World of Warcraft is an MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) created by Blizzard Entertainment, which has now merged with Activision. In World of Warcraft, players create characters of a certain class and race and then explore a vast world of different environments as they battle enemies to level up and obtain new gear for their characters. Navigation in World of Warcraft consists of running around on foot or on a mount, the latter of which increases your speed by 100%. While navigating through the game, you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of different objects. Many of these are trees, mailboxes, lanterns, and other trivial elements of the environment. However, you’ll also be surrounded by other players and by NPCs (non-playing characters, i.e. characters controlled by the computer) that may be hostile toward you depending on where you are.
At times, it would be helpful if you could be aware of everything around you; in fact, some classes (types of players) can detect certain “races” of other characters, which are shown on their “minimaps.” These special cases are a step in the right direction to providing the player with useful information about the location of potential threats, but what if you don’t play a class with these special abilities? What if you just want a step up from a minimap? That’s what WoW Radar is for!
In order to monitor where objects in World of Warcraft are, you’re going to have to have access to one of two sources of information: the data transferred between your client application and Blizzard’s servers, or the memory space where information about the client application is stored in your computer’s RAM. The data for surrounding objects, e.g. characters and creatures, must pass through or reside in both of these places respectively.
WoW Radar accesses (but does not modify) the client computer’s RAM to know where objects in the game are located, as opposed to intercepting and forwarding network traffic such as packets. By reading from the game’s memory storage, it can definitively recognize all objects and then “inquire” further about them, such as about their position or type. It then takes this information, updated in real-time, and outputs it as a graphic with labels. WoW Radar also contains several other features that help the player make sense of so much data without losing concentration on the task at hand.