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Linux Users Banned From World of Warcraft? 515

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the walking-the-fine-line dept.
Turmoyl writes "Many Cedega (formerly WINEX) users claim to have been mistakenly caught up in a security sweep of the U.S. game servers performed by Blizzard's World of Warcraft Game Master (GM) staff. Affected users received the same strongly-worded 'Notice of Account Closure' email messages that true bot users did, in which they were accused of the 'Use of Third Party Automation Software.' While diagnosis of this event continues early speculation points to Blizzard's use of the Warden anti-cheating spyware application that is bundled with World of Warcraft, and the odd things that may have been produced by it when it was run via Cedega. Emails to World of Warcraft's Account Administration staff continue to go unanswered while the list of affected people continues to grow."
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Linux Users Banned From World of Warcraft?

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @01:52PM (#16855104) Journal
    Well, I've talked with someone who does a lot of this sort of stuff and he explained to me that long ago when Blizzard first debuted WoW, it was an instant success. And there were many people that had developed scripts (duping, afk farming, etc) for games like Diablo that wanted to to do the same thing for WoW.

    The art of doing this successfully lies in knowing what addresses of memory that your client application is using to store data. You change these memory addresses & your client's state is altered. But there's some things you can't change because they're located on the server. Realistically, the client has to do some of the computation and storing itself (and with WoW being some huge multi-gigabyte client, there's a lot to investigate). Obvious, you want to reduce network traffic and give your servers a break so you design this to have minimal communication.

    The problem then becomes that users will write applications to modify the data & memory that their client applications are using. What results is signals sent back to the server which aren't true and give that user an advantage. Solution? Enter Warden to check these memory spaces and files for any potentially unauthorized changes (checksums, whatever method they want to use or seeing which threads are accessing that memory). And how do you protect Warden from it itself being hacked? You design it kind of like a root kit--that is the user shouldn't be able to alter or disable Warden & they lose the domain over that tiny bit of functionality of their hard drive.

    My guess is that before, they were checking if there were any known scripting or programs that were unauthorized and changing this data. And they were banning those and only those accounts. I fear that it now does a verification on the memory space, files & system registry to ensure that it is not being molested by another application or tweaked at all. I am guessing that they have changed the ban notice to ban whenever this verification stage fails and that Cedegra does not emulate Windows to the point of their verification satisfaction or to the point of Warden being able to query all other running applications. Worse yet, I fear they may look to integrate this with the WGA with Windows & some other means with Macs--though that is pure speculation on my part.

    The irony of it all? The fact that a talented programmer with burp or some other styled network tool and use linux on a routing box to intercept packets and change them to give him position hacks. Unfortunately, if you use this too much, I believe that random server side verification checks will eventually catch up with you but I can't say I've ever implemented this or been caught using it.

    Which brings me to one last point I'd like to make on this topic. I think that this cat n' mouse game of Blizzard versus the cheaters is good for AI. The last possible domain we have is people writing applications that extract data from video memory and use computer vision algorithms to write if-then-case bots. Yes, bots are bad but this is driving people to a corner where they essentially strive to pass the Turing Test ... after all, you don't want a GM messaging your bot as he sits idle doing his repetitive task, do you?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:02PM (#16855274)
      >doing his repetitive task

      I choose not to play games that hinge on this so much. Aside from the monthly fees, something like Oblivion's fast travel (or even console commands when the gates got boring) is the sign of a better game to me, instead of one which rewards behavior that can be currently emulated by a computer. It's not a job, it's a game!
      • How many games can't be played by a computer one some level?
        • by arth1 (260657)
          How many games can't be played by a computer one some level?

          Truth or dare? Twister?

          Anything that requires tactile interaction between people, although that may be coming too.

          Regards,
          --
          *Art
        • My "brilliant" idea: an MMO with a built in scripting language. See, it'd be all about coming up with algorithms and scripts to maximize lewt/experience levels.

          I think MMOs, most Racing Games (with the right track design and markers), and most RTSs could be played fairly easily (and extremely well) by a computer with the right program on it. Action games that require a lot of planning (like navigating the newer Prince of Persia landscapes), any Zelda title, or certain adventure games, not so much. T
        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:52PM (#16856202) Journal
          This article [informit.com] discusses how to design a game where a human has an intrinsic advantage over a computer player. (Forgot to press preview last time).
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by xenocide2 (231786)
            The ideas the article brings up is more a design of AI problem (and computer hardware) than a game design problem. Moving from local decision making to a coherent strategy isn't much of a win for humans. Pattern recognition, like believed to be helpful in Go, is making progress and I suspect something like Deep Blue's processor power applied there would probably make significant improvements over the best efforts made today.

            However, the place a computer is really at a disadvantage is predicting the behavior
          • by Jekler (626699) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @05:26PM (#16859328)

            One of the keys to avoiding cheats is that the game must be composed of mostly non-trivial, non-repetitive decisions.

            Almost every MMORPG is composed of completely trivial decisions. During a fight, at any given point in time there is a definite "right" decision to make, a definite order in which the character's abilities should be used, and a definite opponent that is optimal to attack. Buttering toast requires more difficult decisions than World of Warcraft has ever presented.

            Starsiege: Tribes never had a very successful bot created for it because the game requires the player to make decisions that a bot simply couldn't make quickly or predict accurately. In almost any scenario, there wasn't a dominant choice. You frequently had to choose among a range of equally attractive options, drawing only on past experience, intuitive knowledge of how physics works, and common sense about how people behave.

      • by Dunbal (464142)
        something like Oblivion's fast travel (or even console commands when the gates got boring) is the sign of a better game to me,

              As contrasted with the "do the same 6 quests to be allowed into the arcane university for every new character" part?
    • There are still better ways of catching cheaters.

      The old adage, "Never trust the client..." certainly applies here. The warden should run on the server, not the client. It should authenticate the client across the network.

      Granted, you don't want to saturate the network with every little move and detail of gameplay. But fortunately, you don't have to. There is only so much gameplay that a user can do in a given amount of time. The solution is to set a threshold for gameplay actions and client sta

      • by way2trivial (601132) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:50PM (#16856150) Homepage Journal
        My wife, it kills me, she'll grind through the same thing on D2:LOD 50 times an evening.

        I accuse her of being a bot- it's the most mechanical thing you've ever seen.

        she writes down many EXP points she got per baal run, then does it again,
        then does it again, then does it again, then does it again, then does it again, then does it again, then does it again, then does it again, then does it again, ad infinity..

        to a 'gamebandwidth' counter, that'll look VERY suspicious

        (BTW some of the repetions above I typed by hand, some I did by cut and paste- can you see where I switched to cut & paste above?---riiiight.....)
    • by keytoe (91531) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:59PM (#16856316) Homepage

      Your analysis falls down when you consider that there have been no reports of any Mac users being targeted by this. There is no Warden process or anything resembling a rootkit on my system when I start up the client. Just one process: World of Warcraft. I suppose they could just be excepting any client that reports as being run on a Mac, but if that were the case, all of the people working to hack the system would just switch to running on a Mac. I suspect there is a bit more to the method that they're using and have heard rumors of them using things like 'multiple logins to the same account from different IPs' and other indicators. Perhaps the linux emulators are doing something that trips one of these other detection mechanisms.

      I believe that for the most part Blizzard is handling the cheating by making the client as dumb as possible and not trusting it for anything other than 'requests'. The design philosophy is centered around the client 'asking' to do something and the server saying 'yes' or 'no'. There isn't a way for the client to say 'Put this character at position x,y', there is only a way for a client to request to move along a vector. The server then reports the current position back to the client. That doesn't mean that hacks haven't ever happened - but those have been cases of the server not strictly following this model and are subsequently patched.

      Of course, this doesn't stop anybody from writing their own client that allows them to automate the request process given they were good enough to spoof being a 'real' client to the server.

    • by crisco (4669) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:01PM (#16856352) Homepage
      There is a wonderful set of slides from the BlackHat 2006 that outline the escalating war between the bot writers and Blizzard's Warden, culminating in the proposal to write a rootkit to hide the bot's activities from Warden: http://www.rootkit.com/newsread.php?newsid=543 [rootkit.com] If Blizzard is now looking for rootkit like behavior, or looking for specific signs of an existing rootkit, Cedega / Linux may very well raise all sort of red flags.
    • by jrockway (229604) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:12PM (#16856562) Homepage Journal
      > And how do you protect Warden from it itself being hacked? You design it kind of like a root kit--that is the user shouldn't be able to alter or disable Warden & they lose the domain over that tiny bit of functionality of their hard drive.

      That's trivial to get around. Run it under VMWare or qemu. Now the control of the user's machine is back in the hands of the user. When will people understand that you can't control software that's not entirely in your own hands?

      Anyway, the solution to this problem of being banned is trivial. Chargeback. As soon as they start losing money and their credit card processor starts asking questions, they'll start addressing their customer's complaints. If chargebacks don't work, take Blizzard to small claims court. Even if you lose, they'll still waste time and money sending their lawyers to defend themselves. Eventually they'll get the idea.

      Summary: You own your computer, not Blizzard. Money talks, letters don't.
    • by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:38PM (#16857064)
      Which brings me to one last point I'd like to make on this topic. I think that this cat n' mouse game of Blizzard versus the cheaters is good for AI. The last possible domain we have is people writing applications that extract data from video memory and use computer vision algorithms to write if-then-case bots.

      Correct, in 10-20 or so odd years the technology maybe available that is undetectable nor traceable by any server to find if a person is an AI or human.

      Lets say in 15 years you have on computer with WoW2 installed on it.

      On a second one that isn't even hooked up to the network you simply take the VGA/DVI output to it and then OCR the text states and by able to recognize objects in the virtual world much like Stanley's robot car is able to recognize objects on the road.

      Then your AI could simply feed the other computer commands through a USB keyboard.

      If the WoW client had sufficient DRM and rootkit abilities then perhaps it could detect such a hardware setup.

      But even then perhaps if you had a robotic arm and a camera giving the input making it impossible for another program to detect an AI.

      Suffice to say... It will be something Blizzard or any other game company can defeat unless they require game players to physically come to game centers.

      Even then... How would you know if the player didn't have an AI chip implanted in his skull? ;)
  • Poor Users (Score:4, Insightful)

    by laffer1 (701823) <luke@@@foolishgames...com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @01:55PM (#16855164) Homepage Journal
    I do hope Blizzard will fix these users accounts. I don't currently play WoW on OSS platforms, but I plan on doing so in the future. It would be even better if they would make a Linux version of the game. Then again, I'd probably get caught "cheating" since I'd run it on BSD.

    I've seen this happen with PunkBuster checks in some games when you try to run then in another OS as well.
    • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@NOsPam.xoxy.net> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:20PM (#16855590) Homepage Journal
      I used to play WoW via Cedega, before I just decided I didn't have enough time for games entirely, and I think this is too bad. If they had stopped me from using Cedega, it would have been my subscription.

      Actually, using it via Cedega worked really well once you got it working. I can't say it was "better than Windows," because I've never run Windows on that hardware (at least, not as the bare-metal OS, only in VMs), but it was a lot better than I imagined it would be when I started messing around with it.

      I think there are quite a few people who only use Cedega because of WoW, so I expect that the Cedega people will fix stuff pretty quickly, if the Blizzard folks will even tell them what the problem is and what Cedega is doing that Warden doesn't like.

      I think it's going to get to the point where "anti-cheats" and "copy protection" are the major things tying games to the Windows platform, because they're fundamentally hard (if not impossible) to implement on a Free OS, because the user -- by design -- can basically modify whatever they want, run debuggers, memory editors, etc.
    • Re:Poor Users (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ajs (35943) <ajs.ajs@com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @04:15PM (#16857934) Homepage Journal
      I play WoW under wine (wine itself, not one of the commercial spin-offs) on Linux. I've never been banned. I've never gotten a note calling me a "bot".

      There is a long history of folks blaming wine for bannings in WoW, and I would wait to see exactly what happened here, before assuming that Blizzard has gone off the deep-end and started attacking those users who have clearly gone to great lengths to be able to run the game.

      PS: If you want to run WoW under Wine, here's what I did on my Fedora Core 5 system using an NVidia card with the binary NVidia drivers:
      • Started with this HOWTO for gentoo [gentoo-wiki.com]
      • Installed the stock FC5 (extras?) wine.
      • Built the patched version in my homedir as described in the HOWTO, but did not install it.
      • Installed Mozilla and the ActiveX extensions as described in the HOWTO.
      • Installed WoW from CD under wine as described.
      • Copied patch files from a Windows system, just to save download time.
      • Ran WoW, and allowed it to patch.
      • Tweaked sound settings as described.

      It now works fine. The only problems that I have are:
      • Sound pops from time to time when CPU is under load, especially if some other app competes for CPU against WoW. The suggested fixes on the HOWTO page failed to address this.
      • Some graphics glitches, mostly involving flashes in water that extends to the edge of the clip plane. This is mentioned in the HOWTO, I think, but there's no known fix for it that I'm aware of. Not a biggie for me.
      • Some key-combinations are not relinquished by the window manager even in non-windowed mode, and thus any WM-specific keys or mouse actions are not sent to the game. This is fixable, but I don't bother. I just avoid those keys, and I re-mapped the ones that I needed in the game.

      On the other hand the benifits are huge:
      • It's faster under Linux than it was under Windows, but not by much.
      • Switching from WoW to a desktop app is amazingly fast and painless. Major difference from Windows.
      • Applications that contend for memory and/or CPU while I'm playing don't appear to harm application performance nearly as much as under Windows, which given that this is both my game system and work-from-home-at-night system, is a major win.

      Overall, I love WoW under Linux. It's a joy compared to some made-for-linux games I've tried to run, and wine really seems to have come along.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I wrote a patch that mostly fix the sound popping issues, find it here [winehq.com]. Let me know if it works for you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @01:57PM (#16855204)
    Blizzard is about as customer-friendly as Sony.

    These guys really deserve being knocked down a notch or two. Unfortunately, with WoW being as popular as it is, there's not much chance of that happening for a few years yet.
    • by MeanderingMind (884641) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:20PM (#16855584) Homepage Journal
      Nintendo ignores any mail complaining that someone couldn't get Halo or God of War working on their Gamecube. The same applies here.

      Blizzard does not support Linux. It was great that some enterprising people got WoW working, but that doesn't mean you can complain when Blizzard does something that unintentionally breaks it.

      My experience has been that Blizzard is extremely customer friendly. I've had a number of issues resolved cocerning game glitches, account errors and more in a timely and respectful manner. Many people complain that "blue" doesn't respond enough in the forums. Given the huge amount of traffic there, and the additional traffic and focus any blue response gives a thread, it would be both impossible (time constraints) and unfair (any thread with a blue response implodes, leaving other worthy threads unread) to increase their interaction.

      When Blizzard releases an expansion for WoW which does nothing but raise the level cap by X and doesn't even feature new content but the promise of new content claiming "You'll buy it because it's WoW", when they discontinue the in game ticket system and shut down the forums, when they "have built a line of equity and we intend on spending it", then they will be about as customer-friendly as Sony. As it stands, I don't think you can claim that Blizzard's service is anywhere near as hellish as what SW:G and EQ players have had to deal with.
      • by Volante3192 (953645) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:30PM (#16855780)
        Blizzard does not support Linux. It was great that some enterprising people got WoW working, but that doesn't mean you can complain when Blizzard does something that unintentionally breaks it.

        They don't support it, fine. That's their prerogative. But there's a difference between breaking and banning. This is denial of a paid service when the customer was likely adhering to their end of the contract.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bigpat (158134)

        Blizzard does not support Linux. It was great that some enterprising people got WoW working, but that doesn't mean you can complain when Blizzard does something that unintentionally breaks it.


        Sure you can complain. Just means they don't legally have to do anything about it. But it is bad customer service not to listen to your customers whether they have to listen or not.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by sillybilly (668960)
          Soon the "Internet" won't support linux. I already keep getting complaints from my bank that my browser is not up to date, which it isnt - mozilla-1.8b1, I don't like Firefox, not feature rich enough, and Seamonkey is a downgrade in features/stability, plus it's not even supported, unlike Firefox. Yahoo video complains that I need flash 9 or 8 to play its videos, and if you go to the macromedia/adobe site, the latest version for linux was guess what? version 7. Then they recently decided to release version
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by technos (73414)
        Blizzard has been pretty decent to me.

        For a little while, Cedega and the WoW graphics options dialog weren't playing nice with each other. Every time you saved graphics options, WoW would crash, and your changes weren't saved.

        So I figure what the hell, I'll drop Blizzard support an email and ask them for a list of keys for Config.WTF. A couple days go by with no response. I figured I scared them by saying up front that I used Cedega to play WoW.

        Nope. Get a nice response four days later, 'Greetings! We don't
    • "We have been testing our security software with Cedega. Cedega was used and tested before the security procedures and during the security procedures. From this testing we have yielded no hits, meaning Cedega, by itself, does not incur an account suspension. We have accounts of several Cedega users who have been playing normally during the time that these processes are running. Again, these people are not being suspended simply because of using Cedega or Linux. We are in contact with the people at Cedega
  • by Reapman (740286) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @01:58PM (#16855206)
    I run WoW in Linux, I only have one box for Windows and I don't want to be sitting at my windows laptop when I have a nice dual head display setup on my workstation with a better video card. If they ban me then so be it, there's money back per month for me. Usually the Blizzard guys are pretty good, so a bit disappointed if this is the path they are wanting to go.
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:00PM (#16855252)
    ..... Then the terrorists win.
  • No Wai !! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EGSonikku (519478)
    You people have NOTHING to whine about. nada. zero. zip.

    You are using it on a non-supported platform. Deal with it.
    Blizzard has no responsibility to take how Cedega does things
    into account. You can whine all you want about it not being fair,
    or how you have some 'right' to play it on your Linux enabled
    toaster, but you don't.

    Blizzard makes the game for Windows. If you get it to work in
    Linux, power to you. But if it stops working, tough luck, it
    was never intended to work anyway. You may as well complain to
    Nin
    • by pslam (97660)
      You obviously have no idea what you're talking about and should not have commented.
      They may be running WoW on an unsupported platform, but they are NOT cheating, they are NOT doing anything against the terms and conditions and they now have their accounts (and their huge playing hours) terminated.
      But you can ignore all that and snipe at the people affected if you want. You can make up all sorts of crap if you ignore what's actually happening.
    • It would be wise to support Linux.

      I'm surprised at the number of subscribers that use Linux(Cedega) for WoW.

      If they feel comfortable having terrible public relations because they decided to BAN (not Warn) users about them breaking TOS policy then so be it.

      I'm a WoW(Windows) player, upset over something that doesn't affect me; Eve Online is right around the corner Blizzard.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zondar (32904)
        If (DevCost[Linux]+[Linux]+ ... [Linux]) + (SupportCost[Linux]) >> NewIncome[Linux]
        Then (LinuxDev) != Live.Project

        If it costs you more to build and support than the new revenue it creates, it's not worth it.
        • by Zondar (32904)
          Gotta love when SD misparses the post... I guess I can't put [Linux ] without leading/trailing spaces on the s
    • WoW, if I recall correctly was written on the Macintosh and that prior to the official release there was a Linux client. That was pulled prior to the official release of the game.
    • Re:No Wai !! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:18PM (#16855552) Journal
      No. People have every right to complain. Blizzard are behaving reprehensibly. They're banning a load of users and accusing them of cheating for no reason other than their decision not to use Windows.

      Their customers want to use Linux. If they are not going to take account of thios then they will be publicly criticised. The affected users have ewvery right to complain.
    • Re:No Wai !! (Score:5, Informative)

      by HermMunster (972336) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:29PM (#16855768)
      Blizzard has worked with the people at Cedega to make the product work properly. One known issue they helped the linux community with was when the mini map used to cause the screen to freak out. The Cedega team worked with the Blizzard developers to come up with the solution to the problem.

      Don't say that it isn't supported. No, officially it is not, but it is unofficially.

      As for him being modded as a troll--it would seem he is a troll. He is speaking out his arse without any knowledge nor history on the subject.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HermMunster (972336)
        Regarding comments on my post and the individual to whom I replied with my posts.

        The guy I commented on was highly uninformed and he made an negative comments about WoW gamers on Linux. In my opinion he's out of touch and he fails to exercise enough self-discipline regarding matters when he has no facts.

        I completely disagree that most people that comment on /. are uninformed posters. I read /. every day. Instead of him attacking WoW users on Linux some have attacked most people that post on /. His comme
    • Re:No Wai !! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis (315124) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @07:02PM (#16861070)
      You people have NOTHING to whine about. nada. zero. zip.

      You are using it on a non-supported platform. Deal with it.
      Blizzard has no responsibility to take how Cedega does things
      into account. You can whine all you want about it not being fair,
      or how you have some 'right' to play it on your Linux enabled
      toaster, but you don't.

      Blizzard makes the game for Windows. If you get it to work in
      Linux, power to you. But if it stops working, tough luck, it
      was never intended to work anyway. You may as well complain to
      Nintendo about the quality of Snes9x.

      You're missing the point.

      This isn't a problem with support. It isn't a matter of whether WoW.exe will run or not - it does run under WINE/Cedega. The issue is that Blizzard is closing game accounts. You can still run the program, you just can't log in to your account. Doesn't matter if you reformat and reload your machine with Windows or MacOS to appease Blizzard, you can still run the program, you still can't log in to your account. Worse, the account is being closed because of cheating. That's what it'll say in your account details - hacking/cheating. Not "didn't pay his bill", but "caught running cheat/hack program". Much harder (impossible?) to get such an account re-activated.

      My bank doesn't support Firefox on Linux for viewing my balance on-line. They have a list of supported browsers and operating systems and Firefox/Linux just isn't on it. Because of that I will not be surprised if I cannot view my balance on their website...I will not be surprised if the page renders incorrectly or isn't functional - it isn't a supported platform. That's fine. I'll go view my balance on an IE6/Windows machine instead. But I most certainly will complain if they close my bank account because I tried to view my balance with Firefox/Linux.
  • WoW & Ubuntu (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:02PM (#16855278)
    There's a Wine package for Ubuntu that fixes a couple of bugs associated with WoW. The howto can be found on the excellent Ubuntu wiki at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WorldofWarcraft [ubuntu.com] and details the instructions. It's pretty much a download the package and double click it, then run 'wine WoW.exe -opengl'. This ban rumor pops up periodically but I have yet to encounter any problems.
  • by Turmoyl (958221) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:02PM (#16855286)
    New information in the thread on the TransGaming forums linked in the original article shows that European Cedega users that play on European WoW servers are affected as well.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:02PM (#16855292) Homepage
    If cheating were to go on unabated, the WoW community would shift away to something else. They are trying to tend to their interests and I can't blame them.

    What should have happened? Well, for one, someone from the Cedega project who also uses WoW (chances are pretty good) should get into communication with the Blizzard people in order to work out any issues. Allowing people to use Linux while playing WoW is certainly in Blizzard's interest and since Cedega is doing the bulk of the work, I can't imagine why Blizzard wouldn't at least come to the table to work it out. Cutting users off is likely the side-effect of an automated process not seeing what it expects to see and not some assault on Linux users.
    • by Zondar (32904)
      Cheating is bad, I agree. What I *don't* agree with is their implementation of 'stopping cheaters'.

      Every cheat (except for client-side visual cheats) affects the server in some way. Want to find speed hackers? Do an x/y/z position check every so often and validate their distance covered against the max theoretical speed based on the character's current state (speed spells, travel form, etc).

      Nearly every cheat that isn't totally client side can be detected via some sort of sanity check on the server side. Bu
    • Allowing people to use Linux while playing WoW is certainly in Blizzard's interest

      Is it? How many people play WoW under Linux, anyways? I'm guessing not a whole lot. Compare the income from those few players to the time and resources it would take to figure out what the problem is, find a solution, test it, and deploy it. Dealing with the issue could very well end up in a loss of money.

      So, I'm not sure that it is in their best interests, at least on a purely financial basis. Maybe you should let BLizzard de

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mysidia (191772)

      Have you considered the possibility that someone using Cedega was found cheating in the game? Warden could have been updated to detect something unique about some users of Cedega, maybe a characteristic others don't have.

      Or perhaps in fact warden just flags some Cedega users as "possible cheaters" and some other criteria (like extroardinarily long times of login or activity) was used to classify the player as a probable bot -- maybe there was a manual review involved, and the person reviewing the "info

  • by Svartalf (2997) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:03PM (#16855312) Homepage
    For anyone that thinks Cedega's (or WINE, for that matter...) anything other than a good short-term solution to
    Linux gaming, all I need do is point them to this as a good example of why it's not so hot of an idea. And it's
    perfectly within Blizzard's rights to do this action- to the point of ignoring any contact with regards to this
    whole affair. Doesn't make it good for PR or customer relations, mind- but it's completely within their rights
    to do so. After all, they only support Windows on this title and don't have plans to provide support to other
    OS platforms. Again, which is their right.

    Native ports wouldn't have as many of these issues.

    As for the whole affair... It's Blizzard. They've apparently got a singular attitude about Linux users that
    started with the period around Starcraft forward. I wouldn't buy any title from them right now and for some
    while to come- you just don't treat customers or potential customers the way they seem wont to do.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lacota (695046)
      Just a slight inaccuracy in your above statement. You see, they also support macs, officially. Mac's are the last thing in the patch notes and the client is on every "windows" CD. (Its also available in the Apple store). I agree with you though. Its well within their rights to select which platforms the game can be played off of.
      • by Trelane (16124)
        Its well within their rights to select which platforms the game can be played off of.

        I would agree that it may be legal (due to copyright; IANAL), but not ethical. IMHO, you should be able to play it on whatever platform you can get it to play on. Don't expect support, but don't expect to be banned either.

    • by Trelane (16124)

      Thank the Lord that games are discretionary income. If Blizzard is gonna treat me like crap, I don't have to buy their game. I won't lose money or time or anything. There are plenty of other ways to waste my free time. For the record, "like crap" includes not making a native Linux client (which is why I bought NWN and not NWN2, OK Atari?).

      Well, unless it's entertaining enough and on the $10 shelf :)

    • by Quantam (870027)
      What's interesting is that in the leaked WoW alpha was something that looked like it might have been a Linux build of WoW. I haven't heard of anybody managing to get it running, though.
    • by SilentChris (452960) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:36PM (#16855900) Homepage
      As for the whole affair... It's Blizzard. They've apparently got a singular attitude about Linux users that
      started with the period around Starcraft forward. I wouldn't buy any title from them right now and for some
      while to come- you just don't treat customers or potential customers the way they seem wont to do.


      What you just said would make sense if they weren't RUNNING WOW ON LINUX SERVERS. Their database environment has been Oracle on Linux since the game was released.

      http://www.blizzard.com/jobopp/senior-oracle-datab ase-administrator.shtml [blizzard.com] (Granted, they're looking at HP's *nix right now, but that's probably because HP gave them a deal on blade servers).

      Blizzard has nothing against Linux users. Their main beef is with cheaters, and I'm sure these accounts will be reenabled. But some Linux users (incorrectly) jump to conclusions that they're being targeted.

      Their previous beef was about bnetd allowing people to play online without buying games. They could care less if people played the game on Linux, they just wanted to make sure people went through official servers and paid to play the game. Again, some Linux users jump to conclusions that Blizzard was targeting the Linux userbase in general.

      Poor assumptions make poor arguments. Incorrect assumptions make faulty ones. If you're assuming Blizzard hates Linux or Linux users, you're incorrect. They wouldn't be using the OS themselves if that was the case.
    • by Danathar (267989)
      Until there is a LEGAL impelentation of Direct3d on non MS platforms the chances of games like these being "ported" is next to nil.

      The Marketshare of non-Direct3d platforms in the PC area is not worth the $$$ and development effort in most large developers eyes.
  • No. (Score:3, Informative)

    by keyne9 (567528) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:11PM (#16855456)
    I use linux, and I was not banned. Could we calm the knee-jerk reactions just a bit?
  • by NekoXP (67564) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:12PM (#16855458) Homepage
    Once they get their heads around the next expansion why not start on a real Linux port? Linux is definitely growing in popularity. Blizzard could do well in mindshare alone by creating - even if it is just an authorized version to play through Cedega - a real Linux version, rather than having people run through a relatively unauthorized emulation system which can cause quirks with their weird anti-bot stuff.
    • At the very least they could form a partnership with Transgaming or the Crossover Folks where they'll reward them for every customer they provide them. So say Bliz throws $1-3 a mo to Transgaming for each client running cedega and in change Transgaming would provide the official Linux support and maybe pass on the discount to the customer (so if you're running WoW under transgaming you would pay only $2-3 a month vs $5).

      I don't see how that could really hurt them, Transgaming gets a secured revenue source
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zondar (32904)
        Because "providing support" isn't just a matter of answering tech support calls. It goes all the way to the heart of the development cycle. If there's money involved, I'm sure Transgaming is going to require that Blizz verifies that each build of the client actually works on (insert list here) particular build(s) of Linux distributions. I mean, would you go into an agreement to support a product where the manufacturer could release a totally broken client? No way.

        So now Blizz has to do testing for each clie
    • hmmm?

      I am curious. Whom do they support? Should they tell the user that they support WOW only on paticular brands of Linux? Or should tbey just throw Linux versions out there on "best of luck"?

      Sorry, but Linux is not gaining as much popularity and many of you believe. I think its along the same line of "everyone I know is quitting wow, soon they won't have anyone" type quotes.

      WOW works fine on Mac and Windows. Both of those platforms offer two things the Linux platform does not, support and consistency
  • by keyne9 (567528) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:15PM (#16855496)
    Drysc [worldofwarcraft.com] (Blizzard poster) confirmed that "[a]n operating system would not produce a false positive[...]." So, no. This does not appear to be targetting linux/alternate OSes.
  • Lets try some logic. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:19PM (#16855574)
    Windows users got banned. Linux users got banned. Not all Windows users got banned. Not all Linux users got banned. Could it be that the banned Linux users where doing somthing byond just using Linux?

    Naw, cant be.
    • by Rakarra (112805) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @04:16PM (#16857954)
      My theory is that on Fri Oct 27 Blizzard made a change serverside to their warden program. At that point every user using cedega had the game crash.. over and over until Transgaming fixed the issue. I have a feeling that during those Warden-related crashes (Blizzard reps have said that game crashes like that are often a symptom of bots and software that tries to hack the game) a number of accounts were incorrectly flagged.

      Two of my coworkers were banned. Again, no pirated or hacked software, no dodgy addons. These were innocents.

      A disturbing trend during this whole thing has been the attitude from those who weren't banned that if you were accused of something.. well, obviously you must be guilty of the accusation.

  • seriously, who cares?
    number of people who play Wow =small
    number of people who use linux = small
    number of people who use linux and play wow even smaller
    number of people who use linux TO PLAY wow = tiny
    number of people who use linux TO PLAY wow with cedega = absolutely tiny

    I doubt blizzard cares. Its a tiny number of customers who are trying to play wow on an unsupported platform. My SNES games dont work on my NES WAAAH!!

  • WoW (Score:2, Insightful)

    by certel (849946)
    People spend too much time on this game...
  • Sorry guys, but you need to pick a better alternative. You don't want to dual-boot Windows fine, but you might want to consider the cons of using a system with such low developer support. You may not like Apple for some reason or the other but Blizzard does developed its game for Mac OS X. I would rather wait [arstechnica.com] for Linux to be ported to Apple intel-based computers than for game developers to see value in porting games to Linux.
  • I'm a Linux user (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SQLz (564901) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:26PM (#16855700) Homepage Journal
    I boot to Windows to play because my first account was banned for no reason when I was using Winex. Luckily, it was banned before I even reached level 10, although it pissed me off I just started another account. Noone ever responsed to my emails or anything.
  • They should do it the right way, and go straight to the source.

    There's no substitute for a face-to-face [penny-arcade.com] with a dirty cheater.
  • by copponex (13876) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:27PM (#16855716) Homepage
    The Linux community has pushed up the expected release date of kernel 2.8 by two full years.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's probably for the better. Now they can go out in the sun and play (in real life).
  • To Blizzard. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If you aren't going to let us legitimately run the game under a Windows compatibility layer, would at least release the Linux binaries already? We know that they exist. Your programmers have told us as much.
  • I am amazed by the number of ways Blizzard can abuse their customers, and still have the #1 on-line game. How many people will have to cancel with them to get them to changes some of their harsher ways?
  • no answers (Score:2, Funny)

    by alexhard (778254)
    Emails to World of Warcraft's Account Administration staff continue to go unanswered

    How terribly surprising! After the amazing track record of Blizzards customer support, this is totaly unexpected!
  • Old news (Score:4, Funny)

    by crossmr (957846) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:42PM (#16856002) Journal
    I can remember this being talked about months ago, people were getting these letters and they were running WoW under wine.
    Slashdot at 11, we put a man on the moon.
  • by Rakarra (112805) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:46PM (#16856086)
    First, Blue Poster Drysc says that Linux shouldn't be an issue, when asked if the people were banned for playing under Linux:

    An operating system would not produce a false positive, no.

    As a final word to those here concerning their account being closed I can only recommend that you contact our Account Administration team by e-mailing wowaccountadmin@blizzard.com which is also included in the e-mail you should have received.

    ...

    As I said we take enormous steps to ensure that those we remove from the game are specifically and properly confirmed as being in violation of our rules and agreements before doing so. I still urge those of you who feel you have been wrongfully banned to contact our Account Administration team.

    Now, I have two co-workers who were banned who I know don't run bot clients, cheat programs, or anything of the sort. They do run cedega though.

    Some people have mentioned that they weren't playing on Linux at the time of the ban but that they were actually on Windows. This doesn't really matter though as the GMs and CMs have said that they don't ban clients as they are individually discovered but rather they build up a large list and weild the ban hammer at once. So, if you were banned it may not have been for actions you were taking at the time of the banning, but instead could have been for something that happened a month ago. My instinct is to blame the period around October 29 when Blizzard made a change to their warden on the server side and it caused all cedega clients to crash upon login. Two days later Transgaming released a fix, but I wonder if a number of clients were incorrectly flagged for those warden-related crashes.

    Also, if you were not banned it doesn't mean that your account hasn't been flagged, correctly or incorrectly.

  • by Rix (54095) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:18PM (#16856706)
    I played WoW under Cedega with no problems, and I confirmed with a GM that it was kosher. I suspect that most, if not all, of these bannings are legitimate. Cheaters don't usually break down and admit it when caught.
  • by keyne9 (567528) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @04:00PM (#16857588)
    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topi cId=47009071&pageNo=3&sid=1#40 [worldofwarcraft.com] http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topi cId=47009071&sid=1&pageNo=3#53 [worldofwarcraft.com] "We have been testing our security software with Cedega. Cedega was used and tested before the security procedures and during the security procedures. From this testing we have yielded no hits, meaning Cedega, by itself, does not incur an account suspension. We have accounts of several Cedega users who have been playing normally during the time that these processes are running. Again, these people are not being suspended simply because of using Cedega or Linux. We are in contact with the people at Cedega and following up with them regarding individual accounts. To answer the OP's question, no it is not against the ToS to use Linux or Cedega. We continue to monitor the situation to prevent cases of false positives and to rectify them if they do occur." - Tseric (Blizzard poster) Again, less knee-jerk reactions.
  • How in the heck... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChibiLZ (697816) * <john@nospam.easygoldguide.com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @05:15PM (#16859050) Homepage Journal
    How would running WoW under Cedega look like Glider or any other botting software? Maybe it's just Warden working funky, but something just seems very off here. It doesn't surprise me, Blizzard acting first and thinking later. If it's any consolation to those banned, you'll probably get your accounts back in a couple weeks...

    Might help to make a big stink about it in the meantime though.
  • by WallyGrump (848105) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @06:10PM (#16860116)
    This is the site where all the scammers are crying about their bans.
    http://forums.wowglider.com/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=16/ [wowglider.com]
    This is a program that automates warcraft. Blizzard can no doubt just cough up $25 and get themselves a copy. People on this slashdot aren't stupid. If blizzard had access to the program and warden has full access to the operating system then nothing can hide. If it tries to hide, blizzard can reverse engineer the thing and find how it hides. No false positives, no mixing up linux users - they can without doubt target such a program. No need for blizzard to seek out strange memory access or whatever - they can just go straight for the program.

    The thing is many people put years of work into their characters and have been caught cheating. Now they're trying to scam their way out of their problems - like theyve scammed their way through the game. Don't beleive these idiot posters.
  • by Azureflare (645778) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @06:30PM (#16860456)
    I remember back when I played WoW in Cedega on linux that if I played the game in fullscreen mode but put in managed mode and set the desktop to a value less than my desktop resolution, then World of Warcraft would essentially run in a windowed screen but think it was fullscreen. This was immensely useful if I wanted to read something while grinding for instance. However, I distinctly remember that if I held down the right click button while inside the game and didn't release it and moved my mouse really quickly to the side, the game would slow down immensely, and then send me back to the login screen. I believe something about how cedega sends signals to the client when it is in managed mode made the World of warcraft client freak out and think something weird was happening.

    Can anyone who got banned comment on this? Were you playing the game in managed mode rather than fullscreen in Cedega, or was it unmanaged and in fullscreen mode?
  • by Fizzlewhiff (256410) <jeffshannon@DEBI ... com minus distro> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @08:26PM (#16862274) Homepage
    Many players run under Linux and have not been banned. Many people who have been banned for botting claim they have not been botting. Very few people who get caught cheating ever admit to it. I have a hard time believing this story.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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