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Vicarious Existence

To blog about what is going on in the MMO genre from a casual MMO player's viewpoint.

Author: UnSub

Warhammer Online Client is Hackable - WAR Is Everywhere, Even Against the Client

Posted by UnSub Monday January 19 2009 at 7:46PM
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Information is coming out that the Warhammer Online (WAR) client is hackable in a multitude of different ways - stealthers can be detected on a radar; WAR characters can super leap, fly or superspeed their way around; characters can auto-rez, etc.

Here's a video on YouTube of some of the hacks.

It's not surprising that in a PvP game (well, a game that promised really hard that it would be about PvP) that players would attempt to use use hacks. What is surprising is the amount of information that WAR apparently lets the player-side client handle. It is not like client side hacking is new, or that it is easy to stamp out (even World of Warcraft has been impacted from time to time by them) but it is a pretty basic issue that MMOs face and should aim to minimise in terms of in-game impact. It's a programming law that "the client is in the hands of the enemy", because players will use the client in a myriad of ways to get an advantage. MMO developers should have as many protections as is feasible to stop them, including limiting the amount of information sent to the client to the bare essentials.

Perhaps I should be surprised that Mythic didn't put more design time into avoiding these issues, or more countermeasures to stop them. Especially when Mythic had to deal with very similar issues with Dark Age of Camelot. The DAOC radar hack is probably the most well known, but speed hacks and teleport exploits certainly weren't unknown. But then WAR has been underwhelming across a wide range of areas: why not also exploit protections?

(Side notes: firstly, don't ask where to find WAR hacks - I'm sure you can find them on your own and take the risks in installing a third party application from a source that has already shown no respect for a multi-million dollar application, so has a chance of not respecting your PC and its contents either. Secondly, these hacks are bad because it's cheating. It's as simple as that.)

Quizzical writes:

As one person (possibly a developer, but I'm not sure) put it:  Never trust the client.  The client is in the hands of the enemy.

Mon Jan 19 2009 8:10PM Report
miagisan writes:

every game has hacks....unfortunately people really are that desperate to get an edge in a video game, its quite side.

Mon Jan 19 2009 8:16PM Report
Abrahmm writes:

The problem isn't that there are hacks for the game, as there are hacks for every game. The problem is that Mythic put so much to be handled by the client, with out doing validity checks on the server.

Mon Jan 19 2009 9:15PM Report
nofriends writes:

As Former Subcriber to WarOnline, I and Few others ive spoken with have been victims to these superleaps, instant kills, and instant res's. Very sad to see a game whom had so much potental EPICLY FAIL in securing the Fun factor and Intregirity of this Game.

Mon Jan 19 2009 9:20PM Report
sfraden writes:

Nice job advertising the hacks.  Sure you only listed the video, but the video is a direct ad for the hacks with how to buy and crap like that.  Im reporting this blog and hope you get banned.

Mon Jan 19 2009 9:58PM Report
stayontarget writes:

Sfraden: don't you think your attacking the wrong person here. Cast your venoum towards the makers and user's of these hacks. Not the people calling them out on the floor.

Mon Jan 19 2009 10:36PM Report
Antarious writes:

Video's for the hacks have been on youtube since the game came out and probably when it was in closed beta.  So maybe Sfraden should calm down a couple levels on the aggro meter.  I don't know a much more public place than youtube... so its not exactly a secret.

Sure the video's on youtube are advertising the hacks... right down to warbuddy letting you know it was originally VGBuddy (VG.. Vanguard...)  Seem ironic that with little to no mods the same 3rd party program that worked in VG works in WAR.

DAoC had plenty of speedhack and radar users.  I just don't remember to many programs that let you self ress, fly and/or teleport.  Oh wait nevermind there was a program to fly in daoc but supposedly you would get banned relatively fast for being places on the Z axis you shouldn't.

Why is self ress or teleporting even possible client side.  I can understand server/client sync but there should be something that stands out when you take what should be an hour trip instantly..

I remember FFXI even had a thing that would log speed hack users out... and after X times a GM would be waiting to greet you..

I've actually kind of wondered still why no one is picking up on that glyder lawsuit in the other MMO's.  In the full ruling the judge even stated that users of these programs were also in violation of copyright..

Mon Jan 19 2009 11:55PM Report
juusu writes:

Mythic's actually been pretty bad about catching hackers. People would hack in DAoC for days/weeks before getting caughts, and that was a fraction of the number of offenders.

Mythic also can't prosecute providers of the source-code because most have made it to Asian servers.

Its a horribly uphill battle for the company.

Tue Jan 20 2009 1:21AM Report
ZoMBiEXxX writes:

Lots of you are blaming the client (which is a problem of course) but you haven't thought of the hacking prevention system that Mythic said they were going to be using.... Punkbuster.

I started one or two threads on the subject of WAR using Punkbuster back before release, some people told me I was overreacting when I was bashing Mythic for their choice to use said online countermeasure software, seems they were the ones who have been proven wrong.

Yes all games have hackers, sure, but when you equip your million dollar game with a countermeasure system that 12 year old kids can bypass with a simple program, then said kids give it out to the public... you have made a very dumb choice.


Tue Jan 20 2009 1:56AM Report
UnSub writes:

@Sfraden: ignorance of a security hole is not a fix for a security hole. I can go to Warhammer Alliance (or a number of other forums) and find discussions on hacks or exploits.

The point of the article is that such hacks exist and Mythic have done a poor job of preventing them. Mythic only got around to fixing certain hacks in DAOC when public pressure reached a certain point. Hopefully articles like this will see Mythic fix / prevent the hacks in WAR sooner rather than later.

Plus the more people who know that hacks can occur, the better. I do not advocate the use of hacks in the slightest, but WAR players need to know that they exist in order to report them.

Tue Jan 20 2009 5:16AM Report
AlienShirt writes:

Many of these hacks have been around when the game launched. I remember reporting many hacks I witnessed when in Scenarios. Seeing Mythic did nothing to rid the game of these is one reason I no longer play WAR.

Tue Jan 20 2009 5:56AM Report
fansede writes:

 I say don't fight em, embrace em. Mythic should let everyone have access to the hacks and rename the game to Warhammer - City of Heroes and Villians online.


Tue Jan 20 2009 8:08AM Report
tub0rg writes:

Why didnt cheating death become a company instead of PB. it sure as hell was more effective in the old days ^^

Tue Jan 20 2009 10:45AM Report
1-8-7 writes:



Tue Jan 20 2009 6:57PM Report
Ascension08 writes:

Yeah. When I encounter one I'll let you know.

Tue Jan 20 2009 7:53PM Report writes:
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