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Filed under: Cheats

Guildwatch: Ninja tested, GM approved


This isn't guild drama, but what a move -- Kokor of Draka convinced a PuG to help him through a second run of Gun'drak just so he could ding level 80. And take a guess what he did as soon as he dinged -- yup, split off to Naxx, leaving the PuG, who'd just helped him level the last few points, in the lurch. The jerk store called, and they just ran out of Kokor.

More stories of drama in this week's Guildwatch below, including a prodigal son that isn't so welcome. Plus, we've got downed and recruiting news from around the realms -- if you want to know what the guilds are up to on your server, it's in here. And don't forget, send your tips on drama, downed and recruiting news to wowguildwatch@gmail.com, and you'll see them right here in the future.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Guildwatch, Bosses

Computerworld on Blizzard's Warden at work

We've covered the topic of Warden in the past, and you've probably already got an opinion on what it does to your computer system. Blizzard runs the Warden program alongside your WoW client, and while it runs it examines what else is running on your system -- if there are any third party programs (either hacks or cheat programs) interfering with the client, it lets Blizzard know, and shuts down the client. The obvious privacy concern here, of course, is that Warden is basically watching what you do outside of the game. And while Blizzard has maintained that the program is simply meant to check for hacks and cheats (they also say that no personally identifiable information is sent back to them, though IPs and other network information definitely are), there's always a chance that Warden could see you doing something you don't want it to.

Computerworld's Security section has a nice long article on all of the implications of Warden, especially in one of the more sensitive areas of security: the workplace. While most of us probably won't ever play World of Warcraft at work, there are certainly companies where installing and playing the game at certain times is appropriate. And it's probably in those situations where Warden could be its most dangerous. If you trust Blizzard with your information, then you'll have nothing to worry about. But if you don't know what Warden is sending back, there's always a chance that it could be something more sensitive than you'd like.

Of course, there is a hard and fast solution to this: don't play World of Warcraft on computers that have anything you wouldn't want shared with Blizzard or anyone else. As Computerworld concludes, it's a choice-and-consequences kind of thing. Warden is up and running every time you play WoW, for better or worse -- if you don't want it watching what you're doing, the only guaranteed way out is to not play World of Warcraft.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Account Security

15 Minutes of Fame: WoW botter tells all


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Daedren (not his former WoW character's name) ruffled more than a few feathers with an internet "confessional" (was it, really?) last week about his experiences botting in World of Warcraft. (To "bot," a term that comes from the word "robot," is to use a third-party program to play the game for you.) He initially declined an interview with 15 Minutes of Fame but was back in touch a few days later, after the comments and reaction began piling on.

With a measured, reasonable approach (somewhat at odds with the abrasive tone he takes with commenters on his blog), Daedren visits with us about botting. Is botting a blot on the soul of gaming humanity or a benign, time-saving technique for busy gamers? Read Daedren's post to learn what his botted characters were up to in WoW, then join us after the break to learn why his botting post was actually a farewell "ode to WoW."

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Filed under: Cheats, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

When would you become a ninja?

An interesting question was posed over on Less QQ, More PewPew: When would you become a ninja? It made for a pretty good read, the author lays out a few situations that might warrant an act of ninjery* that really made me think about the whole thing. Would I ninja in those situations? The situations that the author describes are situations that would certainly make me consider it, but they're also situations I don't ever put myself in.

The author lays out a scene: Your raid is in Sunwell (when it was still sexy), you have your regular Hunter, and you have a terrible PUG Hunter. You kill Kil'jaeden. Regular Hunter did great, but PUG Hunter was terrible and died almost instantly. You loot the boss and... Thori'dal drops! The two Hunters roll off, and the pickup Hunter wins the roll. Do you Master Loot the bow to your regular Hunter anyway? Or do you play nice and give it to the pickup?

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Raiding

Blizzard responds to the Glider decision

Blizzard (via Nethaera) has released a nice long statement on the Glider outcome over on the forums. She basically runs through the history of the case and why Blizzard is against what Glider is doing, and why going through the courts was the only route left to them. She says that Warden (though called only "security measures") was enabled in response to player concerns about bots, and that when the MDY/Glider people circumvented Warden, their only recourse was to seek an injunction through the courts, which, as we've reported recently, they plan to have soon.

She does say that Blizzard won based on the judge's decision that MDY did violate the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, but Neth doesn't go any further into the issue, and doesn't elaborate at all on what might happen if this case is used as a precedent against other types of Terms of Use violations. As you might expect from an official Blizzard telling of the tale, the case is seen as a victory for Blizzard and their players -- for them, it's all about keeping bots out of Azeroth, and this decision will definitely help them do that.

And that's obviously not a bad thing -- most players will agree that MDY was allowing players to cheat (by letting the game play automatically without them in control), and thus preventing the client from being used in-game is a good thing. It's just that DMCA issue that might be a nagging problem -- we'll have to see what happens with that in the future.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Odds and ends, Blizzard

45 minute time limit for all arena matches

Bornakk just posted an important announcement for all arena participants:

There is now a time limit of 45 minutes for all arenas. If neither team has achieved a victory, both teams will lose 16 arena rating points.

This is posted in the general discussion forums, and we can safely assume that this change is active on live realms.

Bornakk goes on further to say that matches that go on for 45 minutes are currently showing up as a draw and not displaying a loss of arena points. However, the point loss still happens. This means that you can apparently see it when you look at your honor page and you'll notice that your rating has gone down by 16 points

We've covered some very long arena matches in the past. A 13 hour match between a Druid/Warrior and Warlock/Paladin, won by the Warlock/Paladin, and a 10 hour arena match (the classes were not reported on).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, News items, PvP, Arena

Scouting around with the Crashin' Thrashin' Racer

Cabinetsanchez over on LJ has documented something that I saw in action yesterday while running a few instances -- while it's a ton of fun to run my Crashin' Thrashin Racer around (I'm undefeated since I picked up the achievement the first day I got the toy, by the way), players have found a few extra ways to make the Racers work for them. Yesterday, I saw one of my group members using the Racer a few times to scout the instance ahead and see what pulled with what, and as CS says, it worked great: while the Racer will aggro enemies, they won't tag on to the rest of the group -- they'll just reset after they destroy the little car.

CS also says that the Racer takes no falling damage, so you can send it exploring off of cliffs and platforms, and he says that though the car is considered level 60, its aggro range is pretty small (I can attest to this, as we were driving it pretty close to enemies yesterday without it registering on their radar). And he's got an even more devious use (some might say this is an exploit): bosses aggroed by the racer will sometimes despawn after they conquer it for up to 30 seconds or so. That seems like a hotfix waiting to happen, but I haven't personally tried it, so it may not be as useful as it sounds.

The downside of this is that the Racer was meant to be a fun item, and if it really does lead to behavior that Blizzard considers exploiting, they might have to think twice about including great items like this in the future. We'll have to see what their ruling on this is, but hopefully no matter what happens (I'm guessing a quick hotfix, maybe even shrinking the range of the Racer's controller), this won't prevent Blizzard from giving us more fun toys later on.

Filed under: Cheats, How-tos, Fan stuff, Instances, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: To bug or not to bug

We reported last night that some of the PvP gear was being shown as discounted or even free, and players were reportedly flooding the vendors, trying to pick up cheap gear. Of course, we also warned that taking bugged gear could be considered an exploit, even as some veteran players warned that taking free gear could result in a server rollback, suspended accounts, or even banning.

Therein lies the question: did you bite? I can see arguments for both sides: maybe you stood your moral ground, said that that gear wasn't really supposed to be free, and didn't try to take advantage of a mistake one of Blizzard's coders made. Or maybe you said, "well, if it's on the live realms, it must be legit," and looted as much of the gear as you could (and maybe you're paying for it, too, either now or later this week).

So what'd you do? This isn't the first time a game-changing exploit has made loot accessible to players when it shouldn't be, so if given a possible exploit in the game, do you grab away and let Blizzard worry about their own mistakes, or do you decide not to take advantage of mistakes Blizzard didn't mean to make and wait for them to fix it while you do things fairly?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Odds and ends, Economy, Breakfast Topics

15 Minutes of Fame: 10-boxing Karazhan, Part 2


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Last week, 15 Minutes of Fame visited with multiboxer Nixi of team Absolute Power-H of Archimonde to bring WoW Insider readers his 10-boxing strategy for Karazhan. This week, we'll step back for a look at Nixi's hardware setup, his top five tips for new multiboxers and a broader look at why he's a 'boxer.

Catch up with 10-boxing Karazhan Part 1, then join us after the break for an inside look at Nixi's 10-boxing team.

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Filed under: Tricks, Cheats, Instances, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Interviews, Alts, 15 Minutes of Fame

Mage changes in beta build 8962



Ok Mages. Are you sitting down? We finally got our nerf. We sort of knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it suck any less. We got a few buffs, too, but the one major nerf was a whopper. It won't affect everyone, just Mages like me who had fallen in love with the new Arcane tree. This nerf, if it stands, almost singlehandedly kills the whole tree, at least as a stand-alone spec.

Here it is:

  • Arcane Blast changed. Each time you cast Arcane Blast, the damage is increased by 15% and mana cost is increased by 300% (used to be 25% damage and 75% mana cost)
Soak that in for a second. I really, really hope that's a typo. I went onto the beta this morning and spammed Arcane Blast on a training dummy for a bit. After 4 casts, I was suffering a 1200% increase in the mana cost of the spell, while only gaining a 60% increase in damage. The fourth spellcast was costing 2970 mana and doing about 3k damage per cast, fully talented and spell damaged out. That's about 1 point of damage per mana point, making it so ridiculously inefficient that only the first cast is worth the cost, and then only barely.

I'm praying that the 300% number is supposed to be 30%, and will be fixed. 30% sounds about right to me. With the nerf to the damage buff, that kind of mana cost reduction would work, though they could probably go as far as 50% and I wouldn't freak out. But to reduce the damage and make the mana cost so incredibly prohibitive? Just...wow.

You can find the full list of changes after the jump.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Expansions, Classes, Talents, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

Hunter changes in beta 8962

There are a slew of new updates to Hunters in the latest beta build, but the biggest one comes to Aspect of the Viper. Blizzard has been tuning this spell for a while -- originally it gave Hunters back their ranged damage as mana (pretty overpowered), and then was tuned down to each shot giving back mana based on twice the base ranged weapon speed. Now it's still based on the base ranged speed, but they've buffed it back up to a percentage of mana -- if you have a base ranged weapon speed of 2, for example, you'll get 4% mana back for every shot that hits. Not a bad deal, and hopefully Blizzard is getting close to settling on making itso that Hunters only need to switch to AotV sometimes, instead of leaving it up all the time.

Most of the other Hunter changes in 8962 are just tweaks -- Kill Shot no longer does a knockdown and got a little damage buff. Tranq shot got added utility, in that it will remove enrage and magic effects rather than just the frenzy effect that was so hard to come by. Misdirection's cooldown got dropped to 30 seconds from two minutes, which means Hunters will get more chances to dump aggro when necessary.

There's one new skill which will make things pretty interesting on the trapping side -- Freezing Arrow lets you fire off an arrow that will lay down a Freezing Trap (which, by the way, now has only a chance to break on damage, instead of 100% certainty). That, combined with some quick Misdirection, could make trapping a whole new game at level 80. Unfortunately, it looks like the tradeoff for that is that we're losing Camouflage, which some Hunters already aren't happy about. But as always, all of these skill and talents are still up for grabs, so maybe we'll see Camo back in some form before it's all over.

Update: Whoops, forgot to mention that AotV is still carrying that 50% damage penalty while on. That's pretty harsh, even with the mana coming back, so look for a buff on that end before 3.0.2 goes live.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, Talents, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

Death is in the air for gold sellers


What smells like dead Orcs and flies? Goldseller spam in Orgrimmar. In the last few weeks it has been dead Gnomes in Ironforge. The dead bodies spell out the name of a gold selling website. This tactic has returned from about a year or so ago, but this is the first time I've heard of it in Orgrimmar. The body advertisements look sharper than the old versions. All in all it seems like an awful lot of work to get around spam filters.

Gold sellers have used several means to get their message out to the public, and Blizzard has found ways to combat it. I remember back in the day when we used to get spammed with whispers. Blizzard introduced the report spam feature for users to flag this content, the whispers nearly completely ceased overnight. I have to hand it to them, the gold sellers come up with innovative ways to market their product. Sure it violates the terms of use, but gold-selling by its nature is a violation. What's one more script here and there for them?

Filed under: Cheats, Making money

Servants of Allistarj no longer good for weapon skilling on Beta

If you play a melee or physical damage class or spec that is not a Feral Druid, you have probably experienced this most excruciating of mechanics that is the leveling of class weaponry skill.

We all know the tale: You find a spiffy new weapon, you go out and use it, and find that your damage is abysmal. Then you realize it. Your skill with this weapon is 1! Thus, you're forced to go trudge off to find some grey or green mobs to solo and thwack mindlessly for a few hours until you can finally get some decent damage out of the supposed "upgrade" that you were so pumped to get a few minutes prior.

One of the ways people have made this strange little grind somewhat bearable is by using the servants out in the Blasted Lands. Because they can't die from normal weapon strikes, you can simply set yourself in front of one and swing away. If you're max level or if you have a self-healing proc or ability, you can spend a long time just wailing away mindlessly at the guy, leaving one eye on the screen while you do other things. Some people have even been so ambitious as to drag one of them to Stormwind for a skilling up free-for-all in the trade district.

Unfortunately, it looks like the ride's over. People are reporting that the Servants are no longer giving skill ups, even after 10 minutes of wailing away on the mob. There's no blue post confirming or denying the change as of this writing, but if it's in, it would seem to be deliberate.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Bugs, Expansions, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard against open-sourcing Glider code


It ain't over yet. Blizzard Entertainment, who won a lawsuit against MDY, the makers of the infamous Glider bot program, has asked the ruling court for a permanent injunction that would functionally eliminate the program from WoW. Blizzard has also issued an unconventional request preventing the open-sourcing of the MMO Glider (formerly known as WoW Glider) code and prohibiting MDY from helping other people develop World of Warcraft automation software.

Blizzard's case against MDY has already sparked some debate, and this latest request may catch the attention of open source and digital rights advocates. Blizzard has always taken a hardline stance against users of the program, even banning countless users back in May. Automation is clearly against the EULA, so players who flirt with bot programs such as MMO Glider should proceed at their own risk. A complete coverage of the case between Blizzard and MDY can be found over at Virtually Blind.

Filed under: Cheats, Blizzard, News items

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