Ways To Cheat At World Of Warcraft

With all of the talk lately about buying gold, I thought it would be interesting to examine all of the different ways to potentially ‘cheat’ at World of Warcraft. Some are obvious, some less so, but all to a certain degree, to quote Wikipedia’s definition of cheating,  are “employed to create an unfair advantage, usually in one’s own interest, and often at the expense of others”.

Note that cheating and breaking Blizzard’s Terms of Use for WoW are not always the same thing.

Ways To Cheat

  • Buying gold from websites on the Internet. This is the probably the most obvious form of cheating and is allegedly linked to account hacking (I say ‘allegedly ‘ because I don’t know what the actual facts are although it does seem to be the logical conclusion). Buying gold also has social consequences too and it may cause you to be ostracized by your friends and family.
  • Purchasing characters from eBay. Another classic example of what most would consider cheating. It’s explicitly prohibited in WoW’s Terms and Conditions.
  • Buying gold from your real life friends. It doesn’t matter if you pay for it on the Internet or buy your mate a pint down in the local pub in exchange for giving you 1,000g, it’s still cheating.
  • Allowing your guild mates to give you gold. If you didn’t earn with your own character in-game, it’s technically a form of cheating, right?
  • Buying WoW TCG loot cards. I find this one particularly interesting as it’s against the T&Cs yet I honestly don’t know if it’s enforced or not.
  • Paying someone to level up your character. Not against the Terms of Use and completely legit yet still most of us would consider it cheating.
  • Being power leveled through dungeons. Not much different from paying someone else to level up your character for you and you’re skipping through content you’re not meant to.
  • Using heirloom items. Twinking is a form of cheating and interestingly enough it meets Wikipedia’s definition of it to a T. I can’t think of a better example of exploiting an unfair advantage to benefit against others, especially in PvP.

Just to be clear, I don’t condone cheating in any form and only point out these forms of cheating in WoW in hopes that you will not only do your best to avoid them but also report those your find engaging in them.

Where’s The Line?

Obviously the above list isn’t completely serious and a little tongue-in-cheek but hopefully it has made you question where the lines between cheating starts and stops. It’s seems to be a very relative subject with no clear line in the sand, making it very difficult for players to know where they stand. Hacking repercussions to one side, is it any more a form of cheating to buy gold than it is if one of your friends gave you some money to help you get started? Technically speaking, both acts are just as bad as each other but if Suzina had confessed to a friend of hers giving her 1,000g in exchange for a nice home cooked dinner or a few cans of beer, would anyone have even cared?

All in all, some food for thought. When exactly does getting a “helping hand” become cheating? And if buying gold wasn’t linked to account hacking (as it never was until quite recently) would gamers still hate it so much?

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35 Comments

  1. ziboo says:

    Lol! Love it.

    Personally couldn’t care how someone else chooses to play. Buy gold, characters, twink, BoA’s, have someone level for you whatever.

    At the end of the day it doesn’t affect my play in the least or my enjoyment of the game!

  2. Carson63000 says:

    I think the keyword in the Wikipedia definition that you may have stretched a little in some of your examples is “unfair”.

  3. Stropp says:

    While I agree in principle, for the most part someone else buying gold has no effect on my enjoyment of a game, there is the issue of supporting the actions of the sellers. (I wrote about this yesterday (http://stroppsworld.com/2010/03/15/admitting-to-punching-puppies/))

    The problem is that the gold sellers engage in activities that affect enjoyment. In game spamming, ninja looting, gold farming, and especially account theft, hurt other players.

    There’s also the issue that the gold you receive may have come from the account of someone who has been keylogged and had all his gear and goods sold off by some criminal. It’s the same principle as buying that dvd player down the local pub.

    Being given gold by a friendly guildie, or by a friend in exchange for a home cooked meal isn’t quite the same thing.

  4. Me playing is cheating. I’m that good.

  5. Jon says:

    “Paying someone to level up your character. Not against the Terms of Use…”

    Erm. *Totally* against the Terms of Service.

    The last Blizzard TOS *I* read states that the *only* two people that can legally access your account are you, and *one* of your minor children. If you want two of your teenage kids to play, and you want to remain legal, you have to get two accounts. This provision came to light when a guildmate was in Florida on business and was playing from the hotel’s internet, and his wife back in Arizona logged on to check his auctions or mail herself something that one of his characters had, or to send herself some money – one of those things you do all the time when you’re at home and both accounts show up to Blizzard as being from the same IP address.
    His account showed that he logged in from Florida, then two hours later from Arizona, then an hour after that from Florida again.

    They banned him for ‘account sharing’, and his appeal was denied.

    • Gordon says:

      I couldn’t find anything in the ToS that states sharing your account login is prohibitted but I may have missed it or misinterpreted it.

      That’s a pretty scary story… I’ve never given anyone my account details and I don’t intend to. I’m surprised Blizzard didn’t unban the accoutn though.

  6. Russ says:

    Keeping in mind your “tongue and cheek” disclaimer, I will say that I wouldn’t include BoA items on the list. :)

    Since it’s something that Blizzard provides for, and has made adjustments to (in favor of players) recently, to me a BoA item qualifies as more of a buff. It’s provided to anyone who chooses to use it, as a reward for reaching level 80 and acquiring enough emblems to buy it. It makes the game a little easier, like so many of the other changes that Blizzard has made in the past year or so. In that sense, I wouldn’t categorize it as cheating, because I can’t expect all players to play the game by my definition of what should or shouldn’t be when the boundaries of the game allow for more.

    Likewise, twinking in general is a part of the game that can be done entirely within the bounds of the rules. In my experience, twinking is such a part of PvP in WoW that most people expect to PvP in twink gear, which puts the participants on a more level playing field than your comment would indicate. Sure, anyone who ventures into PvP in quest reward gear at level 19 is going to think it’s unfair, but that’s the way it is. One could argue that those of us who raid regularly and have optimized ICC/Frost gear sets are heavily twinked out at level 80 anyway… LOL!

    I am not uncomfortable with BoA items, twinking, having my ass handed to me sometimes when I’m part of trying to defend WG, etc. I choose to play the parts of the game I enjoy, and I know my limitations. However, some of your other points are at quite the opposite end of the spectrum, as they address issues variably related to account security or are not “in the spirit of the game,” so to speak. But ultimately most of it doesn’t affect my WoW-playing experience, which is what matters to me most. Hopefully that doesn’t make my comments less valid.

    By the way, I loved the “ostracized by your friends and family” comment!

    Thanks for the post!

  7. amcl says:

    You forgot about Recruit A Friend, which is a nice form of fun power leveling.

  8. Recruit A Friend is the worst of all!!
    Its an unholy curse of the one we know as the desolate one, the first of the fallen, the spoiler of virgins, the master of abortion (guess you know whom I mean by know – “Clerks 2″ line by the way -> awesome movie but off topic by now) because it makes
    - your power leveled friend addicted
    - your friend who wants to level with the two who are using the buddy experience totally frustrated since he/she cant keep up

    SO I think Blizzard should stop that “(satan-is -you-)BUDDY” Kit since it is unfair to all the people who got no friends in real life which means they never get a bloody buddy kit!
    Thanks!

    (PS: This post is not meant to be serious)

  9. Yetian says:

    I agree with trading gold outside the game is a form of cheating as is buying accounts and paying for levels.

    I also see your point on twinking though I don’t see it as cheating in the same way as the above methods. While you might be cheating from the point of view of the character receiving the item, you have earned the item yourself in the game.

    I think a guild member giving you an item is fine also as in our guild one of our main ideals is that we help each other out in game. If someone in the guild can use an item that one of us loots we pass it on as someone in the guild has earned the item. The person receiving the item will have earned it also by their contribution to the guild.

    If I make an item for someone in the guild with a rare that has been dropped into our guild bank, I dont consider that cheating as that item was donated to help a fellow guildie.

    It’s why we formed our guild, to help each other out in game, everything we give to other members or make for them has been earned in the game by one of us.

  10. [...] Ways To Cheat At World Of Warcraft – We Fly Spitfires – MMORPG Blog [...]

  11. Sithinious says:

    I will admit to buying gold… once… in WoW. And I paid for it. My account was hacked about three weeks later. While unable to prove it, I know it was the gold sellers I’d bought from.

    So now I’m against gold sellers of any form, and will do all that I can to thwart them, however small the effort may be.

    Pretty poor way to do business, to turn your “customers” against you so strongly.

    • Bootleg says:

      How do you know it was the gold sellers you bought from?

      The gist of how the system works, you pay a website via paypal and give them your server, faction, and character name. The gold service eventually contacts you and either mails you the gold, or directly trades it to you.

      The gold seller knows nothing about your account other than what I mention above. My point is that the gold seller would have no more information/success than Gordon here at We Fly Spitfires would.

      As I mentioned in a different post, you’re account did not get “hacked.” You either gave out your login information trying to “get your free mount”/”Fixing your suspended account” (phished.) Or, you somehow got a keylogger got installed on your system, which captured your login information and passed it back to the villain.

      My best guess, you got a keylogger installed. Though it’s never happened to me, my understanding is that in the right, relatively common, circumstances they can be installed by visiting a bad website. As a WoW player, somebody versed enough to be able to look for and buy gold, you probably visit plenty of WoW related websites and any one of those could be the “bad” one. Pinning the blame on the gold seller you purchased from really doesn’t make much sense. It’s kind of like blaming the lawn service for robbing your house, because 3 weeks after hiring them bad things happened.

      • Sithinious says:

        I’m about 99.9% certain it was gold farmers that hacked/phished/whatevered my account, and about 90% certain it was the ones I’d bought from.

        Here’s the details:
        One night I happened to check my email around 11:00 pm. I had an email from Blizzard with a time stamp of 10:33 pm saying I had recently changed my password, if I was not the one who had done that, I was to click the provided link. I did so, and all it did was take me to the “retrieve my password” page on the WoW website. When I tried to do so, I was informed that there had been too many attempts to retrieve my password and that I should call the Blizzard customer service line.
        But when I called, an automated message told me that the customer service office was closed and provided me with some automated help choices. But unfortunately, none of these choices were even close to “Help! Scumbag gold sellers hacked my account!”. I did the only thing I could do, which was to send an email to customer support.

        So I immediately logged on with my second account. I looked at the guild tab, and saw that all of my toons had been logged in < 1 hour ago. So I went to the guild bank, and it was empty. This was within 40 minutes of that first email! I figured that was the end of it, and I would try getting my password back the next morning. But I logged in a bit later with my second account and saw that my character was online and in Shalozar basin. So I immediately whispered to the scumbags and told them what kind of @#$%*&-tards they were.

        The next morning I was going to call Blizzard when they opened, at 11 am EST. but at 10:15 am, I got an email saying they had received my email from the night before, and had issued me a temporary password and that they were “looking into” my compromised account. I immediately logged on and found that I had kicked off whomever was using my account as my character was in mid-flight around Icecrown. Apparently, they had been using my 450 mining and my epic flying mount to mine nodes all night long. I was also a member of a guild consisting of myself and four level 1 warriors, a dead giveaway that my account had been hacked by gold sellers. I went to the guild bank and saw that it had one tab which was half full of stacks of 20 saronite ore, plus some of my items and the vault had 2,000 gold. Of course, I could not touch any of it as I didn’t have any guild priveledges. I left my character in this guild as I wanted the GM investigating the account to see that it was hacked by gold sellers and hopefully ban them from the game.I checked back a couple of times over the next two days, and it seemed as if they HAD gotten banned, as no one in that gold seller guild had logged in, nor had anything in the vault been touched.

        But about the third day, I saw that the saronite ore was gone and that the vault now had 27,000 gold in it. At that point, I left that guild.

        Even though the guild I was put into was obviously gold sellers, apparently none of them got banned and were free to sell the ore they mined with my toon.

        Even if it wasn’t the ones I had bought from, it led me to despise gold sellers.

        • Gordon says:

          Blizzard’s security kinda worries me a bit. Surely they should just lock down the account if they detect too many attempts to retrieve a password. I mean, they could send an email and, if you haven’t authorised the change, they just lock out the account immediately until you can call them. It would solve a lot of problems…

          • Todd says:

            This is obviously a fake website where you input your current password and it copies it and then uses it on your account. It’s the same as those website offering free mounts or the new beta. They have the identical logon page as blizzard does. These type of sites don’t last long because that is copyright infringement.

    • Gordon says:

      I’d love to find out more about the hackings and who exactly is doing it. Is it the gold sellers themselves or people who are pulling out the money then selling it on to them? And which company specifically is doing it? I wonder how much info Blizzard has on it all.

  12. boatorious says:

    Cheating is breaking the rules, and the rules in this case are specified pretty clearly in the ToS.

    Now, everybody that plays WoW probably considers at least one kind of non-cheating behavior to be unfair or unsavory. I believe there are addons that will automatically perform achievement-related actions for the character. I’d object to that behavior but it is within the rules. I’d also look down on someone who says “wow I can’t wait to have a worgen rogue” but then just waits until race transfers to worgen are allowed, and then race changes a night elf rogue to worgen. Or someone who switches to Horde to get all their PvP achievements and then switches back to Alliance.

    These actions I’d consider unsavory, since the person chose a shortcut rather than working towards and achieving their goal honestly. But their actions are allowed by Blizzard and I would not call them cheating.

  13. Given your interested in sex, I’m surprised you didn’t draw the obvious parallels with prostitution.

    Sex is legal, but prostitution (that is, paying for sex) is not. Where’s the line? Are the following forms prostitution?

    * Buying a someone a new car and asking for sex in exchange.
    * Taking a date out to dinner and a movie and expecting sex afterwards.
    * Fixing the broken toilet for your spouse then expecting sex afterwards.
    * Sleeping with some random barfly who swipes your wallet before you wake up the next morning.

    Then there’s the meta level about how people feel about prostitution. Some people abhor it for moral reasons, some for personal reasons, some don’t care, and some are secretly enthusiastic supporters.

    A very complex issue in both cases.

  14. River says:

    “Viagra a form of Twinking” Classic.

    Forgot one other form of cheatting botting. How many times we see bots in AV back in the day, hopping up and down.

  15. TheGecko says:

    As someone who has used both gold farmers, and character levellers I’m of the opinion that people need to be very wary of them. Despite not being used in years, my (old) email account still gets bombarded daily with emails from ‘Blizzard’ telling me to click on the link and enter my password – as if. And the email spam is enourmous.

    I experimented with botting as well – from a technical point of view it was interesting, but too prone to being found out. The lesson is really, ‘Beware – here be dragons!” :)

  16. einDrake says:

    I believe you didn’t take into consideration that wow is a mmo , that means playing with others. So what you think as cheating , I consider playing a multiplayer.

    I will give just a short example since this is a rather old post and you might end up not reading it anyway :)

    You said “Allowing your guild mates to give you gold. If you didn’t earn with your own character in-game, it’s technically a form of cheating, right?”. Some people are in a guild so that they can work together towards a mutual goal. As an officer , I would give money from the guild bank to someone who is a good raider but doen’t have time to farm. The guild downs the boss , not the individual players , that’s why it’s multiplayer , not just single-player with bots. The player helps the guild by doing great tanking/healing/dps and not dying in fires , in return the guild helps him down more bosses through items , consumables and so on.

    And it’s also about time. I’d rather give my friend 1k gold that would allow him to buy 1-2 low epics that let him enter a heroic just as soon as he dings 80 and play with him then and there , than wait a few days till he gets gear “the right way”.

    It’s not “Press tab , write ‘coinage’ , gz , you have 1000 gold” , it’s interaction with players , which takes many forms.

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