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Blizzard Wins Legal Battle Against WoW Bot Company

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.

The Courts 285

New submitter gamersunited writes with news of Blizzard Entertainment's defeat of another company that created bot software to automate World of Warcraft characters. Ceiling Fan Software faces a judgment of $7 million, and must disable any active licenses for the software. They're also forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing the bot software, and from facilitating its continued use in any way. The court order (PDF) follows more than two years of legal wrangling. Blizzard won a similar judgment a few years ago against another bot company called MDY Industries, which created the popular Glider bot.

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forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147299)

Only in the US where the ruling was made surely.

Is it enforceable elsewhere in the world?

Re: forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147777)

Only in the US where the ruling was made surely. Is it enforceable elsewhere in the world?

Maybe not, but that does not help American companies/citizens, unless they can afford to move out of the USA and not go back.

Re: forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing? (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 months ago | (#45147863)

How do you propose that blizzard go about stopping open source software that is distributed from outside the USA from being used inside it, exactly?

Re: forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing? (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 10 months ago | (#45147925)

If they detect it, they can disable or delete the account using it. That doesn't completely stop its use, but it does mean that a lot of effort has been for naught for that player.

Re: forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing? (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 months ago | (#45147955)

I would think that if Blizzard could really detect it on their end, they would have been banning the users of the software themselves instead of telling this company to deactivate any existing licenses.

Re: forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing? (4, Insightful)

Cramer (69040) | about 10 months ago | (#45148031)

They don't want to ban users. It drives away paying customers.

Re: forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 10 months ago | (#45148169)

"They don't want to ban users. It drives away paying customers."

And THIS doesn't???

Re: forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing? (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 10 months ago | (#45147945)

It's a judgement against the people who created the software. If they release it they face further punishment.

Re: forbidden from transferring or open-sourcing? (1)

edman007 (1097925) | about 10 months ago | (#45148091)

Depends how big the company is I suppose, but honestly if it was just one or two guys who really own it, for $7mil I'd seriously consider just moving to China. You are not going to get arrested trying to flee the country from a civil suit, and China or some other country that won't care about that type of business. Moving could very well be more cost effective than losing $7mil and your income.

Trivia: the Y in MDY Industries stands for "yo". (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147303)

It's a Beastie Boys reference. As in the name's Mike D, yo. The founder being Michael Donnelly.

True story.

Re:Trivia: the Y in MDY Industries stands for "yo" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147375)

Further trivia. The above poster should have taken heed to the title the record labels shot down for the Beastie Boy's debut hip hop album.

Don't Be A Faggot

Bottable == boring IMO (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147305)

If the gameplay is so simplistic that its bottable, then it's pretty boring to me. Studies have shown NP-hard problems are more fun, because they benefit from our natural ability to quickly choose a good path even if it isn't the absolute best. These kinds of challenges are harder to write bots for. So stop make your games less mindlessly boring and it's a win win for everyone.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147343)

What, and expect people to think while playing?

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45147379)

What, and expect the kind of people who surrender their lives to MMORPGs like WoW to think while playing?

FTFY, yo.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45147383)

All game can be botted.

Studies show game that are a skinners box are the most profitable.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147501)

Temporarily. Zynga, the makers of the purest skinner boxes, is going down in flames.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147563)

What the heck? Did geekoid have a stroke or something?

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 10 months ago | (#45147743)

All game can be botted.

But some are harder than others. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_chess#Chronology [wikipedia.org] ) it took around 12 years and some notable scientists to go from theoretical concepts to a program that played halfway well.

BTW I'm using the time frame between Claude Shannon's paper "Programming a Computer for Playing Chess" to Kotok-McCarthy here. If you want a tournament victory against a human as reference, that would be Mac hack in 1967 and 17 years of development.

If WOW was that hard to bot, Blizzard would not need to sue developers of bot software.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

Cramer (69040) | about 10 months ago | (#45148117)

Chess is a highly complex game giving rise to many "gambits". WoW, on the other hand, is a endless series of boring tasks, with a few grand battles thrown in. That said, i've never heard of a bot being able to complete quests -- which means working in groups, solving puzzles, and battling rooms full of baddies.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147409)

The bots aren't necessarily playing the game in the way a human would. They're more likely doing some monotonous activity that can be used to get gold or items or whatever.

Re: Bottable == boring IMO (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45148037)

So... they're playing WoW?

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (5, Interesting)

kwiecmmm (1527631) | about 10 months ago | (#45147427)

If the gameplay is so simplistic that its bottable, then it's pretty boring to me. Studies have shown NP-hard problems are more fun, because they benefit from our natural ability to quickly choose a good path even if it isn't the absolute best. These kinds of challenges are harder to write bots for. So stop make your games less mindlessly boring and it's a win win for everyone.

As someone who used to play WoW. I can say that WoW, as most MMORPG's, has many difficult problems to solve in the game. Bots do simple mindless farming, they do not play every aspect of the game or compete against other players in PvP. I ran across a few bots while playing and I can say that they were easy to screw with. You could kill them or you could just kill what they were going to kill, and confuse the software a quite bit.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147605)

Actually this isn't true of a good many private bots, I've seen PVP, BG, Coordinated Raids, Raid Assist, Chat AI integration, Shopping, Loot Management, Auction House Automation, and REALLY good nav built from reverse engineering the world geometry + applying dynamic pathing for Dynamic Game Objects (like boats). The ubiquitous high profile bots sucked in general, the really good ones people horde the source and binaries to.

- Source: Former WoW bot developer from the Pre-WotLK days leveraging the now-defunct ISXWOW innerspace extensions.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147683)

The ubiquitous high profile bots sucked in general, the really good ones people horde the source and binaries to.

Not sure if that was intentional wordplay (For the Horde!), but "people hoard source and binaries".

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

Yosho (135835) | about 10 months ago | (#45147449)

If the gameplay is so simplistic that its bottable, then it's pretty boring to me.

Yes, that's the point. You use a bot to take care of the boring parts of the game so that you can concentrate on playing the fun parts of the game.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (4, Insightful)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 10 months ago | (#45147459)

Why is this insightful?

Botting is almost exclusively used for currency/rep/etc farming. It has nothing to do with "gameplay". And whether you personally think WOW end game content is complex enough is irrelevant because botters cannot run end game raids or many other forms of content undermining your whole argument.

And why do bots exist? Because "grinding" is the only way to gain large amounts of currency in a short amount of time. Gold farmers do it for cash. Players do it to shortcut themselves to the top and to avoid grinding.
This small part of the game content IS simplistic and CAN be botted. It is a hurdle/challenge/time sink/test of your endurance to overcome to advance your character. I, like most, HATE grinding with a vengeance. But I NEVER played WOW for the grind, I played in spite of it.

As a side note:

I multibox WOW (5 chars) for the additional challenge. (and believe me it is a LOT more of a challenge) I would now never play another MMO without being able to multibox because they are all too easy.

So I even agree with the idea of MMOs being way too easy to play - but still disagree with your post.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (5, Insightful)

nospam007 (722110) | about 10 months ago | (#45147829)

" Gold farmers do it for cash."

Exactly. And Gold farmers in China are not easily impressed by US law.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (5, Interesting)

dunezone (899268) | about 10 months ago | (#45147483)

To be fair most of these bots don't do much. Most bots won't go on quests, have conversations with actual people, go on raids, etc, etc. If they did fall into one of those areas the bot would quickly fail.

If the gameplay is so simplistic that its bottable, then it's pretty boring to me.

Ever played Fallout, Morrowind, or Skyrim on Xbox/PS3? You level up the sneak attribute by sneaking around which is basically crouching around and walking. People exploited this by putting rubber bands around the controller so the character would continuously crouch walk into a corner. That gameplay mechanic is pretty simplistic yet those games are amazing to play.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

readeracc (3385797) | about 10 months ago | (#45148077)

I remember watching a NerdCubed vid of him playing Skyrim when he realised he could level up his character's fireball spell (or whatever it was) by continually flaming an invulnerable NPC at the begging of the game (the one which is in the gated and asks the player grab their initial equipment)

As for the games, I found them boring as batshit. Just didn't have the charm of depth of the Interplay games (Fallout 3 was a pale comparison to Fallout 1/2). But to each his own.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147487)

Chess and poker are both bottable, and pretty fun. Crossword puzzles can be brute-forced, but they're still fun. News flash: computers are actually better than humans at some complex tasks.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147529)

Yes, exactly, the boring parts of MMOs are what gets botted.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 10 months ago | (#45147557)

An example of a very bottable aspect of WoW is resource farming.
Design a bot that goes between known ore nodes and mines them. When bags are full go to the auction house and put it up for auction. Sell the gold for real money. This can go on 24/7 with a bot. This can be done with any gatherable resource in WoW.
The problems are as follows;
1. Node are unavailable for players actually playing the game
2. Auction house prices are driven down due to the abundance of auctions so it is not useful for real players to farm.
3. Auction house prices for rare items are driven up because rich/stupid people can buy gold for read money.
Economics are a small but important part of WoW and most other MORPGs.

Another possibility is a healer bot. Make a bot that follows another character that heals them when they are hurt. You play one character but are basically vulnerable.

There are also leveling bots for those who want to sell high level characters or just don't want to play low level characters.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (2)

kylemonger (686302) | about 10 months ago | (#45147635)

Only slightly harder. There are free (libre and gratis) SAT and QBF solvers that make mincemeat out of the kinds of structured NP-hard problems that humans find enjoyable to solve. Humans are way outclassed in the PSPACE arena. We're still better at some kinds of pattern matching, but don't bet on us staying in the lead there for much longer, either.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147711)

Back when I was playing Everquest, I had a lot of fun writing bot scripts for my characters. Kept me playing (and paying) for several more months than I would have otherwise.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#45148043)

I had great fun writing a crafting bot for EQ2, since it required fast matching of icons appearing on screen with actions to take, and a bit of strategy in doing so. Same experience: it kept me playing (and paying) for several more months than I would have otherwise.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147789)

Studies also show MMORPG players are often motivated by completely different things. Some like to level up, others like to kill other players, others like to socialize and it's all kind of fluid too. So it makes sense that some players will look for ways to avoid what they consider to be generally tedious (like leveling up) and instead focus on what they consider to be generally fun (like killing more and more powerful enemies). Bots are one way of achieving just that - avoiding chores and skipping straight to the fun part. Most probably the players who used bots are now finding the game a bit less fun because they have to gather exp. manually before they can take on the next enemy.

Fun is subjective. No one will make games according to your liking, because no one makes commercially viable games for just one person, unless you're paying in at least 6 or 7-figure sums.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 10 months ago | (#45147939)

I was one the first successful macro/botter in Asheron's Call. I invented the drain health bot, auto melee combat bot and the cracked shard bot. I told Turbine,"Fix your game and it wouldn't be bottable." I used the exact same argument as you,"If you can beat the game by repeatedly hitting the same buttons over and over, your game is fundamentally boring."

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 10 months ago | (#45147953)

I'm reminded of a clip of Futurama where Fry is playing a video game in the year 3000. He is just laying on the couch, staring into the ceiling and pressing the same button over and over.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 10 months ago | (#45148201)

I got tired of that excuse when I played an MMO. "It's not my fault I've figured out how to cheat/exploit it's the fault of the developers for not being omniscient."

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 10 months ago | (#45147967)

I'm sure the news that it's boring to you will send Blizzard crying themselves to sleep on their giant pile of cash. In other news, you are also apparently totally unfamiliar with MMOs.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (2)

Mr. McGibby (41471) | about 10 months ago | (#45147991)

I don't think you know what NP-Hard means.

Re:Bottable == boring IMO (2)

6ULDV8 (226100) | about 10 months ago | (#45148101)

It's a prostate reference, right?

Can't open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147307)

Surely it's the usage of said software that goes against some EULA, not the software itself. Why can it not be released? If nothing else, it will help other game developers see what kind of abuse goes on against mmorpgs. And surely, if it's open source, blizzard can just patch the vulnerability and get on with their day.

Re:Can't open source it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147341)

"blizzard can just patch the vulnerability" It's not a vulnerability AFAIK. The bots act on behalf of the player, doing the same things players are able to do. No exploits involved. When you run them 24/7 though then they make alot more progress than a player would playing just a few hours a day.

Re:Can't open source it? (4, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | about 10 months ago | (#45147791)

So fix the (broken) gameplay mechanic that allows bot users to have an advantage.

Having to 'grind' at mindless / meaningless tasks in game in order to play the interesting parts of the game is just bad game design - it disrespects the player's time and money. It's a transparent attempt to increase subscriber revenue. Get rid of the grind and you eliminate the incentive to use a bot in the first place.

Re:Can't open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147369)

Its not a vulnerability.

Their game relies on an ever growing "grind" of repetitive and simplistic tasks to progress.

They have a paid subscription model in place, therefore they rely on their customers sinking time on this tasks.

WoW is just so damn easy to automate.

Re:Can't open source it? (4, Insightful)

gigaherz (2653757) | about 10 months ago | (#45147531)

Their game relies on an ever growing "grind" of repetitive and simplistic tasks to progress.

No it does not. Repetitive simplistic tasks are one way of obtaining the resources (gold, experience, item tokens, ...), but they are far from being the primary way. In fact the only reason WoW is still as popular as it is, is because unlike almost every other MMO released since 2004, it is NOT a grindfest.

Experience points come from quest chains in the open world and in instanced dungeons, and those quest chains have an actual story that unfolds as you play. Gold is obtained as reward from quests, and looted from monsters, same as gear. Item tokens are rewarded by defeating dungeon and raid bosses, which require a team, and a strategy.

You can argue that it's too easy or boring for your tastes, but you can not say it is a grinding-based MMO.

Re:Can't open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147745)

WoW is grind base. This is why most players have moved to Guildwars 2.

Re:Can't open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45148047)

most players have moved to Guildwars 2.

No they haven't. "Me and like three of my guildies" do not constitute "most players".

Re:Can't open source it? (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 10 months ago | (#45147767)

You can argue that it's too easy or boring for your tastes, but you can not say it is a grinding-based MMO.

But you can argue that reward per hour, grinding is more efficient than doing challenging content in terms of the in game rewards.

I used to play EQ1, you could go and do a real dungeon crawl with a group, and fight yellows and low reds. And it was genuinely fun. Lose control of aggro, or run into someone elses train though and you died. The necro would summon our corpes out, and our cleric would rez us... we'd re-equip and go in for another run. It was great fun.

BUT

You made more ingame currency, and gained more XP by joing to a known camp and grinding.

At 15-20th level ("back in the day") you could walk into Blackburrow and head down to the bottom... and that was challenging and fun. But the gnolls were pretty poor, and the risk of death (and associated "downtime") was high.

Or you could go to Highhold Pass, and fight a particular camping spot there. The drops were reliably better, the stream of creatures to kill was constant, and if things got out of hand you were just steps away from a zone line. You made more money, and gained more xp, easier, and faster, with less risk.

You didn't have to "grind", but most players did. Because the game actively rewarded them better in everything but "fun" by doing so. And it turns out the majority of players will sacrifice "fun" for "progress" for reasons that I truly find baffling.

WoW and other MMORPGs, and even many single player RPGs are the same, hell even stuff like diablo -- how many diablo 2 players just spent hours doing "Hill Runs" repeatedly for xp, over and over again because it was the easiest and safest place to get loot and xp?

Re:Can't open source it? (2)

Arker (91948) | about 10 months ago | (#45147787)

Running repetitive and simplistic quests can be just as much of a grind as any other type of grind.

Re:Can't open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147835)

Yes I can. It's a fucking grindquest.

Re:Can't open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147877)

Experience points come from quest chains in the open world and in instanced dungeons, and those quest chains have an actual story that unfolds as you play.

Or you can get *far* more XP per hour by grinding pet battles.

Software should've been kept free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147367)

This only happened because they started charging monthly subscription fees 2 years ago.

Re: Software should've been kept free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147445)

You have always had to pay a subscription fee for wow.

Re: Software should've been kept free (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 10 months ago | (#45147519)

I think he means for the bot.

ALl you need to do (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45147373)

is label it an aid for disabled players. Get ADA, Blizzard won't stand a chance.

Re:ALl you need to do (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#45147455)

is label it an aid for disabled players

People with the total locked-in syndrome also want to play!

Re:ALl you need to do (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45147589)

People with one arm, or Parkinson, or..well a great many.

What's the point? (1)

operagost (62405) | about 10 months ago | (#45147381)

Why bother writing bots? Just play Progress Quest.

Death Throws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147399)

Why do I get the funny feeling that this is the first of many steps of the death throws of WoW?

Re:Death Throws (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 10 months ago | (#45148015)

Because you're one of those people who've been shouting "WoW is dying!" since 2004?

We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (5, Informative)

Captain Kirk (148843) | about 10 months ago | (#45147401)

Blizzard sued my company in Germany and we are still trading. The reason is that Americans can't avoid the broad restrictions of the DMCA while Europeans are able to work within existing copyright and trademark law. The DMCA is simply a way of closing creative American companies so the business is done from overseas.

Re:We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147517)

Blizzard originally sued bot companies based on copyright. Now, they're suing based on violations of the EULA (end user license agreement) and TOS (terms of service). Bots violate both, plain and simple. Your company might get sued again, if Europeans laws support EULAs and TOSs.

Re:We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

alexo (9335) | about 10 months ago | (#45147941)

What if you use the clean room approach where the developers of the software never play the game and therefore need not agree to the EULA/TOS?

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (0, Flamebait)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45147523)

Your botting software is nothing but run-of-the-mill malware, whatever the merits of your copyright argument. Why is it so hard to write addon software that conforms to Blizz's ToS?

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (3, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | about 10 months ago | (#45147619)

Probably because Blizzard's ToS is written specifically to make such software difficult to write.

To be blunt, they don't like competition.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45147697)

There are hundreds of addons out there that comply with ToS just fine. Indeed, it's hard to find any dedicated WoW players in the game who aren't using any.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147633)

Your botting software is nothing but run-of-the-mill malware, whatever the merits of your copyright argument. Why is it so hard to write addon software that conforms to Blizz's ToS?

Because, by definition of the ToS, that software wouldn't do what the players want it to do (i.e. doing grindy stuff for them)?

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (3, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about 10 months ago | (#45147715)

"Your botting software is nothing but run-of-the-mill malware"

Umm, no. Run of the mill malware by definition is acting without the informed consent of the user. This botting software is running at the will of the user. So the comparison is utterly specious.

"Why is it so hard to write addon software that conforms to Blizz's ToS?"

Why is it so hard for Blizzard to write a system that does not effectively penalise those who obey their rules?

Now I have years of experience running multiplayer online games and I appreciate as you may not that the answer is actually quite complicated. It's not a trivial thing to do, but then again, Blizzard has raked in enormous sums of cash on this game, more than enough to have done it right and many times over. It's an enormous profit-centre and like all the big companies these days it seems to believe that it has a divine right to maintain that profit without working for it. They would rather write unenforceable rules and invoke state force as a bandaid than try to fix the problem because it's cheaper - at least for them, at least in the short term.

The state shouldnt allow itself to be used in this way, however.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (-1, Troll)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45147785)

It is malware, because it adversely affects the gameplay of other players, who never consented to such software being used in the MMO they are playing.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

cfalcon (779563) | about 10 months ago | (#45147883)

That is 100% not malware bro.

If I run a program that makes my life easier at your expense, that is an exploit, a hack, or illegal automation.

Malware is when my dumbass friend got a fishingbot that ALSO hat malware on it, which compromised his account and lead to endless mocking (fishing in WoW is mindless but is not necessary nor highly profitable nor prestigious- he should never have risked his account for such foolery).

But anyway, a bot program isn't inherently malware. You might not like it, but that's not what malware is.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | about 10 months ago | (#45147887)

So anything that can be used to cause adverse effects to other people, can be considered malware? That's a pretty broad definition.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 10 months ago | (#45147891)

It is malware, because it adversely affects the gameplay of other players, who never consented to such software being used in the MMO they are playing.

Are WOW macros malware? How about macros in Word or Excel, ones that let person A do something with half the actual effort as person B?

How exactly does them using a bot affect your gameplay, other than frustrating you when others level or gear up faster? Bots aren't interactive, they're for the dull, grindy, repetitive sequences that make moderate amounts of gold or experience. Maybe the player doesn't respond if you try talking to them: does that hurt your feelings that much?

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45147985)

If the macro / addon is legit with the ToS, then I consented when I agreed to the WoW EULA. And farming bots do adversely affect my gameplay, by distorting the in game economy. Honor farming bots definitely hurt PvP gameplay for others. I understand the incentive for these bots, just like I understand all those Counter Strike cheats back in the day, but the malware label is well earned regardless.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147965)

One could make the same argument for Auctioneer (a perfectly legal addon per the TOS), since the desired effect is to gain an advantage at the Auction House - other players have their gameplay adversely affected by paying more gold for an item (or receiving less for it) than they might otherwise because Auctioneer is helping sellers/buyers optimize their transactions. You're changing the definition of an established technical term to suit your argument.

It's good to see Blizzard is spending so much money on lawyers when WoW continues to have serious bugs that have been in the game and complained about by its customers for YEARS in some cases.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 10 months ago | (#45147865)

I'm confused... on the one hand you say that it's a difficult problem:

the answer is actually quite complicated. It's not a trivial thing to do

But then immediately assume because they've made piles of money... they could easily have done it?

Blizzard has raked in enormous sums of cash on this game, more than enough to have done it right and many times over

While I've never played WoW... no have no opinion of Blizzard... breaking out the lawyers would seem to be a later stage thing to do, and only after taking steps to block such activity at a technical level.

Are you saying they haven't? Or for that matter, that you know exactly what work would be required to be done and how much it would cost?

Isn't what you are claiming kind of like gmail suing spammers rather than implement better spam detection & blocking systems... is there no chance of them doing both?

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45147903)

Blizzard has made efforts on the technical front. (Google for the infamous 'Warden' for an example...) Sometimes they've been too aggressive, in fact, and mistakenly flagged legit users as bots. (Believe it or not, some players do, in fact, like standing in one spot fishing for hours on end...).

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 10 months ago | (#45148093)

They have definitely attempted to tackle it at a technical level. Part of installing Blizzard games is giving consent for it to look for cheating programs. Support for macro keys such as found on Logitech keyboards has been broken numerous times (and I think is broken right now) as they allow a keyboard macro to perform exactly one action that would be performed as a player clicking a button. It can be a keypress combination (such as Alt-Shift-4 or whatever you have it mapped to), but especially for combat, they don't want that one keypress doing a string of actions, especially not timed.

They've also been going after bots since well before their peak player count. I've seen news of lawsuits going back for at least six or seven years.

WoW is certainly in decline (if they could upgrade the entire game's graphics to be like Pandaria, it might draw a few people in or back, but the cost probably exceeds the potential income) and they need something to take over, but these enforcement actions aren't new by any means.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147885)

Why should they? EU law, and the freedoms it brings, trumps the abuse of process by American companies like Blizzard everytime. We recognise the 'First Sale Doctine', for instance, and you Yanks allow companies like Microsoft to pretend this legal Right doesn't apply to out-right purchases of software (no software 'licence' or EULA converts software into a product unlike any other, but you Yanks are thick enough to buy that argument, when Gates pays Obama to make software a special case).

Just because the use of bots can 'spoil' a game like WoW is no excuse to abuse the law, and ban the right of people to use their own computer hardware as they so wish. Blizzard is still free to 'ban' users they detect using bots under EU law, so long as Blizzard returns unused subscription fees. Blizzard is still free to change the rules of the game, so bots no longer offer any serious gaming advantage.

Cheating is one thing, but enhanced inputs under the rules of the game, using information legitimate for the player to access (so, no wall-hacks and the like), should never be considered 'cheating'. Games should be played for fun, NOT for profit (I mean for the player), so players should have little to ZERO reason to be concerned about those using bots.

Online games should focus on allowing groups of players to play with others that share the same gaming philosophy. This would allow players to avoid playing with bot-enhanced players, solving the problem.

Re: We beat them because the EU has no DMCA (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 10 months ago | (#45148057)

"Abuse of process"... wow. I would think the player who agreed not to be a douchebag (that EULA is an agreement, in fact. You do not have to click 'I accept.' You can always play some other game.) and then becomes a douchebag is Abuser #1. I don't care to squabble over US vs EU copyright laws, as I think a more fundamental question over integrity is at play here.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147413)

You can be prevented from releasing your own code by courts?

Re:Huh? (2)

johanw (1001493) | about 10 months ago | (#45147775)

American judges seem to think they are gods and give the strangest orders. In more civilised countries the law describes what a judge can and cannot order.

What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147439)

People still play WOW?

Calooby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147499)

Oh yeah, you can't escape now!

Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147533)

As a software developer, I find these cases to be very disturbing. Now I have to worry about what my users do with my software?

Re:Scary (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 10 months ago | (#45148065)

How is that different from anyone else who makes and sells a product?

Re: Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45148195)

Whaddya mean, "Now?" This bullshit has been going on since the 1900s.

forbidden to open-source ? (3, Insightful)

richlv (778496) | about 10 months ago | (#45147553)

They're also forbidden from ... open-sourcing the bot software

now that's messed up. although the source code could always be "stolen"...

Re:forbidden to open-source ? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 months ago | (#45147897)

If it were... particularly now, they'd probably have to prove that it was actually stolen with official records of a break in or whatnot... if they were unable to or unwilling to supply such records, it would probably be assumed that they were complicit in the alleged "theft".

Re:forbidden to open-source ? (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 10 months ago | (#45147919)

In which case Blizzard goes to court asking the judge to hold the defendants in contempt for violating his/her order.

Defendant: "But the code was stolen, there was nothing we could have done!"

Judge: "Did you file a police report?'

Defendant: "No, we..."

Judge: "What steps did you take to prevent this kind of theft?"

Defendant: "Um..."

Judge: *gavel bang* "I find you in contempt of this court..."

Grindfest (3, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#45147593)

If you think World of Warcraft is a grindfest you obviously never played Final Fantasy XI.

Time for the torrents (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 10 months ago | (#45147603)

Fight back!

Botting... (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 10 months ago | (#45147673)

As a fan of MMO's since about 2000, I can safely say that EVERY MMO I've ever played, from then, to now, has had some form of botting or automating mindless grinding activities.

Every MMO has them. There's no stopping them, it kind of reminds of the same sort of silly arms race spammers have against spam filtering software.

Anyway, I think what MMO companies should do, it just make their own botting software and sell it to people like the rest of their products. Level the playing field. Every MMO has bots, so open the flood gates, let anyone have bots, make some money as well.

Re:Botting... (1)

cfalcon (779563) | about 10 months ago | (#45148095)

I would much prefer they simply ban the bot accounts. Bots are horrible for the game. Last thing I would want is your suggestion coming to pass.

Re:Botting... (1)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#45148111)

DDO doesn't really have any mindless grind to automate, and I've never seen a bot in it. Heck, if you choose the run the same content repeatedly, the XP and loot falls off quite rapidly.

There's no need to make an MMO that way. Make the game, from start to the endgame raids, have no need to repeat a quest, no mindless timesyncs. It's just not that hard to make quests if your world designers are given good automation for laying out content.

Sure, you'll need to repeat the endgame raids, but that's not usually the part the players call the grind.

Blizzard buys these judgements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45147769)

Be in no doubt. You are NOT seeing justice at play here. Blizzard's back account simply buys the verdict they desire, in the most corruptible legal system in the world, that of the USA.

America has ALWAYS given victories to arising corporate giants over those they seek to stamp all over. This is the AMERICAN WAY. To allow anything less would be see as threatening the form of capitalism assumed to be behind America's success.

Of course, in the case of WoW, players put their interests in a "fun", "Fair" game ahead of established legal freedoms, and so cheer such verdicts. The precedent set by Blizzard's purchased 'justice' is no less potentially devastating than the actions of patent trolls in American courts.

This is bs. and so is wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45148007)

Way to stifle a creative programmer with a passion for games because of your stupid egos bliz. At least this guy was botting your game rather than wasting time playing it.

I botted hard (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45148011)

Bots are an awesome addition to the game in my opinion. It allows you to enjoy the fun parts of the game while not having to deal with all the monotonous portions needed to attain said fun. I didn't feel like having a serving l second full time job by playing wow. Bots make that possible.

yeaaaaaaah... bleh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45148023)

Now if only fps developing companies would come forward and step it up like this. Bots and wallhacks sure are ruining the fun for a lot of people.

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