User fwosar on Reddit posted a detailed analysis yesterday that asserts ArenaNet used spyware to obtain data to then ban suspected cheaters from Guild Wars 2. Early this morning ArenaNet confirmed that they used software to target “programs that allow players to cheat and gain unfair gameplay advantages.”
fwosar’s post is filled with a lot of technical jargon but the gist is this: ArenaNet had a piece of software included in versions of Guild War 2 from March 6th to March 27th that scanned all open processes on user’s PCs and sent that information back to them. While they were looking for a specific set of programs, as noted in their response above, the software sent all data, relevant to what they were looking for or not, back to them.
This is not something entirely new to anti-cheat software, however. Blizzard Entertainment has utilized what they call their Warden client to do something similar. The major difference is that Warden only scans for specific identifiers for specific programs and then acts on that information alone. While it is looking through a lot of data to get to that, only what is relevant to anti-cheating is then reported back. Despite some of these safeguards, Warden has had its own controversies, of course.
As of now, the software has been removed and is no longer on the current version of Guild Wars 2. We have reached out to ArenaNet for further elaboration and confirmation on how the software was used and what information it obtained, as well as whether they plan to use it again in the future and what they are doing with the information they collected.
If you believe your account was unjustly banned, ArenaNet advised to contact Customer Support to get it sorted.
Was your Guild Wars 2 account in this banwave? Were you using any of the listed software in the ArenaNet forum post? Do you think developers should use techniques like this in tracking cheaters? Let us know in the comments below!