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Posts with tag exploits

Bornakk tries to clarify fair play in Arena PvP

Bornakk has laid down a "clarification" on what's fair in the Arenas over on the forums -- he says that there's been a lot of questions lately over what constitutes fair play in Arena PvP, especially in terms of win trading.

Unfortunately, his clarification isn't all that clear -- he reiterates that win trading (the act of exploiting the queue in some way to face a chosen opponent, or face the same team multiple times) is against the spirit of the game and against Blizzard's wishes (though his wording gets a little strange when he brings the Terms of Service into it -- we think that by "these actions all fall in line with our fair use clause," he actually means that they violate the clause). He does, however, go on to say that there are certain places in the system where facing an opponent multiple times will happen, and that that's obviously not the fault of players. So that, it seems, is the confusion: players were worried that because of the lack of population in the queue or other factors, that they would be accused of win trading, and Bornakk is saying that's not the case.

Not that Blizzard hasn't been cracking down on win trading as much as possible lately, but the fact is that if there's a way to exploit the system, players will find it and do it. Blizzard says they're working on squashing "agreements" between players, but even then, Arenas may never end up being completely fair.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, PvP, Arena

In WoW and other games, pathfinding is still "kind of a problem"


If you're not much of a computer programming person, this one might make your eyes glaze over a bit, but if you have any interest how the AI of videogame characters, including those in WoW, is programmed, this article about designing AI pathfinding is a terrific read. "Pathfinding" is a method of determining how NPCs move within a game world like Azeroth -- you and I can clearly see where the walls and bad guys are, and so we just have to press buttons to avoid either ingame, but NPCs (including pets and mobs) aren't quite that easy -- they need to be told clearly by programmers where they can go and how to get there. And when the rules they're given don't quite work, you get the funny seen above.

Many games use a "waypoint" system -- NPCs are given a series of paths around the space they can move in, and use those paths to determine where they can and can't go. The article argues for a "navigation mesh," a much looser definition of available space, which NPCs can then draw their own path across. It's a little technical, but it's cool to see the inner workings (and weaknesses) of Azeroth's code.

Of course, it's extremely unlikely that we'll ever really see the NPC pathfinding engine updated in WoW anyway -- Blizzard will update their system in certain places to fix things like exploits (and the occasional annoying escort quest, i.e. all of them), but there's no real need to update the whole system completely when there's so much content to be done. Hopefully videos like this will bring the problem to light, and in future games we'll see some better pathfinding. Someday, that NPC will know that it's easier to go around the pillar rather than trying to walk right through it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, Humor, Bosses, NPCs, Hardware

McAfee report reveals the most dangerous web domains

In an era where clicking on the wrong link while browsing the web could mean your account will get hacked, and one of your guild members clicking on the wrong link means your guild bank could get emptied as well, it's always good to protect yourself and keep abreast of web security issues.

In that vein, it's worth checking out a new report released by McAfee called Mapping the Mal Web Report Revisited. It tested 9.9 Million websites in 265 domains to find out which ones had a higher risk of exposing visitors to malware, spam, and malicious attacks via a red, yellow, and green system.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Account Security

New exploits target Flash

According to reports, a new wave of exploits has appeared taking advantage of a vulnerability Adobe Flash Player. Allegedly over 200,000 web sites now have redirects to malware, including keyloggers, through embedded Flash. And we all know how evil keyloggers can be. Flash Player 9.0.115.0 appear to be the affected version.

Adobe quickly responded to the issue, saying that the vulnerability is fixed in 9.0.124.0, the latest version of the player, so to make yourself secure, all you need to do is update your Flash. To check what version you are running, go to this Adobe page. Keeping your software up-to-date is one of the best ways to close security holes; if you're truly paranoid, you could always go the route of adding Flashblock and/or No-Script into your browser. And be sure to keep an eye on our new Azeroth Security Advisor column for more tips on how to keep yourself from being compromised. Once again, to update your Flash and patch this vulnerability go to Adobe's "Get Flash" page.

Update: It is possible that certain versions of 124 (namely, the standalone version for Linux and the standalone version with debug capabilities for Windows) are also affected by the exploits. At this time it is recommended to disable Flash if you are running those versions.

Update 2: It is currently believed that all versions of 124 are safe. Nevertheless, caution is generally a good idea.

Filed under: News items, Account Security

Rolling restarts for US realms Friday morning


Drysc informs us to expect rolling restarts for all US realms starting at 5:00 AM PST to apply a "minor hotfix." Downtime is expected to be minimal (around 15 minutes), and US players probably won't notice any interruption. But a hotfix? Blizzard's not said what they're fixing, which leaves us to guessing games as to the exact nature of the problem. However, poster Tuhljin seems to be on the right track when he points out that "if they won't tell you what the hotfix is for, at least part of it probably involves fixing an exploit." After all, they wouldn't keep us in the dark just for the fun of it... would they?

Filed under: Patches, Cheats, Bugs, Blizzard

Battleground sploitz and Blizzard's responsibility

Been jumping into PVP as often as I can lately, and I've noticed two little quirks still floating around the PVP system.

The first one's fairly harmless. I too wasn't sure how to get out of a battleground until a friend informed me of the /afk trick. You're not allowed to go AFK in a battleground, so just purposely go /afk and Blue will boot you (with a deserter buff that wears off without consequence shortly).

The other exploit is a little more troublesome. Apparently, when a raid leader joins a battleground "as group," members of the group can click the button to join in without the group leader doing so. Which means those members can check the player screen to see if they're up against another premade (by noting if all the other faction's players are from a single server), and if they are, the group leader, still out of BG, can then join another BG (say AV if the original players are in WSG), and then join back to WSG when another instance of it opens up. Understand all that? Basically they're using the fact that a group leader can stay out of a BG to constantly enter and reenter battlegrounds until they're matched up with a nonpremade. Then it's honor farming time, and 3 captures later the process starts all over.

Now, I'd hate to be the tattletale on this, but I'd assume Blizzard knows about both of these "sploitz" (the first one isn't really an exploit in the strictest sense, but it is using an ingame function for a benefit it's not meant to confer). What players have done here is construct their own fixes for Blizzard's "bugs"-- there is no PVP matching system yet, so they've created their own (even though this system matches for the win, not for fairness). And there is no easy command out of the BGs (even /leavebg would be great and easy to implement), so players are using /afk.

Which begs the question: does Blizzard care about the battlegrounds as they are now? Or are they too focused on expansion PVP to fix these "flaws"? And if they are too focused, is that a bad thing? We already know the honor system will be scrapped, as well as the current LFG and most of the PVP system. Does Blizzard have a responsibility to fix what we have, or is it OK that this musical chairs of premades continues until expansion release?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Cheats, How-tos, Blizzard, PvP

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