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05/28/2003

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Draigon

I don't play Shadowbane, but I found this story to be wildly entertaining. The only thing that gets me are the people making comments such as "Wow, the programmers must be really bad or stupid to design something that allows for this to happen." Comments like that knock me off guard. Hackers are smart, determined, and generally willing to spend as much if not more time hacking a game rather than playing it. Not to mention the fact that most protection technologies I have seen used in online games are mostly aimed at delaying or trying to keep a hacker busy.

Every online game thus far has been open to hacking and that's not going to change either. Ultimately the programmers are to blame, yes, but I guess I'm saying I wouldn't be so hard on them because I think it's something that isn't going to go away. Instead, I would critize the company if they do poorly in the aftermath of an attack because that shows that they just were not ready for the online gaming world to me.

Aftermath includes things such as:
Company standpoint - What's their take on the hacking? What do they say they're going to do about it? Are they honest or do they try to blame shift?

Response time - How long before they close the servers? How long does it take to make a fix or even temporary fix? How long before they rollback servers and how far back do they rollback? (if they rollback further than should have been necessary it shows a flaw in their thinking on backup policy.) How long did it take before they began addressing the communities concerns?

Repeat occurance - Has this happened in the past? Even if pretending for a moment that there's a flaw so bad in the design that there's a hole that cannot be patched (which is ridiculous in and of itself), they should be able to detect it. A proper logging system and post-hack created detection system should allow for a reasonable reaction time to future occurances. So even in worst case scenerio, it shouldn't be as big of a problem as perhaps the first occurance.

Companies who create online games, protected or not, should address the issue of hacking aftermath.

hyhy

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