XW: X-Worlds 3.4: Virtual Paradise
Written by Awportals.com
In July 2003, Active Worlds launched version 3.4 of its software. By September of the same year users of Active Worlds obtained a cracked version of the 3.4 Universe server. The software had been compromised much in the same way as the 3.2 Universe server (replacement executable removing licence and remote access code).

Again the software was traded around by citizens of Active Worlds but this time between a much smaller pool of users. By this time the greater community was aware that such software existed and those who possessed it were worried that its circulation might lead to firmer action from AWI (who until this point had denied such possibilities).

X-Worlds 3.4 was orchestrated again by users 'GAMER' and 'GAVROCHE' now accompanied by many other users with similar intentions. This version of X-Worlds was the most used and news quickly spread about it through Active Worlds. The software was now much more heavily modified than the 3.2 Universe. 'GAVROCHE' had managed to remove tourist access to the universe to the extent that users not logging in with a valid account from the outset would infact not be able to even connect to the universe. This meant that if AWI officials obtained a copy of the X-Worlds browser, they wouldn't even be able to get a response from the server unless they provided a valid username/password that had been created previously. Effectively this meant that the universe was "stealthed" to anyone except those who had accounts specifically created for them, meaning that the universe would be free to run in this way indefinitely without fear of being discovered.

At its peak, X-Worlds 3.4 had around 300 registered users averaging up to 40 users simultaneously at peak times. A bot (created by 'GAVROCHE') sat in the universe creating world licences and even hosting the worlds at the command of any registered user. This meant that any user of X-Worlds could create their own world of any size and capacity instantly do with it as they wish.

News spread quickly about X-Worlds and soon many users (particularly younger users from worlds such as AWTeen) were desperately in search of the means to enter the illegal universe. This escalated to the point at which a number of users from the world AWTeen formed a group with the goal of locating the rumoured universe. They searched for some time looking for the elusive installer package that was hidden somewhere on the internet but only some of the users from this group were successful in finding X-Worlds and only because they received an invitation from 'GAMER'.

Throughout 2003 and into early 2004, X-Worlds flourished as a place of expression with out rules. Its popularity lead AWI to launch an active anti-piracy campaign (http://www.awportals.com/history/event.php?e=44). Offering rewards to those willing to provide information about pirate universes and warning Active Worlds users that association with such activities could lead to their accounts being disabled.

In early 2004, the X-Worlds universe was closed by its host 'GAVROCHE' due to increasing pressure from AWI and a drop in activity in the illegitimate universe. Rumours about its existence continued for months after but the project was never continued by its orchestrators and as a result of this and other activites the account 'GAMER' was disabled in the Active Worlds universe.

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