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Blizzard Unbans Linux World of Warcraft Players

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the panic-subsides-throughout-the-land dept.

300

An anonymous reader writes "World of Warcraft players using Cedega (the Linux-based Windows emulator) had their bans lifted after an investigation by Blizzard in cooperation with the Cedega development team revealed that the bans were in fact made in error."

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Gotta give 'em credit (5, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952334)

The response was a lot more classy than some companies would have done (*coughSonycough*)

Apology AND free play time (5, Informative)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952586)

The summary also failed to mention that the people who were blocked got 20 days free play time - 2 weeks more than the time they were blocked. Basically, compensation for time lost plus some insane interest. They got some flak for this initially, but now, not so long after the incident in question, they admit to being wrong, reimburse those wronged, and told us they worked with the Cedega folks to get this resolved, thus supporting the Linux community. I don't see that they could have handled this much better after the initial screw-up, and with that last bit, they now come off smelling like roses (or at least a lot less like shit) to a majority of the /. community. Well played, Bliz, and bravo.

Re:Apology AND free play time (0, Offtopic)

r00b (923145) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953170)

If they released a linux client this wouldn't have been a problem in the first place.

Off-topic and I don't care (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953526)

There is no mod option "-1: Disagree" for a reason. "Overrated" is not an acceptable substitute. Post something instead.

Best ... Slashdot ... sig ... EVER

Re:Apology AND free play time (4, Insightful)

GoMMiX (748510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953630)

Yeah, a little credit for doing the right thing - but look at what it took for Blizzard to admit it was wrong. How many other people are wrongfully banned and Blizzard won't fess to it?

I've seen a multitude of people post on the forums saying they were banned as a Linux user and then posted the confirmation from Blizzard that they *re-investigated* it and confirmed they were using a 3rd party bot program.

If it were not for the overwhelming support of the Linux community I have no doubt there would be no admission and all of those people would be banned.

I hate bots in WoW as much as anyone, but Blizzard needs to WARN people that a 3rd party program is running on their system. WARN them. Every time it's detected.

Imagine when someone makes a virus/spyware/malware/whatever that runs as a process with the sole intent of appearing to be a bot to WoW. It most certainly would not be the first time someone did something for the sole purpose of being malicious and causing innocent web users/gamers harm.

Blizzard needs to do something to make it's customers feel safe - I sure as heck don't. Every time I get in game I do my best to close out ALL my running processes - IM's, VoIP, AV, et al - for fear one of them might do something to cause Blizzard to flag me as a cheater.

Why would a company treat it's customers like that?

Re:Apology AND free play time (2, Insightful)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954038)

While I agree that they need to have some system in place to inform users that they may have some kind of bot running so as to avoid false positives like this, I also think that if they were softer on their anti-bot and anti-cheating measures then we might have an even worse situation. I don't advocate this kind of approach in real life, but as far as WoW is concerned, I think it works out alright, since Bliz seems to be going about it in a pretty fair and even-handed way. I mean, as it stands now, its either deal with a game made impossible by cheaters and a lax anti-cheating program, or occasionally get false positives from a largely-automated system that suspends your account for a time and which, if you are determined later to have been tossed out unfairly (by a fairly responsive review team, it seems), you get reinstated and compensated for lost time. Neither solution is ideal, but I think I'd take the latter over the former, as it keeps the game playable and inconveniences the fewest number of people (although those inconvenienced are, admittedly, affected worse). Again, having a system in place to warn users that it appears that they are running a bot would be a great addition to that system for fairness's sake (although it would also give those trying to circumvent the anti-cheating system a red-light/green-light system as to whether or not their cheats are up to date).

Re:Apology AND free play time (2, Insightful)

GoMMiX (748510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954324)

I read your rational for taking "the latter", however - that's an easy stance to take until you are one of the latter.

Don't be fooled, just because Blizzard reinstated those accounts using Linux doesn't mean it reinstated all accounts that were wrongfully banned. This is an extreme rarity, and I sincerely doubt anything would have been admitted by Blizzard were it not for the overwhelming support from the Linux community.

I mean, really - if you were wrongfully banned and Blizzard *re-investigated* your case and confirmed you were a cheater - even though you know you were not - and the ban stayed, do you think you would feel the same way about taking the latter? Not if it were someone else, if it were YOU?

Re:Apology AND free play time (2, Insightful)

Jahz (831343) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954176)

Do you think warnings are a good deterant for something like cheating in WoW? Would you be hestant to cheat if you knew that getting caught would just result in a series of warnings? Blizzards tough, zero tolerance stance on cheating is the primary reason the game is still fairly pure. Sure some small number of people have and will always try to cheat, but the risks are huge... when you play for 1-2,000 hours a year (as many do), you DON'T risk a ban.

As for closing IM, VoIP and other programs: better safe than sorry. Though, its really unlikely that any third-party program that is NOT a wow cheat program will cause a problem. From what I understand, the game scans memory to see if unauthorized programs are reading/writing WoW's memory space. So just the mere fact that Blizzard has put such fear into you regarding cheating means that their system is working :-)

Re:Apology AND free play time (1)

feardiagh (608834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954052)

The one thing I think they could have done better is to have made a statement that they were starting an investigation in the first place. This could have at least let the people who were effected know that there was a chance they would be getting their accounts back. Other than that, yes, they did a very good job of handling this.

Next step (2, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954144)

they worked with the Cedega folks to get this resolved, thus supporting the Linux community

Yeah, now the next step is to release a native Linux version of the game. After all, it must be portable code since it runs on Mac OS already...

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (1)

jellie (949898) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952602)

But it's still disturbing how PR departments always try to downplay incidents (with phrases like "a very small percentage of those accounts", "a rigorous and thorough review".) Granted, it is a nice gesture, but a 20-day credit is nothing to Blizzard anyway. I'm sure that if they offered longer free trials, they could get more users to play the game and eventually pay for it.

And as for that other company... they always seem to amaze me with new ways to piss off their customers.

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954168)

I'm not a gamer, but I really got the same impression when it started and the "final resolution" definitely pegged my "weasel-meter" and I was thinking "those weasels are only going to give them a month rather than a year" then I got to the bottom and saw two weeks! Two weeks free to compensate for defamation and libel, give me a break; most the gamers I know would be on the verge of going postal for being called a cheater. Two weeks is an insult and much more likely to be viewed as provocative rather than compensatory.

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (4, Informative)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952644)

It was said from the getgo (by me and many other people) that Blizzard would retract the bans. Many negative things can be said about Blizzard: they take forever to make changes, most of their games are evolutionary not revolutionary (although they're fun and have a lot of polish). The one thing that no one questions: Blizzard takes the relationship with their fans very seriously.

It was pretty much a few people overreacting. As also has been said, Blizzard uses Linux to run World of Warcraft (http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=206732& cid=16855900). So saying this was a targeted affront against Linux users (instead of a targeted affront against cheaters) was misguided.

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953142)

Exactly, Blizzard is a smart company, they do not want to tick of these users as well as create a bad name amongst geeks (if they had not done anythign about these accoutns there would have been a good number of poeple that are suddenly warry about Bilz's policys).

Meh, Blizz is one of the companies I consider myself a fanboy of (as far back as the wonderful games that are the lost vikings games, who you can find in ULDA btw), so this is no big shock to me.

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (5, Interesting)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953284)

...most of their games are evolutionary not revolutionary (although they're fun and have a lot of polish)

This, in my opinion, is one of the reasons Blizzard enjoys such great success. They may not be very inventive when it comes to new concepts for games, but they will take existing concepts and run the hell out of them. Their games aren't always the best examples of what can be done, but they're always great examples of what should be done.

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (1)

Mike Savior (802573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953812)

Games should be franchised, doomed to be rehashed over and over again until everyone except the die hards are the last men standing? Blizzard may have a great relationship with their customers, I won't argue that. But they're like EA for fantasy games.

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954254)

Well, the other side of that coin is that they are a business, and thus their goal is to make money. They are making their money (and a hell of a lot of it, to boot) by making games that provide a lot of enjoyment to those who play them. I feel that the money I give to Bliz for playing their games is well spent, so I can't begrudge them that. Again, they may be rehashing games and concepts that have been done before, but few, if any, other gaming companies do so as well as Blizzard, and thus the reason why we keep paying for whatever they put out next. Beyond the good customer relations, it can be boiled down to simple economics - supply and demand. They're providing a supply of superior quality, and thus, demand increases.

Sony's never banned for playing under Linux (0, Flamebait)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953008)

And my friends and I have been playing EQ since 2001.

And on the flipside (my wife plays WoW) ... they still have downtime problems to this day. Even on medium pop servers. Just last week she was getting disconnected every 30 seconds. She put up with it for 15 times and then gave up in frusturation. Meanwhile my trader in Everquest never disconnected...

Re:Sony's never banned for playing under Linux (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953086)

With the Playstation on the market now, people have to come up with reasons to bash Sony, even if it is completely off the wall.

Re:Sony's never banned for playing under Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953130)

Well, I think the bandwidth costs for the five people that play Everquest is a lot less than the people that play World of Warcraft...

Re:Sony's never banned for playing under Linux (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953846)

Funny, I havn't been DC'ed from my high pop server in a few weeks. Isn't anecdotal evidence wonderful?

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (1)

throx (42621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953298)

Sony (at least SoE) doesn't have a "warden" process snooping around your computer looking for third party programs. They polled the user base about 5 years ago on this idea and got a resounding "f'off" response, so have never gone back to trying to monitor the other programs running on your PC at the time.

I don't get how Blizzard is the "good guys" for apologizing when their own snoop program returned a false positive, when they remain completely unrepentant for the fact their process deliberately fishes around the PC for things that may be totally unrelated to the game. That's not classy - that's just apologizing for getting caught.

Of course, if you meant Sony's rootkit fiasco then at least Sony recalled the rootkit. Blizzard is still running the warden last I looked.

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (2, Interesting)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954080)

a lot of games also use what i think is a rather similar thing (not sure about specifics, but the entire concept seems nearly identical) called Gameguard, made by INCA.

Re:Gotta give 'em credit (1)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953752)

Sony's not the only one [penny-arcade.com] .

Well, that's good. (5, Insightful)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952398)

It's good to see Blizzard actually take the time to investigate their mistake and make things right.

I understand based on market share vs. time to develop why Blizzard doesn't have a linux client, but considering that they've got an OSX client I can't imagine the hurdles for porting are that high.

Re:Well, that's good. (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952452)

I understand based on market share vs. time to develop why Blizzard doesn't have a linux client, but considering that they've got an OSX client I can't imagine the hurdles for porting are that high.
Especially since there was supposedly a Linux client on the Beta CD.

Re:Well, that's good. (5, Interesting)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952816)

That they did. Well, no. It was distributed in an early beta over FilePlanet.


$ for a in *; do sha1sum $a; done;
c9affeeaff43d565513c1240c37d51efb61c0ff9 WowClient
dc288d9f7c88c1b0287387c3bb506ef30fd62b1f libSDL-1.3.so.0
a9178bcd629e3db58d9ca565ee75c0ce85373f70 libexpat.so.0
3c457e00bdbd4f39b547ff9ac8f67a76c7eb4a1d libfmod-3.72.so
dd1f45ca3466b2c77e738b54f7b55e858754181e libfreetype.so.6
56e16ad086c592848d1d53f0b4db2570bb60041e libgcc_s.so.1
3c137e3f7e29223f6535e8b61fabcfdb2340bca3 libstdc++.so.5
c8fae34ab919251d0af382f5557ca70ee9c143bf libz.so.1
a8de29b62f05a71b0fa3761f0441c29081e31cc0 uninstall
8a5670bbc67b6cb72805afdf28bc0c69fc573a3a uninstall.bin
cdd47ffc29bc129da0521da5b98a1af23bbb5f4c wow


I've got the binaries, libraries, and even shell scripts to start it around. No joke.

They have a functional WoW Linux client. I have no doubt of that.

They didn't ship it due to legal reasons.

#!/bin/sh
#
# Run World of Warcraft

# Function to find the real directory a program resides in.
FindPath()
{
fullpath="`echo $1 | grep /`"
if [ "$fullpath" = "" ]; then
oIFS="$IFS"
IFS=:
for path in $PATH
do if [ -x "$path/$1" ]; then
if [ "$path" = "" ]; then
path="."
fi
fullpath="$path/$1"
break
fi
done
IFS="$oIFS"
fi
if [ "$fullpath" = "" ]; then
fullpath="$1"
fi
# Is the awk/ls magic portable?
if [ -L "$fullpath" ]; then
fullpath=`ls -l "$fullpath" | awk '{ ORS=" "; i = 11; while ( i fi
dirname "$fullpath"
}

# Unfortunate hack until we figure out why TLS glibc breaks us
if [ -d /lib/tls ]; then
LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.4.19
export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL
fi

cd "`FindPath \"$0\"`"
LD_LIBRARY_PATH="`pwd`/lib" exec ./WowClient $*
Apparently, "Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 20.9)." Not that I'm surprised, after posting a bit of bash script. Even after adding that line, it's still not enough!

Huh, I'm up to 23.3 and even then that's still not enough. More meaningless text, just to bump it up a tad bit. I should probably drop the punctuation, but hey, oh well. It seems that even 24.5 isn't enough for it... how about 25? Maybe? Please? Okay, more than twenty-five. Time for copy/paste of random text to bump it up. * Please try to keep posts on topic. * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. * Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) I understand based on market share vs. time to develop why Blizzard doesn't have a linux client, but considering that they've got an OSX client I can't imagine the hurdles for porting are that high.

Re:Well, that's good. (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953226)

Wow. This is awesome. Do you know exactly what the "legal reasons" are? I'd sign up again just to support them, if they released it.

Re:Well, that's good. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953676)

It was not legal reasons alone that stopped them. It also has to do with the added support measures that they would need to take on that prevented it. It doesn't matter too much anyway given there are ways to run it well without being a native binary.

And since they've done this they have (yet again) explained to the Linux users that they aren't intentionally being banned. Blizzard will know what to look for now before closing accounts.

Re:Well, that's good. (2, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954228)

They didn't ship it due to legal reasons.

Could you be more specific?

Re:Well, that's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953866)

They had a functional Linux client for most of the alpha. Worked great.

It was dropped about the time of the beta, but still in the build process for the first build or two.

As far as I know, though, it was never brought up to date with the retail version, it was dropped early, and it was really only a side project of one of the programmers anyways.

I've heard a couple different stories, but the one that sounded the most likely to me was that it was dropped for a user to support ratio, given Blizzard's commitment to do in-house support and not release unsupported games.

Re:Well, that's good. (1)

Xordan (943619) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952532)

Well there's little reason for them to make a linux client while there's Cedega (and wine too). It's nice to see that Blizzard don't 'hate linux' as some people claimed, and show that they do care about their users. It's been what? 6 days since the ban, all of which have been credited back to the user, plus they gave another 2 weeks credit which they didn't have to do. Way to go Blizzard!

Re:Well, that's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16952708)

There is already a native linux client.

Re:Well, that's good. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952546)

Its not a question of technical hurdles, but rather of return on investment and support costs.

Re:Well, that's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953078)

Argh. Return on investment huh? Well I guess Blizzard is automatically in the hole because they would not release their linux client; which has been proven to exist. In reality, they developed a linux client and the return on investment did not matter. Support was going to be handled by LGP. Something tells me that this so called cost did not matter, and that they just decided to be arrogant and not release a final version of the linux client. Cost did not matter to them, here, even after all, when they are making 1 billion a year.

Re:Well, that's good. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953678)

"Argh. Return on investment huh? Well I guess Blizzard is automatically in the hole because they would not release their linux client; which has been proven to exist. In reality, they developed a linux client and the return on investment did not matter. Support was going to be handled by LGP. Something tells me that this so called cost did not matter, and that they just decided to be arrogant and not release a final version of the linux client. Cost did not matter to them, here, even after all, when they are making 1 billion a year."

No, they had a beta build of the client at one point. And your mistaken if you think the cost of development is the only expense in releaseing a comercial software product.

Re:Well, that's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954212)

If you're trying to talk about linux support, blizzard's WoW already has it made. They charge $15/month for every account. Unless you somehow think that linux support requires disapportionately far more of their 1 billion dollar grossing a year. Considering no company pays to have linux side support besides LGP, and even if they did release it without support, it is either a matter of arrogance or incompetance that they did not release it.

As far as return on investment, they've already wasted their linux programmers' time by not using the linux client code. If anything, this part of the argument proves that it is their fault if they are in the hole already.

Re:Well, that's good. (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952704)

Wow originally had a Linux client. It was dumped during beta. They still run the servers on Linux, however (http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=206732& cid=16855900).

The reason: Linux is hell to support (1)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953140)

I imagine that the OSX version is OpenGL. If that's the case, then most of the work to make the graphical portion of the game on Linux is already done.

But Linux is just impossible to support (too many distros, too many configurations, too many kernel versions, too many GUI environments, too many ways to fuck up, etc).

That's why Linux is great if you're in the business of selling support for Linux.

But Blizzard doesn't do that. They sell a "finished" product and hope for no support at all.

Re:The reason: Linux is hell to support (2, Informative)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953360)

But Linux is just impossible to support (too many distros, too many configurations, too many kernel versions, too many GUI environments, too many ways to fuck up, etc).

That's funny I seem to remeber a version of Unreal Tournament (2004 maybe) released a linux version along with the windows DVD's.

Re:The reason: Linux is hell to support (1)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954338)

Not according to this: http://www.unrealtournament.com/ut2004/specs.html [unrealtournament.com]

If it's included, does it work right out of the box or do you have to go through all kinds of hoops to get it working?

If so, would that be good enough for the Blizzard experience?

Did Unreal Tournament 2004 sell almost 7 million copies to all kinds of demographics like World of Warcraft?

Does Unreal Tournament charge $15 a month for a service that works as perfectly as possible, as a business model?

Re:Well, that's good. (0, Troll)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953382)

i suppose it is because most linux desktop users do not like paying for things. Wow is not going to be free so there is no point in a linux version.

Re:Well, that's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954332)

Let me correct that for you:

most desktop users do not like paying for things.

Re:Well, that's good. (1)

iroll (717924) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954084)

Apple also bends over bass-ackwards for Blizzard too, at least as far as they do for anybody else. There have been a grip of driver updates for OS X to tweak WoW performance.

But they were cheating! (-1, Troll)

Harik (4023) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952442)

I would also like to say 'Eat shit' to all the bandwagoneers who said HURR THEY MUST HAVE BEEN CHEATING BIZZRD IS NEVAR WRONG!!!

Even though I can't stand WoW, I can't stand shameless corporate shills either. So it's a tossup. In this case, they were both wrong, so it's a win/win situation for me.

Re:But they were cheating! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953042)

I would also like to say "eat shit" to all the hateeverybodyers who said, "Even though I can't stand WoW, I can't stand shameless corporate shills either. So it's a tossup. In this case, they were both wrong, so it's a win/win situation for me."

In other news... (4, Funny)

copponex (13876) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952448)

The linux community reversed it's announcement last week concerning the early release of 2.6. Now they have pushed back the release date by three years, and possibly four depending on "how awesome the Blood Elf race is."

Amazing... (3, Interesting)

Vrallis (33290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952454)

It's amazing to see Blizzard actually re-instate these accounts, and I'm damned glad they did. I've been avoiding trying to get WoW going under Cedega lately due to the looming threat of Warden and how people thought it was react to Cedega.

This certainly isn't the first time they've mass banned people due to "mistakes" in their detection programs. Almost my entire guild was banned last year when one of their programs to check for cascaded raid timers was set for 7 days instead of 6; even then it would have been wrong due to Blizzard resetting all raid timers during a patch the week before. After raising a stink on the forums plus a number of calls to Blizzard, they reversed all our bans with a measly 24 hour credit.

Re:Amazing... (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953956)

It's amazing to see Blizzard actually re-instate these accounts, and I'm damned glad they did.

I agree - I'm shocked. The language they use in their account banning messages is rather severe:

...this account has been closed and will not be reopened under any circumstances

How do I know? I was (un)fortunate enough to receive an arbitrary banning in the past few weeks. Why the "un" in parentheses? Well, the quasi-amusing thing is that I hadn't actually logged in for a few weeks and was seriously contemplating putting the game down for good. While I could try and raise a stink to get it reactivated now (I'm still clueless as to why it happened other than luck of the draw :P), I think I'm going to take the hint and just not look back. This latest move of their is certainly kudos worthy, but it is also completely _uncharacteristic_ of the way they typically seem to behave, and I'm glad I wont be giving them anymore of my money (though, they may not really notice).

As a sidenote, Travian [travian.com] is my new timekiller - MMO strategy goodness and free to boot. I also don't think they'll ban you for using linux since it's browser based :)

Great News (5, Funny)

CalSolt (999365) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952460)

Finally, we can sleep at night knowing that the 15 people who play WoW on Linux can once again have their freedom.

Re:Great News (1)

HoldenManiaC (1028188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952746)

lol....try about 700 players..lol

Re:Great News (2, Insightful)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952886)

Who needs sleep [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Great News (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953420)

Funny as this may come across, that's more than a joke.

First of all, it shows that a big player in the game biz takes its Linux clients serious. I think you can call the company running the biggest MMORPG a big player. They could've shrugged it off, they have millions of subscribers, why would those 15 (even if it were 100) matter? Bad press? Sure, on /. and other geek pages.

But is WoW a geek game? I mean, sure, a lot of geek prolly play it. But the "masses" of players are far from any kind of geekdom.

I do think it's an important signal that Blizzard/Vivendi investigated it and reimbused the people who 'dare' to play under Linux. It's a powerful statement, not so much that Blizzard cares. Ok, they may or may not, but that's not what's important here.

What's important is that this could well have been the signal that you cannot play 'sensibly' under Linux. Even if it runs, you run the risk of being suspended. That playing on Linux is inherently carrying a risk of breaking some ToA.

This is the importance of that decision. Not whether a tiny minority of WoW players can play their game, but that a game company considers Linux gamers an important customer segment, even if they don't create a Linux game client due to a rather small market.

Good news for gold farmers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16952478)

1) Run Cedega
2) Run your new Linux bot
3)
4) Profit!

Good resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16952488)

In consideration of our error, we are applying a credit of two weeks play time
onto your account, in addition to crediting back the time that your account was locked. This comes to a total of twenty (2O) days credit, which should be visible on your account within the end of the week.


I'm not a WoW player, but to me this seems pretty fair. Kudos to Blizzard.

Game Police (-1, Troll)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952508)

First they ban gays, have massive amounts of downtime, now they ban Linux users? Are they deliberately trying to erode their game base? Everytime I read about this game it's usually something bad.

Re:Game Police (2, Informative)

Usekh (557680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952974)

"Ban gays"? please. They did nothing of the sort. I know this is an on-line forum, but it isn't Fox News. A little restaint on the hyperbole please. And yeah, just up to 7 million players. They are really eroding that player base.

Re:Game Police (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953196)

Yes banning gays. They did not allow gay guilds and even posted public policy on this including banning players. For someone who plays the game, you don't seem to know much about it. And at 7 million players, is it ok to indiscriminately piss people off? Would it be ok if I had an OS and decided to just start disabling peoples computers because I didn't like the way they were using them?? Why does having more subscribers make their actions morally justifiable?

Re:Game Police (1)

Usekh (557680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953308)

Actualy I know rather more than you it seems. Re-read what actualy happened carefully then get back to me. No-one was banned simply for being gay. But nice bit of slander there. Or is it libel when it is in print?

Re:Game Police (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953804)

Nice. Claim to know more but remain vague. In other words, you are unfamiliar with the incident but want to deny it anyway.

Re:Game Police (1)

GoMMiX (748510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954004)

Odd, as I recall several people for recruiting as an openly gay guild. As I recall, their reasoning was that sexual orientation was not something that should be a part of WoW, or rather - as it was put, I believe; "Contrary to the essence of World of Warcraft."

And I believe it was a forum ban, not an account ban. They were *warned* in game, banned on forums.

Personally, I agreed with Blizzard on that one - sexual orientation should not be part of the game - and certainly not advertised in chat channels and on forums - youngsters play this game and can be influenced by that type of IRL stuff.

Besides, what would a guild full of nothing but Paladins be able to do anyway?

Re:Game Police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953332)

If they had only made them all factions PVP, it would not have been a big deal at all.

Linux not working on the desktop (3, Interesting)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952512)

Its amazing that this hasnt happened more often. I would imagine that running a "Windows Game" on linux isnt in violation of most EULA's that come with todays games. Of course, it would seem pointless to alienate a customer base that solves this technical problem on their own (without having to spend time and money porting your product to another platform), but stranger things have happened. I wonder if it would be legal to revoke someones liscence or CD-KEY for playing a game developed and liscenced for Windows on a Linux platform (therefore violating the EULA)?

potential modification (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952832)

The trouble with things like this is that it potentially can be used for hard to spot hacks. Usually it's not to hard to scan for known hacking problems but when you introduce vmware/emulators/interpreters it gets complicated. if an simulated windows envoironment is isolated from the Linux side of things, potentially you could run a memory altering program in linux that effects the game without it being visible in the windows part.

Blizzard probably allowed it because such a tiny percentage use linux to run WoW that it's easier to monitor for dodgy activity. That said, if you've access to Windows I can't see you wanting to run it through windows. The game is demanding enough during raids without running through an emulator or whatever.

Re:potential modification (1)

Sylvak (967868) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954380)

You'de be suprised of the performance on linux. I'm getting real good FPS using opengl (just have to make sure you use the hardware acceleration).

Also, on a windows box you usually run an anti-virus which can take up system resources. On top of that, there's spyware to consider which is a non-issue with linux.

I run a dual core amd 64 and I have a feeling that linux kernels know how to use these resources better than windows (I run gentoo, so I know for sure that compile time is greatly reduced with a dual core). From my experience, I wound't be surprised to see better performance under linux with a dual core 64 cpu.

Re:Linux not working on the desktop (1)

ehanuise (672994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953036)

"I wonder if it would be legal to revoke someones liscence or CD-KEY for playing a game developed and liscenced for Windows on a Linux platform (therefore violating the EULA)?"

Wait for the first 'my VISTA deactivated itself' lawsuit and you'll get an interesting answer :p

Are you sure that Blizzard did this on purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953906)

Seems to me like the game probably detected that it was running on an environment which was not 100% known to it, and thus thought it was being hacked.

Blizzard goes to some length to detect bots and cheating programs. Looks like CEDEGA got caught in all that checking, but once Blizzard verified the situation, they fixed the problem.

So nothing to get excited about. Just a technical issue and not some anti-linux conspiracy...

20 days free? Thats it? (5, Funny)

CarnivoreMan (827905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952550)

They should give a better comp than just a few free weeks of play. Something like an ingame penguin pet... Ya, that'd be sweet!

Re:20 days free? Thats it? (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953016)

see they considered that but now they're planning on auctioning that off at PAX for phat lewt.

Re:20 days free? Thats it? (0, Troll)

izerop143 (937296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953190)

You don't get a free computer because you were banned from a game for a short period of time... The free game play time was more than generous.
"ingame penguin pet"? Last time I checked I do not live in "The Wizard of Oz", get a job...

Re:20 days free? Thats it? (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953400)

I think that by comp he meant compensation, not computer.

Re:20 days free? Thats it? (1)

Jacer (574383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953408)

He said comp, as in compensation, not as in computer.

Re:20 days free? Thats it? (1)

izerop143 (937296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953682)

This is getting off topic anyways but...Thanks for the correction. However he didn't say the actual word compensation, I read "comp" as "computer". I am used to people refering to computers by saying "comp". So thanks a lot for not completing the word. I posted too quickly on this though whatever, sue me.

One company that (sort of) gets it? (5, Insightful)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952556)

I have to give them credit as well, they heard about the problem, acknowledged there was a problem, teamed up with Cedega and then FIXED the problem (reinstated locked accounts) and then gave them 20 days credit as well.

Would I be pissed if I played and had an account locked/banned by this? Hell yeah. Would I be somewhat mollified by 20 days of play tacked onto my account and an e-mail apology with an admission of "We screwed up, sorry" to boot? Hell yeah!

A lot of companies these days don't listen to their "base" and ignore the customer as nothing more than a $ and a number. Blizzard isn't perfect on this account, but they're better than a lot of the major playors out there. Kudos to Blizzard for realizing their cash cow was supported by multiple _people_/players and not just a bunch of $$$ and random numbers called credit cards - and willing to work to fix the problem! Keep up the good work.

Re:One company that (sort of) gets it? (2, Informative)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952918)

"Would I be somewhat mollified by 20 days of play tacked onto my account and an e-mail apology with an admission of "We screwed up, sorry" to boot?"

I played SWG for over 2 years, at times with as many as 3 accounts. I *never* saw sony act with as much class with regards to the multitudes of bugs and screwups they produced. I never even saw sony admit to any wrongdoing or mistakes on their part. Having had that experience with a game publisher, I would say that Blizzard reacted in the best manner possible. Not only did they admit to a mistake, they went ahead and fixed it (for an unsupported platform nonetheless) and gave away some free play time to boot.

Re:One company that (sort of) gets it? (0, Redundant)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953228)

This is the same company that abused the DMCA to shut down competition, remember? So they reinstated a few accounts after screwing up. Big deal. They're still barratry bullies.

Re:One company that (sort of) gets it? (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953720)

"Would I be somewhat mollified by 20 days of play tacked onto my account and an e-mail apology with an admission of "We screwed up, sorry" to boot? Hell yeah!"

unless you lost yout battle ground rank becasue you weren't active, then you would still be pissed.

For those not in the know, a.k.a. people with a life, to maintain high rank in the battle grounds you must always be playing, because your rank is in constent compitition with others who play. This means you loose ranks when not playing.

What if Cedega didn't exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16952640)

Looks like a fair deal.

One has to wonder, however, what would have happened if Cedega did not exist, and the people would have emulated the game through a random SourceForge project.

Blizzard is good about these things (2, Informative)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952648)

Blizzard has always been good with communicating bugs, errors, and others issues to and with its customers. Pre World of Warcraft Blizzard saw numerous bugs, hacks and errors posted and discussed on their forums where open communication with the actual developers was the norm. Sure, many game companies do the same now, but Blizzard was a huge company before WoW and you would often see discussions with the top dogs of the company. Rob Pardo use to reply to balance issues in a discussion format(forum) instead of just a static post. While Blizzard has grown and changed, many would still agree they still prize a good product for their customers and making sure it remains good.

I have my issues with the new Blizzard that made WoW, but deep down I know they still care about making a quality product for their customers.

Cedega OK... What about wine? (5, Interesting)

Sylvak (967868) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952672)

I recently installed WOW on linux using Wine... It works great. I hope I don't get banned just because I'm using a different emulator. Does anybody know if they can tell the difference? I didn't see any mention of Wine in the article.

If anybody has a clue on this, please reply.

Re:Cedega OK... What about wine? (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953468)

Or using wine in another OS besides linux... what about BSD?

Re:Cedega OK... What about wine? (1)

Johnny O (22313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953710)

I have NO IDEA what others are running that got them banned. I play almost EVERY day (yes an addict). I have played since about a month after the game was released.

I have never used windoze. Slackware Linux with Cedega.

I never got banned. I read all the posts over at cedega and feared the worst, but never a problem.

Re:Cedega OK... What about wine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954286)

As far as I understand it, every single Linux user who got banned was running it under Cedega, especially since Blizzard has been known to (or at least claims that they have,) worked with the Cedega team in the past to fix issues with WoW (like the old minimap problem.)

I haven't heard any accounts yet of anyone being banned while running under Wine. Myself included.

Blizzard "supports" an unsupported environment ... (5, Informative)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952846)

No anti-cheating effort will be 100% error free 100% of the time. I think judgement should be made on how often errors occur and how a company handles reports of errors. The statements before and after indicate a pretty decent handling of the situation. Especially for an unsupported OS. Apparently not all Cedega users were banned, the problem must have been intermittent. This is consistent with what many Cedega users were saying, that they have been playing and everything was fine.

So, they test in an unsupported environment and promptly investigate problems and address them. IMHO Blizzard is showing Linux some respect, as they did many years ago for Macintosh when most people laughed at it. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

What they said before the investigation when the report of problem first came in:

"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."

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topi cId=47009071&sid=1&pageNo=3 [worldofwarcraft.com]

What they said after investigating:

"Greetings,

As you know, Blizzard Entertainment traditionally makes a serious commitment to protect the World of Warcraft community from players who gain unfair advantage through hacks and exploits. Last week, our administrators implemented bans on a large number of accounts that were identified acting against the terms and the spirit of the game.

However, it has since come to our attention that a very small percentage of those accounts should not have been banned. This case of mistaken identity seems to be isolated to users of an unsupported, Linux-based Windows emulator called Cedega.

Once this pattern was brought to Blizzard's attention, our staff worked directly in conjunction with the Cedega development team in a rigorous and thorough review of the situation. We have since determined that your account was one of those accidentally flagged, and as such we are immediately reinstating your account to fully playable status.

Blizzard Entertainment deeply regrets the error, as we understand that this brief account closure presented you with an inconvenient and highly frustrating experience. We remain firmly committed to enforcing our regulations and suspensions for those exploiting our game, in the interest of ensuring that our legitimate customers have the best possible play experience. In this case, however, we regretfully caught a handful of innocent customers in the process, and for that we offer you our genuine apology.

In consideration of our error, we are applying a credit of two weeks play time onto your account, in addition to crediting back the time that your account was locked. This comes to a total of twenty (2O) days credit, which should be visible on your account within the end of the week.

If you have any other questions or concerns regarding this account, please do not hesitate to let us know. We appreciate your extraordinary patience in this matter and hope you will continue to enjoy your time in World of Warcraft.

Regards,

World of Warcraft Support Team
Blizzard Entertainment"

http://www.linuxlookup.com/2006/nov/22/blizzard_un bans_linux_world_of_warcraft_players [linuxlookup.com]

Re:Blizzard "supports" an unsupported environment (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953684)

Any word on whether their anti-cheat software detects use of Linux-based tools that can enable cheats, like /dev/kmem? I would guess they do not.

If they don't have the ability to check whether cheat are being used on Linux, then cheaters will flock to it at some point. And the only thing Blizzard can do is observe behavior on their end and try to divine whether someone appears to be cheating, and try to guess if this is the oncoming wave of cheaters. And that's pretty much what happened, and how they described what happened (except they left out the "cheaters may flock to this tool" part).

What about this poor guy (1)

DigitalReverend (901909) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952866)

http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/03/15/ 1334241 [slashdot.org] Will he get his account reinstated?

Re:What about this poor guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953256)

Unattended play = botting

Nobody caught the error before the bans? (2, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953002)

One wonders if it should have even happened at all? Did they not catch the fact that there were tons of people all getting the beat stick at one time? Couldn't they correlate this with the fact that most of them were on the same OS? Have we moved beyond the stages of "innocent before proven guilty"? Is this how Vista's licensing will be handled as well? "Might as well ban everyone, if they feel they need to get back in the game, they can petition." It seems kind of counter-productive.

Sorry for the rant, but this reflects on the society we are in today. Is it okay to ban someone without first investigating the cause?

Re:Nobody caught the error before the bans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953464)

When Blizzard does a ban, they tend to do it in sweeps (except in extreme cases) - so they always see a ton of people get banned. No big surprise there.

Then again...I don't think the 5 Linux gamers out there signify "a ton."

Re:Nobody caught the error before the bans? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953822)

Sorry for the rant, but this reflects on the society we are in today. Is it okay to ban someone without first investigating the cause?
When dealing with a private corp, yes. They do not need to investigate and can ban you from their service at any time with no cause, you have no right to use it. This is not the police or branch of the government, there is no burden of proof that has to be met. If your client matches a fingerprint that looks like you're cheating, you're gone and usually that's it.

Mass banning are normal for WoW and quite frankly they ban innocent people all the time. They don't care because it works in their favor. They sell another unit of client software and get great publicity about being 'hard' on cheaters and being the 'only' MMO doing something about it.

The only reason that they reversed this one is because every time they ban a whole group they start getting complaints form people banned for no cause. Those complaints got louder and louder. This move was to save face, not out of any real concern that they have for their playerbase.

Re:Nobody caught the error before the bans? (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953876)

It's their plan to ban a bunch of people all at once, that's why about every month or so you see a story about how Blizzard dropped the hammer on another 60,000 accounts. It doesn't matter what OS is being used here because there are people who will migrate to Linux for the sole purpose of trying to get around Warden. Warden was generating false positives and Blizzard wanted those fixed. All it shows is that a program is only as smart as the person writing it; there are no correlations to society here.

Now.. (1)

Anti Frozt (655515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953094)

If only we could get the people responsible for fixing this onto the Druid dev team.

Re:Now.. (1)

jvanber (170198) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953620)

Amen!

They must be run by accountants (1)

zeiche (81782) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953244)

Would one or two free months kill them? 20 days seems a bit calculated, stingy.

Re:They must be run by accountants (1)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953814)

Cedega users were locked out of their accounts for, what, ~5-6 days, and received 20 days free play time. I've been playing WoW since day 1. Of all the times servers were down and my account was unaccessible/unplayable (which has been way more than 5-6 days), I've received 10 days free play time. What Blizzard did was hardly stingy, IMHO.

Re:They must be run by accountants (1)

ArcticCelt (660351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954326)

That's exactly what I was thinking 1 month would have been a nice round number. It's not specially the playtime they lost but more the insulting harsh email they sent in the first place. Blizzard only started moving because the users organized in the public forum of Cedega and because Slashdot made the case public, if it was a group of less savvy users, they would have lost their money and accounts.

Now The Winers Can Stuff It (1, Insightful)

emilyridesabmx (1009713) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953708)

I'm glad that Blizzard reinstated these folks, because the whining was absolutely unbelievable. It was like an addict denied his methadone. Everyone was convinced that Blizzard was out to get them, and now we see that isn't the case. The acted reasonably, so all the Linux Professional Victims can drop it.

OT: Cedgea (0, Flamebait)

certain death (947081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954024)

I know, this is OT, so I put it in the subject. My opinion on the whole Cedega thing is that anyone who would use it would suck a d1ck. I do not play WoW, I play Guild Wars, and their support for Guild Wars is miserable at best. You have to turn off shading, reflections, etc, etc,. I bought the software, or subscription, whatever you want to call it, and ran it an tweaked it, and suffered through the never ending bullshit from their support and STILL NEVER got it to work. I just wish game dev companies would develop a native Linux client, it might actually help push those of us who have to dual boot windows and Linux push over the edge and wipe the windows partition for good!! Cedega Blows!

Bannings based on flimsy faulty evidence (1)

egarland (120202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954234)

Blizzard has historically done a great job at catching the bad guys without catching innocent people. They probably caught some people who didn't deserve it but they were generally fair. This latest round wasn't like that at all. It would appear that they are currently targeting wow-glider and anti-afk macros so aggressively, they are using unreliable tactics prone to false positives.

I've been paying attention to this latest wave of bannings because my guild's main tank got hit and he has no idea why. I've talked to him at length and tried to figure out possible triggers. Nothing we've come up with yet would explain things. The most likely candidates include logging in from friends machines but he's talked to them and nobody seems to have installed any of the types of cheats that I know about.

Right now Blizzard's justice system is operating in a black box. They hide behind email auto-responders that claim to have "reinvestigated" their "extensive in-game logs" and technicians who handle appeals but don't seem to be given any details beyond "cheat detected". We don't know what their evidence is. We have to trust that when they ban it's legitimate.

Legally, Blizzard hides behind WoW's terms of service that says basically that they can yank your account anytime they feel like it with or without a valid reason. This is only part of the agreement between Blizzard and us though. Before investing hundreds and thousands of hours into characters that they can rip away at any time we expect them to be fair about doing so. We expect them to have a good reason and reasonable evidence and until now, they have upheld that.

In this latest round of bannings Blizzard banned unfairly. They banned innocent people based on flimsy faulty evidence and called them cheaters and lairs when they complained. The evidence that this was happening was there before this announcement but this is irrefutable proof. Unbanning the people who got banned for using Linux is a good start but what about all the other people who were innocent and got banned? Are we to believe that these are the only unfair bannings? The only mistake made happened to be in a tight active community with commercial representatives? Doubtful. I want to see Blizzard chow down on a big piece of humble pie this Thanksgiving and start actually looking at the evidence against people and un-ban the innocent victims of their latest dragnet banning scheme.

Blizzard usually does a great job at balancing protecting it's customers and protecting the gaming experience. This latest round of bannings stands in stark contrast to that. Someone, somewhere obviously got overzealous and decided to ban based on flimsy faulty evidence. I won't have any trust in the fairness of Blizzard's system until I see more people get un-banned.

Still will not go back. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954240)

I am sorry but "Sorry" is not enough for me... This will happen again and again and again. I am sure its nothing against Linux, just their paranoid ways.

I had been playing WoW from Friends and Family to present (well about 6months ago). I stopped playing as it became a serious pain to play WoW over wine. Yeah I know Cedega.. blah blah. I do not support that crud. So I stopped playing. I had at that time 3 60's and was pimped out. I just could not bring my self to hack wine to play wow every time I needed to patch.

Reading the "WoW banned Cegeda players" made me very happy really it did.

I was hoping enough of the players from the Linux community would push blizzard to finally release their Linux client. (Yes there is one) and we could play with out all the needed hacks. I would instantly reinstall and play again if I was able to do it native. As the way it is now I just stopped paying for something that I had to support my self... Not the reason I play a game.

Blizzard if your reading this (like you care) I am sure many of us would use the Linux client and expect no support from you except patches when you do version bumps. Forcing us to emulate a win32 env. is not the way to go. It does not play well.. period.

my two bits.

Off to do something else with my *nix box.

Cheers.
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