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Is it Legal?

There has been mush debate on this. Skins do not affect gameplay, so it shouldnt be a problem. However, the way they must be implemented to be used is on the edge. Originally, files could be just dropped into the data folder and it would work, but like always... there are people who have to do bad things to games. Model switching was popular part of this skinning movement - but due to Blizzard's short sightedness (in not hard coding collision barriers into their maps) it allowed cheats to change model to gates and such to allow players to walk through the gate during battleground, giving them an early advantage.

Due to this, Blizzard made a few changes to help prevent simple model changes to bypass barriers. After patch 1.11, all skins had to be in a MPQ file - not just any but one named similarly to the existing ones in the data directory (ex. Speech2.mpq or patch-s.mpq). After patch 2.0 and beyond all MPQ fiels had to be named patch-_.mpq to work.

Is skins bannable? No one knows for sure, but some have been daring enough to ask GMs directly. In fact a person has talked to a GM in game confirming that it isnt against the rules. As you can see from this screenshot he took, as long as no one else can see your alterations (as in it doesnt affects other players - such as an exploit) it's ok. However, you can still argue taht they're just a GM; who knows if they really know what the company position is on this matter... Some GM's have a difference on opinion - some being strictly by the guidelines while soem of the cooler ones understand the intent to be visualy stimulating and not exploitive.

No one so far had been officially banned or mentioned that they were banned for using skins, but still some people are concerned of the thought. All I can say is, you at your own risk. But, skins have been out for a while - and this site as well as other skinners and distributers have yet to be taken down by Blizzard. So, just dont go hacking and exploiting - it only makes it harder to make skins - and put your skins in patch-_.mpq files and dont edit the original ones provided by Blizzard.

As for models... it's a bit more stricter in policy than skins. Due to Blizzard's short sightedness on fence and gate collisons built into only the model itself and exploiters... model switching has caused modding to take a few steps back. It's was rumored taht ppl could get out of teh gates in teh battlegrounds early.... why? cuz they switch the gate models to a box or some other small object - and since Blizzard at the time didnt code any collions for gates and fences other than in the model itself a client side change allowed to exploit online gaming.

Using model switches or skins to give yourself an edge or to exploit/bypass things is strictly prohibited! That means no skins that let you see your enemies from great distances, syealth, invisibility, etc (like having them all bright pink or something) herbs brightly colored for easy spotting, changing the size of nodes to be able to mine from greater distances, modifying walls or fence models to bypass them, etc. If it gives you an advantage in anyway it's against the ToS.

If it's just a visual change (just for looks), as much as it may irrate Blizzard they arent gonna pay much attention to it cuz it does not exploit the game or other players. Blizzard's main focus is to stop hackers and exploiters. If you don't intend on using skins and models to exploit or hack you shouldnt have to worry, but if you do intend on exploiting please leave this site and don't come back - the many of us who enjoy customizing our games to be more visually stimulating/less boring dont need you around to destroy what little creative freedom we got.