WOW: Private Servers

Okay, this is a bit of a naughty topic, but I do have a legal copy of WOW and TBC after all and I’m curious.

Recently, a couple of my housemates claimed that they could set up a private WOW server on our house lan. I was skeptical, thinking that maybe they could set up a walking simulation or something in an empty world. But they actually managed to do it! I’ve had some weird quest problems (for some reason, I could get two copies of my starter “Go to your class trainer” quest and couldn’t complete either of them), but otherwise, it seems to be just any other WOW server, except that it’s only got a handful of people on it, and that anyone can play god on it anytime they want.

So my question is: how do they do it? Did someone steal a copy of Blizzard’s server code or did they reverse-engineer everything from scratch? (if so, I suppose it would only an approximation of WOW) Obviously, this is illegal, but still, I’m curious, anyone have much experience with this scene?

Pretty sure it’s reverse engineered.

There have been private servers up since the beta.

It’s not so obvious to me that it’s illegal.

Reverse engineered… from what? If you reverse engineer the client, all you get is, well, the client. Reverse engineered from examining the network packets between client and server?

Hmm, I just did some googling and from what I’ve read, it seems that it is reverse engineering. From what I’ve read, a lot of triggers and scripted sequences don’t work properly, particularly in instances. I’ve also read reports about class abilities behaving oddly. I suppose that the higher level you get, the more problems you’ll encounter. It’s fun enough to muck around with for a while, but it’s no WOW.

They’ve investigated packets, and once they had decent clients-server communication sussed out,
they started meticulously recreating quests. UO servers have existed for a very long time.
They’re basically MUD servers with a MUCH larger map grid, stretching in an additional dimension in the case of WoW, DAoC etc. :)

There are some Russian-language WoW servers out there that were, pre-TBC, completely up to date, with oddities. For instance, no falling damage. You could jump off Teldrassil and not die when you landed.

Don’t know much about them, just know of them. Dunno what’s going on with them post-TBC, but I expect they’ve got most of Outlands working by now.

It pretty much is. Copyright violations. The quest text is probably not resident on the client, and would be transmitted by the server. So, they would need to change that.

I always imagined that after a game was too long in the tooth to carry on public servers, the companies would bundle the server, and client, allowing for personal servers. I never thought that the games would be profitable for this long.

Why people would muck with this when the original NWN came with perfectly functional server, gamemaster, and design tools?

People with too much time on thier hands I guess.

Because it allows them to look at new content (items and such) in game before it’s “officially” released.

I can also see the draw for people who want to see end-game content because they’re interested in the lore, the drops, or just what it all looks like, yet aren’t willing to invest the hundreds of hours it takes to get to that end-game content. I’m one of them, only I haven’t touched a private server largely because I didn’t know they existed. I read the Wowwiki articles and have used a map explorer before just to look around at Ahn’Qiraj, Hyjal, and the Emerald Dream stuff back before BC came out.

Reverse engineering copyrighted software is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and Blizzard has successfully gotten it upheld in court vs. BnetD project.

The rogue UO shards are a bit of a special case, the UO server source code actually leaked at one point.

Nope, all the private UO shards are 100% reverse engineered. You’re probably thinking of Lineage 2.

And yeah, nothing wrong with private MMO shards. Clearly MMO subscriptions are optional! Information just wants to be free. No idea why the concept should offend me and all. Would it be easier if I just handed you my wallet directly?

In the case of UO shards, some of us played (and still do play) on them because they were/are better than the official servers. Not because they were/are free.

My wife and I have always said that we’d love to play WoW without any other people. Not everyone enjoys the MMO experience, at least where other people are concerned. But we still like to play the games together, without being annoyed by people.

I’ve always been curious about setting up a private server, mostly so I can see what the GM tools are like. The exploration part is also there, but definitely to see what all the things a GM can do and not relying on a crappy, poorly encoded YouTube video to show me.

But every time I get around to trying it, I get hung up somewhere. It definitely takes a high degree of familiarity with the emulators and the community surrounding them to figure it out.

People who play on UO shards are a strange lot who preferred it more hardcore.
The regular servers look more attractive, really. But experimental servers for
other games occasionally had some interesting ideas. There was one for DAoC
that the author just stopped making, and which really wasn’t released outside
of his group of friends. It sounded nice, in that stealth was handled much better
there. I’ve since seen similar ideas implemented in LotRO.

Nice for experimenting, I guess, but without the community they’re not much good.

I doubt anything but the leaked Lineage server is indicative of how it works on
the real servers. Their admin tools are just what the reverse engineers thought
would work best. In the case of Wolfpack (I think) for UO, the serverside
scripting was Python based, and really well designed. Probably better than
the real EA server software :)
(That’s the only custom server I’ve found readily available, and moderately easy to install)

The EQ freeshards were unbelievably complicated. I tried to set one up during
the Luclin days, and it involved MySQL (and not just any! localhost only!) and
lots of complicated scripting, plus it came with absolutely no items or quests
or anything to get started. The instructions were minimal, if any. I tried the
client against an already running free server, and at least the exploration part
worked. Character creation was a bit weird. I stuck to the real servers.

I have nothing but contempt for “private” servers. They’re nothing but warez.

Dearest Lum,

can I have your wallet?


Pooky Bear