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Posts with tag computerworld

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

Learning your leadership skills from World of Warcraft

We've covered the IBM/Seriosity study before -- that's the one that said players who are able to organize and lead guilds can use those same skills to succeed in the workplace. Just recently, Computerworld sat down to chat with Seriosity co-founder Byron Reeves, who's since used his research to actually develop ways for companies to use MMO-style gameplay in the workplace, including creating a currency system to develop and manage interactions between employees.

It's very interesting stuff. Reeves says that MMO games and the leaders in them are a prime example of the environment creating the leader, not necessarily the talents of the person themselves -- when a game gives you the tools and influences necessary to have you leading a guild, you'll do a good job at it. He also says that the speed of online games can be a huge benefit to workers -- when you need to organize groups fast ingame, those skills will directly translate to running groups in real life.

Not everything is the same -- Reeves admits that the risks are much smaller when running around a virtual world (no one loses their livelihood if you don't down a boss), and there's a lot more transparency in games -- you can know characters' levels and specs, but you can't really know exactly how much experience your employees have or what they're really good at just by looking them up in the Armory. The interview is definitely an interesting read for anyone who's ever lead a guild or a workplace -- it's becoming more and more apparently that there are many lessons to be learned across both.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Blizzard, News items

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