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The F-Words of MMORPGs: Fairness

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Zosimus, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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  2. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Very interesting article.

    I particularly found meaningfull the discussion about cheating as well as that on grinding in multiplayer games.

    I have been saying it for a long time that the #1 Priority in multiplayer games should be addressing cheating. For Ultima Online, that means getting rid of scripting, of hacking, of duping.

    Cheating creates a problem to Design, to the economy, to fairness of game play among players. It makes the designing and balancing of the game a nightmare because something which "in theory" might be a great design and of high balancing gets totally thrown out of the window by some players cheating.

    Given all of the problems it creates to design, the economy and game balancing in general, it is beyond my understanding why, generally speaking, cheating in multiplayer games is not addressed MUCH more aggressvely.

    As in regards to Ultima Online, I am still waiting after so many years to see scripting and hacking go away for good........

    On another note, I do not understand all the discussion about WoW raids being "skill" based when they need increasingly powerfull "items", if I understand it correctly......

    To me, that means "item" based and not "skill" based. I see skill as pure skill, regardless whatever item with modifiers one might be using. Personally, I see items as being contrary to skills.

    That is, average skills with great items with great modifiers achieving better results that average items with great skills. To me this is item based, not skill based.
     
  3. Violence

    Violence Lore Keeper
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    There's just 1 thing missing. A small bit really. Buying your way through not because you're not having fun.. But because you've been playing your way through for far too long.

    So you've had your fun for years exploring all possibilities and that's that. Now you still want access to End-Game content, loot and activities on new or old characters. Quick access. For being dedicated, for staying, for suffering all the changes, for playing it as it should be played; Which, while you liked it, most probably has been a hassle on more than a couple of occassions. And let's not touch on how WE ARE ALL at End-Game and not going there from Day 1 of building a new character is just silly now... Or how UO feels stale, stagnant literally, out of End-Game.. IMHO..

    They should at least have a Total Value System based on Account Age, Account Contents, Registered XPacks, Skill Point Total.. Maybe even Number of [WhateverNPCSoundsFair] Kills.. Which would benefit new characters on those Accounts.

    In UO there has been so much frustration for so many reasons that we're beyond arguements such as having paid to have precisely this experience, enjoying it, already being Rewarded with Vet Stuff.. I wouldn't feel Rewarded for all the Monthly Fees I've paid to go through in UO even if I had 10 Million Gold as a Vet Reward. So I just buy my way to End-Game. And I definitely don't mean Advanced Char Tokens.

    And Money=Time and that's it. Before UO starts Binding Items it needs to start being very interesting again, before End-Game. Or simply go F2P and allow us to buy out even 120.0 Skills. Every XPack thrown at us so far has been ripped apart by the players in DAYS. They don't even last MONTHS. Nothing really innovative... SSDXPack.. ;P As it is, it's more interesting waiting for a Publish than for the next XPack.
     
  4. Violence

    Violence Lore Keeper
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    Popps that's true. With that out of the way, a lot of things would have been so much easier to determine, regarding Economy and Balance. They could have even set UO in such a way that Cheating wouldn't be necessary. Just an example to show what I mean; If a Script is used to perform more Actions than a Human could, at once, then EA could simply limit all Actions a character can perform to X per X Time. Sure, Actions could then still be Scripted.. But it wouldn't be worth it at that point.
     
  5. popps

    popps Always Present
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    That's something I am concerned about. If new content cost more time to think it, design and code ir than the actual time the enjoyment and novelty lasts for players using the new content, then something here is off balanced.

    I mean, just as a mere example, if new content cost 6 months from start to finish to be added to the game and then ends up being old and gets unused by most players in a week of two of playing it, then something looks quite not right to me.
     
  6. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Well, my first wish is to just see scripting impossible in the game but I agree, as a second wish I have always favoured CAPs for scriptable activities to be tailored to the average player time spent in the game. This way, one could, for example, script mining 24 hours but only actually be able to gather ore for 2 of those hours........

    Thing is, that the CAP should be an overall one and not "per" activity.

    Otherwise, if the CAP was set to, say, 2 hours per day per activity, a scripter would simply need to do mining for 2 hours, lumberjacking for 2 hours, fishing for 2 hours, BODs for 2 hours and so forth and so use up all 24 hours in a day, one way or the other, effectively scripting all of the 24 hours of the day as it was before.

    The CAP, if one was to come, should be 2 hours per day (just an example for the sake of this discussion) regardless of whatever activity chosen for that day. Once the 2 hours for that day are over, NO gain would come from doing ANY other scriptable activity.......

    But as I said, I much more prefer to just see scrpting not possible in the game, period, and leave players free to play their time in the game as they wish, unable to script any game activity, of course.
     
  7. 5% Luck

    5% Luck Guest

    I am on board here about cheating but for those who do not understand the basis of the war it is about privacy.

    In order to prove cheating in all but the most blatant cases, the accuser, in this case EA or a member of the UO online staff, would have to prove a user was using a 3rd party program or altering game code from server side. They can not under any circumstance violate the privacy of a system connecting to the gamer server by accessing(stealing) provable information.

    It is against the law.

    it is that simple.

    If the courts allow that type of intrusion by privately owned companys think of the damage it could potentially do to you!.
     
  8. Charin

    Charin Journeyman

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    No if the GM's would just take reports on scriptors serious... there would be less of them. There is a guy on a boat.. he is mining nonstop on napa by minoc. He makes loops... and loops.. and is always there... Me nad several other guildies all went and took turns waiting and watching for him to be done.... he never did,.
     
  9. 5% Luck

    5% Luck Guest

    and how much paided hourly wages would be spent for this guy to look up from his work,tv,book,vent chat,wtvr and say hello to the GM? It happens enough of the time~50% or more that it became a fools errand. Yes he wont respond to you and yes he is hoping you do call a gm so he can say hello and make sure that GM knows how much time is waste to accumulate more disinterest in checking. in fact I would say that getting checked on is in the better interest of the scriptors in the long run.

    If GM acknowledges a scripter right away, I mean not watching for an amount of time, he runs the risk of hurting a casual player using an approved method. If he spends his time, he runs the risk of a scriptor "feeling watched" and getting a hold of the mouse and keyboard timely enough that it cant be proven via that method.

    What your talking about is a mind game and cheaters, at least most do, have that base covered in paranoia and misinformation. You may from your end of the looking glass not want to believe that but, its true.

    I mean look at it this way. These are GMs, devs, and members of the staff, They work for a company that is in this business to make money. They take your complaints seriously. They really really do. They have done everything they can do. It is not enough but even in games with millions and millions of subs and ultimately an unending cash supply, they have not found a tried and true method of detection and deletion why would that be?
     
  10. popps

    popps Always Present
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    How about a much simpler solution ? Just make the game client not compatible to run with anything else but the operating system.

    If anything else is running besides the operating system and the game client, the client would simply shut off giving the player a few seconds time after a warning to log off at a secure place.

    Want to use a browser ? Just run it in a separate instance than the game client.
    That is, either run the game or change OS instance to do else. Either one, not both at once.

    I mean, if we agree that getting rid of cheating is important, and it is difficult, technically or legally, to do it, well, then a compromise solution like this could be thought over. Sure, it would not be perfect, sure, it might be annoying for those wanting to use a browser while playing the game to check stuff about the game and so forth but at least it would be a solution that might work and help get the game rid of cheating even though in not the most desirable way. If perfection is not achievable, a compromise solution might be acceptable.

    Just opposing any possible solution, even though a compromise one and hardly a perfect one will never get the game rid of cheating.

    If cheating hurts the game, and we agree on this, then even if not a perfect solution, a half-perfect solution that is legal and technically possible and gets cheating out of UO should be thought over.

    At least, this is my opinion.
     
  11. 5% Luck

    5% Luck Guest

    The only thing I have come up with for an actual solution is it have each and every created item stacked or unstackable marked by account and character not necessarily visible to players. Then saved to a log. If a particular name comes up far to often those items simply get deleted.

    That would mean some players end up buying and selling these items 2nd hand and taking the loss but in that players mind the original seller would be marked as a no trade from then on.

    In my estimation a system like this will eventually weed out all cheaters and even some power gamers. The cost however would be roughly 4-10 servers to crunch that data per game server. In the end, that means subscription prices go up by around 100%.
     
  12. JC the Builder

    JC the Builder Crazed Zealot
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    Because more effort spent on combating cheating does not correlate to less of it happening. Blizzard spends so much effort and money to police cheating in World of Warcraft, but it still happens. Every MMO deals with scripting, none have put an end to it. What do you expect UO to do where a 1 billion dollar company such as Blizzard with a dedicated team on cheat countering has failed?
     
  13. Heh! a well reasoned and writ article ...
    Missing a major aspect though
    :scholar: The conversation is about MMOs
    I'll use popps as a foil to make the example to the rest of Y'ALL

    :scholar: the "skill" is the management of a "GROUP"
    each individual >properly playing< EACH different ROLE >in the group<
    proof of concept: Leroy Jenkins ...

    @ 5% Luck ... :lol: you are already collateral damage of the war you have lost
    :lol: so young, so innocent ... sooooo wrong :danceb:
    Privacy Policy - Electronic Arts - EA Games
    You and all others, would be well advised to READ and understand the entire doc at the provided link
    Special attention to the linkage provided therein, specifically this little bit
    now ... :thumbsup: THAT is at the global corporate level
    at the Game level (UO) you have >already agreed/sworn< to abide by this:
    UO terms of Service
    (f) Privacy. You understand that you have no expectation of privacy regarding the communications you make on the Service, and that all communications made by or received from you may be monitored by Electronic Arts representatives. You hereby consent to the extraction of hardware system profile data and any data related to operation of the Software through the Service from any computer that logs on to the Service using your Account.

    Heh!
    :scholar: The conversation is about MMOs
    Individuals running about on the PUBLIC highways of the net ...
    OF COURSE have NO "right of privacy"
    IF >you are there<
    THEN >you may be examined<
    ipso facto non redacto

    points and laughs at the neeked noobie on the side of the road :lol:

    MMOs are about GROUPS of peeps
    :thumbsup: THAT is the ruling dynamic/perspective
     
  14. Violence

    Violence Lore Keeper
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    "There is a possibility we can't have absolute results.. Let's not go for less, so we should do nothing.." Yeah, I see that mentality taking us places.. :wall: As for Privacy Violation.. Rubbish. It's been explained.

    So we should just leave it at that. No other MMO out there that wishes to be taken seriously suffers so much.. In regards to this, UO seems to be left completely open. :next: ADDED - Plus it's all scaled in regards to WoW requiring 1Bil for security.. UO is simply SMALLER.
     
  15. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    A billion dollar game like WoW still has this same problem. I read an interview with one of the WoW developers who said they were stunned to see how fast some people were churning through expansions and it was far from what they were expecting.

    They said they try and strike a balance and pay attention to the people who will take a few months (or more) to get through an expansion and they can't obsess over people who churn through it in a few weeks because they'll never stay ahead of those people.

    In some ways, UO benefits from being a sandbox/pseudo-sandbox. With WoW and other games like it, you find yourself grinding through content like crazy and then being stuck with little else to do except play the auction house or chat, and the auction house is automated with the right add-ons.

    With UO, there is plenty to do that can take up a lot of game time without the need for new content, and a lot of people don't feel pressured to churn right through any new content.

    One thing Blizzard did, and BioWare is doing to an extent with UO, is reusing existing content that wasn't used much in recent times or that wasn't fleshed out.
     
  16. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    It does come up a lot though. I hate the UO Facebook, but it seems like with every story somebody is bringing up the scripters/cheaters and that they won't return until something is done, etc. Personally I wonder just how much of that is actual concern and just how much of that is somebody who hates UO and is just taking potshots.

    But still, there are very visible signs that it is going on around us and being allowed to occur. The first time I saw a mention of the Luna scripters on Stratics was in early March (Tim and the others). Here we are four months later, and the scripters are still doing their thing, in plain sight, even after plenty of us have reported on them.

    I know they can't catch everybody, but it's like they don't even bother to try with the ones that are in plain sight. That just screams of approval.
     
  17. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Over the years I played UO I have met quite a lot of people who left disgusted by the rampant cheating. They simply did not see the point to play and compete against others who could cheat without that cheating being opposed much. Players who loved the game, and who'd like to come back, but who just can't stand playing the same exact game where others can cheat so easily and without much happening in result of this cheating.

    If you are surprised of 4 months passing by without much happening, imagine how many other players might feel when they have been waiting years, MANY years to see cheating go away from UO without it happening. Was it more than a year ago that some "spreadsheet" was mentioned ?? I fail to see how that much spoken about spreadsheet ever helped to solve the cheating issue in Ultima Online..........

    All of this, to me is rather sad. I can just imagine what a much greater game could Ultima Online have been if only cheating had been addressed aggressively and eradicated from it.

    Sad........
     
  18. 5% Luck

    5% Luck Guest

    The only thing I can note to you is yes we agree to the ToS and under it yes they can violate your privacy. But on the rare occasion a player takes them to court over the issue they lose. It is considered inadmissible by law and the corporations lawyers advise against it. Not to mention bad press from that flak!

    And on the side of that the ToS only agrees to what is sent to the server not the server violating the security of your machines! Meaning if you are using say firefox 3 nothing from the program is sent to the server directly therefore they by law can not have any knowledge of its processes.

    ----
    As far as group raids being skilled....player skilled...I will say at least this much. Mot players claiming skill on these rare gems of gaming(LOL) most have done that particular instance 1000s of times and have each role choreographed in their mind and if any member of said group deviates from the "dance" they claim that member has no skill. Its more a flame war then actually player skill. If you dont know that in the next pull of mobs there is a halfling super dexer with tons of HP and is hidden.....skill yea OK
     
  19. A) cite a case for support
    else: the "losing" is done by the player, NOT "the corp".

    B) False they can and do scan your machine when it is connected to the server ... YOU gave them >explicit permission< to do so.
    (repeated for emphasis)
    You hereby consent to the extraction of hardware system profile data and any data related to operation of the Software through the Service from any computer that logs on to the Service using your Account.

    READING of the privacy policy linkage is, again: strongly suggested.

    what are you rambling on about re: the raiding ... ???
    TRY and phrase it in terms of TEAM ... :p
    *shrugs*
     
  20. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Nobody expects 100% of the cheaters and scripters to be banned, but we're talking about scripters that are scripting in the open in the busiest areas of most shards. They aren't hidden in a house in the boonies, they are walking around doing their thing in plain sight, hour after hour.

    And I should clarify - these scripters for the search sites have been around for a long time, but the first mention I can find on Stratics by name is March.

    If they won't even pick the low hanging fruit, people wonder about the more serious stuff.

    The article nails it:
    And I should point out that there are people who, while not scripting/cheating themselves, embrace it as far as benefiting from it, and buying resources from players who do script/cheat. That ties into the bit about if everyone agrees that it's okay, then it's not really a cheat anymore. With UO, plenty of us are against it and you end up with clashes over it, even on Stratics.
     
  21. 5% Luck

    5% Luck Guest

    I am starting to think you have no concept of english
     
  22. popps

    popps Always Present
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    In order to cheat, players need some third party software to interact somehow with the client.

    An hypothetical solution might be to make the client incompatible with any and all other software that is not the client itself or the Operating System and make it so that if the client detects whatever other software running the client would self-shut off within seconds.

    That is, a player would be able to either play the game OR whatever other software they may want, NOT both at once.

    Want to browse the internet ? Open up a separate OS instance from the one running the game and browse the internet through THAT separate instance, NOT the one running the game client.

    Perhaps not the perfect solution, perhaps an annoying one, but at least, IMHO, a good compromise solution that could deliver as without running third parties at once with the client hardly any cheating could any longer be possible in the game........
     
  23. 5% Luck

    5% Luck Guest

    They would need permission from every other program that would be blocked!

    Take a look at virus scan software. They have an agreement with every major software company to share information. That is in both partys best interest. What your suggesting would mean microsoft would alow a program to function on their OS the technically blocks their own browser. It would be fought!
     
  24. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Well, perhaps antiviruses and firewalls could be allowed to run with the client in a way that would not open the door to using third party software with the UO client, as in regards to else like a browser etc. if the user wants to use them they'd just need to change the OS instance to one that is not running the UO client. As in regards to UOAssist, UOAutomap, UOCartographer, perhaps the clients could just be upgraded to make their use not necessary.

    As I said, we first need to ask ourselves whether the issue of cheating in Ultima Online is one that deserves being addressed.

    If the answer is yes, as I personally think it should be, then a solution should be found to address for good the problem of cheating in UO.

    If, because of technical or legal problems a "perfect" solution is not viable, then a "compromise" solution should be seeked anyways "if" solving the cheating issue is more important than whatever problems a "compromise" solution might cause.

    It is the old story of the lesser evil. Cannot have the cake and eat it too then the lesser evil should be settled with in order to get rid of cheating.

    If this means not being able to use a browser with UO and some other software well, then be it. I'd much rather prefer this limitation but play a UO cheat free then have the "freedom" to play UO while browsing the internet but at the expense of ending up playing a UO with lots of cheating going on. I may well be wrong, but my guess is that cheating in UO is way more than a "dozen cheaters" problem......
     
  25. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    What you are describing would require a massive amount of effort on the dev's end, much more than they put into client programming these days, and it would have the potential to go horribly wrong.

    What you really are after is something like Warden. The problem with that is that it's for most Blizzard online games and has a dedicated group of people behind it. UO doesn't have those kinds of resources, and with Star Wars being the first EA/Mythic MMO to switch to a new engine/server engine, the resources definitely won't be there. Had Star Wars been running on Gamebroy like UO/Camelot/Warhammer, you're talking about different situation.

    Besides, the devs don't go after the known scripters walking around Luna as it is. A bunch of us have complained on Stratics and in reports about them, and they are still doing their thing. If UO were a little more popular, the MMO gaming news websites would be writing stories about why the scripters are ignored month after month.

    Has anybody ever heard an explanation why those scripters are allowed to walk around in the open?
     
  26. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    This quote from the article....
    So cheating in any form affects a X amount of players. Not all players feel the same about cheating. Some players dont care or dont mind cheating. Then you have players that are against cheats. Last but not least, you have players that turn a blind eye to cheating/a cheater even if the are against it. That player may put their conscious on hold, to get a certain item or edge in the game even though they are not the actual cheater of the group.

    Can any game be fair even with cheats? It's possible as anything could be possible but it's up to each individual player how they want to play the game. " Player A "can do resource gathering, go hunting, and make thier own gold the hard way all on their own. Find like players that have the same morals and values that play the game the way they feel as it should be played. "Player B" can take the easy way out and buy items that was scripted or script themselves. They also can find like players that have their values and morals.

    Griefing isnt fair to some while others enjoy griefing. Some griefers may have been victims of other griefers and felt it was done to me so why should I not do it to others. Other griefers may just grief certain players and guilds. Then you have the players that plain grief for no reason.

    In the end we are all human and even what humans create isnt perfect.

    Here is a link with 2 videos on the page that also discusses some issues in games. There are questions from the audience also.

    Video: The Guild Wars 2 PAX East Panel – ArenaNet Blog
     
  27. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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  28. Triberius

    Triberius Firefall Moderator | LotRO Moderator
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    There are two sides to this equation though, let me give examples of each and maybe you'll get what I'm saying here, and explain why this idea might not work with UO.


    Lets start with LOTRO where what you are saying kinda works, and explain why it does.

    In LOTRO, you can't make a "mule" when you start crafting out of 3 crafting skills, in one of numerous crafting "professions" you can take, only 2 work together, you either get a finished good, or a resource harvest skill that doesn't fit. High end items have a cool down on crafting, between 3 days and 1 week, meaning depending on the item I can make as many as I want for common stuff, or for really exceptional items I can make 1 every 3 days or 1 per week depending on the item. This lets your idea work because player to player transactions are built into the system by design for crafting, the most common resource needed for top tier items across all professions can only be obtained by prospectors (miners), through drops from rare high level "elite" monsters or bartering with NPCs. Prospecting is safer, and more efficient but no mater how many you farm there is a limit to how many a person can use during a given period of time. This makes it so while yes the item fetches a good price on the auction house, and it's in high demand and in theory yes you could amass a tidy fortune just prospecting for it, but there are enough sinks in place to balance things out combined with options on obtaining it that make "cheating" pointless, especially with the hard line stance they take on cheating in that game.

    Now lets look at another game where this idea went all wrong.

    In Atlantica Online they developed an issue with Bots. Now what they did is make it so you can only kills X amount of monsters in a given area before you had to leave the area for Y amount of time. Well you could sit there and look stupid while waiting out the timer but that was pointless. Now what happened was since all resources and all quest items drop off monsters in specific areas, now when the RNG gods frown upon you, it might take 2, 3, or 4 hours to complete a simple "Collect 25 xxxx". You'd kill 10 or 20 of what ever, and get 2 of the quest items then have to wait 20 minutes and they'd be the only monster dropping that specific quest item. This curbs cheating by putting in the X per Y time facet of things, but severely punishes honest players that are not breaking the rules, all in the name of resource gathering.


    How this applies to UO.....

    UO uses both methods for resource gathering. Direct as in Lumberjacks, and Miners, and indirect such as when you go out and farm SA mobs for imbuing ingredients. Because of this a X over Y time scheme would be very difficult to implement. Do you want to be in the Abyss and get a message saying "You've killed your quota of Lava Lizards, you can not attack any more for the next 20 minutes" or be out mining and get a message saying "You've worked too hard today, come back next week.".

    That's what this type of system would do, while I'm all for reducing cheating and bring fairness back into the game, it all has to start with a hard line approach to combating cheating, and not the soft deterrent stance that has been slowing added over the years. We can all see the current method isn't working. They've added random resources, put special resources on hefty mobs, etc. and it's had no effect but ramp up cheating. Now it's Script to build a toon to farm resources off mobs, or script to gather harvest-able resources, but no where at all is there punish those doing the cheating just make it less effective, and at the same time make it much much less effective for the honest player.

    Instead here's the approach I'd take, since according to the Devs they can track who is and isn't using unauthorized programs to enhance their game play or play for them.

    1. Set a Date say 1 month in advance.
    2. E-mail all account holders active and inactive plus have it plastered on every site possible. "As of XX/XX/XXXX anyone found using any unauthorized programs will be perma banned.
    3. Stick to the plan

    Sure they will have to ban few accounts, but I bet you'd hear it pretty quick on these and other forums, that they aren't playing nice anymore and people would either quit their cheating, or quit playing either one.

    Then comes the big question.. if they can't play without cheating do we really want them as part of our in game community?
     
  29. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    Very well said. I like it :) Just if it would happen.
     
  30. Vyal

    Vyal Guest

    What is the point of this thread?
     
  31. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    If you read the link in my first post and the 2 I added tonight since it was the other 2 parts printed later is discussing about MMO's. Richard Garriot ( you know the Father of UO) is one of the persons that had input on the articles.
     
  32. Jirel of Joiry

    Jirel of Joiry Certifiable
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

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    Umm, I'm sorry but what planet are you living on? Okay do you realize that lots of companies watch what you do when you connect to their server?

    Do you pay your AT&T bill, credit card bills and bank online? News flash: ALL OF THOSE monitor you when you are logged in their server. Banks and credit cards watch for suspicious activity. AT&T the same I'm sure.

    Hello, how about Microsoft? They monitor everything from is your copy of Winblows, Office, etc. legal to what music you are downloading. Yeah, they were narcing to/for the RIAA. How you think the RIAA tracked down and had a little old granny and a 6 old tossed into the lock up.

    Everytime you checkout a .gov website your computer is logged.


    You don't have privacy online, its a fact! That was given up along time ago "Big Brother" is watch what you do online.

    LMAO, FYI did you know a FBI Cybercrimes expert can take HD AFTER its been wiped and reconstruct files and you movements online. The ONLY way to wipe a drive so its non-recoverable is a DOD grade drive formatter or washer if you like. No, tossing it in the river doesn't work. However 5 lb sledge hammer will render a hd unrecognizable. lol

    Also if the police ask your ISP, they can trace where you've been online. The only way you can stop that is to randomize you IP address, use blackbox to hide your IP and bounce it through 20 different countries.

    Privacy online is an illusion, ask ANY IT professional.