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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

GAMING NEWS

Secret Watermarks With User Information Found In World Of Warcraft Screenshots

Posted on Thursday, September 13 @ 16:35:33 Eastern by Jonathan_Leack

What you see above isn't the matrix, and it definitely isn't Hideo Kojima's latest tease. Instead, it's something that's been injected into every World of Warcraft screenshot taken since 2007.

A user by the name of Sendatsu on OwnedCore.com posted a series of bone-chilling screenshots—okay, maybe they're just hair-raising—that show secret markings on all World of Warcraft images. These markings are actually watermarks that reportedly show a user's ID, the IP of the server that they are connected to, as well as a timestamp. Most surprisingly, it appears Blizzard has been doing this since 2007.

So why are we just now finding out about this? Well, the watermarks are extremely subtle and require a few steps to reveal. Actually, it's completely reproducible. In order to see it for yourself, just take a screenshot in a very bright area of the game and open the image in an editing program before increasing sharpness to its highest value. Congratulations, you've just found a secret that has been hidden for five-years.

As far as the purpose of this strange information injection goes, some say it's to locate and identify players on private servers. While that sounds unlikely, Blizzard has refused to comment on the matter. More importantly, it's a potential security issue now that hackers have five years of screenshots to play with.
Related Games:   World of Warcraft
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