This digital Short Cut, delivered in Adobe PDF format for quick and easy access, is an introduction to issues with cheating and anti-cheating countermeasures in the online gaming industry.
At present, the online game World of Warcraft has approximately six million subscribers worldwide. At any given time, 500,000 people are logged in and playing. And while many of these players log countless hours engaged in the repetitive tasks required to accumulate points and acquire virtual money and tools–an activity called “grinding”–others would rather find a way to speed game-play along. So they cheat.
Some write macros to grind for them while they are doing better things. Others find websites where they can purchase the ill-gotten gains of those macro-writers. Either way, big money is on the line when players cheat. A high rate of cheating upsets the online gaming economy and disrupts game play for everyone. If disgruntled players leave the game, then World of Warcraft’s creator (Blizzard Entertainment) loses real subscribers and real money.
With the stakes so high, it’s not surprising that companies like Blizzard Entertainment take active steps to prevent cheating. But you may be surprised and upset to learn exactly what those measures are and how they might affect your PC. This digital Short Cut will discuss the methods gaming companies use to prevent cheating. You will learn how a program designed for World of Warcraft keeps watch of your game-play by scanning your computer for open processes and collecting information about you. We’ll also show you how to run a program called the Governor to keep watch of the watchers and know exactly what Blizzard Entertainment is doing on your computer.
After reading this Short Cut, you’ll also have a much better understanding of the ethical and technical issues surrounding cheating and be able to make informed decisions about how much you want to grind and how much you want gaming companies to know about you.
Cheating Online Games contains information that will appear in Greg Hoglund and Gary McGraw’s forthcoming book, Exploiting Online Games (ISBN 0132271915), available summer/fall 2007. This Short Cut is fully self-contained and is an excellent place to start learning about technical issues in online gaming.
Cheating Online Games (Digital Short Cut)
· What This Short Cut Will Cover
· A Brief History of Cheating
· Defeating Piracy by Going Online
· Or Not...
· The Lawyers Have Landed Bearing EULAs
· The Rise of MMORPGs
· The WoW Warden Is Watching
· Cheating Is Quick and Easy
· Grinding Is Boring and Dull
· Farming Makes Things Easy
· Virtual-World Economics
· Farming Hurts the Virtual Economy
· Games as Reality
· Cracking Down on Farming
· Online Game, Real-World Cheating
· Defeating Cheaters and Crossing the Line
· The Governor Watches the Watcher