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Posts with tag Warden

Know Your Lore: The Watchers of the kaldorei

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Kaldorei society and rank has always been complex. Queen Azshara had her court, the Highborne represented the upper reaches of society, and those chosen Highborne were magic users of particular skill and prowess. On the other end of the spectrum were the Sisters of Elune, kaldorei priestesses who were dedicated to the worship of the moon goddess Elune. And somewhere in between were the druids, primarily male kaldorei who followed Malfurion Stormrage after the War of the Ancients and Sundering were over, eventually founding the Cenarion Circle.

In between them all were the Watchers, a group established after the War of the Ancients that survives to this day. Not only has it survived, it's apparently thriving enough that some of these Watchers will be making an appearance in Warlords of Draenor. While the depth of their appearance and how much they will be contributing to the new expansion's story remains to be seen, it's worth it to take a look at this organization, how it came to be, and perhaps the most notorious Watcher of them all -- Maiev Shadowsong.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Lawbringer: Glider's story ends

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Deathwing isn't the only great beast to be impaled to death in an End Time this year, it seems. The tale of Glider, one of the biggest and most famous automation bot software packages for World of Warcraft, is effectively over. Based on reading various blog links (sent by a reader, thank you much) and a hefty amount of Internet Wayback Machine research, it appears that the lawsuit was settled and Glider is no more. What were the terms of the settlement, and why did Glider settle after the news back in 2010?

When I last updated you all about the Glider case back in December 2010, the courts reversed much of the decision in regards to the EULA copyright infringement claims but not with respect to violations of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, as Glider circumvented the Warden software to essentially hack Blizzard's software. MDY Glider was not victorious per se, but it was definitely in a better position than it would have been had the copyright infringement stuff stood.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Know Your Lore: The Watchers and Shadow Wardens

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Spoilers for Wolfheart in the post below.

The Wardens, watchers, jailers, guardians of Night Elf society for 10,000 years, have been through much in the past decade. From once-trusted former members of the Temple of Elune, they took up the supposedly eternal duty of guarding their race's greatest traitor, only to be killed by their own leader for performing the duty appointed to them. The survivors of Tyrande's attack then found themselves buried alive in the crumbling remains of Suramar as it was collapsed by Illidan, their former captive and target of their manhunt.

When Maiev Shadowsong returned from her captivity in Outland as a prisoner of the same Betrayer she and her Wardens had spent millennia holding themselves, she rebuilt the order. This renaissance for the Wardens was short-lived; Maiev's new Watchers were loyal to Maiev first. Despite the results of Maiev's actions and her abrupt departure from Night Elf society, there was still a need for Wardens when the forces of Ragnaros the Firelord made war on Mount Hyjal.

Now the Shadow Wardens, led by Saynna Stormrunner, attempt to make up for Maiev's betrayal and help lead the defense of Hyjal by taking part in the counteroffensive that brings the war to the Firelands' Molten Front. For an organization with so long a history, to be nearly wiped out twice and find your loyalties cast into question rankles. Yet the Wardens endure for one reason: Someone has to be the dagger in the shadows.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

The Lawbringer: A rookie's guide to the EULA

Welcome to the Lawbringer,'s weekly exploration of the intersection of the World of Warcraft and the law. Acting as your tour guide is Amy Schley, just returned from Hell the bar exam.

Hello again! To kick off the return of the Lawbringer, we're going to move into rookie guide territory. Now, I know, I know -- your rogue "High Warlord Pwnyoo" is ready and willing to gank my mains, my alts and even my husband's toons for calling you a rookie. But by a show of hands, how many of you have actually read the EULA instead of just scrolling down to the bottom to click "Accept"?

Given the paucity of hands raised out there, I figure it's time for a rookie's guide to the End User License Agreement.

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: MDY v. Blizzard Q & A

Welcome to The Lawbringer,'s weekly look at the intersection of law and the World of Warcraft. I'm a new law school grad, acting as your tour guide after escaping the rapping, taco-eating armadillos of my bar prep class.

Last week's timeline of the MDY v. Blizzard case seemed to prompt more questions than it answered. Therefore, I want to take this week to go through the many questions and comments that were left on the site or emailed to me.

Sean asked:

"Can you explain the unfair competition claim? As the only one that MDY won (far as I can tell), it's interesting in its own right."

Blizzard alleged that MDY's business practices of selling a product that encouraged people to violate their EULA & TOU was a willful and knowing violation of Arizona's Unfair Competition Law. MDY moved for summary judgment and Blizzard didn't oppose the motion. MDY "won" by default.

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

Know Your Lore: A second look at Maiev Shadowsong

Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? Leave a comment below!

As I mentioned previously, Maiev Shadowsong is one of my favorite characters in all of Warcraft lore. When I said that, the statement was quickly met with the cries of people calling her all sorts of unpleasant names. And you know what? That's the beauty of the character. Sometimes, not all good characters are people you would sit down and have a beer with. In fact, some of them are downright nasty people. I wouldn't go that far with Maiev, but I think it's okay that she's not a peaches and sunshine sort of character, especially considering what's been done to her.

Yes, Know Your Lore has covered Maiev before, but now it's my turn. Elizabeth and I have pretty substantial differences of opinion on the Warden, so I don't think you'll mind too much.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

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

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be an Alliance Rogue

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the twenty-fourth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

Many of the most famous rogues outside of the Warcraft setting have been nuanced and exciting characters. Bilbo Baggins, the Prince of Persia, and James Bond, could all be reimagined as rogues if they had existed in Azeroth instead of their own settings.

As an Alliance rogue, you have a certain amount of freedom to borrow from other settings, or from the real world, since the Alliance races tend to be more similar to heroes of other stories we've heard before. To a certain extent, Blizzard has already based its Alliance rogue guilds on stories from other settings, and left some aspects of these institutions rather vague. There is certainly enough room for roleplayers to fill in a bit of the blanks with their own creative inspiration. The only danger is that it could be easy to overdo it and descending into Mary-Sueism: one ought to feel free to reach for a bit of the flavor of James Bond, for instance, without ever believing your character is the single best secret agent Stormwind could ever have.

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Filed under: Alliance, Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Rogue, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Wrath splash screen appears on the Launcher

Eagle-eyed readers noticed that Blizzard is prepping a new version of the launcher for the Wrath of the Lich King launch -- a quick update showed up just this afternoon in the launcher software, and afterwards, when starting up, the program flashes the blank screen above, with the Lich King logo, before it then covers it up again with the current iTunes promotion splash screen.

This means nothing for certain, of course -- Blizzard is either changing the launcher software and the way the splash screen works completely (and putting the new version live behind the current version), or they're just working on an update for when the game does launch later this year. There's a possibility that this was a mistake, and that the screen was sent live too early, but it doesn't appear to have any affect on the actual program or the game itself -- everything else starts up just fine, with no issues at all. Just like the icy logo around the official site, Blizzard too is getting ready for Wrath.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Screenshots, Wrath of the Lich King

Azeroth Security Advisor: WoW is watching you, part 2

Every week, computer security expert Jon Eldridge is your Azeroth Security Advisor. He will delve into the darkest reaches of computer security rumor and bring the facts back home even if they're wriggling at the end of a pike. His goal is to provide useful information to gamers who don't think about security much and flame fodder for those self appointed experts who need to rationalize the cost of their expensive certifications. Like any good security force he's a mercenary at heart and is happy to take subject requests from the user community that he serves. So feel free to leave a comment below or just sit back and enjoy the show.

Welcome back to the Azeroth Security Advisor. Last week I discussed two of the three ways Blizzard keeps an eye on your computer. This week I'll cover the controversial Warden program whose discovery in Oct 2005 by Greg Hoglund caused a great deal of outrage and confusion not unlike accidentally joining a pickup group full of rogues. Reactions have been so strong that some trolls dwelling in their parents basements are still alternately posting "OMFG BLIZ HACKZ CALL COPS!!!" or "U SIGNED EULA SO STFU N00B!!!!!" depending on which of their medications are kicking in at the time. Most people forgot to care one way or the other within a few weeks and went back to life as usual. Lucky for Blizzard apathy is the universal solvent for organized resistance otherwise they might be facing a class action lawsuit by now.

The Warden's core mission is to continuously audit your PC for suspicious activity while you play. First it reads all the DLL's loaded into the WoW process space, which is a perfectly legitimate activity any way you slice it. After that, the Warden ditches its friendly park ranger hat for a ski mask and takes a look around the rest of your PC. It reads the text in the title bar of every window you have open including that really embarrassing Furry fan site you don't want your friends to know about. Yes Nekudotayim, Bliz knows about your pr0nz.! The Warden then creates a hash code (think fingerprint) of each window title and compares the results to a list of "banning hashes" for potential matches and subsequent divine retribution.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Account Security, Azeroth Security Advisor

Azeroth Security Advisor: WoW is watching you, part 1

Every week, computer security expert Jon Eldridge is your Azeroth Security Advisor. He will delve into the darkest reaches of computer security rumor and bring the facts back home even if they're wriggling at the end of a pike. His goal is to provide useful information to gamers who don't think about security much and flame fodder for those self appointed experts who need to rationalize the cost of their expensive certifications. Like any good security force he's a mercenary at heart and is happy to take subject requests from the user community that he serves. So feel free to leave a comment below or just sit back and enjoy the show.

If you play World of Warcraft you agreed to the Terms of Use Agreement and End User License Agreement even if you don't know it. If you're like most gamers you "agreed" with all the forethought and consideration of a lab rat agreeing to run a maze in exchange for a yummy pellet of rat chow. Scurry, scurry, click, click... yum! Let's face it, when you're just two clicks away from playing the hottest MMORPG on the planet those screens usually go by just as fast as they appear. But what else besides deep fat fried MMO goodness is contained within the WoW client you're running?

One of things you agreed to while merrily clearing those pesky EULA and Terms of Use screens after every patch is that Blizzard "MAY" monitor your PC's RAM and CPU processes for "unauthorized" 3rd party programs that by Blizzard's "sole determination" may or may not be deemed naughty. Naughty in this case includes but is not limited to teleporting, data mining, exploiting bugs, facilitating bots and generally doing an end run around the game mechanics for fun and profit. In reality the WoW.exe DOES monitor your system, silently, thoroughly, and every 15 seconds.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Rumors, Account Security, Azeroth Security Advisor

Blizzard's new Warden, and our privacy

Tech community Slashdot is going mad over a little present Blizzard apparently included with patch 2.3 this week: a brand new version of Warden (the program Blizzard uses to check for hacks, bots, and keyloggers) that they say effectively gives Blizzard total control over our computers. The technical stuff is a little hard to understand, but apparently Warden is what's called a "polymorphic program"-- that means that it actually hides from anyone looking at it exactly what it's doing and which files it's changing with a random code. Obviously, Blizzard wants to keep the program's activities secret from attackers-- if a hacker knows what Warden does, then he can more easily avoid it.

In previous versions of Warden, this randomization was "easy to predict," but Slashdot is saying that the new version effectively hides from even the user exactly what Blizzard is doing on your computer. Now, there is no clear reason why Blizzard would want to do anything bad with your computer-- odds are that this new software is the most effective version they've yet developed at making sure you can play the game without fear of hacks or keyloggers, and that's all they want to do with it.

But you should know that, according to "Captain Kirk," who wrote this article, Blizzard effectively has access to anything and everything on your computer, and can now edit or retrieve information at will without even you knowing what has happened. There's no reason not to trust Blizzard-- they're a high profile company with a long reputation of developing great software. But if a wayward employee at Blizzard wanted to steal your private information from your computer, or install a virus or malware on your PC, we're being told that this program will let them do it without your knowledge. You agreed to this-- it's in Section 14 of the Terms of Use-- and so it's up to you whether you trust Blizzard with your computer or not.

WoW Insider has contacted Blizzard and asked them to clarify the situation if necessary-- we'll let you know if we hear anything from them.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Danger Will Robinson!

[Ouch. Nuke & pave might be overkill, but at least you know you're pretty much safe after this.]
I saw this screen shot last night on the WoW LJ community, and I have to admit, it took me by surprise. This is the first time I've ever actually seen the World of Warcraft launcher/load screen come out and point-blank warn people about the presence of Trojans on their machines. As there are a lot of variants of this particular Trojan out in the wild, that specific name doesn't surprise me.

Considering the fact that two Blue accounts were recently compromised, it looks like it's a good time to once again make sure your systems are patched, your virus scanners are up to date, and that you've got some good lines of defense against these Trojans. (Personally, I'm a huge fan of FireFox and some of the browser extensions that have come out for it.) Or, as some of my friends have told me, I could just get a Mac, and not have to worry so much about these kinds of things either. I keep telling them I'll happily switch when they buy me one.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Bans coming in for Linux players

Cedega is a handy piece of software that many use to run World of Warcraft on their Linux machines. And it's apparently been working well for everyone -- until yesterday, when numerous Cedega users began to report being banned from World of Warcraft with the following generic message in their mailbox:

This account has been found to have employed third party software designed to automate many aspects of the World of Warcraft game play experience. Such software runs contrary to the essence of World of Warcraft and provides an advantage over other players. In addition, use of this software can lead to exploitation and destabilization of the World of Warcraft server economy. As such, this account has been closed and will not be reopened under any circumstances.

While ominous, it sounds to be a case of a problem with Blizzard's automated anti-hacking scans. TransGaming (makers of Cedega) is currently working with Blizzard's engineering team to resolve the issue -- and has been told that it wasn't Blizzard's intention to ban Cedega players. If you're a Cedega player who has suddenly been banned, Transgaming is offering to help reinstate your account -- let them know you've been banned and give them your account name, either via this support thread or e-mail to their support team.

[Thanks to Pat and Druid dude. Cedega links via Slashdot.]

Filed under: Cheats, Bugs, Blizzard

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