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NCSoft Drops GameGuard From Western Launch of Aion 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-can-be-taught dept.
chalkyj writes "NCSoft has announced that they will be dropping GameGuard from the western launch of their upcoming MMORPG, Aion. The flawed Korean anti-cheat software has been heavily criticized for employing root-kit like techniques and conflicting with many hardware configurations. The final straw is thought to have been the stability issues experienced by players during open beta and the community outcry it caused. The decision makes Aion, which recently announced over 400,000 western pre-orders, a real contender in the western MMO market."
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NCSoft Drops GameGuard From Western Launch of Aion

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  • That's nice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MacAnkka (1172589) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @11:23AM (#29476519)
    A company is actually listening what their customers have to say? Thats quite refreshing to hear during these days.
    • Re:That's nice (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @12:01PM (#29476703) Journal

      Nice thing about MMO's is that the companies actually *have to* listen to customers or they will stop playing and paying. Blizzard alone has 2500+ people working on customer support related jobs.

      You of course cant listen to or adjust the game by every single person, but you have to listen to the larger group. This is true even more because Aion is NCSoft's try to create real competitor in the western markets.

      And the game does look good with its Crytek Engine and with some of the gameplay mechanics. I haven't played it myself, but some friends have been playing the beta and say it is quite fun. However I will wait for more reviews first, as I cant concentrate on WoW that much either. What I'm worried about is that it will have lots of grinding like WoW, specially because thats even more common in Asian games.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      Most customers are idiots, and the influx of casual and dumbed down game that we are getting today is the result of studios 'listening to their customers'.
      • by idiot900 (166952) *

        But the idiots are apparently the ones who pay the bills, so they get what they want. What's wrong with that?

    • Don't be too happy. They're going to have to install some short of anti-cheat software, since most customers will demand it. Considering how far people will go to get ahead the software will have to be an invasive one... But lucky for us it aint gonna be GameGuard! Wee...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vikstar (615372)

      Actually, no...

      We will however continue to pursue ways to effectively utilize GameGuard within Aion in the future.

      So once you've payed for the game, they'll bring it back.

    • by Talgrath (1061686)

      Yeah, when I wasn't able to run the game at the lowest settings in the open beta when I beat the recommended settings by quite a bit, the reply was basically "yeah, this is a game guard problem", I was thinking that I wouldn't pick up Aion. No point in buying a game you can't run (when you beat the crap out of the requirements), but now I will probably pick it up.

  • Awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @11:32AM (#29476565)
    Now if they promise not to 'include it' in future patches that would be swell. I might actually considering trying it.
    • Now if they promise not to 'include it' in future patches that would be swell. I might actually considering trying it.

      Yeah, that really stopped people from buying World of Warcraft.

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

        by geekboy642 (799087) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @12:40PM (#29477003) Journal

        Except that Blizzard has made their own DRM/antihack software invisible to almost all of their players, and that's the important difference. Anecdotally, I've never met anyone who was unable to play because of it. I've met several unwilling to play because of a healthy paranoia about spyware, but even as spyware it's quite technically competent.

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

        by joaobranco (55662) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:49PM (#29478165)

        Now if they promise not to 'include it' in future patches that would be swell. I might actually considering trying it.

        Yeah, that really stopped people from buying World of Warcraft.

        Notice that the WoW Warden is much less intrusive than GameGuard (it even allows for playing WoW on Linux using wine, which means it is very much standards compliant). Big difference here.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        The difference being that blizzard's warden actually works properly. Gameguard is a buggy, ineffective piece of crap. It gets rebroken within days (if not hours) of being updated and causes frequent BSODs when it screws up.

      • I talked to one of the guys who maintains warden at last years blizzcon - he said its main purpose is to detect people using well known hacks/cheats (its not even a rootkit). That the vast majority of their policing effort is based off server side reports, user reports and gm efforts.

    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

      by S77IM (1371931) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @11:57AM (#29476681)

      No, they basically say the exact opposite.

      The entirety of the relevant text from The Full Article:

      After analyzing our open beta test results Aion will not feature GameGuard at launch. We will however continue to pursue ways to effectively utilize GameGuard within Aion in the future. Right now we're focused on providing players with the best possible Aion experience.

      Essentially, they're saying that the implementation is flawed, not the concept.

        -- 77IM

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        I hope they work with GameGuard to make their system less invasive. Some anticheat protection is needed in online games, just to stop the kiddies getting hacks and ruining the game for every one. Those who make private hacks will always know their way around, but on the other hand they also know how to use them and wont ruin the game for everyone (for leveling or fishing or whatever - but they wont be running around killing people with hacks for fun, because they know that'll get them banned by gamemasters)

        • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Megane (129182) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @12:46PM (#29477039) Homepage
          It's not just the kiddies who want to go run around griefing, it's the gold farmers who want to ruin your game's economy for profit, and their bots overcamping the stuff you need to kill.
        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          Some anticheat protection is needed in online games, just to stop the kiddies getting hacks and ruining the game for every one.

          Sure, and that protection should be "design your server on the basis that every client is a bot". Every one of these dumbfuck companies makes the same fundamental mistake - trusting the client - and even outfits that commit to burning resources playing an never ending game of Whack The Hack always lag behind the exploits [mmowned.com].

          • by sopssa (1498795) *

            They aren't trusting the clients just for fun. Current technology has to put lots of things on the client so it works good. I surely hope this will, and probably does, change in the future but currently it's not applicable.

            • by Rogerborg (306625)
              "Has to"? That's surrender monkey talk. Trusting the client is quicker, easier. I'll grant that in an FPS, it's very nearly a requirement, but in an MMO? Not even close. It's lazy, defeatist design that's planning for failure.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        In Korea this is perfectly acceptible. Their idea of "security" online is that the site or app needs a special Windows application installed to provide that security. This has caused a culture where just clicking on "accept" whenever an ActiveX control wants to install itself. No wonder they are the number one nation when it comes to botnet participants.

        As an example: Here is the main web page of one of the larger banks in Korea: http://www.kdb.co.kr/

        Please do try to even see their front page without instal

    • Just don't get it through Steam, because the Steam version is dead on arrival. Doesn't work. I'm re-downloading the game directly from NCsoft and hoping that my CD-key for the game is not somehow tied to Steam.

  • Poor Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lulfas (1140109) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @11:43AM (#29476601)
    Nothing about the decision to drop GameGuard makes it a competitive MMO. The preorders numbers were given before that decision was made public. While I'm very glad they are dropping the horrible DRM program (I might pick it up myself now), it really has nothing to do with it's success or failure.
    • Re:Poor Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) <robertfranz@gmail.com> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @11:48AM (#29476639)

      It's not DRM.
      It has nothing to do with DRM.

      It was used previously in FreeToPlay games like 2moons to prevent cheating via game hacks.

      It failed utterly in that regard and was dropped.

      If Aion was relying on it as an anti hack measure - and "may introduce it later" - the game is already doomed.

      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        I agree. Seems people just like to throw "DRM" word around because of its bad image here on slashdot.

        GameGuard is anticheating software that protects the game from various hacking tools and methods same way that PunkBuster and VAC are. It's just a lot more invasive and is mainly used in Asian games.

        WoW and other gamers are quite easy to make hacking tools to too, but players reporting cheaters to gamemasters and the fact one account costs whole new game limits it goodly.

        • Re:Poor Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

          by The Analog Kid (565327) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @12:10PM (#29476761)

          WoW and other gamers are quite easy to make hacking tools to too, but players reporting cheaters to gamemasters and the fact one account costs whole new game limits it goodly.

          WoW also has Warden to detect cheating programs and bots. I don't know how effective it is, but unlike some other anti-cheat programs, it shuts off when WoW does, and it doesn't stay on the system if you were to uninstall WoW.

          It's also been reported that Blizzard is suspending accounts that are played on machines that they detect have spyware on for 24 hours. It's started happening when they began collecting "Non-identifiable system information" again. They don't won't suspend the account though if you have an authenticator attached to your account.

          • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

            It's also been reported that Blizzard is suspending accounts that are played on machines that they detect have spyware on for 24 hours. It's started happening when they began collecting "Non-identifiable system information" again. They don't won't suspend the account though if you have an authenticator attached to your account.

            What I find especially interesting is that initial reports claim Blizzard will not tell the customer what Warden found. Warden reports a keylogger - you're disabled for your own protection to give you a chance to clean up your system before gold sellers liquidate all your (and your guild bank's) gear. Good luck.

            The big question is why not note what was found? I'm wondering if this reveals that Warden truely does not report any sort of details at all about what it's crawling. My guess is that they added

            • by tacarat (696339)
              Saying what was and wasn't found would allow programmers to vet their newer creations against Warden. "X was found, but not Y or Z. Let's work on those angles for now".
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Seems people just like to throw "DRM" word around because of its bad image here on slashdot.

          Anti-cheat software, however, employs similar tactics and has similar effects. Example: Blizzard's Warden checks for certain programs running in the background. SecuROM does the same thing. Only difference is, SecuROM doesn't like DaemonTools, while Warden probably cares more about Glider (if it still exists).

          The biggest difference between DRM and anti-cheat in general is motivation -- legitimate players actually do benefit, much more directly, if the anti-cheat software works, whereas if DRM could ever wor

          • Securom and processexplorer. There is a legitimate reason to have process explorer running (it is like taskmanager but far better, allow you to see the process structure for example). Securom refuse to run with processexplorer, and the only "solution" is to close it. Additionally some DRM refuse to run if tehre is a DVD simulator.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jestrzcap (46989)

        If the program rootkits your system and prevents you from running certain software... well that sounds like DRM to me. I'd be happy to use a different term if you have something that's more accurate while conveying the same information.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        Bingo. If they trust the client - which they apparently do - then the game is Epic level fucked from the get-go.

        At this point, the best outcome they can hope for is that the game is so unpopular that nobody bothers owning the client. Talk about lose-lose.

    • by rpillala (583965)
      Dropping gameguard doesn't make it a better game, but as you yourself said, you are more likely to buy it now. Combine that with people who would have spent the "free" month fighting gameguard instead of players and mobs, and I think maybe it is more competitive.
  • Any word on Exteel? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bieeanda (961632) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @11:58AM (#29476683)
    Not that it's a particularly good game (because it's not), but that pile of crap Gameguard is the reason I dropped out of that beta a week in. Stupid thing turned my uninterruptible power supply service off every time the game started, and I can only guess at what else it was doing behind the scenes... rather than preventing hacks, which it apparently wasn't worth shit at.
  • by S77IM (1371931) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @12:06PM (#29476749)

    I was in the open beta (hey, free game!) and I think the accusation that GameGuard introduces security vulnerabilities into your system, which linger after you uninstall it, are an exaggeration.

    No-one wants to hack my desktop, anyway.Being well-endowed is the biggest gift the nature can give to a man. You are ashamed to take shower in public pools and gyms because of your tiny pecker? Now you can leave all your inhibitions behind as we know how to help you enlarge your instrument. Widest selection of desire lifters for men and women! We sell products for making your nights perfect!~

  • Gameguard is used in Maplestory and I believe SRO also. It didn't stop any glitching or vac-hacking in Maplestory and it didn't stop botting AT ALL in SRO. In fact, over 50% of all registered players were bots. It's useless crap!
    • by Kr1ll1n (579971)
      Don't forget Pangya.... They have been using Gameguard since season 2, and are now on Season 4. There is an incalculable amount of hacks and cheats for Pangya, all exploiting the wonderfully impotent, GameGuard.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Auxis (1341693)
      It was also used in Lineage 2. Bots/hacking programs in that game are ridiculously easy to use and get working.
    • And GunBound - wanted to try it again after having played several years ago...GameGuard made my system immediately BSOD and reboot every single time I tried to start the game.

  • AION LAUNCH VERSION!
    September 17, 2009 4:34 PM
    Greetings!

    As we draw closer to tomorrow I wanted to give everyone a brief update on the progress of our live version. We are excited to announce that we will be serving out the final update for you to patch within the next few hours. You will be able to use this version for both our Preselection and our Head Start. We are very excited with our final product and think that you will be as well! Below are the release notes for the patch you will see later today:

    - A

  • So I've looked at the Wine appdb entry for Aion and it says that it won't work because of GameGuard due to GameGuard requiring the Windows kernel. Hopefully I should be able to run it on Linux now :D
  • In my case, Gameguard wouldn't let Aion run unless I disabled some basic and horribly common online security measures.
    I did not like that, especially when I've ran games before that used Gameguard and that action wasn't necessary with them.

    I don't mind the idea of Gameguard, I just don't like it's implementation and lack of effectiveness.
    (Especially when it won't play nice with my security.)
  • Large numbers of pre-orders are not an indication that a game will be successful in the MMO market. Lots of games get massive amounts of pre-orders, but few people who subscribe past the first month. Unlike console games or games without a monthly subscription, MMO business plans commonly depend on having subscription revenue, so pre-orders (while nice) are not guaranteed sales (because the preorderer might bail a month in). Further, if a lot of pre-order people bail, you wind up having to do server cons
    • by Xest (935314)

      The game has been out in the Asian market quite a while already where it really has been a big success so far. The pre-order numbers are just for the Western market, so that's actually a really high pre-order figure compared to even past MMOs that have had high pre-orders but then still failed.

      I think it's that- the extraordinarily high pre-order, coupled with the fact it's already a success in Asia that has people wondering if maybe this time we really are seeing the arrival of the next big MMO.

  • "The decision makes Aion, which recently announced over 400,000 western pre-orders, a real contender in the western MMO market."

    I think having over 400,000 pre-orders in the western market makes it a contender, not the decision to remove their DRM. But hey, I don't assume the general population has the same slashdot groupthink mentality that I may have.

    • by Tridus (79566)

      No, that number is lower then both AoC and Warhammer by a good deal. You call either of those a "contender" these days?

      The number of people still playing in six months is the only indicator of success for a MMO. The number of people who pre-order is a function of hype generation and has nothing to do with the long term success of the game.

  • GameGuard disabled my computer's USB connection to my UPS (battery backup). I'll at least consider trying Aion, now that they've dumped that piece of shit.
  • From the Aion home page: "We will however continue to pursue ways to effectively utilize GameGuard within Aion in the future." Sounds like the removal if GameGuard is temporary, and you should expect it to return at some point in an update.
  • If this is anything like World of Warhammer they'll never get around to adding it back in.
    We can only hope.
  • The funniest part was that you could get around it by downloading a 14k sized file. I had to do this to play during Beta, VERY glad they listened and removed it!!
  • Can we safely remove GameGuard now or do we need to wait for something? Also, will the final game will have trial? I haven't had time to try the game out due to my busy life. :(

  • by blueworm (425290) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @11:40AM (#29483063) Homepage

    As Auxis alluded to below, you can simply write a hack to tell the game that gameguard is running when it's not. These hacks are readily available for Lineage II (and I suspect almost every other game popular enough to warrant them), so all gameguard does is treat the gamer like a criminal while doing little to actually prevent unauthorized use.

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