Census forums and post updates and news about them as the service has evolved over the years. If you have an issue, request, or suggestion which you do not feel can be addressed in these forums, then please send an e-mail to data-feedback (at) soe.sony.com. If you see an inappropriate post or have concerns about moderation actions taken here, please use the Report feature and/or send an e-mail to forum-admin (at) soe.sony.com.
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