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How to legally access information sent by Hearthstone server?


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#1 FallenKaede   Members   -  Reputation: 119

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 09:44 AM

I'm a big Hearthstone fan and I want to make a program that can draft the best arena deck possible given the cards that are proposed by the game. To do so, I'd need to know what are the cards proposed so that my program can calculate which one is the best for the current deck. Is there any legal way to access the information sent from the Hearthstone server to see those cards?

Thanks a lot for your help!

P.S. I'm programming this in C++.



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#2 krinosx   Members   -  Reputation: 500

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 11:57 AM

Hummm I dont think you may do it...

 

Before trying to do something like that, you must read the EULA ( http://eu.blizzard.com/en-gb/company/about/termsofuse.html ) with so much attention...

 

As I read the EULA, there is no "..any legal way..." to do that...

 

I think its possible to be done.. but... you may not do it...

 

The most 'common' way to do such thing is to intercept ( sniff ) the game connection and try to decipher the blizzard protocol and try to figure out what cards the game is sending to you, unless the blizzard generate the random cards localy ( in your PC ), but I don't think its the case...

 

Btw... you know its 'cheating' right? the DRAFT factor of a Arena is based in your capacity to choose the cards as fast as you can... so... if you are building a software to do that... its like 'emulating human behavior'... and its cheating... :)



#3 FallenKaede   Members   -  Reputation: 119

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 12:53 PM

Yeah I know it would be cheating if it would be made public. I just want to do this to practice programming and to make it a little faster for me to draft. I'd simply make an algorithm based on my personal card preference depending on what has been chosen before (mana curve, etc.). So I don't quite think of it as cheating since it'd make the same choices I would, only it would be faster.

 

But yeah, if there's no way to get the info legally I'll just drop the project..!Thanks for the help! smile.png

 

Edit:

 

After reading this, it's pretty obvious that it's illegal: 

"

  1. 10.3 No Data Mining. You agree that you will not (a) obtain or attempt to obtain any information from the Service or any Game using any method not expressly permitted by Blizzard; (b) intercept, examine or otherwise observe any proprietary communications protocol used by a client or the Service, whether through the use of a network analyzer, packet sniffer or other device; © use any third-party software to collect information from or through a Game client or the Service, including without limitation information about your character, any Account registered to you, virtual items, other players, or other Game data.

"

 

I guess the only way to do it would be by somehow analysing the UI to detect what cards are displayed, but yeah, that would be disgusting to program.


Edited by FallenKaede, 16 May 2014 - 01:04 PM.


#4 Pink Horror   Members   -  Reputation: 1117

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 01:16 PM


Yeah I know it would be cheating if it would be made public. I just want to do this to practice programming and to make it a little faster for me to draft.

 

How does it make a difference whether you make it public or not? If you're using loaded dice, you don't have to tell anybody for it to be cheating. It's still cheating whether or not you get caught. I don't play Hearthstone, but "to make it a little faster for me to draft" sounds like a form of cheating to me.



#5 FallenKaede   Members   -  Reputation: 119

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 03:19 PM

 


Yeah I know it would be cheating if it would be made public. I just want to do this to practice programming and to make it a little faster for me to draft.

 

How does it make a difference whether you make it public or not? If you're using loaded dice, you don't have to tell anybody for it to be cheating. It's still cheating whether or not you get caught. I don't play Hearthstone, but "to make it a little faster for me to draft" sounds like a form of cheating to me.

 

 

Well there's no time restriction at all during the draft. So considering the fact that since I'd develop the program based on personal card preferences and evaluation, it would, normally, pick exactly the same things that I would. That's why I wouldn't consider that as using a loaded dice if I would be the one using the program. And what I meant by "making it public" is that if somebody that hasn't done many arenas or isn't good at drafting, of course it would be cheating to use such program. The purpose of my project was not to cheat at all.

 

Anyways, I don't want to start a debate here about what would be cheating or not since that's not the point of the topic. Just wanted to see if there was something that could be done to do a program like that, but it seems like Blizzard prohibit anything like that.



#6 krinosx   Members   -  Reputation: 500

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 12:52 PM

Well, btw, the software 'per se' is not prohibited... you may build something like a "Excel Spreadsheet" with the cards and the score for each one... so when the draft screen is presented you can use your spreadsheet to choose what card is better...
 
The blizzard just prohibit to automatize it reading its protocol... I know it would be nice to have its feature ( to choose the best card ) automatically... btw, you may create a independent software to indicate what is the best card to pick... since it will not interact with Hearthstone client, it will not be cheating...
 
I was really thinking that you have limited time to choose the cards in a draft... so, if you have ilimited time, you may do a software to help you... :) And, if you do, send it to me.. I will be glad to help you test it! :)


#7 BeerNutts   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2766

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 06:11 AM

I would definitely use a UI analyzing program if I was to do this.  It wouldn't be pretty, but it shouldn't be too difficult.  Capture the window (or screen), find the edges of the cards, and then just compare the cards to already captured images stored somewhere.


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#8 BeerNutts   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2766

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 06:12 AM

 

btw, you may create a independent software to indicate what is the best card to pick... since it will not interact with Hearthstone client, it will not be cheating...
 
 smile.png

 

http://arenavalue.com/ does that already.


My Gamedev Journal: 2D Game Making, the Easy Way

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#9 krinosx   Members   -  Reputation: 500

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 09:29 AM

Hummm nice site! :) Going to my bookmarks



#10 Rattrap   Members   -  Reputation: 1566

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 09:52 AM

We've established that there isn't a legal way to do this, but I thought I would throw this in, since I just read it on Tom's Hardware.

 

Blizzard Suing StarCraft 2 Hackers

 



Blizzard is suing people they have identified as hacking StarCraft 2.



#11 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19841

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 10:19 PM

Blizzard's suit is different.

That suit is about a different class of cheaters; ban evaders, griefers, and just plain rotten apples.


As was pointed out, this kind of deck building system can be done (and is already being done) through other manual processes. There are spreadsheets with fancy formulas and websites with fancy formulas, where you quickly type in the options and it runs the probabilities and statistics for you.

The big problem with them is that it doesn't really work very well. There are a few very simple guides, like in M:tG you know 17-18 lands, about 15 creatures, the remaining 7-8 cards a balance of spells and possibly artifacts ... but other than that, you are basically free to decide.


For NON-DRAFT deck building, taking the time to make sure you have good cost curves and a statistically good balance of creatures and spells. Since there is no time limit, many people build up specific deck lists and share them, they also build their own deck lists as good players. They want to ensure that statistically they will get the specific cards they want by a specific turn number. The game is built for people to spend the time and run the numbers and do the statistics, so do it.


For DRAFT deck building, part of the fun is the social aspect of building your deck, watching what other people take and what they leave, and why. If an awesome card has gone through three people already, stop and think about why. No database of card statistics will help with that. Maybe you will notice that they are going for trickery rather than brute force. Maybe the card is only good in constructed where you can have several of them together or in combination, but in a limited-format draft it isn't worth the cost. Maybe their focus is just like yours, trying to build a specific theme and they are blind to an opportunity. Perhaps they had better cards than the one you thought was awesome, which could mean your knowledge of the set will allow you to counteract the cards. And that leads us to...

The big reason spreadsheets don't help while drafting is that most of the information is not visible in the cards. What you know about others is more important. The way you play and the way others play are far more important than the statistics of rarity of a specific card. What specific cards have you seen so far in the draft? Is there a common theme in the cards that you can exploit, or that others might exploit? Are you drafting with aggressive players? Playing against reactive and defensive players? Someone who loves a bunch of cheap magic? Someone who loves giant beatdown cards? Someone who uses magic to control the board? Someone who uses multi-pronged combinations, so even if one prong doesn't work they have a card that plays well with the other half? Someone who relies on one-card wonders rather than multi-card trickery?

The best you can hope for with spreadsheets in a draft is that you can see which cards are missing as players make their choices. But even that isn't too important in a limited format game where you draft from a pool. By the time you know what is missing it is too late--they are gone. The best thing in a limited format game is to pay attention to resources that are out there, pay attention to effective ways of winning, and take the cards that will best enable your playing style for the deck that you build.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.




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