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World of Warcraft In the Axis of Evil 117

Kotaku is running a piece by Wagner James Au, discussing the place World of Warcraft has in 'The Axis of Evil'. From the article: "Then again, there's little reason to think the ban was enforced much at all. Veteran WoW players tell me they often raid with folks who say they are Coalition troops in Iraq who've cleverly hacked around military firewalls to log in. And while it's doubtful that anyone but Kim Jung-Il and his geek cronies could log into World of Warcraft from North Korea, there's still an embargo on Iran."
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World of Warcraft In the Axis of Evil

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  • ww2 (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What does WoW have to do with World War II?
    • Not WW2 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @08:11PM (#15250304) Journal
      You're thinking of the Axis Powers - []
      This is about the Axis of Evil - []

      Regardless, WoW should have nothing to do with either of them apart from legislation restricting export of certain goods, such as software, to countries to which the originating country holds an embargo - such as Iran.
      I had to look into that for the software developed at our country as well to see if we could sell to a potential customer in Iraq - and we could after it was 'liberated'.
      Fore more information, see:

      Supplement No. 2 to Part 774 - General Technology and Software Notes
      ( [] )

      Point 2:
      2. General Software Note. License Exception TSU (\"mass market\" software) is available to all destinations, except countries in Country Group E:1 of Supplement No. 1 to part 740 of the EAR, for release of software that is generally available to the public by being:

      Supplement No. 1 to part 740 of the EAR
      ( [] )

      E:1 Countries - Terrorist Supporting Countries
      Cuba, Iran, \"Korea, North\", Libya, Sudan, Syria
      • Cuba? (Score:2, Insightful)

        Since when is Cuba harbouring terrorists? Or is 'Communism" part of terrorism now?
        • Cuba has been embargo'ed since Castro rose to power. Cuba will continue to be embargo'ed until democracy is adopted and the current government is removed from power. You should know this by now, it has probably been that way longer then you have been on this earth.
          • Re:Cuba? (Score:2, Informative)

            by iocat ( 572367 )
            They'll continue being embargoed until they give back all the property of US companies and individuals they nationalized after Castro's rise to power.
            • Re:Cuba? (Score:1, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward
              They'll continue being embargoed until they give back all the property of US companies and individuals they nationalized after Castro's rise to power.

              So, when does the USA intend to give back all the property of the British Crown that they stole after the War of Independence?

              Oh, wait, I forgot. It's different for Americans. Americans are special, and the world should do as they say, not as they do.
              • Re:Cuba? (Score:4, Insightful)

                by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @06:03AM (#15252198)

                So, when does the USA intend to give back all the property of the British Crown that they stole after the War of Independence?

                As soon as Britain can take it by force, of course.

                Oh, wait, I forgot. It's different for Americans. Americans are special, and the world should do as they say, not as they do.

                Excatly. And the name of the difference is power. As long as the US is the strongest nation on Earth, it will keep on being the biggest bully as well. As soon as some other nation gets the power, they will become the bully as well.

                Why does the US, or any other country for that matter, still keep on talking about right, justice, democracy, or any such thing in their rethoric is beyond my understanding. No one believes it. International policy is not about those things, never has been, and likely never will be, and that's hardly a secret. It is about power, the acquisition and defense of it, at any cost. Talking about "Axis of Evil" or other such nonsense simply adds a touch of hypocrisy to it, it does not make it any less filthy affair.

                • Why does the US, or any other country for that matter, still keep on talking about right, justice, democracy, or any such thing in their rethoric is beyond my understanding.
                  This rhetoric is directed towards their own population. As you point out, populations of other countries will not believe it at all, and the better educated of their own population will not believe it either, but it is useful to gain the support of the less educated majority.
                • Why does the US, or any other country for that matter, still keep on talking about right, justice, democracy, or any such thing in their rethoric is beyond my understanding.

                  I have a hunch. Increasingly conflicts are won and lost not on the battlefield, but rather at home.

                  USA "lost" in Vietnam much more because of forces back home than they did because of anything that actually happened in Vietnam. If Bush is forced to withdraw from Irak or Afghanistan before he really wants to, this will very likely al

              • They gave up after the war of 1812.
              • Most of the land in the colonies was chartered out to companies, not owned directly by the crown. Second, treaties signed after the war of 1812 took care of the rest. But, third, you know, there's no law that requires two countries to be friends. If the UK and the US wanted to make up, that's their business. If the US wants to set conditions on its friendship with Cuba, that's its right as well. Considering the policy towards Cuba was instituted by a Democrat (Kennedy) and continued by all administrations s
            • Will then Cuba be returned back under Spanish influence, where it belonged before the Spanish-American war? The war that was launched under questionable pretenses, blamed on blowing up of USS Maine when there was no proof of the cause of the explosion (and the same maneuver with a slightly different flavor used some time later in the Gulf of Tonkin)? Double standard, anyone?
        • Re:Cuba? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @11:18PM (#15251150)
          Since when is Cuba harbouring terrorists?
          There's hundreds of them at GITMO.

          I can't understand the US attitude to Cuba - can't trade with them but renting space for a naval base is OK.

          • Re:Cuba? (Score:5, Funny)

            by DesireCampbell ( 923687 ) <> on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @11:57PM (#15251296) Homepage
            "I can't understand the US attitude to Cuba - can't trade with them but renting space for a naval base is OK"

            That's the only thing about US policy you don't understand? :p
          • I would imagine it is so we have a presence there in case they try any thing squirrly like back in the JFK days.
          • The agreement that allows the US use of the facilities at Guantanamo Bay predates the embargo.
          • I can't understand the US attitude to Cuba - can't trade with them but renting space for a naval base is OK.

            I think you're trying to be funny (and it would be funny if it was true). Currently, Cuba has refused to accept the "rent" of $5000 since 1960, so the US is there for free. The US took up occupation of the area at the end of the Spanish-American war, at which time the US controlled the entire country. After the war, the Cuban people eventually set up their own country which was friendly to the US. It
        • What? My god! Cuba trained and financed thousands of terrorists in the last decades. In the '60s and '70s many of those were fighting guerrila warfare in my country (Brazil) wishing to implement a proletariat dictatorship. And many others, including Che Guevara, were sent to lots of countries to help local terrorist movements.

          Nowadays, Cuba is giving lots of *direct* help to Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chavez and to Colombia's narco-guerrila terrorists of the FARCS. The Comunist Party of Cuba, together with B
          • Funny. I seem to remember Cuba signing and ratifying the twelve international counterterrorism conventions in 2001. I also seem to remember that the 'direct help' to Venezuela consists of thousands of trained doctors and medical professionals who are at this time living in slums to help venezuela. Venezuela paid for this courtesy in oil, of course, but that doesn't change the sacrifice those people are making.
            Fucker. Everything is terrorism these days, it seems. They're in 'talks' for potential terrorist a
          • Colombia's narco-guerrila terrorists, the FARCS

            That's the goofiest thing I've heard all week.
        • Hah, the US administration has been embargoing Cuba since just before Bay of Pigs, i.e. Kennedy.
          I think the idea originally was to make the people suffer in order to foster an anti-communism coup or revolution. Oh yeah, that's likely. The cubans who don't like it there come here, and most of the rest are happy.
        • This just in... Cuba harbouring tourists! Fear!
    • Since no one is making fine military strategy games involving lots and lots of hexagons, the tin-pot dictators of the world had to find a new playground to realize their dreams of military glory. Thus, WoW is now the "axis" of all evil.
  • by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @08:01PM (#15250263)
    Rule of thumb: Anything that allows you to "level up" is out to fuck you, take your money, or both. Examples: School, military, corporate hierarchy, catholic church, world of warcraft, scientology, etc.

    Now if you're both in the military and addicted to WoW then you're really in trouble. That's either the second or the fourth circle of hell, depending on how the maths work. Either way it isn't good.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @08:16PM (#15250333)
    But I kinda wouldn't like the Chinese players to vanish because their government cuts them off.

    Whether Vivendi will bow to Chinese requests, should they decide to demand it? Certainly. But they will enforce it only when there's positive proof that a player is Chinese, and only when someone requests it, they certainly won't waste resources to hunt them down. After all, it's money for them when someone plays. Actually, I'd guess they'd appreciate such a demand. After all, it allows them to ban an account, knowing well that the customer will buy another one.
    • Actually, China is more likely to just ask for personal information for a player, rather than ask for an outright ban. A mere ban isnt enough action on their part, and would require Blizzard to take steps to determine whether or not the player really is Chinese. Blizzard would be more likely to Yahoo! some personal information and get players arrested. This would also sit well with the Chinese government, who would rather personally exert control over thought and action.
      • This in turn would not necessarily be in Vivendi's interest. An arrested player won't buy a new account.

        Yahoo! doesn't have those problems. In fact, their services are free and the Chinese users won't buy anything advertised.

    • Eve Online [] is creating a chinese shard to cater to this group. I doubt it will stop the chinese macro miners, but it might. Especially if their country blocks access to Tranquility. I mean, yeah yeah freedom of speech, but they're driving down the price of omber.

      This will mean that Eve can no longer say they're only one server... but, still. 25,000+ people on the same server is nothing to sneeze at. Go invest in some RAMSAN's, blizard!

    • Here's a good tip if you get pissed off by Chinese players in WoW/UO or any other mmorpg:

      Set up a macro that spams: "Release Feng Yang! Freedom for Falun Gong! Democracy for Tibet!" and whatever else you think would set off the great firewall.
  • Most of the folks that claim they can do this are probably not part or a combat unit in a Marine Expeditionary Force but still have to be worried about getting blown up while waiting to log into WOW. If there is a chance that they could die tomorrow and they want to play WOW then let them play WOW. Dropping a dime on them on Slashdot does nothing but make it harder for them to do what they want when they want.
    • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @09:10PM (#15250598) Homepage Journal
      I do hope this doesn't come off as insensitive or anything, but for some reason I'd be dubious if faced with an online avatar of someone who claims to have hacked past a US Military firewall - that is, hacked past a US Military Firewall - to do something as bandwidth-sucking and most likely specifically not allowed as playing a damn MMO.

      I'd be happy to be proven wrong on this, as I'd love to think that even in a hellish war zone my fellow gamers can get their fix, but it just doesn't seem like something that would actually be allowed to happen all that much. And even if against all odds and logic it somehow did happen, I doubt said gamers would be bragging about their exploits in a damned text chat.

      The idea that people who are sitting comfortably at home playing a computer game may be fishing for some sort of street cred or sympathy by falsely claiming to be among those whose lives are being put on the line is completely disgusting on every level.

      • Remember where words like snafu come from man. The military.

        Presumably a few isolated parts of the military do have super-duper network security, but the vast majority of it isn't likely any harder to circumvent than your typical half-assed corporate firewall. Now I'm only basing this on anecdotes from my many friends and relatives that have been through the military, I don't know it from personal experience, but if half of what I've heard from sources I consider reliable is true, it would actually be a mir
        • Probably not the most PC thing to say about a tale of government data protection failure, but that really warms my heart. Thanks!
        • I don't buy it. Is anyone really dumb enough to risk the hellfire that getting caught hacking a military system would surely bring down just to play a video game?

          My guess is that it's either kids thinking that claiming they're in the military will make them seem cooler somehow (or kids who've got family in service and want to be "closer" in some strange way) or that it's military folks who are accessing the game from Internet cafes over there (I think they have some - there was a documentary about troops ov
          • by Xaositecte ( 897197 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @12:45AM (#15251429) Journal
            In Comm squadrons over here (Yes, I'm in Iraq this very moment) - we've got a network morale drive filled with games, movies, etc. - all of which our leadership doesn't mind us using so long as we don't have anything better to do at the moment.

            Communications jobs in the Air Force aren't exactly filled with tasks, so we've got a lot of free time to play around. Nobody here is a WoW addict to my knowledge, but it wouldn't be terribly difficult to pull off, and no-one would care even if they did.
            • by Anonymous Coward
              Sounds like like the ??AA needs to crack down on the US military!
              • That sounds like a good idea for a BF2 mod.

                ***The US military vs The XXaa mercenary squads***

                In the year 2012 the MPAA and RIAA grew frustrating with the US government's soft-on-crime attitude towards online piracy and decided to do something about it. Moving their headquarters to opulently furnished and well defended artificial islands in the Pacific ocean, the new self-proclaimed XXaa government declared the United States to be a rogue state supporting hordes of vicious, smelly pirates.

                The first volley of
            • Just to add, I have an Army friend in Iraq who tries to play WoW. While local LAN games are popular, he states that he has so much trouble with WoW (especially the Battlegrounds) because of his 8000 second ping. Yes, it would be excruciating to wait 8 seconds for Blizzard's servers to receive your command and then have to wait another 8 seconds to see the result back on your screen.

              There are some good days where he gets only a 4000 or 3000 (*Woot!*) ping, but WoW is pretty much unplayable for anything exce

      • The concept of a "U.S. Military Firewall" is not particularly intimidating. When I was stationed in the Gulf with the Air Force, the Communications squadron was using the same garbage as my 55-year-old mother - McAfee products, and not always with up-to-date patches. A friend in that unit informed me that such was common practice throughout the military in unsecured environments (such as a MWR tent with Internet access.)

        Hell, even the censoring of certain websites (,, and theo
        • Hell, even the censoring of certain websites (,, and are the only ones I can recall, but it's been a few years) was easy to circumvent for anyone clever enough to uncheck the "Proxy Server" setting in IE. I wonder if anyone ever bothered fixing that?

          I'm Comm in the Air Force, posting from a govt computer right now at work. Wonder no more, they did fix that. However there are plenty of proxy websites out there that let me surf all those sites that are blocked by our f

      • The flaw in your logic is that military firewalls are in large part administrated by military personnel. This isn't far from the truth: "Welcome to the Army. This is how you create an account. This is how you create an e-mail account. This is how you unlock someone's account after they type the wrong password. You've got the watch." The only saving grace, in my experience, is when the jobs happen to be staffed by computer/networking hobbiests. That's rarely the case, however, since your job is in lar
      • I happen to be in Iraq right now, Baghdad International Airport (Part of the 447th Communications Squadron) - and it's entirely believable. All you really have to do is call up tech control and, assuming you're on good terms with at least one guy there, ask for admin rights.

        It'd be especially easy for Comm guys since all our jobs are getting replaced by Civilian contractors now that it's more or less safe inside the base walls.

        Bastards get paid like $160,000 a year to do the same job I'm doing for ~$20,000
      • Take it easy. Soliders are people too. They circumvent the laws in harmless little ways, they get away with it, and life goes on, just like with the rest of us and our various jobs.

        This kind of thing is completely believable, the military has a huge proportion of gamers, especially miniature games like Warhammer 40,000.

        And what's the big deal with a firewall being military? I'm sure that at the level they're operating it's no different than the firewalls at use in corporations and universities. It's no
      • I'm /.ing from Iraq and this 'hacking' military firewall business is either speculation, heresay, or bragging. There isn't any reason/need to do this. There are MWR facilities with gaming centers and unfiltered internet access, as well as private ISPs here on the bases. To use the military's non-classified internet provider with a home computer with world or warcraft loaded alone would get you in a world of hurt, and that's before you decide to bypass thier security.
      • unlike the airforce which has bandwith to spare, there is absolutely no way anyone in the Army or Marine Corps is 'hacking military firewalls' to play. heck, if ther unit imo has half a brain cell, most troops wouldn't have the user permissions to be able to install the game in the first place. even if they did and the ports were somehow magically open on the firewall, the network IDS would catch and log the activity and that soldier would be up for displinary action. perhaps, some play from an AAFES or MW
  • by sentientbrendan ( 316150 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @09:06PM (#15250580)
    but only if you play a ghost. Only they can launched nuclear weapons.
  • by tangent3 ( 449222 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @10:05PM (#15250838)
    From 6506468/p1/?73 []

    Just got banned today after playing WOW because I am not currently in North America. Apparently Blizzard does not care about those who are stationed abroad in the Armed Forces and working for them. I purchased WOW in the Post Exchange in Seoul Korea on the Yongsan Army Base there, which is considered by law, U.S. Soil. I installed the game and created my account using my U.S. Credit Card from Delaware. My billing address was an APO, AP address which stands for Armed Forces Pacific, Army Postal. After playing the game for 3 months I got an email stating this:

    " Access to the World of Warcraft account BTOBEYONDER, and all World of Warcraft accounts associated with the payment information you have provided, has been permanently disabled. It is implicitly stated on the account creation page that: This account creation process is only available to customers in North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore. As a result, the account(s) will no longer be accessible in any way and will not be reopened under any circumstances. Thank you for your time and understanding in this matter.

    Account Administration
    Blizzard Entertainment "
    • Wow, if that's true, that's really a load of crap on their part.

      I'll be honest, I play WoW from time to time and thus maintain my account there (so my character doesn't get dumped), but Blizzard has really begun to grate on me. They're starting to become one of those organizations that I just feel vaguely dirty for associating with, much less paying a subscription fee to.

      I'd encourage anyone serving overseas at a military installation or embassy who's been given the shaft by Blizzard to publicize it as widely as you can; there's nothing that really inflames Ma and Pa Kettle like a corporation being dicks to troops overseas, and I could easily see an organization like Blizzard which is highly dependent on public opinion bowing to pressure and changing their policy in a hurry.
      • And point out Blizzard is owned by Vivendi. And Vivendi is French.

        Kinda wrong to use this tactic, so I won't endorse it. Just putting it out there.

        I unsubscribed, myself. I'll vote with my dollars elsewhere.
      • Man.. i lived without phones, internet, postoffice, a finance(read army bank), hospital, or any of that crap for over six months.. We didn't even have a taco bell! What kind of crap is that?!? Something needs to be done about this! We can't fight a war without our endless supplies of soft taco supremes! Not to mention every tent needs T1 line access.. at a minimum.

        On a more serious note.. my platoon collectively purchased our own satelite internet from some guy in the town we were living in. It was th
      • I play WoW from time to time and thus maintain my account there (so my character doesn't get dumped)

        You don't have to "maintain" your account, Blizzard will never delete your characters (at least under current policy), so you can go back at any time. I quit WoW for five months and all of my characters were just as i'd left them. I recently quit again and expect that if I ever want to go back to the horrible world of daily raids on MC/BWL/TAQ and eventually Naxx/Draenor, I could. But I don't plan on it. T

    • And when the guy contacted Blizzard informing them of his situation, they reinstated the account and credited him 4 days. There's nothing to see here, outside of an account being flagged due to location and registration IP address, all brought up, quite possibly by a guild split causing some people to be asshats and reporting him. No anti-military bias, just the usual issues which crop up when you have a massive customer base, and piles upon piles of complaints against people who threaten someone's e-peen
    • I purchased WOW in the Post Exchange in Seoul Korea on the Yongsan Army Base there, which is considered by law, U.S. Soil.

      does not conflict with

      This account creation process is only available to customers in North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.

      It is U.S. soil, but it is not in North America.

  • Typo (Score:2, Informative)

    by Oldsmobile ( 930596 )
    Correct romanization is "Kim Jong Il".
  • I bought Outrun Coast 2 Coast recently (great game), and in the license set-up screen for your character, you can pick your nationality. Ireland wasn't there, which wasn't a massive shock to me as there was only about 20 or so to choose from, but to my surprise there was.. North Korea! Are they having a laugh or what? I doubt there is even anyone WITH a PS2 in the whole country..

  • "Avatar Racism" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by panda ( 10044 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @10:26AM (#15253683) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I thought that the piece on avatar racism [] in Second Life that was linked to in the article was more interesting.
  • by mansa ( 94579 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @10:50AM (#15253876)
    You'd be amazed how many people play WoW, Counter-Strike, and a host of other network games in Iraq. The internet is such a big morale booster over there. Nearly every American base I've visited has free (govt. sponsored) Internet connections for troops that include web cams, microphones, and IMs. The pay Internet (AT&T Cyber Cafes) have everything else... pre-loaded games, cams, and access to many other things the govt. doesn't want to worry about. Everytime I went in there to download my e-mail (Yes! They had laptop cubes/ connections! ($5/hour)) there were no less than 5 people playing WoW.

    For those people that lived/worked on Iraqi bases the Internet connections there were pretty much unmonitored/unfiltered and allowed everything through.

    I also have to say I've seen Morale network drives too... When I was there last summer the music directory was 195gb and the movies and videos topped 300gb... this is on a NIPR military LAN too. I think the leadership looked the other way 'til the filesever blew up December. I don't know if it exists anymore.
    • I know that WoW and Counterstrike are hugely popular games, and thus, draw the crowds, but one would figure that living in a combat zone would drive a player twoards a less violent game, like Katamari or something like that (which I am sure was/is just as popular there as here). Not that those games are not fun, but escapisim being what it is and all...

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.