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Blizzard Suing Creators of StarCraft II Hacks

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the hold-your-counsel dept.

Real Time Strategy (Games) 385

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "Blizzard have taken the extremely peculiar decision to ban players from playing StarCraft II for using cheats in the single-player game. This meant that, despite cheating no one but themselves, they were locked out of playing the single-player game. Which is clearly bonkers. But it's not enough for the developer. Blizzard's lawyers are now setting out to sue those who create cheats. Gamespot reports that the megolithic company is chasing after three developers of hacks for 'destroying' their online game. It definitely will be in violation of the end user agreement, so there's a case. However, it's a certain element of their claim that stands out for attention. They're claiming using the hacks causes people to infringe copyright: 'When users of the Hacks download, install, and use the Hacks, they copy StarCraft II copyrighted content into their computer's RAM in excess of the scope of their limited license, as set forth in the EULA and ToU, and create derivative works of StarCraft II.'" Blizzard used similar reasoning in their successful lawsuit against the creators of a World of Warcraft bot.

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385 comments

not really single-player (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958064)

Considering the achievement system, they're not cheating only themselves.

Re:not really single-player (5, Interesting)

keatonguy (1001680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958102)

I presume this factors into it, and it's exactly why I don't support their actions.

You see, once upon a time, in the mythic age of the mid-2000's, developers intentionally added cheat codes to their games. Yes, intentionally. No, I'm not pulling your leg, it's true! "But Keatonguy", you ask, befuddled, "Why would they intentionally give people ways to do things in the game without spending untold days of time to unlock it piecemeal?" Well, young poster, because it's fun as hell. Cheating and hacking the RAM of games is where half the replay value of the classics comes from. Tell me, would San Andreas be as fun without flying cars and rioting pedestrians? Have you ever played a PC FPS without using noclip even once? Would we have found all those unused rooms and learned the programming tricks used to make classics like Metroid and The Legend of Zelda work without an Action Replay or a Game Genie?

Now these little things called achievement scores roll around, and if anyone dares to think of getting past a part of the game they don't feel like playing, it's something to be shunned and reviled. Damn kids these days, rabble rabble rabble...

Re:not really single-player (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958140)

Starcraft II includes cheat codes. When the codes are in effect the ability to earn the achievements is disabled. The hack in question allows players to cheat and earn the achievements at the same time.

Re:not really single-player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958178)

Surely they have the ability to detect when unofficial cheats are enabled, otherwise they wouldn't be able to enact these bans.

So why don't they disable achievements if unofficial cheats are detected?

Re:not really single-player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958362)

because that creates the endless war of patching hacks, updating hacks.
then things like auto-updating hacks come out and it gets real ugly.
then the hackers start thinking they have a right to charge people real money for special private hacks.

captcha: predict

funny, except its no prediction. i've seen online games die to this.

Re:not really single-player (5, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958212)

Lets not forget that these so called "achievements" are nothing more than little blurbs from your computer assuring you that you are not in fact wasting your time and are actually somehow being productive.

but your friends can see your achievement tooooooo...

And your friends can see your pacman high-score at the local arcade. So fucking what.

Re:not really single-player (4, Informative)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958160)

StarCraft 2 has cheat codes in it, their use just disables achievements until you start a new game or load an old one. Part of the issue is that this guy was using a program that let him cheat while still earning achievements and, according to the comments on the Rock Paper Shotgun article, cheat in the multiplayer too - both of which messes with the ranking system and in turn, causes all kinds of weirdness with their online matchmaking.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958238)

I am sick of seeing the grandparent's misconception floating around.

Re:not really single-player (2)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958370)

StarCraft 2 has cheat codes in it, their use just disables achievements until you start a new game or load an old one. Part of the issue is that this guy was using a program that let him cheat while still earning achievements and, according to the comments on the Rock Paper Shotgun article, cheat in the multiplayer too - both of which messes with the ranking system and in turn, causes all kinds of weirdness with their online matchmaking.

But of course news items wouldnt bring hits if they wrote it that way, so distorting the truth just enough to sound likely correct and spamming it around is the rule. Especially if it's bashing on a big company, since they're no angels, most of the people who notice the truth has been bended yet again most likely let it go.

Re:not really single-player (5, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958970)

Who really cares though?

It's a game.

I play games because they should be fun. I do not play games for profit, nor do I get upset if someone has more achievements, or a greater score than I.

Re:not really single-player (1)

oljanx (1318801) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958236)

idkfa. "I Don't Kare For Article".

Re:not really single-player (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958324)

Most cheating systems aren't actually intended for players. I mean, the developers usually leave them in for players in the end, but they're more generally used for testing.

Re:not really single-player (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958644)

You see, once upon a time, in the mythic age of the mid-2000's, developers intentionally added cheat codes to their games. Yes, intentionally. No, I'm not pulling your leg, it's true! "But Keatonguy", you ask, befuddled, "Why would they intentionally give people ways to do things in the game without spending untold days of time to unlock it piecemeal?" Well, young poster, because it's fun as hell. Cheating and hacking the RAM of games is where half the replay value of the classics comes from.

One word: Debugging.

Re:not really single-player (5, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958408)

Considering the achievement system, they're not cheating only themselves.

Except the achievement system literally has no point, no benefit, and is the most blatant "e-peen" exhibitionism around. It's even less important than the 360 Achievements, which is saying something.

No, this is a rights grab. They're trying to convince a court that you have no right to do anything with the product you bought and paid for, whatsoever, because you're not buying it, you're borrowing it long term for a set fee. It's utter madness. If someone wanted to make the "Game Genie" nowadays, Nintendo would sue them into oblivion and prevent it from ever happening.

Copyrights (5, Insightful)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958538)

Unfortunately I think you're right.
while I wholeheartedly support multiplayer games being free of cheats, the suits brought seems on the surface to enable the companies to pretty much put "we own your a**" in their EULA and get it through court. I strongly oppose any such movement. Not because I feel everything should be open sourced to be toyed with as you like, but because when I buy a toaster, what I do with it after the time of purchase may or may not be legal, it may or may not invalidate my warranty, but it's not the MANUFACTURER who decides what I can and cannot use my toaster for, anything I do with MY property is MY responsibility, legally and morally. The same should hold true of immaterial products, like software. I suspect this is why they're trying to make this sound like a simple case of pirating.

Because in essence they're using copyright infringement as the sacrificial lamb, when in reality, no distribution is taking place, and as such cause the company no loss in sales. I dont see how this cannot be a case of simple fair-use. I hope this means that screwed up EULAs will finally die a slow and horrible death, because if they loose the case, that might set a presedence for EULAs being unreasonably strict.

Disclaimer: I have NOT read the indictment, only the article(s), which may or may not be portraying reality in a tinted light.

Re:Copyrights (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958824)

And people claim "slipery slope" arguments aren't valid.
This right here is a slippery slope in action.
Start with MMO's where it affects other people then gradually push it to single players where there's some kind of online ranking or achievement system "because E-Peens are important" and gradaully to any software at all.

Re:not really single-player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958636)

Considering the point of this cheat appears to be to earn achievements easily (otherwise he'd use the in-game cheats which disable achievements) your assertion that achievements have no point and no benefit are incorrect. All you can assert is that they have no point or benefit to you. Clearly this guy disagrees.

Re:not really single-player (4, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958712)

There is no point or benefit to playing a video game at all, other than for entertainment value. If the acheivement system increases a player's level of entertainment, then it is just as valid and the rest of the game.

If you don't find it entertaining, that's fair enough, but there are plenty of people that do.

Uh, no. (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958972)

There is no entertainment value in achievements. It's purely for bragging rights - and bragging about something meaningless.

Re:not really single-player (1)

Hydian (904114) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958784)

Considering the achievement system (a otherwise useless construct designed to keep people playing via compulsive behavior), they're not cheating anybody.

they can stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958082)

... their new games into their asses. since Supreme Commander there was anyway no good game made and last good blizzard made was Warcraft II

So what about the OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958086)

Oh my god, they'd better sue Microsoft and Apple too!
I mean the OS makes multiple copies of the program everywhere. Disk Cache, Swap memory, etc. Also it even modifies things in memory (Call tables, etc.) and remaps addresses, etc. Did Microsoft get a license from the developers to do that?!?! I bet Gill Bates & Co are quaking in their boots.

Re:So what about the OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958196)

I think you read that wrong. It sounds to me like Blizzard meant the EULA forbids use of active cheats/hacks, which is a breach of contract, which terminates the end-user's established right to use the game's assets, which the hack or game circumvents (even transparently) -- thus constituting "[copying] StarCraft II copyrighted content into their computer's RAM in excess of the scope of their limited license."

Achievement System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958088)

Blizzard bans hackers in single player because their achievements are displayed online. So even though they are playing "single" player, they're still part of an online community, and it reflects badly on Blizzard if the credibility of their achievement system is damaged by hackers.

Whoever wrote the article is showing a bit of bias in how they worded it.

Re:Achievement System (4, Interesting)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958158)

No, because the achievement system isn't optional. If I bought Starcraft II (which I'm not going to, especially now), I'd probably not play it online at all, and if I did, it would just be with a few specific friends. I don't give a fuck about the achievements, I wanna play the game MY way. If I run in to a level that I find incredibly annoying, and I wanna skip it, or I wanna just stomp all over it with some invincible units, it's not any of Blizzard's fucking concern. It wouldn't have been their concern if my friends and I wanted to cheat with each other either, if we used LAN play. The only time it should matter is if we're actually, purposefully, and with intent accessing online multiplayer to play with people who couldn't know whether or not I'm cheating. If you're going to use achievements as a reason to stop people from doing what they want with their game, then that system needs to be optional.

Re:Achievement System (5, Insightful)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958210)

Except Blizzard built cheats into the game for people just like you. They disable achievements, though. So for someone such as yourself, that's perfectly fine. But some people wanted to cheat the game AND the system to unlock achievements and artificially boost their rankings.

While I'm not sure a lawsuit is quite the answer, I do think Blizzard is right to make a big deal about this. A lot of people really like their achievements because... They're achievements! Some are rather hard to get. Blizzard is just making sure that the rewards someone earns aren't diluted by cheaters who make it impossible to determine who legitimately earned something and who just used a trainer.

Re:Achievement System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958380)

It never won't be impossible to determine that. If the achievement relies on the client's response, it's broken. 100% of the rankings are in question.

Yes pulling these flawed achievements means a less complex game but that's the price you pay for trying to provide a competitive arena for players.

Re:Achievement System (2, Insightful)

Radtoo (1646729) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958224)

The mandatory achievement system is just a piss-poor pretense to try and force online-drm, market segmentation (buy one copy of SC2 for each geographical area, because blizzard says it is entitled to get paid to record achievements on each realm?) and such random marketing "SC2 is so elite, you cannot cheat" restrictions on people, besides forced updates and mandatory participation in a huge marketing data gathering effort (with as many achievements, you know exactly what people played, how much, etc... so you can make predictions about what the smallest possible addition and the highest possible price will be, amongst many other things)

Re:Achievement System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958808)

Let's not forget that in order to play all three campaigns, you have to purchase three copies of the game. Between their blatant money-grab, and this new blatant stupidity, I won't be purchasing this game; In addition, I'll be ridiculing anyone who does.

Re:Achievement System (1)

freedumb2000 (966222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958278)

I get your point, but really, does anyone care about the achievement system? Although I do seem to be the only one who doesn't care about little pretty pictures which have no effect on gameplay.

Re:Achievement System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958444)

Obviously someone cares about the achievement system or they wouldn't bother using third-party hacks to exploit it. As others have mentioned, there's tons of cheats built into the game, as well as a full-featured campaign editor. Not much reason to use a trainer if all you want to do is have fun.

Re:Achievement System (1)

PyroMosh (287149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958534)

I care about the achievement system.

Actually it would be more accurate to say that the achievement system seems designed for the way I play games that I truly love.

When a game becomes one of my favorites, I want to not just beat it, but master it. Dominate it. I'm not much of one for online multiplayer games, but I do like to find every item, kill every bad guy, beat every level without warps, rescue every hostage, collect every giant coin, and figure out where every secret room is.

The achievement system is great because it gives me more play. I might not have though of trying to beat the level where the bad guy searches the data cores on hard before they search six buildings. But that's an achievement, and it's a nice little artificial benchmark for me to reach.

I beat the single player game in about a week with about 40% of the achievements. Since then I've been playing through the achievements to try and get to 100%. I'm at like 55% now, I think. It's extra fun for the completionist in me.

Re:Achievement System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958764)

When a woman becomes one of my favorites, I want to not just beat it, but master it. Dominate it. I'm not much of one for disease-riddled promiscuous sluts, but I do like to find every feminine shape, kill every sperm cell, beat every female without decrepitude, rescue every virginity, collect every intoxicating scent, and figure out where every g-spot is.

I am Mike Tyson. And I say you need a new hobby.

Re:Achievement System (1)

Ventriloquate (551798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958702)

Some of the achievements are linked to the challenge portion of the game. In the challenge part of the game, you learn basic to advanced strategies for playing the game. Although this has no real impact on your gameplay later, it is nice to get something for making your way through the challenges.

Re:Achievement System (5, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958664)

The point isn't the ban, it's the court action. I don't care if they want to ban people for ToS violations, in fact I welcome it - we all know cheaters ruin online play - but suing and claiming breach of copyright is ridiculous. It's like selling me a book but claiming in the small-print that I only have the right to read it, not to make notes in the margins, and that if I do make notes my legitimate copy of the book suddenly becomes an illegal copy. I'm sorry, I didn't buy a license, I bought a book.

Interesting Logic (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958100)

While we do realize that once you buy our games, they become your property, we do reserve the right to terminate your game at any time whenever we feel it is necessary.

Erm, what?

Car analogy (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958412)

While we do realize that once you buy our games, they become your property, we do reserve the right to terminate your game at any time whenever we feel it is necessary.

Erm, what?

This one's easy. "While we do realize that once you buy our cars, they become your property, we do reserve the right to terminate your car at any time whenever we feel it is necessary."

Also, "While we do realize that once we pay for your games, the money becomes your property, we do reserve the right to demand our money back at any time whenever we feel it is necessary."

Re:Car analogy (3, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958688)

It is far more akin to a car lease agreement than a outright purchase. In both cases you don't actually own the product but have paid for it's use and in both cases there are provisions in the contract of lease for the leasor to take back the product (not saying I like what they are doing, but if you are gonna use the all important car analogy it is important to be accurate.)

Re:Car analogy (1)

nosferatu1001 (264446) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958850)

Except of course you dont actually lease the game, and it si a strict Sale.

At least in UK law it would be :)

Re:Car analogy (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958856)

Car leases are not real leases. They are more like a rent to own (where you own the object) with an out at one and only one specific time at a prearranged price. As far as most laws are concerned (all of them except a few tax laws and some rules if you stop paying), there's no difference between a car sale and a lease agreement. When a ticket is sent to the "registered owner" they send it to the person who is using the car, and not the lease company. They can't take it from you if you modify it. They can't take it from you unless you break the contract, and the contract doesn't have "you can't do anything we don't want you to do with it" rules, as in everything other than software, those would be stricken down fast and ignored by everyone, including the courts. It's only with software where they claim you own it but that they reserve the right to disable it at any time against your wishes.

Re:Car analogy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958878)

I think I speak for most of us, here, when I say:

Fuck you.

Also, you haven't got a clue what you're talking about. You may think you do, and the EULA may be on your side, but if I pay $60 for a game, then I'm going to do play it any way I choose. If the game company wants to cut off my single player mode because I'm cheating, then I'm going to find some way to damage that company, either via reputation-bashing them, or via "stealing" their products. At the point they decide to steal my money, they've lost any credible claim to any credible defense against piracy.

I could understand if they banned online cheaters (and actually expect it)... disabling my ability to play in single-player mode because I'm cheating to complete the campaigns, or just because I like "power overwhelming"... too far, Blizzard.

Fuck Blizzard, and fuck you for enabling this ridiculous bullshit.

Re:Interesting Logic (-1, Offtopic)

smbrown1066 (1925196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958640)

you should check out http://www.supaswap.org/ [supaswap.org] for all things gaming, I came across it the other day and was blown away

Re:Interesting Logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958706)

http://www.supaswap.org

God, I hate sites like that. Instead of telling you what the site is about or what they do, they bombard you with bullshit bingo, marketing lingo and some vague gibberish about markets, services, the economy and target groups.

Before I finished the first paragraph I was so frustrated by their nonsensical marketing drivel that I closed the browser window. How hard is it to describe in a short, clear sentence what a site does?

Re:Interesting Logic (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958734)

Just imagine Ford doing this: While we realize that you purchased the F150 pickup, the black box has detected that are consistently driving 10mpg over the speed limit on the interstate, which looks bad for Ford, so we have disabled your vehicle.

One more reason I prefer to buy my games from Valve/Steam, as they have shown to be the most user friendly gaming company on the planet.

Re:Interesting Logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958844)

They reserve the right to terminate your Battle.net account at any time, yes. You can still play the game in singleplayer, offline mode (click "Play as Guest" from the Starcraft II login screen).

Let them know how you feel (3, Insightful)

Dice (109560) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958124)

The message I just sent to billing@blizzard.com:

Just a quick note to let you guys know that I've recently read news articles describing your actions against individuals using single-player mode cheats in SC3, specifically locking them out of their accounts and forbidding even local play. Having been already annoyed by your decision to forbid LAN play in SC3 and require Battle.Net I have decided that your recent actions tip you over onto the "companies who are too evil to give money to" side of the consumer equation.

I had been looking forward to purchasing and playing Diablo 3, however I no longer feel that providing financial support to the tyrannical measures you feel it is necessary to impose upon your customers is morally justifiable.

Re:Let them know how you feel (4, Funny)

Dice (109560) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958148)

Of course, if you want to actually be taken seriously you should refer to it as SC2, and not SC3...

Re:Let them know how you feel (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958150)

Ummm, did you mean SC2?

Otherwise good going!

I loved SC1 and brood war, but Blizzard have gone totally overboard on their assumed ownership of everything your machine does with the software you bought from them.

Limited use license my arse, I should be able to do what the hell I like with it in the confines of my own machine, and distribute tools to allow others to do the same.

Sure, ban me from your servers, whatever, but hands off MY computer.

Re:Let them know how you feel (3, Interesting)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958486)

I loved Blizzard, loved StarCraft and Brood War, and wanted StarCraft II. I even had a StarCraft website they liked once, and received beta tester status and a free comic book for it. But now, so many years later, this is the final drop. No LAN and requiring internet connection to play the single player game, is not the kind of game I play. But a company I once loved turning evil, that's way too bad, now I'm not interested in them and the games they make any longer.

Re:Let them know how you feel (2, Insightful)

pahles (701275) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958156)

I don't think they'll give a sh*t...

Re:Let them know how you feel (3, Interesting)

kindherb (194395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958162)

I've had a recent change of heart as well when it comes to Blizzard. Not as a result of this, but some of their other recent and monetary based decisions. I have been a fan from the beginning and have bought all of their games. But no longer. I've already sent them an email expressing my feelings.

It's sad that such a great company is being run my greedy wankers.

Re:Let them know how you feel (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958288)

against individuals using single-player mode cheats in SC3, specifically locking them out of their accounts and forbidding even local play

I guess you didn't want the facts to get in the way of your ignorant consumer rage. Even TFA points out that 1) There are already cheat codes in the game, but they disable achievements for the duration, 2) The accused were using external programs to cheat with achievements still on and 3) They were cheating online in ladder games as well.

Re:Let them know how you feel (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958522)

And why is Blizzard's poor client / server coding any concern of ours?

Re:Let them know how you feel (1)

Masterofpsi (1643965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958350)

Mod parent up.

And anyone who feels the same way should send a similar email. It's how we would get them to "give a sh*t."

No, mod (grand)parent DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958530)

This is about Blizzard temporarily suspending people who have used external cheats - deliberately, as opposed to the internal cheats - to get achievements and screw with ladder rankings.

Re:No, mod (grand)parent DOWN (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958774)

No, this about lawsuits against people who make tools to mess around with the memory in a machine you own.

In a sane society Blizzard would be laughed out of court.

Cut them off, don't let them use your network, whatever. Lawsuits are a step too far.

Re:Let them know how you feel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958374)

"Hey, some guy who doesn't even know what our game is called, threatens not to buy our next product. Oh noes!"

Re:Let them know how you feel (1, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958414)

This is a slightly tricky one for me. I entirely in favour of very strong action against the development and use of cheats for multiplayer games. They ruin the experience for legitimate, paying customers. When Blizzard go after the developers of multiplayer RTS or WoW cheats, I'm with them 100%. Humiliate the users in public, lock their accounts and pursue the developers through the courts. They're damaging Blizzard's product and they should be treated accordingly.

Singleplayer cheats, however, are another story entirely. What I do in a singleplayer campaign should be entirely my own business; it may increase or decrease my own enjoyment of the game, but it isn't hurting anybody else. Part of the problem here, as I understand it, is that SC2 singleplayer cheat programs use software pathways that are difficult to distinguish from multiplayer cheats. So going after both of them looks like the "safest" option from Blizzard's point of view.

What we need is a return to the days of cheat-codes in games. IDDQD and that sort of thing. Game and platform developers have made this more difficult for themselves by adding a degree of meta-online functionality for singleplayer gaming via achievement systems. But there are already games out there which simply disable achievements while a cheat code is active. Skill levels among players vary wildly and a lot of singleplayer games are probably beyond the ability of many players to finish, which can be a profound irritation given the price tag that they carry. SC2 didn't give me any problems in blasting through the campaign; I was a fairly hardcore Warcraft 3 player for a while, so my RTS skills, while hardly top-end, are more than capable of handling the average singleplayer campaign. Other games, however, have had me desperate for some kind of cheat code to let me past a particularly irritating section (Halo: Reach had a few such moments). Let desperately frustrated players tap in a code to activate a singleplayer cheat and you remove a lot of the incentive to go searching for nasty third-party hacks.

Re:Let them know how you feel (1)

Torvac (691504) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958456)

i'll still pirate Diablo3. no gold for asshole companies.

Re:Let them know how you feel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958460)

hehe.. the phrasing suggest you'll pirate the shit out of D3. As you sent them a letter, they know who you are, and will just wait a few weeks then sue the shit out of you for pirating the game >:D

Re:Let them know how you feel (2, Insightful)

complete loony (663508) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958718)

My biggest gripe, and the reason I have not yet purchased SC2, is their region locking and the inflated cost of the Australian version.

The price of the US version is currently USD$59.99 [blizzard.com] . The australian version, AUD$89.95 (USD$87.38) a 45% markup.

Re:Let them know how you feel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958910)

My biggest gripe, and the reason I have not yet purchased SC2, is their region locking and the inflated cost of the Australian version.

The price of the US version is currently USD$59.99 [blizzard.com] . The australian version, AUD$89.95 (USD$87.38) a 45% markup.

Give Blizzard a break... they had to spend a lot of money translating the game into a language you drooling cavemen could understand.

Here comes the Landlord Lessor vs Renter Lessee. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958128)

Who wants to buy that software when they could import the same style of graphics and sound into a Quake3 engine like what was done for Tremulous?

Seriously, people need to stop buying this crapware. There are no strategical improvements to the game, only new story of an old religion, and competition boils down to whomever has the lowest-latency to their host computer and peripheral hardware.

All recent software has done nothing useful but sell more Chinese and Japanese computers, and help American semi-conductors companies fund their outsourcing to other countries.

Don't reward any of these bastards, stay away from Netbooks, and go back to Homebrew computing.

8-bit StarCraft for Atari 2600 -- I like it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958404)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKDwuB2_-mc [youtube.com]

If this was multiplayer by connecting joystick port to another console, or one of those homewbrew portable Atari 2600 mods, then efficient computing would be back in style and Americans can try their hand at keeping their IP domestic by simply revamping their Homebrew computing sector with more native labor just for the hell of it. Portable Atari 2600. [youtube.com]

It should be a felony to outsource to a country that doesn't have the same or equivalent rights as the home country, because in-fact China is slave labor while Japan is just weird and overpopulated because they didn't strain their gluttony of childbirth.

Spore got this right (1)

Calydor (739835) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958134)

For all the flaws Spore had, it got this one right.

It detected the use of cheats and gave you a very special achievement that blocked out getting any other achievements on that save. Ever.

Re:Spore got this right (2, Informative)

KamuZ (127113) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958206)

You can actually enable cheats in SC2 and it will disable achievements. I think the program used for cheating allows you to get all the achievements in single and probably also in multiplayer which probably is what they are trying to "fight".

Imagine the courtroom... (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958164)

Plaintiff: "When users of the Hacks download, install, and use the Hacks, they copy StarCraft II copyrighted content into their computer's RAM in excess of the scope of their limited license, as set forth in the EULA and ToU, and create derivative works of StarCraft II"

Judge: "Mr Player, how do you plead?"

Player: "Innocent, Your Honour. I didn't do it, a virus did."

Re:Imagine the courtroom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958318)

Well it's most likely a civil matter so they don't exactly need hard evidence... a likely suspicion of his motives is usually enough. Plus it's not against the hack users, but the authors, so just distributing the hacks is enough evidence of intent.

Unfortunately, this might just stand up (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958202)

The real problem is that courts tend to automatically accept EULAs as being valid contracts even when they are so one-sides that they should be legally ruled unenforceable. When ruling on similar cases where there is no EULA, the courts have generally found that it is not a copyright violation. For example, the same theory was advanced to argue that a service which offered a DVD-playing program which removed certain scenes from movies (particularly, scenes deemed "offensive") was creating a derivative work from the original movie and thus should not be allowed. The courts ruled that the DVD-playing program was legal. So, basically, the question has only hinged on copyright law, the courts have ruled that it isn't a violation. When there's also an EULA, such as in the cases Blizzard has been involved in, they have consistently ruled in favor of the copyright owner.

Now, there are several reasons why this should be a non-starter. The first is that a copy in RAM should not be considered a fixation, and hence creating one is not a copyright violation. If copying something into RAM is creating a fixation then every CD and DVD player and most newer TVs continually break copyright laws every time they are used since RAM buffers have become ubiquitous. CD and DVD players simply cannot work without copying at least some of the CD or DVD into RAM in the process of playing it (although CDs could get away with as few as 16 bits at a given time). So this shouldn't legally be considered a copy to begin with, but the courts have ruled that it is in several previous cases.

Secondly, the copyright law that if someone owns a copy of a piece of software then they have the right to make the copies of it needed to run it. As a consequence, the idea that a user has to agree to an EULA in order to make the copies needed to run it is ludicrous. And the license agreement itself generally only takes away rights from the user without granting anything in return. As such, it should be considered unenforceable. However, the courts have either tended to ignore that section of copyright law and consider that the license grants you the right to make the needed copies or consider that the sale itself never happened if the medium that was bought contains software. They have ruled, effectively, that if you walk into a store and give money for a shiny disc, that if that disc contains music or movies, you've bought a copy, but if it contains software you've only licensed a copy, which is, to say the least, bizarre. As such, they've rejected arguments in previous cases that the defendants never agreed to the EULA as being irrelevant since they rule that the defendants don't own a copy and hence the relevant section of copyright law is inapplicable.

Now, Blizzard is in a slightly more realistic position from an EULA situation than most companies because they do actually have something to provide the user which the user doesn't already have: access to their on-line play servers, Battlenet. So, if they were to tie it all together in the EULA: you give us back ownership of the physical copy and you relinquish your reverse engineering rights, etc and in return we let you use our servers, then that contract would be enforceable (still lousy, but enforceable). However, in the previous Blizzard games I owned (which doesn't include StarCraft II, so I'm just speculating, someone else probably has more exact information) the EULA itself didn't mention BattleNet, only the game program and BattleNet was covered by a separate agreement you had to agree to in order to get your account. If the same is true here, then the EULA should be unenforceable.

But realistically, the courts never rule EULAs unenforceable, no matter the terms, and they rule that copies of software are licensed, not sold, and they rule that copies in RAM are fixations. So Blizzard will probably win again just like they did last time. They can usually afford the better lawyers and, as a result, they wind up getting the case-law put in place to support what they perceive as their interests and the rest of us get screwed. Woo.

Blizzard Jumped the Shark (3, Interesting)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958220)

You might call me a Blizzard fanboy. I don't consider myself a fanboy of anything, but I think Blizzard has produced nothing but excellent PC games. Not a single bad one. All 7 of the games they released have been fun, well polished, well supported, and ran decently on older hardware. SC2 is really good. I uninstalled it yesterday because the network-centricity of it is pissing me off. I have a fast computer. I should not have to sit and wait for things to load when I hit the custom maps folder icon (on single player), as the custom maps I have already paid and I assume downloaded, should be on my local machine. Instead I wait for it to do whatever network activity it does to monitor me playing a single player custom map. And then beyond that it just gets worse. This is the first time I personally think I agree with the argument that I would be getting a better product if I find a hacked/cracked version of the game that doesn't do all this network garbage when I just want to start the game from my OS, load a map, and play single player.

It would also be nice to be able to change my account name when on multiplayer. Or even better to just let me make up new account names and start with a 0-0 record, so that I can learn other races in the game without lowering my rating with my main race (as I would lose lots of games and get stomped playing zerg for the first time when I am say at the gold or platinum level with protoss.)

Does win-loss count AI matches? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958792)

Or even better to just let me make up new account names and start with a 0-0 record, so that I can learn other races in the game without lowering my rating with my main race (as I would lose lots of games and get stomped playing zerg for the first time when I am say at the gold or platinum level with protoss.)

Does the win-loss record include skirmishes against AI? Because if not, you can train [tvtropes.org] until you can curb-stomp [tvtropes.org] the maximum number of AIs set up on a team against you, and only then try online.

Re:Blizzard Jumped the Shark (2, Interesting)

hughperkins (705005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958812)

Wow, I feel like I'm the only person here who is actually positively excited by this move by Blizzard to cut down on multiplayer cheating.

So, maybe I am wrong. I've been wrong before...

Still, my immediate reaction was positive excitement. It's not fun to play multiplayer games when there are lots of people cheating, or even when you're not sure whether the other person is cheating. Maphack is pretty much impossible to detect. Did that person hack their way to your expansion, or did they just walk all over you by superior intuition, by watching which way your units were going in the brief times they saw them? I know I have guessed where someone was sending their command center to, after reapering them out of their earlier base.

Also, personally I spent a *lot* of time getting a Kerrigan portrait, and I'd prefer that people seeing it know it was earned legitimately and not just hacked somehow.

I imagine I will get karma-trashed for this...

Re:Blizzard Jumped the Shark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958904)

Are you kidding? For like the last 5 or 6 years the only thing theyve produced is WoW. Which strikes me as the bastard offspring of a RPG and facebook. Its a disgusting game designed to force players to pay them monthly to continue playing.

Only a matter of time (1)

rax313 (1923570) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958248)

It was only a matter of time before blizzard turned evil...maybe it's because of activision

Hey, Bobby Kotick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958292)

fuck you too.

Utter, witless MORONS. (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958312)

yea, its in caps. its in caps because i dont know how harder it can be stressed any further. maybe it should have fireworks popping out behind the letters.

they ban players, players will use hacks/cracks to play the game they BOUGHT. they sue creators of hacks&cracks, and eventually they will hit a wall in china, or russia, while trying to sue creators of crack/hack # 1231285.

in the end, because of their MORON legal team, they will not only lose A LOT of publicity, and gain hostility from entire internet gaming community, but also will have accomplished making their position harder. i bet just because of this news, there are some people in russia or china already working on some stuff, just for the glory of it ...

Re:Utter, witless MORONS. (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958590)

There are some that say there is no such thing as bad publicity.
However, I will now NOT be buying StarCraft2, or Diablo 3 after this. It will also stop me from buying Civ5, because once again it's demonstrated that *requiring* network access even for the single player game is really just a back door for disabling something you've already pay for based on all kinds of arbitrary reasons.

I'm with Blizzard on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958342)

You can cheat, there are cheat codes built in to the game. Just like there was in SC, WC3, WC2 and WC.
You just press enter and type in greed is good 9999, show me the money, whysoserious, or whatever depending on what you want to do and what game it is. Google is a good source.
Using the built in codes you can get virtually infinite minerals and gas, no requirements, god mode, fast build, disable fog, instant win, /dance, whatever.
The hacks you find online have, infinite minerals, no requirements, disable fog, fast build, god mode, sometimes they are spread with malware, sometimes they cost money..

Now give us a single reason to use the 3rd party hacks? So you can do it secretly online. It's the only reason. SC2 is a competitive game, probably the most competitive, and the cheaters are ruining this. They are spoiling it for everyone, they actually ruin e-sports by cheating. Is blizzard going after anyone for making something that doesn't ruin sc2 for everybody, that you use on your machine just for fun? No. Anything that you'd wanna make can be done and is encouraged with the map editor.
There are fun and nothing serious mode, where you can do whatever you want, and there's the competitive online play, where you stick to the rules. I'm glad they're going after cheaters.

Blizzard set this precedent... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958346)

If you'll notice the claim they're making, it is virtually word for word the claim they used and ultimately won with when suing the developer of the Glider World of Warcraft bot.

I had a feeling this was coming in some form. However banning users who cheat in single player from playing the game at all is ridiculous, Blizzard. I supported your crusade against people who impacted my game-play experience, but single player players? That's just silly, guys.

Re:Blizzard set this precedent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958406)

>I supported your crusade against people who impacted my game-play experience, but single player players? That's just silly, guys.

At first they came for the people who impacted your lame-play experience and you didn't speak up...

Re:Blizzard set this precedent... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958484)

I have no idea what you're getting at, anonymous coward. Eh, who am I kidding. If you have to post as AC, I doubt you had a point to begin with.

Not surprised. (2, Informative)

Skythe (921438) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958358)

If you've ever played Starcraft 2 single player, you'll know that you generally authenticate with your Battle.Net account first and are able to chat to your online contacts etc etc. Single player's "achievements" are also integrated and a part of your multiplayer profile, so by using hacks/whatever it's possible to get hard/difficult achievements without actually putting in the hard yards. Play the game before you jump to conclusions!

Re:Not surprised. (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958548)

Again, how is Blizzard's crappy client / server programming any concern of ours?

Re:Not surprised. (1)

LaRainette (1739938) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958966)

Yet this is ridiculous.
I don't give a rat's ass if someone has all the achievements in the world and cheated to get them... I don't spend my time on SC2 wanking on my achievements...

When I want to confront my skills I'll just play multi (and there I sure hope there won't be cheating of course !) but in solo I JUST DON'T GIVE A F*CK !

Blizzard you used to be a white knight but then.... what happenned to you guys ?
You've became such a-holes I'm really regretting ever buying SC2 even though it's really a great game.

Actually it's more than a great game, it's exactly what it should have been which really is a amazing achievement considering the insane expectations everyone had, so why, why OH WHY did you have to ruin it with the LAMEST gaming system I've EVER seen.
When I start SC2 I feel like I'm trapped, like I was robbed because I pay 60 euros and I don't own anything. I feel like I was scammed because I behave responsibly and you treat me like a child not a customer. I though "the customer is king" was a sacred rules in american businesses but I guess everything has an end.
To Whoever decided it was a good idea to lock people into the gaming system as it is, to force people to log in before playing solo mode, or to ban people cheating in solo mode : FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU VERY VERY MUCH.

Well... (0)

Notlupus (1893060) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958360)

While I would really want to rant about Blizzard and Activision and how they are the cancer killing gaming, I just don't see much wrong with the way they handled this. The guy just shouldn't have cheated.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958780)

Maybe you're not looking hard enough. Sure, this time they're going after cheaters, something we can all get behind because, frankly, cheaters are one of the reasons I largely gave up on multiplayer. However, the way the court action is worded, they could apply this to any mod to the game. You want to create a new fun little mod, you'll have to get an extended license from Blizzard before you can even legally play around with the code. Interested in programming and how the game works and want to poke around under the hood of the product you thought you bought? Tough luck, you just rendered your copy of the game an illegal copy, even though you paid in full, and you're now wide open to a copyright infringement action. That is the cancer here, not banning cheaters, but of course everyone's focus is purely on the cheating aspect and how Blizzard are doing the right thing - which is exactly where they want your focus.

Doesn't Surprise Me At All... (1)

citoxE (1799926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958388)

Whether the article was telling half-truths or not, the fact that Activision is behind it tells me all I need to know. This is simply more deception and tricks being pulled by Bobby Kotick to get more money from people. I'm not an avid PC gamer, but Bobby really does have it out for console gamers. I suggest others who are seriously fed up follow suit with Dice and write them a letter asking Bobby if he's happy. This is seriously a low blow from Activision.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958454)

Well, that clearly worked for Apple with Psystar.

TOU is now de facto law? (4, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958464)

Back in my day, it just meant that you wouldn't get any support for your unorthodox use of the game. Now they can sue you for millions!

Sucks, but.... (3, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958554)

This sucks, but it doesn't affect me in the least. Blizzard went on my "evil company" blacklist the day they sued Bnetd.

Fuckin A (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958818)

Fuckin A

Remember? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958602)

Obviously everyone here forgot Blizzards legal assault on bnetd, a way to play D2 multiplayer with friends across the internet without suffering from the server downs, rollbacks and hacking that went on in the realms at the time. When they pulled that, I stopped buying their games. Forever. Great games, so an excellent development team, destroyed by the greedy litigous arseholes in charge. No doubt the merger with Activision will decay the "great games" part soon enough.

The solution is simple, don't keep buying their crack. Don't buy Diablo 3 (to be released some time after Duke Nukem Forever) - buy Torchlight 2 instead. It will be out a lot sooner, you get to support the same great developers, and you don't support the morally repugnant warping of the legal system against your rights.

...copy copyrighted content into RAM (1)

Rikiji7 (1182159) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958614)

Eventually we will be forced to play storing data in L1 cache only. L2 could infring some other EULA.

The Only Way to Win is Not to Play (1)

oakwine (1709682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958624)

Was big fan of games produced by the old Blizzard. But once they became Activision, decided to move on. Not a boycott, just seemed the right thing to do. Life is better now.

Deliberately Inflamatory Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958638)

Looks like somebody's trying to stir up some anger with that post.

1. Players creating cheats are locked out of their single player mode.
2. People creating cheats are being prosecuted by Blizzard.

Those are two completely seperate issues. Don't believe #2 relates entirely to #1.

The cheats being persued by the courts are likely those who create cheats to be used online, leading non-cheaters to have their experience spoilt.

lol (1)

Intrinsic (74189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958744)

You guys are way slow on the uptake. I stopped supporting blizzard when they changed focus with Warcraft3 and decided to stick with the same old game mechanics as the previous games. Same bat games, same bat channel.

As far as suing the developers goes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33958786)

As far as suing the developers goes...

Question 1: How can an END-USER license agreement be voided by anyone but the end-user?

If you're going to claim that the developers of the hack must have been end-users at some point, well, firstly, that's not a given (Maybe I pirated it; Then I'll sue you for piracy; Alternative pleading FTW!), and secondly, that a single violation of such a license can hardly amount to being worth much of a penalty (after all, you're not trying to sue every user for the same infringement).

Question 2: What Terms of Service apply to a single-player game? Where's the Service?

Okay, you might want to ban someone from using online account access, but when single-player access is unusable without account access, well, I'd argue that you were stupid for unnecessarily tying the two together, and as a consequence lose the ability to forbid either (rather than gain the right to forbid both).

I've been anti-Blizzard since the LANCraft suit, so I freely admit to not being one of their fans already, but seriously, I don't get what basis they're using to argue their case. I try not to jump to conclusions like this, but it really is as if copyright law is not only being used for whatever purpose they please (even far beyond the written law, let alone the intent); but that they freely admit to expecting that it ought to work exactly that way.

i dont get it... (3, Insightful)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958864)

why buy their games?

hasn't blizzard done enough evil shit over the years to deserve a permanent boycott?

when someone shits in your face you don't beg for more (not unless you have the same fetish Hitler had, that is).

so why buy their stuff? doesn't matter how good (or bad) their games are, by buying their stuff you are contributing to the evil crap they do.

boycott them.

Something to consider... (1)

Atros81 (1445231) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958898)

Something to consider in all this is that Blizzard has done relatively well is that it's been relatively successful changing the mindset from 'people buying a game', to 'people buying a license to play a game'. When looked at from that perspective, it makes what they're doing a little bit clearer, as in they're selling access to experience gameplay in an environment they own. If you're coming to play in their house, you get to play by their rules. Perhaps consider it like borrowing a friends toy when you were a kid. If you break his super neat-o toy, you may not be allowed to play with it any more.

Legalese madness? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#33958912)

Is it just me or the legal world totally and absolutely crazed? What the lawyers of a company like Blizzard have in their heads for ideas like this, shit?

From now on I'm officially considering that lawyers are not intelligent life forms
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