When I view a friend on the friend sidebar, they look exactly the same as the last time I met them (same stats, same armor), whether it be yesterday or a few months back. When I hover over thier items it says "nothing equiped". I was once talking to a level 4 with scurvy gear.
When I am in the same room in them as however (after I port or something), thier gear and level gets updated. So that "level 4" I thought I was talking to for all these days was actually a "captain" dressed in sick aztecozaur armor! The friend bar thingy never updated unless I port to them. It is always like this for me. I dont want to port and lose track of my destination, just to see the new cowboy themed gear my level 15 friend equiped. Is this intentional for data saving?
It happens too me also, I just think ( my thoughts on this situation ) that you have to port to them so your game can load their gear.
Your read my mind there.
Happens to me frequently as well. Most of the time their pirate gets updated at some point when you are in battle with them or when one of you ports to the other one. Although there have been a few times when I have been in battle or ported and their level and stats update but I still can't view there equipped items or stats. Doesn't happen too often though.
This is working as intended. You have to visit a friend to update information about them. Sending a constant stream of data about the equipment that all of your friends are wearing all at once would cause a lot of lag for many of our players.