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Blizzard Sues Creator of WoW Bot

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the kind-of-defeating-the-point-of-an-mmo dept.

Role Playing (Games) 701

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Blizzard, the makers of World of Warcraft, are suing Michael Donnelly, the creator of the MMO Glider program, which performs key tasks in the game automatically. Blizzard says the software bot infringes the company's copyright and potentially damages the game. 'Blizzard's designs expectations are frustrated, and resources are allocated unevenly, when bots are introduced into the WoW universe, because bots spend far more time in-game than an ordinary player would and consume resources the entire time,' Blizzard wrote in its legal submission to the court. More than 100,000 copies of the tool have been sold while more than 10 million people around the world play Warcraft. Donnelly says his tool does not infringe Blizzard's copyright because no 'copy' of the Warcraft game client software is ever made. The two parties are now awaiting a summary judgment in the case."

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Copyright? Maybe not, but maybe trademark? (5, Interesting)

Keen Anthony (762006) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875222)

Don't really see how it infringes on the Warcraft copyright; but maybe it infringes on the trademark somehow if it's being marketed as something official to Blizzard and WoW, and giving customers the perception that this is an extension of the WoW service. As for damaging WoW by taking up more resources than the normal player would; what if I were an abnormal player who is on nearly 24/7; is there some provision in the agreement where I am charged more for the subscription or something?

Re:Copyright? Maybe not, but maybe trademark? (4, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875280)

If you're creating some legitimate program that requires WoW, you think you should have to request Blizzard's permission just to say on the packaging that you require World of Warcraft? Definitely not.

Re:Copyright? Maybe not, but maybe trademark? (4, Informative)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875428)


Agreed. From the sounds of it, this bot tool may impair the game, and they may have some moral or legal cause to try and stop it, but copyright and trademark infringment it is not.I think they need to find some other charge.

Re:Copyright? Maybe not, but maybe trademark? (5, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875762)

At most it might infringe upon the terms and conditions of WoW. But that would need to be taken up with the users, not the author.

Just another example of a company aiming its litigation at the wrong target.

Re:Copyright? Maybe not, but maybe trademark? (3, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875406)

From TFA:

Blizzard has said the tool infringes copyright because it copies the game into RAM in order to avoid detection by anti-cheat software.
That's pretty freakin' weak. Are they gonna sue me because I remembered stuff about the game and told it to a friend? Am I then using my brain to illegally copy game data?

Re:Copyright? Maybe not, but maybe trademark? (2, Insightful)

KevMar (471257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875656)

It may be a weak argument but it will require the wow Glider to hire a legal team to fight it. Its just another way them to attack.

I dont know if this is just another attack or Blizzard claiming defeat. Blizzard has been in a hacking war with bots for a long time. Blizzard was winning for a long time but wow glider is on top of the game now.

Just how do you hide from a program that is looking for you when they have access to your binaries? I don't want to say I support botting, but I have to give that dev team credit for doing such a good job.

Re:Copyright? Maybe not, but maybe trademark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875476)

is there some provision in the agreement where I am charged more for the subscription or something?

I think these lawsuits would be a lot more interesting if there was a provision in the TOS that said something to the effect of "you may use a bot program for the extended monthly fee of $1,000,000 per month." Then sue the pants off of everyone who uses one for theft of service and ruin their credit rating when they refuse to pay up. None of this panzie "You're violating the TOS" crap, this is "you agreed to this legal contract for a monthly fee of $(insane amount here). Now where's our money?". A court would have a hard time throwing that out. If some rich and crazy person decides to actually pay up, start adding zeros to the amount every month thereafter. MMO companies need to start playing hardball to combat these problems.

Re:Copyright? Maybe not, but maybe trademark? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875820)

I think these lawsuits would be a lot more interesting if there was a provision in the TOS that said something to the effect of "you may use a bot program for the extended monthly fee of $1,000,000 per month." [..] A court would have a hard time throwing that out.
Unless you have some sort of legal background and understand the nuances of contract law under various jurisdictions, I'd suggest that you really *don't* know whether the court woulds- in truth- "have a hard time throwing that out".

There are such things as non-enforcable clauses, and I suspect that it would also depend how the contract was written and presented. However, as I'm not a legal expert, I'll avoid speculating beyond my knowledge and leave it to someone who actually knows contract law to comment further.

Re:Copyright? Maybe not, but maybe trademark? (4, Funny)

qoncept (599709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875658)

what if I were an abnormal player who is on nearly 24/7;

I don't think that's so abnormal..

Who cares? (3, Interesting)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875224)

This is only a problem in a game like WoW where you can't lose items on death (specifically to other players) and are built around a constant grind to get that next tier of armor or those next few points in the battlegrounds to get that next tier of weapons. Darkfall [darkfallonline.com] , while long in development, is a game that offers complete freedom to the players to run their world as they see fit. If they wish to just be in chaos all the time and killing each other willy nilly, then so be it! If they wish to form a world full with alliances throwing blows at each other here and there to capture more resources (which is the hope/intent of the game) and build more cities, then they can! You can be a roving assassin picking off lone targets who venture too far from a town by themselves, or you can join a massive player army to raid enemy towns and fortresses.

Re:Who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875464)

That's well and good, but all the kids want to know is: can you stick it in her pooper?

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875528)

This is only a problem in a game like WoW where you can't lose items on death

Now I've never played WoW, but I understand that it is very, very popular. So when you say "Who cares?" I think the answer is likely to be a lot. You may not personally care for the set up of the game, but I think we can all agree that when the structure of a game is dictated by what is and isn't easy for bots to cheat at, that's an overall negative thing. Reducing options and choice = bad.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875540)

No free-for-all PvP RPG server or game has ever been successfuly long term (compared to other MMOs or servers in the same year/game).

Griefers always dominate - it's John Gabriel's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory proven every day. Griefers are far worse than any amount of bots.

Eve Online is the first potential counter-example, and they've been very careful about the rules.

Re:Who cares? (2, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875620)

And MUDs have solved the issue so many years ago...

On a vast majority, death means you lose your set unless you manage to do a corpse retrieval. On for example the Two Towers [t2tmud.org] , you don't even get to keep eq over logins; they can be stored in some ways but even that gets purged every (scheduled) reboot of the game.

If you don't get that attached to your set, there is a limit how far you go to improve it. A good player will have constantly decent one, a grinder rarely will.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875624)

The winding road up the mountain of money that Blizzard sits atop of is littered with the corpses of games that "will be" X or Y while WoW delivers a game experience that people want. Not some grand artistic or social vision, a game with just enough (and I would even say only enough) depth to keep you coming back. Hell, they're down every tuesday morning and they're still regarded as the smoothest MMO experience around.

Darkfall wants to make your items lootable, they're welcome to try it. Whether people actually enjoy this level of realism is a reality they're going to face on their balance sheet.

Me, I'm looking forward to Warhammer Online, but I don't hold any illusions that it will radically change the mechanics or culture of the MMO genre. I will throw my money at what's fun.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875666)

If they wish to just be in chaos all the time and killing each other willy nilly,...

Sweeeet! I can express my sociopathic nature!

Copyright infringement? (4, Interesting)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875234)

How? Unless he stole source code and used it in his program, I don't see how. Maybe I'm just missing something, but I don't think this program infringes on their copyrights, it may violate other things like their TOS, but this seems to be merely and intimidation act to make him shut down.

Re:Copyright infringement? (5, Informative)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875290)

How? Unless he stole source code and used it in his program, I don't see how.

They are claiming that the tool makes a copy of the game and stores it to ram to avoid their anti-cheating checks. Interesting to see if it is illegal to make a temporary copy (for your own personal use) of a program you legally purchased.

Re:Copyright infringement? (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875304)

How on earth do you load the program into memory (and once again into CPU cache) to run it if you can't???

Re:Copyright infringement? (5, Insightful)

Talondel (693866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875360)

I believe the argument would go like this:

You have a right to copy the program into RAM in order to run it, if that copy is going to be used for a purpose that complies with the EULA.

However, here the programmer is using the program in a way that doesn't comply with the EULA. Therefore, he is not only violating the EULA, but also their copyright, because he is making a copy for an unauthorized purpose.

Re:Copyright infringement? (2, Interesting)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875440)

Shrinkwrap EULAs haven't been ruled enforceable. Especially since you can't read them until you open the box, and many stores don't do software returns (unless you return it for a copy of the same software.. which would of course have the same EULA). Now, the WoW subscriber agreement is enforceable and may cover the updated binaries that come through the WoW updater.

Re:Copyright infringement? (1)

Talondel (693866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875642)

Shrinkwrap EULAs haven't been ruled enforceable

This is a common misconception. See ProCD v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir., 1996) (holding a "shrinkwrap" agreement enforceable). In truth, courts aren't likely to treat shrinkwrap agreements all that differently than written agreements that people don't read but agree to anyways (think those multi-page releases that people only glance at before signing). They will generally be held enforceable unless they contain provisions that are unconscionable, grossly unfair, or completely unexpected. It doesn't appear that any of those types of issues would apply to the agreement here. (I am not a lawyer, I am certainly not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, hire a lawyer certified to practice in your jurisdiction)

Re:Copyright infringement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875718)

You agree to the EULA, over and over and over again when you play the game and a completely different set of ToS and EULA's when you register an account. The EULA might be shrink wrap but the ToS when you actively sign up for there service is certainly enforceable.

Re:Copyright infringement? (3, Insightful)

Darth (29071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875802)

In the case of an EULA or a subscriber agreement the agreement is with the player, not the bot creator. I don't see any way they can go after him with either of those. They could sue their subscribers with them if they could reliably detect which users are using a bot, which they seem to be asserting they cannot do.

I also like the part where they say it interferes with their design expectations. Who cares? The fact that they didn't accomodate someone playing the game 24/7 doesn't have any bearing on the legality of the bot. The only way i can think that that would be relevant is if the terms of use limited the time a user can play. Even then, they'd have to sue the player, not the bot maker.

I'll be surprised if this doesn't get thrown out of court. I'm a little surprised that after he blew off their legal threat, they didn't try to just buy him out to get rid of it.

I'm not a lawyer though, so i suspect a lot of things happen in court that would surprise me.

Re:Copyright infringement? (3, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875674)


Okay - it's dubious, but I can see how they would at least make a legal argument that it was copyright infringement. That's a good explanation. But I don't quite get why they need to do this to spot bots. Presumably WoW has some sort of chat channel that the admins could use to communicate with players? If they roughly identify bots through their behaviour - e.g. the number of hours played, confinement to one location, repetitive actions or whatever gives the game away, could they not quickly confirm it by sending a message saying "Hey, enjoying the game? Could you just confirm your not a bot by answering this question, please..."

Re:Copyright infringement? (2, Interesting)

Xeth (614132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875686)

However, here the programmer is using the program in a way that doesn't comply with the EULA.
Except that it can't be proven he's agreed the the EULA. He's not playing a game, but distributing software that interacts with it. Even if he had violated the EULA, I really don't think you can be sued for that. It just means (assuming the EULA is valid, which is by no means certain) that you lose the ability to use the software.

Therefore, he is not only violating the EULA, but also their copyright, because he is making a copy for an unauthorized purpose.
The first point is invalid (see above). The second point has no truth to it at all. Despite corporate brainwashing, copyright doesn't mean you have to use the work like the creator says. It means that you can only distribute it to others with rather severe restrictions. Since he doesn't seem to be distributing copies of the game, copyright doesn't apply.

Re:Copyright infringement? (4, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875608)

How on earth do you load the program into memory (and once again into CPU cache) to run it if you can't???

Copies performed as an "essential step" of using the program are exempted as not infringing on copyright. So copying the program from disk into memory in order to run it is not infringement, however creating a second copy of the game in-memory to get around the anti-cheating code may not be.

Personally, I've also argued that this clause means that you are not legally required to accept EULAs, or at least that you aren't violating copyright by refusing to accept them since you don't need a copyright license to make the necessary copies to install and run the program.

Here's a link to the relevant section of the law: TITLE 17 - CHAPTER 1 - 117 [cornell.edu]

Re:Copyright infringement? (3, Interesting)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875646)

How on earth do you load the program into memory (and once again into CPU cache) to run it if you can't???

The pro-EULA faction's argument works like this:

Under copyright law alone, you don't have the right to make the copy(*). You don't have the right to run the software that they sell you.

In order to make their software usable (so that someone would have incentive to buy it), the copyright holder extends additional rights to its customer, rights that copyright law does not grant. One of the additional rights, is the right to copy the software to your hard disk and RAM.

These additional rights are given by a license: the EULA. If you accept the EULA, you gain the right to use the software. If you accept the EULA, you also give up some rights that you otherwise would have had, so read all the fine print. It can get very specific about under what circumstances that you are allowed to copy the program into RAM, and for what purposes. Copying their work to RAM for execution purposes would be something they grant, and copying to RAM to serve checksums to defeat bot detection would be something not granted.

(*) The catch: their claim that you don't have the right (without the EULA) to run the software, is questionable. Since 1) the purpose of the copying is noncommercial 2) the nature of the copyrighted work makes it useless unless copied to RAM, and 4) the effect of the copying has no impact on the market for the copyrighted work, it is arguably Fair Use. (Note I left out the number 3 in the above list.)

Re:Copyright infringement? (4, Interesting)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875700)

That seems totally bogus: music CDs have to be copied to ram (ever had a disc man with 8 second skip protection? Wow, I'm dating myself), but they don't have EULAs.

Re:Copyright infringement? (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875748)

I agree that their argument is weak, but I am a computer person. A judge's eyes might gloss over and take on a zombie-like nobody-is-home deadness, as you try to explain how a CD player works. Or maybe they'd just declare that all CD players are copyright infringement devices.

In that case. (2, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875536)

microsoft, apple, canonical LTD, transgaming technologies, etc are all guilty of copyright infringement because they make a copy of the game and store it to ram.

Re:Copyright infringement? (1)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875520)

Just off the top of my head it seems that he is merely the facilitator and not the perpetrator.

I think if Blizzard keeps up this behaviour then a few rogue programmers might launch a free bot that truly makes the game unfair. It's a bit of the "nice virtual world you have here, shame if something were to happen to it".

Sweet (5, Funny)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875236)

A program that plays the boring parts of the game. Can he come up with a program that does the boring parts of my life while I'm out having fun?

Re:Sweet (5, Funny)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875340)

World of Chorecraft!

Re:Sweet (5, Funny)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875488)

You laugh but.... [chorewars.com]

Re:Sweet (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875806)

Since World of Warcraft is a game where players simulate fighting wars, presumably World of Chorecraft would be a game where players simulate doing chores. Which, now that I think about it, is pretty much what The Sims is ... and yet it's weirdly addictive, unlike doing the same things in real life.

It really helps make WoW more fun... (1)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875470)

I botted the gold for my epic mount: http://izabael.typepad.com/izabael/2007/02/world-of-warcra.html [typepad.com]

A few months later when I was trying to see if it would be helpful to bot for a Netherdrake, I lost my account in a Blizzard bot sting. WoWGlider was good up until that point. I would have quit WoW earlier without it, so Blizzard got more money from our household (I had two accounts--one for cousins and nieces coming over to play--that account I still have but it is long inactive.) Now I waste that extra time here on /.

*iza

Re:Sweet (3, Funny)

ParadoxDruid (602583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875532)

Can he come up with a program that does the boring parts of my life while I'm out having fun?

... you mean, hire a Maid?

Thank God (2, Interesting)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875270)

I'm really glad to see Blizz taking action against botters.
I've seen many folks using programs like this and they have ruined many MMOs, (esp. FFXI and Lineage 2).

It's about time a company really stands up and tries to prevent this sort of thing.

I don't know about free software, with that they may have trouble, but this guys program is pay to use, so they might be able to take him to task for it.

Less botters = less annoyance

For those that say this doesn't affect us regular players, just wait until you hit a battleground and ten people are botting, it really ruins the experience and wastes a lot of time.

Re:Thank God (2, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875302)

Wow that's total BS. How is Blizzard abusing the legal system someone standing up to make the game better? This has far wider consequences than you being annoyed in some MMO. And paying to use has nothing to do with it, other than that Blizzard is more likely to be jealous and sue him out of business.

Re:Thank God (3, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875538)

Can't you be glad that they're taking action, but not necessarily like the action they're taking?

Re:Thank God (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875326)

I'd think you'd love to see opponents botting while in battlegrounds. All you have to do is be unpredictable, and the bots will get confused.

And I'd say that more gold farming is done by humans than bots, hands down. Heck, they've even done news stories on how there are whole groups in Asia that run the same character in shifts so they can collect cash items, etc. They are more able to react to changes than a bot.

Re:Thank God (4, Informative)

Trolan (42526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875554)

It's much less fun when the bots are on your team.

Gold farming and grinding are much less needed these days in WoW with the daily quests giving out 8-12g a pop, and being able to do 25 of those a day. Most taking 10mins to complete.

Re:Thank God (1)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875356)

Yeah, thank god someone is trying to extend the notion of copyright to cover the interaction with their product just so you can play a game.

I know botters suck, but do we really need the law to help us with this?

Re:Thank God (5, Insightful)

alexhard (778254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875368)

The problem is not bots, it's crappy game design. Once your paying customers start wanting to pay in order NOT to play your game, you know your designer is a complete retard. Then again, it seems that making games not very fun is a highly successful business model..Who would've guessed?

Re:Thank God (1)

not flu (1169973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875570)

I'm not hugely surprised that making people addicted is more profitable than genuinely entertaining them.

Re:Thank God (1)

nih (411096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875684)

well i guessed it, sometime last week.

Re:Thank God (1)

sou11ess (942999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875772)

The problem isn't that the designers stink. It's the fact that WoW is an MMORPG. Assuming WoW was a perfect game in which every single player enjoyed every single aspects of the game , there would still be bots because some players just can't play as often as others. Winning games is based on skill, be it true "real world" skills like reflexes or a great strategic mind or "virtual" skills like RPG character stats. Skills are supposed to take time to accumulate and not everyone has the same amount of time to play, therefore bots are created to make up for that time.

Re:Thank God (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875790)

That is a popular opinion around this site for some reason, but the reality is that if these people didn't feel they were getting their money's worth for the game they simply wouldn't pay and wouldn't play. Maybe you see WoW as an endless grind--hell, maybe it even IS one--but obviously a lot of people don't have a problem with that. I presume by your comments that you don't play, and I assume that's the main reason--so it does work.

That said, people cheating isn't necessarily a bad game design. Some people really get off on being "the best" even when they're only the best because they cheated their way to it. WoW has a concept called "twinking" which is basically getting the best possible gear for your PvP bracket. Personally I've never understood that; if I'm good at PvP I want it to be because I'm a good player, not because I had somebody with too much gold buy me all sorts of shit to make me unnaturally powerful for my level. However the prevalence of these twinks at ALL brackets in the game proves a surprising number of people don't feel the same. It's kind of akin to cheat codes in an FPS; they're not proof of a bad game, just proof that sometimes players like to be ridiculously overpowered with no effort.

The reality is this is an MMORPG--other players are always going to play a role in your enjoyment of the game. If it got "too bad" (recognizing that that is a relative term for each player) then the game would either die out or do something about it. As you can probably tell, I'm a player and I still feel I'm getting value for my money, even with the bots and twinks and all the rest. If that changes I'll cancel.

Re:Thank God (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875792)

Then again, it seems that making games not very fun is a highly successful business model..Who would've guessed?
Slot machine manufacturers. Those players look like they are dead.

Re:Thank God (2, Funny)

G-funk (22712) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875834)

I agree completely. What we need isn't less bots, it's more bots! Put scripting into the official client, and let people run riot. Probably work better in a Sci-fi MMO than WOW, but still. And if the scripts end up making the game no fun, then hire the best script writers, and kick your designers in the nuts.

contract violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875278)

IANAL but i'd expect there to be something in the WoW contract you sign saying that you can't use bots. wouldn't that be a better way to get at him rather than copyright violation?

Bots are overrated (5, Insightful)

garylian (870843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875282)

Bots are grossly overrated for MMOs for the most part. Sure, there are some few players that will use them in WoW and other games, but for the most part, people want to experience the game. And many bot users are very easy to spot, as their users don't put in enough to make it believable.

I am kind of surprised that Blizzard is doing this, but I think it's just a publicity thing, and they don't really care if they make any cash off of it. They are just trying to placate the masses on the forums that worry about every single little thing they can.

The reality is, bots make money for Blizzard. Once an account is banned, the player has to purchase a new box of the game to start playing again. And with the expansion, that's 2 boxes. So, Blizzard makes money off of the players that register new accounts/CDs every time they get banned.

Besides, most gold farmers are played by humans, not bots.

Re:Bots are overrated (1)

bagjuice (777240) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875410)

They are more worried about gold farmers who make a living off selling on ebay, etc. gold rather than the normal gamer. There are entire companies that hire people to dual box (having one player play multiple wow accounts on multiple computers) and farm gold. If it can be automated, they will do it. These actions really would hurt the game experience. As for copyright infringement, I'm not so sure about that.

Re:Bots are overrated (2, Insightful)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875588)

You're overlooking something - trial accounts. Someone could set up multiple trial accounts and run bots on them, then funnel all the money to a main account. That's how it generally works on some of the more heavily-botted MMOs.

If I recall, a trial account cannot trade with a full account. However, it may be possible for a trial account to access the auction house. If that is so, the main account would merely have to put some trash items up for large sums of money and have the trial accounts purchase them.

Re:Bots are overrated (1)

sirroc (1157745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875710)

Bots are grossly overrated for MMOs for the most part. Sure, there are some few players that will use them in WoW and other games, but for the most part, people want to experience the game. And many bot users are very easy to spot, as their users don't put in enough to make it believable.

I am kind of surprised that Blizzard is doing this, but I think it's just a publicity thing, and they don't really care if they make any cash off of it. They are just trying to placate the masses on the forums that worry about every single little thing they can.

The reality is, bots make money for Blizzard. Once an account is banned, the player has to purchase a new box of the game to start playing again. And with the expansion, that's 2 boxes. So, Blizzard makes money off of the players that register new accounts/CDs every time they get banned.

Besides, most gold farmers are played by humans, not bots.
Bots have all but ruined the "endgame" community for Final Fantasy XI. It has gotten to the point where newer style bots use packet injecting to circumvent the "anti-bot" measures that have been put into place; and thats just for mob claiming. Position hacking to places that normally take a group of people or a good chunk of time to get to also have ruined certain/older aspects of the game. The list goes on ...

I don't know what its like for WoW players and bots, but I can imagine its not to fun to see people running around knowing that they are bots. If I wanted play a video game where there are a bunch of automatons running around I'll play a classic RPG.

As for the money part; conspiracy theories are endless. It is the same way with FFXI ... "Square bans the IGE accounts because they know they'll spend X dollars getting their drones back in the game" Again the list goes on ...

Different dimension (2, Funny)

tom_75 (1013457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875294)

because bots spend far more time in-game than an ordinary player would and consume resources the entire time
You mean 25/7 ?

They just want their cut from the software (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875296)

They just want their cut from the software

Maybe (5, Insightful)

FST (766202) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875310)

Maybe instead of suing people who run bots to avoid grinding, they should make grinding less boring/time-consuming? Grinding is really the only reason they aren't getting $15/mo from me.

Re:Maybe (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875424)

If you feel the need to grind, you're missing the point.

This is why I think MMOs should just provide a lvl 70 (or whatever the cap is) account to anyone who wants one.

Re:Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875558)

Much of the game conent is grinding, there are quest rewards based on killing n of something. I don't agree on the fact that a Level 70 should be provided to each account because part of the purpose of having a 70 is to be able to know how to play your class. That's not to say that all 70s know how to do this, but the time invested sure does help.

Re:Maybe (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875714)

Blah, doing a quest where you have to kill n of something is hardly grinding. I can't have a serious conversation with someone who doesn't even understand the terms of the conversation.

Re:Maybe (1)

Nivoset (607957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875698)

then the problem is your playing the game with people who dont know how to play there character fully. maybe if its something unlock able once you get a 70 character. that you can make one at 60 and level from there

Re:Maybe (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875760)

Who cares? There's plenty of idiots at lvl 70 anyway. Anyone can get to lvl 70, that's what grinding is.

Re:Maybe (2, Interesting)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875486)

They did.


Patch 2.3.0

> Leveling Improvements
> Many leveling improvements have been made for the old world.
> o The amount of experience needed to gain a level has been decreased between levels 20 and 60. In addition, the amount of experience granted by quests has been increased between levels 30 and 60.
> o Level 1-60 dungeon quests have had their experience and faction rewards increased.
> o Many elite creatures and quests in the level 1-60 experience have been changed to accommodate solo play.

Ummm, so don't grind (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875782)

WoW doesn't mandate it. You can never spend a single day grinding and have plenty of things to do. The problem comes from people who get in to this pissing match of having to have something just because others have it. So they want to automate it.

If people would just play the game to have fun, it wouldn't be a problem. It is a game, you don't "need" anything in it. Just do whatever it is you like to do. If you like to grind (surprisingly some people do) then grind. If you don't, don't. However don't get mad and say that you should get reward X that the grinders get.

More or less, Blizzard has a bunch of different kinds of rewards for different things. You can't get any reward doing any thing. However whatever it is you like doing, there are rewards for it.

The problem is when people aren't playing it to have fun, but playing it because they want to have all the best of everything. Well, that's pretty hard, since you have to do a whole bunch of different things. So they'll get bots to grind and such. That is just stupid. If all you care about is having the best, what's the point? The point should be to do whatever is fun. It is all just a game, none of it matters, other than to have fun.

Maybe i should start a WoW account.. (5, Interesting)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875318)

so i can pay $10/month to have a bot do the boring grinding for me.

Oh wait.. that's why i don't play in the first place. Why the hell would you play an rpg that can be played more effectively by a bot than a human?

</flamebait>

Re:Maybe i should start a WoW account.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875560)

Why the hell would you play Chess, Checkers, pretty much any card game, Scrabble, Monopoly,....

It turns out that computers are better than humans at just about any game. Does this mean that we can no longer entertain ourselves?

Re:Maybe i should start a WoW account.. (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875840)

Strategy game != RPG.

A strategy game with a limited ruleset and fixed playing field is completely different to a system with complex stat interaction, and the non-linearity of a 3d map with characters, et al. should make automation impossible. If you can automate the game, then (imho) there's a fundamental flaw in the design.

of course, i'm not raking in cash like they are, so what do i know.. ;)

Re:Maybe i should start a WoW account.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875648)

"Oh wait.. that's why i don't play in the first place. Why the hell would you play an rpg that can be played more effectively by a bot than a human?"

Nearly every game from chess to counter-strike is played more effectively by a computer then a human now. Should we abstain from all games?

Tortious interference (2, Interesting)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875324)

This program almost certainly does not infringe on Blizzard's copyright. However, (1) this program exists for the sole purpose of cheating, and (2) cheating is a violation of Blizzard's terms of service. In other words, they're encouraging people to violate their contract with Blizzard, which could be considered tortious interference [wikipedia.org] .

(Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I don't know whether Blizzard is actually arguing this angle.)

Com-zard (3, Interesting)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875338)

I like Blizzard, but this argument smells of Comcast logic.
"We sold you X access, but you are using X access. Even though we promised you X access, we really don't want you using X access, and we don't even want you using almost X access that much. So we're taking action."
-Comcast starts forging packets to kill bittorrent transfers, even though they advertise/sell that bandwidth, they don't want you using it all the time.
-Blizzard starts suing to kill automated clients that are in the game, even though they advertise/sell you that access, they don't want you using it all the time.

I understand there's more lying underneath, but this reasoning doesn't win them any sympathy from me.

Re:Com-zard (1, Offtopic)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875654)

When you go to an all you can eat buffet you can't buy one plate for your entire extended family, nor can you fill up boxes of food to take home with you. Nor can you feed your pets. Nor can you bring in a giant robot garburetor and stuff endless quantities of food into it.

They sold -YOU- access with the (clearly defined) expectation that -YOU- would be playing.

They didn't sell you X access for you to attach a robot to. They didn't sell you X access for you and everyone you know to use. They didn't sell you X access for you to resell by the hour on ebay.

Like it or not, unlike Comcast's, Blizzards TOS on this point are extremely clear (though largely unenforced).

Read the Blizzard TOS. Its not like they make it hard to find.

That's not to say I agree with suing this guy; but anyone who uses his product deserves to be banned.

Seems like a waste of money (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875348)

Maybe Blizzard should take money they're putting into suing this guy and put it into a game people don't want to have a bot play for them.

That's some interesting logic being used... (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875362)

For the copyright portion, they argue it is an infringement because the program copies the WoW client into RAM. I assume they mean from this it copies all the important executable files from the hard drive to a RAM drive. Of course this is a copy, but is it an infringement? The bot program isn't moving this 'copy' to any other user, and I could easily see this same argument used for a HDD backup infringing, which I'm sure wouldn't stand up. The TOS is a more probable win I think for Blizzard, but this one hinges on did the bot writer infringe, or the individual bot user infringe. Since he had to test this thing during development, I would assume he had to infringe on the TOS, but I don't think that will get them too far either, but as usual IANAL.

This is where EULAs come in (3, Informative)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875460)

In Guild Wars (another MMORPG), those using bots are discouraged from doing so by a method different from suing those that write the macros -- ArenaNet (the devs) simply sniff out (using various AI mechanics) those that use bots and ban them from the game. This action is covered by the EULA that users accept before playing.

Whether EULAs hold up in court, etc. is another issue entirely, but in cases such as banning for using bots I'm fairly certain ArenaNet wouldn't have problems defending themselves.

People don't want to use bots in GW because they'll get banned. It takes tweaking the AI bot-sniffing to keep up with macros, but the system works well enough that high-profile lawsuits are unnecessary.

Re:This is where EULAs come in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875830)

But you don't wanna ban your customers who pay a monthly subscription fee ...

Bot detection & deterrence (1)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875838)

The problem with that approach is the amount of money made before the bot is shut down can exceed the cost of new game licenses.

If they can ebay off enough in game stuff before they get banned to cover the costs of their copies of *, then it is not enough of a disincentive. That approach will discourage most causal bot uses, but the Chinese farmers won't be deterred.

Stronger authentification, such as tying it to some ID, or having bonding for game players would be a stronger prventative, but would be much more objectionable.

I think they should have 3 servers:
A> Official. Only runs officially approved scrips/macros and add-ons.
B> Unapproved: Runs registered but unapproved add-ons.
C> Open: Everything else.

Default to playing on Unapproved. Require strong Authentication to upgrade to Official. Continually upgrade the bot/hack detection software and anyone caught on Official gets downgraded to Open (or just banned).

Having Unapproved is important because this allows people to create and test 3'rd party improvements. The game company can then incorporate those changes into the game directly or mark the the 3'rd party package as approved for Official. By registering the add-on, the game producer can get a copy of all of the available add-ons to improve the detection algorithms for Official. The game publisher could even require that the add-on be open source, provide them in-game as an add-on feature, and even sell them (with their own markup of course) on behalf of the original creators (think how CS went from being open source and its transition to Steam).

Re:This is where EULAs come in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875850)

Blizzard takes a far more aggressive approach to stopping bots then ANET, including monitoring your PC for bots while you run WoW. And blizzard *does* ban bots it finds, I believe.

Also, I rather suspect the main reason not terribly many people use bots in GW is because there really isn't required grind. You don't have to spend months and months of "normal" play to level to max, and keep that up forever to stay competitive as far as equipment goes. You can beat GW and have perfect skills/equipment for PvP in a week or two if you really try, a month or two if you're particularly casual. The only bots are used to grind for gold which is then used for cosmetic enhancements. There's not so much demand for those as for the levels and actually better items you can get with grinding WoW gold.

Re:This is where EULAs come in (1)

Satertek (708058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875852)

The problem with this particular bot for Blizzard is, it's hard to detect, thus they felt they needed to use legal action instead of improving their game to remove the monotony that bots thrive on.

Sometime in the future.... (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875480)

I can't wait for the future when cute Haley Joel Osment-looking robots are farming in World of Warcraft XVI and this argument becomes an ethical debate as to whether he has a soul.

glider (4, Informative)

ZenDragon (1205104) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875484)

The program does not make a copy of any of the game files, it simply reads the memory space that wow.exe loads into and responds to certain procedure calls and what not in the memory. For example, a monster is on the map and the client loads it in memory to prepare it for rendering. Even if the player cant see it, the program can because wow.exe loaded it into memory. The program can see and interact with the wow.exe executable by reading what wow puts in the memory.

WoW is better than I thought then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875498)

I assume Blizzard must have some sort of time limit each player can be in the game? This would surely help prevent addiction and such. Pretty cool of Blizzard to implement it that way.

Makes sense that they would sue if this bot somehow breaks out of the time limits. How does it do that anyway? If a bot can do it then I imagine a regular player could do it and then spend as much time as they wanted in the game which could be unhealthy.

Wrong target (2, Funny)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875548)

All Blizzard needs to do is put it in the Terms of Service that USERS cannot use bots. Then they can suspend all users using bots on their system. Blizzard is just down the street from me. Maybe I should drive down there and tell them this.

Re:Wrong target (1)

joranbelar (567325) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875862)

Yes, why go after a single person who is nefariously making money off of your work product when you could instead go after thousands of users paying you to use your product? Go tell them, I'm sure they'll get right on that ;-)

Botting... BAH (1)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875584)

Why back in my day we used pencil and PAPER to move our characters around. And we rolled DICE to see if our characters could hit a monster. It's all you young whippersnappers and your compewters that screwed up the game with your bots that rolled the dice for you that are to blame for the short attention spans you all have.

(For those that can't see past the humor: Computer Games->DND as Bots/Macros->Computer Games, i.e. Blizzard is inherently being hypocritical)

Blizzard has always been a royal hineypain. [eff.org] You can even get banned for using keyboard macros. [infernix.net]

I just play on the free servers.

Play Anarchy Online [slashdot.org] : Free, better crafting, you can fly at level ~20 out of 220, you don't have to play tetris [hellgatelondon.com] nearly so often as either HGL or WoW.

PVP and PVE gear should be completely separate (2, Interesting)

javajeff (73413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875598)

Guild Wars does it right. I think Blizzard should keep real world PVP, but implement it differently. I think as soon as someone initiates PVP, an new toolbar should appear, and everyone should be the top level with top gear so it it balanced. There should not be level 70s killing level 20s and other grief tactics. In other words, PVP XP and PVE XP should be completely different.

Donnelly made $2.8 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875604)

MDY has only one member, Michael Donnelly. Court documents reveal he made more than $2.8 million in revenue from selling Glider.

http://gameactivist.blogspot.com/2008/03/update-blizzard-vs-mdy.html [blogspot.com]

I'm a WoW player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875606)

Just give people with max level characters the ability to purchase (for the same price as glider) a level 60 character. It's pretty easy isn't it?

Sue sue (4, Informative)

Sosarian (39969) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875622)

Wow, this reminds me of 2006.

http://www.joystiq.com/2006/11/20/blizzard-sued-by-wow-glider-creator/ [joystiq.com]

Except in 2006, he was suing them.

Re:Sue sue (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875856)

In Soviet 2006. . . ?

Gaming is SERIOUS bizness (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22875640)

I hate people who take WoW seriously. Turn the game off, go outside, and get some fresh air.

So If Donnelly Loses The Suit (0, Troll)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875708)

Does he get his life back?

Does WoW have player-killing? (4, Interesting)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875712)

On some MUDs, if a player was suspected of botting, other players would give them an on-the-spot Turing test. Those who failed would be attacked.

Exactly why do they need courts? its THEIR server! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875732)

they can kick and ban all the bots they like, and it's not as if theyre hard to spot. bm hunters with pets named "cat" or "owl" hacking away with an axe because they ran out of ammo a day ago?

how about instead of paying their lawyers in attempts to ridiculously broaden copyright law they pay their programmers to put a stop to the account hacking which resulted in 15,000 gold worth of void crystals being stolen from my guild's bank.

whine whine whine (2, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875740)

Oh boy, another case of a company trying to make their own laws cuz they think they're powerful enough to do so. What is it with corporations and not being able to understand that their security can't detain or shoot people, they can't spy on their employees at home, and they can't sue bot makers. How arrogant can you get? If they would get over themselves and actually pay up to have their programmers create anti bot measures, they wouldn't be having this problem.

3 of those copies were stolen (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875746)

Someone charged 3 copies to my credit card. I refuted the charges, but the pile of paperwork my credit card company sent me was not filled out correctly so I had to pay for them anyways. And the window (30 days) my credit card company has to reverse the charges expired before I could redo the paperwork.

I suspect a lot of people get illegal WOW Glider charges on their credit card and don't notice them (it's not like buying TVs on a credit card).

All WoW players are bots (0, Troll)

VoltCurve (1248644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875786)

Seriously, have you ever met one? It's depressing and disgusting. They should be put into camps. Break the addiction! MOD UP

Dear legal system, (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875796)

I came up with this kooky business model to make a lot of money, and for a while it made a lot of money.

I thereby conclude it should be made law, since it is profitable to me, and it should be illegal for anybody to change the world around my business model in a way that might invalidate it.

After all, we know that modern American society consists of only "corporate citizens" and "consumers". It should be obvious to any observer that the constitution only grants rights to citizens.

Thanks,
Blizzard, RIAA, MPAA, Microsoft
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