World of Warcraft = Spyware

Yow. Via Digg.

“I watched the warden sniff down the email addresses of people I was communicating with on MSN, the URL of several websites that I had open at the time, and the names of all my running programs, including those that were minimized or in the toolbar. These strings can easily contain social security numbers or credit card numbers, for example, if I have Microsoft Excel or Quickbooks open w/ my personal finances at the time.”

9 thoughts on “World of Warcraft = Spyware”

  1. How else do you think they can track down cheaters? I like it that they sniff my RAM out. After all, it’s neither malicious, nor does anything of that get transmitted over the network. The article you’re referring to was obviously written by a cheater.

    I’ve written about the same thing. In another tone. Here:

  2. Guido, nice argumentum ad hominem.

    I don’t play World of Warcraft or any other MMORPG, so I’m obviously not a “cheater,” and I find it pretty appalling.

    I was considering giving WoW a shot, but no chance of that now. It’s just a damn game.

    Would you submit to strip searches and drug tests for a neighborhood game of softball?

  3. I didn’t mean to tag you personally, and I’m sorry if you think I did. The article doesn’t necessarily have to be written by a cheater, it’s sure written by somebody sympathetic with them. Which I am not.

    I love playing WoW, but you know what I hate most? People who think that just because it’s an online game, it’s a law-free zone, so they can freely cheat and hack away.

    Yeah, it’s just a damn game, you’re right about that. What gets me worked up now is that the thing that annoys people most is actively looked into by Blizzard, they actually do something against that. Bots ruin the in-game economy, they ruin people’s fun (when, for example, all the mine veins are gone all the time because some bot has been farming them already).

    And no, I wouldn’t submit to strip searches and drug tests for a neighborhood game of softball. Because I’d know these people, and I wouldn’t think they’d be taking drugs or carry weapons for that. However, we know, I repeat, we know that there are cheaters in WoW, and that people hate them. So it’s entirely legit to do something against them.

    Again, I’m sorry about the aggressive tone of my first comment. And I didn’t want to deter you from playing WoW. Neither did I want to reduce the article to the guy who wrote it, what I did however was point out that the facts are obviously seen in a particular light in that article, and that from a different point of view, stuff gets much less threatening.

  4. I guess I would be pretty pissed at cheaters ruining a game too, but this seems like a crazy draconian measure to stop them. I guess the question is, why do cheaters exist? Why would anybody cheat in a game like this?

    It’s just a game, right? Why waste your time cheating at it?

  5. Now that’s a very good question :) Maybe they themselves could answer that. With gold farmers, the answer is pretty obvious, they want money. The others seem to want to feel superior, which is a pretty common human treat, as unfortunate as it may be. That’s just my interpretation though…

    World of Warcraft is a pretty competitive environment, guilds tend to announce when they’re the first to kill a boss on a server. So this alone, together with the fact that the PvP honor system rewards players who play a lot and win lots of fights (they get items others don’t have access to), leads to people looking for the easy way out. However, this is very much also the motivation to play the game at all (at least after reaching level 60), so taking that out would ruin the fun…

    It’s something completely different with single player games – there, the maximum competition is “who publishes the first walkthrough”, or maybe “who’s the first to release a cracked version”. That doesn’t harm other players though, so I don’t really have a problem with it…

  6. One reason people cheat could be to get in-game gold/items/whatever that can be sold in the real world for actual money. People are paid to play WoW and other games to do just that:

    why not let a bot do your work, too?

    So I guess besides the annoyance factor of cheaters, there is the possibility that they are stealing. Sorta.

    And, that’s offtopic from Ed’s original post, but maybe it answers the “why waste your time cheating?” question.

  7. So the WoW guys have created artificial scarcity and competition over completely imaginary/virtual items as part of the game, and artificially scarce items have taken on real-world value, and people are “cheating” to get it.

    It seems that a good answer to that would be to eliminate artificial scarcity, and let people choose who they do and don’t want to compete with in the game. If you want to play against a bunch of cheaters, cool. If you don’t, let ’em go cheat and have their fun, it won’t affect you.

  8. Straying further offtopic, but that’s cool, right?

    I think eliminating the articifical scarcity would, well, make the game no fun, right? In the Battletech board/paper game, your mechs are limited to artificial constraints for the amount of weaponry, armor, and ammo that they can hold, as well as the size of the engine. Crafting the mech is part of the fun of the game; trading off these constraints to build a competition-worth mech is enjoyable. Removing the restriction means that you can pump up your stats to whatever you want. Now everyone has an uber-mech and nobody has fun.

    In WoW (though I have not played it), presumably the artificial limitation of gold is to enforce some sort of artificial economy on the game universe, which in turn allows for the bartering and purchasing that goes on in-game. With an unlimited supply of money, it becomes effectively worthless, and there is no longer a basis for doing, well… anything in the WoW world. Rewards for missions are meaningless, because everyone has money, right?

    Maybe I’m completely misunderstanding what you meant, but without the artificial constraint, how would the game be any fun at all?

  9. I think this is scary, and definitely an invasion of privacy. I think Blizzard has crossed the line on this one, I guess the success of World of Warcraft has gone to their head. Great post, lets spread the word to every WOW player out their so that they can choose to give away their privacy or quit World of Warcraft on find a different MMORPG.

    of the recent posting on that
    suggests that Blizzard installs software that watches the personal
    information of people playing their game. The software is designed to
    hunt for cheat-ware, but reads the title headings of any window open,
    regardless of its relation to WoW. The poster reports that he,
    “watched the (program) sniff down the email addresses of people I was
    communicating with on MSN, (and) the URL of several websites that I
    had open at the time.”



    I have removed URLs from this post because it smells kinda spammy.

Comments are closed.