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back to article Hacking WoW and the pursuit of knowledge

Once upon a time, rising through the ranks in World of Warcraft was largely a matter of patience and stamina. For some beginners aspiring to online greatness, it meant spending hours in a virtual forest gathering leaves and later finding the elf who'd pay gold for them. But spending hours huddling over a keyboard pecking at the …

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Tim

No legitimate reason to argue against hacking?

I realise that this may seem trivial to someone who doesn't play these games, but the very fact that they are spawning a 'realistic' economy means that many people who choose to play the game without cheating are having their experience significatly affected by those who use teleportation hacks and bot camping to get rare and expensive items, whose value is then greatly decreased on the market, reducing the income of those who play legitimately.

Surely the enjoyment of the game is a valid reason to argue against hacking, even if it may not exactly stand up in court.

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Anonymous Coward

What's this say about the state of human culture?

This is similar to big game 'hunters' who get their trophy by shooting a penned beast, or buying the stuffed head on eBay. Is the value in the trinket or the experience?

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Typical hacker scum making typical hacker excuses.

Tell any hacker that they are doing something that is wrong ... and you will always get a list of pathetic excuses and pathetic claims that the rules don't apply to them. Now you can reward a hacker by paying for a book full of this kind of misleading BS! Yay!

The Warden is not spyware ... to be spyware, you have to be unaware that it is there, or unaware of what it is doing ... if you read the EULA, as is your responsibility, then you are aware ... if you don't read it, too bad, you made the choice to be uninformed when you clicked the Accept button.

Whether or not the EULA is enforcable in court is irrelevant, everyone, especially hackers, are aware that by clicking on the accept button, you are agreeing to follow the rules. You can't claim ignorance ... especially if you fully intend to break the rules. Here in Canada, 'intent' matters more than the law itself. If you can be shown to have had no intent to commit a criminal act, then you did not commit a criminal act except by an act of negligence. Hackers are nothing but pure criminal intent incarnate. Only a fool would try and debate this fact.

Blizzard has never hesitated to ban cheaters, in the hundreds of thousands. They don't need a reason, they can do it on a whim and regardless i'm sure that's very clearly stated in the EULA in an undisputable way. You don't own their servers or any virtual property, they do and can do as they please with it.

The article is very misleading too. If it is possible to alter your game coordinates by a simple hack then WoW was programmed by idiot monkeys. In other games the client does not send the server coordinates, it sends the server actions (move in this direction at this speed modified by this buff) ... which makes it very easy to detect if your character is moving faster than is allowable or if you are using a buff / spell / item effect that should not be available to you. I believe it was Everquest several years ago where this method of location hacking was fixed and led to many instant bans one day when the hacker scum tried their tricks after a patch.

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Blizzard isn't exactly an upstanding corporate citizen

If you look at the history between Blizzard and their customers that do things they don't like (i.e. don't play the game in a normal way -- try to reverse engineer it, develop new content and gameplay, etc.), you'll find a long series of legal intimidation tactics.

Blizzard and their overenthusiastic legal team are really the RIAA of the computer gaming industry. They have no reservations about using legal threats and scare tactics, sending lawyers to peoples' homes, DMCA notices to people who reverse engineered parts of the game, etc.

They were also one of the first few companies to cause DMCA case law, in the Bnetd case ( http://www.eff.org/IP/Emulation/Blizzard_v_bnetd/ ). Strange thing is, people still seem to love them. The players (angry at people exploiting fundamentally broken game mechanics) jump up and down in joy as Blizzard tramples all over peoples' rights and sets dangerous legal precedent. I guess games and e-loot are Serious Business.

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Enjoyment is relative?

Ah, but the people doing the camping, writing the bots, and so on are also enjoying that aspect of the game. So it's one person's enjoyment vs another. The argument can go back and forth, but Blizzard has always tolerated such activities (PK, cheaters, etc.), starting with Diablo and their love of the PK clans. It really is one of those things that if a person doesn't like it, they don't have to play.

I know I don't play, for the very reasons outlined by Tim. I don't enjoy getting whacked by cheaters, and there are plenty of them out there. There is, to me, zero enjoyment in paying good money and spending much of my precious time trudging through the levels, upgrading the equipment, only to get it all taken away by some script kiddie with lots of time and zero ethics. So I play games where I have some say as to who is on the server, and where my time isn't going to be completely wasted by some cheater. As a bonus, servers for such games mostly happen to be free, which is nice.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Fake Rolexes

You might think only morons would buy fake Rolexes and go around flashing them like they were somebody - and you'd be right!

But that doesn't change the fact that the "real thing" is being devalued by the morons.

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RE: Typical hacker scum making typical hacker excuses.

> Tell any hacker that they are doing something that is wrong ... and you > will always get a list of pathetic excuses and pathetic claims that the

> rules don't apply to them. Now you can reward a hacker by paying for a > book full of this kind of misleading BS! Yay!

First go read what a hacker is.

> The Warden is not spyware ... to be spyware, you have to be unaware

> that it is there, or unaware of what it is doing ... if you read the EULA, as > is your responsibility, then you are aware ... if you don't read it, too bad, > you made the choice to be uninformed when you clicked the Accept

> button.

I classify anything _I_ don't start to send information to a remote location as spyware. Doesn't matter if it's written down somewhere, I didn't start it

app $foo started it.

> Whether or not the EULA is enforcable in court is irrelevant, everyone,

> especially hackers, are aware that by clicking on the accept button, you

> are agreeing to follow the rules. You can't claim ignorance ... especially if

> you fully intend to break the rules. Here in Canada, 'intent' matters more

> than the law itself. If you can be shown to have had no intent to commit

> a criminal act, then you did not commit a criminal act except by an act of

> negligence. Hackers are nothing but pure criminal intent incarnate. Only

> a fool would try and debate this fact.

Again I point you to read what a hacker is as you apparently have no clue what the hacker subculture is. So under Canadian law if I intended to kill someone but later didn't do it I would still be found guilty of it? Hackers

have nothing to do with criminal intent.

> Blizzard has never hesitated to ban cheaters, in the hundreds of

> thousands. They don't need a reason, they can do it on a whim and

> regardless i'm sure that's very clearly stated in the EULA in an

> undisputable way. You don't own their servers or any virtual property,

> they do and can do as they please with it.

I play a few online games among them bzflag. I'm also a cop on one of the servers. We ban/kick people that don't follow the rules. Simple as that. No EULA or anything...

> The article is very misleading too. If it is possible to alter your game

> coordinates by a simple hack then WoW was programmed by idiot

> monkeys. In other games the client does not send the server

> coordinates, it sends the server actions (move in this direction at this

> speed modified by this buff) ... which makes it very easy to detect if your

> character is moving faster than is allowable or if you are using a buff /

> spell / item effect that should not be available to you. I believe it was

> Everquest several years ago where this method of location hacking was

> fixed and led to many instant bans one day when the hacker scum tried

> their tricks after a patch.

No it was programed by people. Bzflag has the same issue the client handles a lot of the stuff and then sends it back. But there aren't that many cheaters those that do come around are dealt with accordingly. And even with the client doing a lot of things the server still has some stuff to detect cheaters.

--

Geek/Hacker/Tinker

Hacker FAQ: http://www.plethora.net/%7eseebs/faqs/hacker.html

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Some verification process

Can you upgrade your post checking monkey to a newer version that can tell that amanfromMars's posts are a chod.

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Real rolexes

You might think only morons would buy real Rolexes and go around flashing them like they were somebody - and you'd be right, by your personal definition of 'right'.

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Proper Hackers provide a service

Hackers provide a proper service to the online community, searching out and detailing vulnerabilites within systems in order to improve or build upon current security technologies and practices to ensure evolution of the system itself.

When massively distributed systems become more and more widely used, (and for more than what is in essence 'just a game') I would prefer them to have been more effectively secured by doing just this kind of work, than let them come into existence and fall down at the first hurdle due to insecurities.

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Bad design is bad design

The comparison to Rolexes comes close to the mark. But MMORPGs are like fakes being sold to chumps who believe them to be the real thing. WoW and its ilk are deadful, badly designed fruit machines that never pay out. The role-playing is minimal to the point of vanishing and the gaming aspect is so dull that only the most unimaginative autist can derive some pleasure out of them.

If these things were good, well designed, games there would - self evidently - be no need to build bots to take the tedium out of playing.

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Anonymous Coward

nice...

... to see people warping the original hacker ethos of "taking things apart to find out how they work, then improve them". Again. People cheating in games is sad and inhibits the experince for others, but using bots is nothing more than *cheating* with third party tools downloaded from a lame website covered in skulls, crossbones and adverts full of spyware. What skills are required beyond clicking a garish flashing link to download another bit of spyware? None at all.

I have never touched WoW in my life and don't intend to, mainly because of all the bots - if I was into MMORPGs, chances are I'd want to play with other people what with it being multiplayer, and there are plenty of single player hack n slash games out there if i wanted to play against AI. Blizzards answer to the bots? Pay a monkey to play the game sending IMs to the cheats... why not just suspend their damn account? Probably because Blizzard would lose the subscription money. And I'd wager that the monkey is nothing more than an elaborate bot - from comments I've seen the games masters are probably bots too.

Come on El Reg, how about actually talking some sense about the industry you're reporting on instead of filling it with typical media spin? It's bad enough the BBC and pretty much every other media company talking crap without an apparently specialist media outlet spinning things too. What next? Queen Elizabeth II denying they're a British Monarchy? Bullsh*t.

Nice to see Mark V Shaney is once again making an appearance on these comment sections (couple of posts above this). I assume some from Reg HQ has already sent the "are you real?" email...

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Litigation

No word here of Blizzards pending litigation of Peons4Hire. I dont see many exploits being used, but I reckon theres a lot of Power Leveling and Gold buying. You just give your char to someone in Beijing give em $40 or whatever,get a level 70 char back a week later. Its called globalisation init.

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Silver badge

Hacker ethics

Whilst hackers do seem to gradually raise the bar in standards, they also make their code available to every stupid little twat with a linux distro who thinks they can become the new Mitnick </irony>

That's indefensible in my book.

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they're not hackers, they're CHEATERS!!

You don't call someone using a Game Genie on an old Nintendo game a 'hacker' - you call them cheaters. Why do you give them the dignity of the title, 'hacker' just because it's in a online game? There's a huge difference.

Gawd, I hate how often I have to say this, over and over again, but here goes...

A hacker would muck about with the internals of the game, try to figure out why X item drops at a certain rate or how you could improve that rate, maybe even alter some code to see if in fact he was right.

A cheater would say, "Hey, I can use that knowledge to make sure I get tons of X item, and make sure that I'm the most powerful player in the game world!"

Now, using a Game Genie isn't a good or a bad thing - maybe you just want to really mess up the game, and it doesn't affect anyone else, so that's OK on your own time. But cheating in an online game is morally wrong; you're stating, "I don't care about rules. I don't care about the other people in the game. I'm going to do what I want to do, hell with the rest of you fuckers."

I play in a pretty small online game (I think the active community numbers something like maybe, MAYBE 2k players a day) and it can be said conclusively that cheaters helped to ruin the game, because nearly 3/4ths of players left in a single month's span when the cheating was impossible to get away from.

The effects were magnified because such a significant part of the population, as compared to say WoW, were cheating; I'd wager that there aren't more than a tiny fraction of one percent that have the ability to cheat on WoW, whereas at the height of PSU I'd wager 2-3% were cheating constantly, and another 30% at least were benefiting from those cheaters. If that many could cheat on WoW, then the game would be dead in short order.

Anyone who thinks that cheatin' is just fine needs to have another think. It's not a Single Player Online Role-Playing Game, after all (SPORPG?) It's a Massively MULTI-Player Online Role Playing Game, meaning that the game's about more than just you. I actually think that the EULAs which are so strictly enforced, and the programs that are slapped on to prevent cheating, aren't so much about the company's revenue stream (hey, if the cheater is paying for the game and you ban him, that means you won't get any more money!) but about protecting the OTHER players in the community.

And that's worth a little runtime on the CPU instead of killing the process out of hand.

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RE: Bad design is bad design

"If these things were good, well designed, games there would - self evidently - be no need to build bots to take the tedium out of playing."

Spot on. This is why I don't touch MMORPGs. Give me the constant action of Unreal Tournament or Counter-Strike.

Sure, there are cheats and bots for these games, but they are easy enough to spot and kick, and it takes seconds to find another (£free) server if they aren't dealt with - meaning admins are motivated to keep an eye on things.

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Company Mixed Messages

I have been playing MMOs and online games for around 10 years now and for the vast majority of people we play the game by the rules and get a solid experience, but then are the people that simply can't be bothered. They see something, they want it and will do what ever they can to get it.

It greatly distorts the game economy and can ruin an aspect of a games, especially if you like to craft items. For example Star Wars Galaxies was hit two years ago when a money hack went about and a number of people suddenly had a billion credits in their accounts.

These sort of issues are real problems and need to be circumvented, but I worked in the games industry for ten years before recently moving on, and no matter what you try and do, there are people out their who will specifically target your code and there isn't too much you can do about it unless you set up a security system like a lot of the virus checkers use.

However this isn't my gripe. In the last two months there have been major calls from some game companies themselves to actually legally allow people to buy extra credit for their characters, because they realise a lot of money can be made from essentially cheating.

If this happens then what is the point of actually playing these games? Someone can come in with a bigger wallet and simplay pay their way to the top.

The other argument which really peaves me is that the gold farmers are often people from the far east who are paid peanuts so we should leave them alone. What kind of argument is that?? The companies should build in stronger EULAs as it isn't that difficult really.

What I am saying is that if the companies want to get rid of them, they actually do have the power to do so, but it is now an additional market which helps to keep in their game so why should they do something about it?

This really is a case of the goose that lays the golden eggs. Sooner or later they are going to kill it.

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Anonymous Coward

It should be just a game

Real money? Billions of dollars for virtual things?

I don't think games should involve real money, they are not real - just games.

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Blizzard's Primary Concern = Money

One of Blizzard's biggest legal sabre-rattling exercises has been against the writers of server software. There are quite a few projects that are working to write up-to-date WoW server packages that you can run and play the game for free. Not only that, but it also means you can change the world to suit yourself, maybe adjust the rate you gain experience to speed up leveling, or make your own items or whatever other bit of content you want to invent, as long as you don't want to change the world map layout at all.

Blizzard sees these servers as any corporation would - as threats to it's income. Having been a WoW player for quite some time, since the open beta in fact, I wholeheartedly support the idea of not paying Blizzard to play the game. Why? Because the end-game content is utter crap. And they've already taken enough of my money, thanks very much. Somewhere between £200 and £250.

Before the upgrade pack came out, I had got as far as Molten Core, a dungeon designed for a 40-person raid. I couldn't be bothered to get any further though, MC was the most boring thing I'd ever done. Kill something. Move to a new position. Kill something else. Move again. Kill again. Move. Kill. Etc. Not exactly a cutting edge example of game play. Even when the Burning Crusade was released, I had far more fun getting to the new maximum level than doing the raids when I got there. Karazhan, the first raid on the new list, is a beautiful place and the quest series to gain access to it is great fun. But then the game falls on it's arse again and uses the same kill-move-kill-move-kill-move game play dynamics. A massive disappointment.

And just how bad is it? Well, you can stand on one side of a room, engage a group of bad guys there, and the other bad guys on the other side of the room will stand around and talk and laugh and totally ignore the slaughter of their comrades not 50 yards away. Pathetic. Utterly pathetic. Certainly not worth continuing to hawk over cash on a monthly basis for the privilege of playing. If someone wants to rewrite those dungeons so they'ew more sophisticated, I say good luck to them. Hell, I'll help them write and test the improvements out. I'd love to see what someone could come up with.

Of course, by doing so, I'll be breaking the EULA. The one that prohibits developing and connecting to unofficial non-Blizzard servers. That not only protects their bottom line, but also stops people demonstrating just how bad the game really is by writing their own better versions. Blizzard have already directly lifted a whole bunch of interface improvements from scripted third-party plug-ins, I guess admitting that someone can write your game better than you can is a bitter pill to swallow. And that's also what I call *real* WoW hacking ;)

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Food for thought

I play MMORPG's and I hate the farming aspect, the cheating aspect, the completely unbalanced aspect. But at the same time, I choose to play them. Its just something you have to deal with when playing them.

How to fix it? Well, not for a perfect example, Guild Wars. Now, dont get me wrong, there are still farmers, there are still people who find ways to cheat. But I didnt hear about it as much, AND... there was/is really no point in cheating on Guild Wars. You can get the max level in a short time, there is storyline to follow, side quests to complete, and best of all... its FREE. Thats the key element I think. If someone is playing a game thats free every month, they are less likely to want to pay for more items. And, the items in Guild Wars arent really all that hard to get. Sure you can get some items that are super rare and have good stats, ect. But for the most part, they arent going to take you months or even years to get. The hardest to get item might take what, a month of dedicated playing? Sure Guild Wars isnt a "MMORPG", its instance based... But its a good example of a decent free game that seems to have a semi balanced economy.

If your getting a game for free, there is less chance that people will need/want to pay for better gear/items. Not saying that it eliminates it, but it greatly reduces it.

But thats just my thoughts.

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erm......

"I realise that this may seem trivial to someone who doesn't play these games, but the very fact that they are spawning a 'realistic' economy means that many people who choose to play the game without cheating are having their experience significatly affected...."

Caveat emptor.

Sorry, but you place your trust and money into a system which is inhabited by geeks and expect *not* to get part/all of the system hacked for *their* benefit?

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Another post about misuse of the word 'hacker'

Call the shitbags who cheat in MMORPGs crackers, script kiddies or, best of all, cheating lowlifes, because that's exactly what they are.

But don't grace them with the title "hacker", for God's sake.

A hacker is someone who wants to understand how stuff works, take things apart, examine them, see what can be made better, and take some action to have those improvements incorporated into the system.

A true hacker in this context would break the system, figure out how to fix the hole, and try to get the people responsible to include the fix, making the system MORE secure for everyone. Exactly what about that is unethical? Unethical is a company being told there's a problem and refusing to do anything to fix it (which is why you end up with full-disclosure reports of security issues; it might be the only way to get an intransigent developer to actually *do something*).

The people who write and release these tools with the intention of cheating, or helping others to cheat, are "crackers", breaking the system for gain. They don't *want* things to be improved, that would stop them from doing what they do. A cracker has the same skillset as a hacker, sure, but the morals and ethics are entirely absent.

As for the end users who download this stuff and use it to cheat, they sure as hell aren't "hackers", or even "crackers". But there are an awful lot of them.

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Insider Trading

I was surprised to read all the comments so far without _anybody_ mentioning the issue of game-company employees gaffing the game for their (or their accomplice's) benefit. The game companies don't like to talk about it, but then, casinos don't like the problem discussed either. Doesn't mean it's all that rare.

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Laws vs., Ethics

"there are no laws that prohibit cheating in WoW and other games"

You mean other than the laws against tortious interference with a third-party economic relationship?

Cheaters in WoW and other MMORPGs degrade the "user experience" for the non-cheating players (I won't detail the hundreds of ways the experience is degraded, but the reader is welcome to research that for himself). As a consequence, if cheating becomes pervasive, the non-cheating players find the game is not worth the monthly fee and cancel their accounts, thus depriving the game operator of income. In the case of WoW, this can amount to billions of dollars - not small change.

And then of course there's the question of ethics. Judging solely by the article here at _El_Reg_ I would have to say the book's author has no ethics.

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Talking about bots...

Has anyone else here rumbled that amanfromMars is a chat-bot.

I wonder why 'he' is posting here

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Funny stuff, guys

I love all the people saying 'well, they wouldn't be hacking these games if they were any fun'.

This is an argument that can only be made by someone who is both so self absorbed he is unable to believe anyone would enjoy something he doesn't and completely unable to understand that some people will enjoy the game as designed and some will enjoy immediately becoming the most powerful thing in existence and lording it over those who choose to play the normal way.

If the game is not to your taste, then not playing it is *always* an option. If the game is to your taste as designed, but the economy is ruined by gold farmers/craft bots/whatever so that you can't play the game effectively *without* buying into that, then the game isn't as designed any more. And, to a lot of us, isn't much fun. (And if you can't play the game at all, because as soon as you stick your nose out of a town you are found by someone with a bunch of cheats running and who has the best equipment in the game and are mercilessly ganked, then it isn't any fun at all. I remember the early days of Ultima Online, for example.)

-fred

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Blizzard designed WoW to be a farmers heaven

Why else the auction house?

Just make all decent items BOE. That would effectively cut out many of the farmers. Separate crafting from gathering allow one craft and unlimited gathering trades to kill the rest. Restricting accounts to specific regions would put a stop to the power leveling.

Easily done with little impact to honest players.

Oh and stop allowing gold transfers through the in-game mail system.

Would Bliz do this? Just ask yourself how much money they would lose when the farmers dropped their subs........

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RE: Blizzard designed WoW to be a farmers heaven

This brings up another great point. I would venture to say that its possible Blizzard is actually "farming" and selling in game items/money for real life money. It would make perfect sense. More money to them, and because farmers are so common in MMO's, it wouldnt be questioned as to the source of the items. Its a great way to make more money on top of the monthly fee's they charge. What about the people who program it, wouldnt it be convinient to make a back door so they could make a little extra on the side?

Just a another random idea for you to chew on ;)

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Oh plz, get a clue . . . .

Everygame that is played online can and will be hacked. Anyone that goes into a game NOT knowing that is probably luckier than the 1's that know. they're oblivious . . . you know until some one "hacks" their player to death. isn't that what life is about, in our capitalistic society? RL or cyber.

If you don't know the people you're playing with online then you're just asking for it.

It's a big reason i haven't played video games online anymore.

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Lrn2play noobs!

@ Michael Miller: There's no way that changing bind-on-pick-up items for bind-on-equip is going to *reduce* cheating or farming.

@ executor485: Paranoid much? Blizzard is making roughly US$150,000,000 gross MONTHLY from player subscription fees. That's 1.8 BILLION dollars annually. How much more could they make "farming?" How many morons will spend $80 to get a little extra gold? Not enough for Blizzard to bother with it. A small-time bunch of crooks, sure - you only need 100 or so sales per month to make enough to live comfortably, if you are a one- or two-man outfit.

@ steve lampros: Clearly you know little or nothing about Wow. That the same for all the others who obviously don't know that WoW is *not* exclusively player-vs-player, like Counter-Strike and Utlima Online. One can choose a server which is PvP, Player-vs-Environment (with optional PvP, chosen by the player and which can be switched off at any time), and Role-Play.

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Personally I don't really care

I can't really stand MMORPGs, least of all WoW or Guild Wars. It's not just the fact that they're only RPGs in the sense that you can choose to be a certain race or class, and don't really give a sense of playing any kind of role. It's partly the fact that you do basically spend the whole time running around in a Diablo-esque hack n' slash trying to level up the whole time and trying to find better gear. I'm sure some people find it fascinating, but I would only ever pay a one-off game fee for it, certainly not a monthly subscription. I also can't stand the people - in Guild Wars, if you go to a town, it's mostly full of people running around saying 'Join my guild! Join my guild! It pwns!' and other such inanities. How you can even vaguely immerse yourself in it (and I'm no D&D obsessive) when there's annoying Americans/teenagers running around making stupid comments and doing vaguely-funny-the-first-time dance moves, I've no idea. Give me single player any day.

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RE: Blizzard designed WoW to be a farmers heaven

@ Michael Miller::I'm assuming you mean BOP rather than BOE right?

(for those that care ,BOE=Bind on equip,BOP=Bind on Pickup, i.e. that when you kill an Orc or whatever and loot it's corpse , that the "Mace of Badger smiting" you get can only be used by you , and can't be sold on to another player.An in game shop keeper will give you a few pennies for it though).

I'm a W.o.W. player (I have a life though , honest!).

There is a crazy amount of Bots/gold farming/gold selling going on in-game.

Following gold farming bots around is quite interesting for a while .Very easy to spot too ,They're nearly always one class:Hunter, they've always got the same pet : a boar , usually given the imaginative name: :"Boar", and you can see the AI "working" as they run into walls/trees/rocks etc , and turn in the opposite direction and run back.

They're very easy to kill too , which is fun for a little while.

For anyone still reading this and who actually wants to see one , there's a series of movies on youtube called "Chronicles of the Goldfarmer " which features a player following them (bots) around.

The 20 odd whispers you get from goldselling bots (usually "buy gold from site blah blah")when you log in though IS annoying though.

Blizzard have recently implemented a low tech "grass up a goldseller" function (My words not theirs) which allows users to flag other players as goldsellers and get them banned.Its open to abuse though , so expect the "World of Warcraft"

population to plummet , as 14 year old players get all their mates banned.For a laugh.

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Anonymous Coward

The real wow hacking is...

when someone writes a freeware server, which is already done and even fixes the bugs the original game writers never did. Extending the possibilites by adding higher limits is imho a good thing also.

On the other side, wow is as basic as you can go. Only 6 quest types, no object collision (terrain collision is client side like movement) and only affecting the controlled object. (mobs and pets can go on slopes where a player can't as long as the player doesn't directly control them). Wow is a classical mud design with a 3d interface, much like diablo used the game engine of the freeware game nethack.

Btw, a good mmorpg always checks movement and line of sight on the server side. But that would need bigger hardware -like a real cluster- used in mmo-s like second life or neocron.

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mmo users running servers

re: Edward Noad

I'm working on a civilization MMO which will let users run their own servers.

You can mod anything as long as you don't want to change the world map after game has started.

Of course, there will be a list of regular rulesets and one-offs.

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So what...

People play a game and are stupid enough to value virtual objects in real money, so others fleece them. I don't see the problem.

"real estate" in any virtual world can be almost infinite nowadays -- only an idiot would pay for a small piece of infinity. "magic items" are just small pieces of code and are only rare because nobody's duplicated them -- once again, you're an idiot for paying for something that someone has contrived to be rare. Real-world objects, like the aforementioned Rolex, are made in limited quantity due to restrictions on materials and labour (OK, and a tiny amount of contrivance). A Rolex cannot be devalued by a fake -- unless one buys it as a status symbol, anyone who does has my sympathy.

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Sigh...

I find the extremest comments partly humorous and partly enlightening. It's good to know what both sides think. I'm stuck in the middle. WoW is a horribly thought out game that tries to appeal to the masses that have been brainwashed into thinking WoW is cool. You cannot disprove that to me, I know people who have been sucked into that game, and few come back. However, the arguments against hacking or using hacks are very true. The act degrades the experience, however little of it there is in WoW, and frustrates the other players. I have experienced this and no words can express the amount of frustration, disgust, and anger I felt towards those that hacked.

In the end it is a grey area that this whole thing is in. The free servers are a good idea and no amount of blustering by Blizzard will get the sourcecode taken away. Script kitties are bothersome and terrible, but legitimate hackers who see if things are broke and try to get them fixed. Even if getting Blizzards attention means to give out the info on the bug and code to exploit it; companies don't like outside help for some reason.

In the meantime I'm sticking more to freeware games rather than pay to play games, as I have no reason to whine about what service I get, and usually the experience is better since there aren't as many people who cheat on those games.

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hax0r this.

Oh deary deary me, here come the same tired old arguments about the definition of 'hacker' that I stopped using usenet specifically to avoid.

But I can't resist adding to the melee, so here goes.

Those of you who have mentioned 'hacker ethics', have drunk the KoolAid of St. Levy. There is no such thing as a common code of 'hacker ethics', this is a pervasive myth, but still a myth. Hang out IRL or online with any group containing people described by themselves or others as hackers, and this will be obvious, although in fairness, there are always a fair amount of wannabes that have also supped the saint's KoolAid, and actively believe that the tenets laid down in the gospel of Levy are real. Some of them don't even realise where they came from, and will vehemently deny even having seen a copy of said gospel. They are known as 'utter wankers'

The *only* reason that any kind of 'hacker' needs in order to do something is "because I can". Any justification beyond that is spurious. I agree totally with the poster who disparages these. Anything past "I wanted to and I can" is just whiny fanboi claptrap. Solo is a great example of this type of idiot "I hacked the pentagon, but I shouldn't go to jail because I was just curious, and curiosity is not a crime". Yeah, seen the movie, STFU.

Saying things like "a real hacker would find the problem and then report it to the sys admin" display a total lack of connection with reality. This assumes that anyone with a certain degree of technical ability will have a highly developed sense of morals that *just so happens* to match your own. Again, this is a pervasive argument, but one that displays a complete misunderstanding of human beings.

Some of the most technically competent people on the planet are quite sociopathic and virulently antisocial. Sad, but true. I mean come on, what type of person does it take to impose their will on a system with no regard for any kind of rules or authority ? Does that sound like the sort of person with a highly developed sense of traditional morals ?

And ninthly, there is NO SUCH THING as as hacker culture, or even subculture, there's just a bunch of fuckwits with stupid names patronising each other rigid and endlessley arguing about the 'true' definition of the word hacker, and the attributes of different colours of hats. This is not the same thing as a culture.

Hackers, love em or hate em, but don't project your own vision of what they should or should be, or how they should or shouldn't behave onto them as a group, hackers hate that, and you'd be wrong 99% of the time anyway. Take tham as you find them.

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Ok, lets put this into comparable terms.

To start off with, this guy is screwed up. Hacking these games really screws with alot of people.

For everyone who says "Its just a game" and "People are just stupid to value it", let me put this in common terms for you.

Its entertainment. If you go to a night football game and someone shuts off the electricity and you paid to get in there, you'd get pretty pissed off. Hell, you might want your money back depending on the seats you got. You probably especially would want your night back if you made a long drive.

If you go to watch a movie in the theater, and the sound cuts out, the video halts, etc.. you'd be pretty upset as well. Once again, you'd probably be asking for your money back.

Now these games, you so despise, are the exact same things. This is someone's entertainment, you can compare it to live sports or a rented movie, the movie theater, or a poker game, it doesn't really matter. Hackers generally screw these people over. Things disappear that shoudn't, if your playing competetively, then its like someone can see your cards in a poker game.

And you can say that nothing in the game has real monetary value, but generally it does. We rate time as money. It is the reason we pay people to do things like mow the yard, because everyone's time is limitted. You only get so much time to watch movies or go to parties or actually sit and have a beer. If it took you time to do something and someone screws it up and you paid for that timme, then you lost money.

Game companies aren't really the ones who get screwed over in this. The hundreds of thousands of people who get affected by it get screwed over.

And not everyone who plays these games are crazy. Some people just find it more interesting to spend 15 dollars on a game they can play any time than to spend 15 dollars on movies that can get old quick if you try and watch them a second or third go round.

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What's a hacker

People who prattle on defending "the true meaning of hacker" now irritate me even more than people who use the word incorrectly. The overwhelming majority of people don't know the difference between a hacker and a cracker, and perhaps more importantly, they don't care. It's over, you lost, the media won, choose another moniker for yourself. How about "amateur computer scientist" (unless you do it for a living in which case you should probably be calling yourself a computer scientist in the first place)?

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RE: Ok, lets put this into comparable terms

Rachel pretty much nails the idea right on the head. This is a form of entertainment in the context of a game and, as such, the player should be relegated the same consideration that is given to the movie goer/ concert goer/etc... when a disruption occurs during the course of entertainment.

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justice

The whole point of computers is to be programmed to do repetitive tasks themselves. If you spend several hours a day doing repetitive tasks on a computer (call it playing MMORPG or whatever), you missed the point completely and deserve to be whacked by a bot. That's what I call justice.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Blizzard designed WoW to be a farmers heaven

First of all congratz for those dumbasses who use the "hacker" word for cheaters. If you really want to connect this word to WoW, then you can tell it to those who write farmbots like glider and other tools but not for farmers.

I think -as someone who banned from wow- that most of those who cheating are do that because they tired of playing with the game or just happend to be in wrong guilds and hated it from some reason. These people ARE NOTHING TO DO WITH HACKERS. Most of them can't even install a fucking windows, they just buy the bots/cheats/game flaw guides like wow underground or download them for freely and suck because it was detectable, anyways not everyone started as a cheater but many people switch to the dark side :D

So you guys who gets angry because people cheating in the game are fucking stupid. I was got banned cuz I had enough, I had a lvl60 char on a server where was only a few good raid guild and of course they didn't recruit everyone. I did a month farming on my lappy and played with other game, blizz got me and banned me with the rest but I didn't care with it at all. My guildies never known that (shame?) blizz banned me only that I switched to another game -yay so many good out there don't stick with wow-

Wow can be badly designed because it eats up all your time to level, raid, get epic shit but until you play it for fun, have friends, good guilds there is no point to cheat just enjoy the game and one day if u have enough from wow just give your character to your brother or someone.

BTW for those who are so naive, many people farm in wow, even those who you never suspect to do like your best mate. Don't Believe Any of it, its all true.

Zeratul

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WoWbot was fun

As WoW came out a community built up around a piece of software called InnerSpace. This tool gave anybody the ability to write scripts the control elements within games. Along with an extension for it called ISXWoW that exposed the inner workings of WoW it became possible to automate mundane tasks within the game. Its odd that some elements of a game that meant to be entertainment were mundane but that’s how it usually works. To get better at something you have to practice it again and again and in many cases that was monotonous.

After messing about with these automation scripts it prompted me to think about automating you character entirely and so WoWBot was born.

Its been well over a year since I stopped developing WoWbot. The bot itself didn’t die though other members of the InnerSpace community took up my code and improved upon it, its probably not got much of my original code left in it now but that doesn’t really matter. What matter was during the time I was working on it I had more fun scripting my character in WoW than I did actually playing the game.

I no longer play MMO's myself as the entertainment vs time invested is just not worth the hassle and that seems to be the problem with all MMO's its a tired genre and I dont really expect it to improve until we see some major advances in display and input technology and a massive increase in AI capacity. What we need is something akin to the Holodeck in Star Trek, kinda hard to cheat if your really there!

Until then I am sticking with Pen and Paper rolling playing with a bunch of real people all sat in the same room. Its far more fun to have some face to face interaction.

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