Is it just a coincidence, or is there something going on? Square Enix is the second company to report DDoS attacks by an anonymous group over the last week, following a brief mention by Blizzard several days ago. In both cases, gamers have seen tremendous lag, disconnections, and difficulty signing onto the online game.
A DDoS is a "Distributed Denial of Service" attack, and describes the act of making a server unavailable by flooding it with packets of data using multiple computers. This attack can be used as a protest to make a point, as a distraction while hackers break into other networks and systems, and so on.
According to Square Enix, the attacks are targeting the company's Final Fantasy XIV Online North American/European data center. The good news is that character data and personal information are not being exposed. However, the attacks are ongoing, meaning that Square Enix is still scrambling to fix the issue. Unfortunately, the clever hackers keep changing their methods, so there's no telling when the DDoS problem will be resolved.
"Due to this attack, our game servers, network equipment and network connection are being hit with heavy load at an extensive level, which is causing a disconnection from the game and login difficulties," Square Enix reported.
"We will continue to monitor and work on recovery from every possible angle," the company added.
Just last week, Blizzard launched the World of Warcraft expansion pack Warlords of Draenor. The company experienced a heavy amount of traffic, which can cause long queues, lag and disconnections. To help with the issue, Blizzard added multiple ways to access the new territory, allowing players to enter Draenor through capital cities and the shrines in Pandaria.
"While that solution helped a ton for our North American launch, we ran into a few other issues, including a distributed denial of service attack that resulted in increased latency," said community manager Bashiok. There were no other mentions of a DDoS attack.
Lastly, on Tuesday, World of Warcraft executive producer J. Allen Brack posted a long apology, revealing that every subscriber in the Americas, Europe and Oceania will get five extra days of gameplay for free. To get this free time, customers must have an active account as of Friday, November 14.
That all said, did an anonymous group attack both services, or is this just a coincidence that two MMORPGs were affected by DDoS attacks within the span of a week? We may be making something out of nothing, but we can't help but wonder if some group out there has a bone to pick with MMORPGs and/or the companies behind them.
So who is next? Sony Online Entertainment? If this is some sort of campaign against these services, we expect to see another one in the next several days. We're still not sure why hackers would want to flood MMORPGs in the first place… all it seems to do is bring frustration to both the gamers and publishers.