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World Of Warcraft: Secret Watermark on Screenshots

Discussion on World Of Warcraft: Secret Watermark on Screenshots within the Gaming News - EN forum part of the Gaming News category.

Old   #1
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World Of Warcraft: Secret Watermark on Screenshots

It seems that the game's screenshot function might embed a watermark, containing an encrypted code which reveals the account ID and server information about the user who took the screenshot; as well, it is adding a time stamp on it.

The instructions for anyone to test this out are here:

According to the ones whom found this information, what appears on a screenshot are some patterns, which can only be seen if the user has the screenshot quality at "9"
  • /console SET screenshotQuality "9"

The result of following the steps described above will produce this output:

But to avoid these patterns to appear on the screenshots, what users can do is simply set the quality to "10"
  • /console SET screenshotQuality "10"

This technique is supposedly used by Blizzard to trace private servers, so be aware, this is something from the game client application, not something related to the Retail Server only.

"A few days ago I noticed some weird artifacts covering the screenshots I captured using the WoW game client application, I sharpened the images and found a repeating pattern secretly embedded inside. I posted this information and after an amazing three-day cooperation marathon, we managed to prove that all our WoW screenshots, since at least 2008, contain a custom watermark."

This is what was stated by kgkoutzis, whom reported this information on Slashdot

It seems that this strategy was introduced to the game after the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack was released, coincidentally after Blizzard merged with Activision.

Something important to take into account is that these encrypted messages or information doesn't contain any personal data such as users' real names or IP addresses, even less, passwords; yet it contains your account ID, server information and the time in which the screenshot was taken.

The pattern that we will find on the screenshot consists on approximately 88 bytes data, which will be repeating itself X times depending on the screen resolution. For a better understanding, here is a colored representation in which the account ID and realm information are depicted in red, while the time in blue.

Note: this watermark is added to the screenshot just when the user uses the game's screenshot function, but if any third party software is used (such as Steam's), there is not going to be any sort of watermark.
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World Of Warcraft: Secret Watermark on Screenshots-wow.jpg  

JohnHeatz is offline  
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Old 09/12/2012, 06:53   #2
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Also ich bin kein Fan doch scheisse wenn da so informationen quasi veröffentlicht werden

I'm not really a fan of this, its quite ****** if your personal information like the account ID etc. are spoiled this way..

.seizure™ is offline  
Old 09/12/2012, 09:11   #3
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This is some interesting method to steal informations of privateservers..
Mi4uric3 is offline  
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Old 09/12/2012, 20:02   #4
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Blackw|ng is offline  
Old 09/22/2012, 00:22   #5
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It's good to know what they use the development time for ...
Rumbah is offline  
Old 09/22/2012, 02:44   #6
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Old 09/22/2012, 06:02   #7
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Originally Posted by mdchalice View Post
No kidding, it's a wonder I haven't been banned for some of the screenshots I've posted using bots, and hacks.
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Old 09/22/2012, 06:05   #8
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Well, just keep in mind that these watermark appears just if you take the screenshot with the function within the client, if you used any other software to take your screenshots, this will not appear.
JohnHeatz is offline  
Old 09/22/2012, 06:14   #9
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Trying to remember how long I've been using FRAPS now lol.
Astyre is offline  
Old 09/22/2012, 15:30   #10
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**** good to know - best to start using a screenshot tool now
goblinking is offline  
Old 09/22/2012, 15:43   #11
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Bin ich froh dieses Spiel nicht mehr zu unterstützen mit MoP habe ich mein Abonement beendet.

MfG Scutz
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Old 09/23/2012, 09:43   #12
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Sneaky bastards from Blizzard haha
VyperZ is offline  
Old 09/23/2012, 12:09   #13
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Lol , wusste ich schon seit paar monaten aber es fasziniert mich immer wieder auf ein neues was Blizzard so macht.
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Old 09/29/2012, 10:55   #14
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Nur müll mehr nicht.
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Old 12/27/2012, 09:58   #15
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what is realmlist of server ?

kianoosh12 is offline  


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