Dec 1, 2005 edit: I guess this was a bad idea from the start.
While you may be able to find currently private wow servers and databases so that you can have a slightly similar experience to playing WoW on blizzards servers, it’s not really legal, and blizz could come down on you hard. The great thing is, *punches fist into open hand*, we can do something about it.
Let’s make private wow, or in better terms “running your own World of Warcraft server”, legal. How, you may ask. Oh, my dear friends, the DMCA is a piece of evil work, but they left in clever holes. Due to the evils (not the idea but the execution) of 4.5 million copies of EULA-compliant spyware which reads your email, I’d like to use this opportunity to submit a complaint against the abuse of the DMCA.
The thing is, I’m just one guy. I’d prefer going into this together, and properly. I’m no lawyer, and unfortunately have no good friends who are. If we could go in this together, both submitting the complaint and doing it in force (this many people care about this silly game?), then I’m sure it’d make a bigger difference. When that’s done, blizzard can run their spyware only when users connect to their servers (not sure how to work that into the complaint), and they can allow users who wish to cheat to do so on their own private servers (which may, preferably, choose to opt in to running The Warden, perhaps in different modes so users can have more or less privacy).
I use parentheses too much, and thus will expand on the last one. Some private servers may want to disallow cheating and enforce it. Well, if blizzard screws them back and turns off the warden fully, then there’s no way to stop cheating which would suck ass and make people play official so they wouldn’t have to be cheated on. Unless a punkbuster for WoW comes out because of it, it’d be nice for servers to say “use the warden to scan x type programs only” or “hashes only”, or the full on “spyware rambo mode” like it is now. They’d also have to warn users “this server is using super rambo mode and will probably steal your passwords and IMs” or something, because hell, I don’t wanna play on that kind of server. The added bonus is you can play as god on a server that allows it, or toil through on another that doesn’t, or play a total conversion (which is apparently not currently illegal).
Hell, have fun with it. There’s some korean game where a guy wrote a private server, they sued him, but he won, so it’s now legal to play that game privately. Can’t remember the name of it though, so if someone can tell me I’ll edit it in.
In closing: While the DMCA is used for the wrong reasons, they left us a ‘every 3 years’ loophole. We don’t have forever, so lets get this in before the end of the month (the deadline).