Black Rose: A PSA

This post’ll be split into two parts: first, i’ll be showing off my lovely, shiny new knife. Then, i’ll explain why perhaps the lovely, shiny new knife was not worth it.

So, without further ado:

Look at this! :D

Damn straight this thing is good looking! I just wanna rub it all ove–

Ahem.

The Black Rose was put into the game on Monday (14/2/12), with how to earn it only being implemented within the last few hours. To get it, you need to install the f2p game Alliance of Valiant Arms (a shooter not dissimilar to Call of Duty, with hints of Battlefield and Counterstrike in) and play through one whole game. That’s it. It took me about five minutes. The next time you load up tf2, the item’ll be in your inventory.

So what’s the problem? Well, here’s where the PSA part of this comes in; by installing AvA, you agree to install anticheat software (why do they all not just use VAC?), namely nProtect Gameguard.

Now for the above average computer user, the very first sentence will send alarm bells ringing. Gameguard is a rootkit, meaning it burrows into your system nice and snugly, and takes your system like a cheap i’m-not-going-to-continue-this-analogy and dumps the body in the why-am-i-still-talking.

To its credit, the rootkit allows the application to do what it does best, namely sniffing out cheating software (aimbots, wallhacks…) and shut it down. The problem comes with giving a relatively little known company such power. But to what extent does this power extend? Well…

‘GameGuard hides the game application process, monitors the entire memory range, terminates applications defined by the game vendor and INCA Internet to be cheats (QIP for example), blocks certain calls to DirectX functions and Windows APIs, keylogs your keyboard input, and auto-updates itself to change as new threats surface.’

-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NProtect_GameGuard

Really, it comes down to trust. But this has happened before, and means a potentially massive security risk to your computer. Perhaps you think the risk is negligable, and there’s nothing to worry about; well maybe it is tiny, in which case, you don’t have to do anything. Then again, a tiny risk is bigger than no risk at all, so if you don’t want this on your computer, this link will show you the proper proceedure to remove it from your system.

If you want to unlock the knife without installing the program, i am informed that you can use steam achievement manager; i’m told that valve have no official stance on it so it’s unlikely that you’ll get VAC banned, but understand that any consequences are on your head.

It’s a shame because I enjoyed the few minutes I spent playing the game (besides the inordinate amount of time it took to update); it’s well designed and seems like a great free alternative to other popular modern shooters. However, as long as gameguard is implemented with it, i’m gonna have to suggest you stay away.

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