Democracy Inaction: Blizzard vs Bots

By Alec Meer on March 27th, 2008 at 12:38 pm.

The people vs Larry Quel'thalas

What people surely love the most about RPS is not our lengthy cleverthinks, wibbling retrospectives, bewildering references to bear-based religions, or refreshingly honest buy/don’t buy game verdicts, but rather the way we sometimes read a news story, then write about that news story in our own words. It’s journalism at its most pioneering. So, to make you respect us all the more, let’s have an experiment. Yes, voting! Ooh, it’s like the internet circa 1999.

Still, it’s a spot of moral deliberation that could only apply to videogames.

Blizzard have been trying for some time to take the folks behind an application called Glider to court. Why? Because Glider is a botting program – it automates a certain amount of World of Warcraft gubbins to enable climbing up the level ladder without having to actually play the thing (“It grinds, it loots, it skins, it heals, it even farms soul shards”). Glider charges $20 for the privilege, and Blizzard claim it EULA-bothers by copying portions of WoW into RAM in order to hide from the game’s anti-cheat software. Speculation, meanwhile, has it that this has something to do with cracking down on gold farmers.

Michael Donnelly, the dude behind Glider, is fighting back, and now both parties have filed motions that, if either proves successful, would see one of ‘em granted victory, but without that messy court business. In Blizzard’s case, victory involves the closure of Glider. In Donnelly’s case, victory involves continuing to sell the app, which Blizzard claim has earned him $2.8m so far. Man! Clearly I’m wasting my time installing WordPress poll plugins. I need to write me a bot program.

Anyway:

The case for the defence:

“Getting a bunch of characters to 70 is a pain. Getting money to equip them is a pain. Doing big instances, battlegrounds, raids, and generally socializing in the game is fun. We use the Glider to skip the painful parts and have more fun. Someone suggested we sell it, so…”

The case for the prosecution:

“MDY has willfully persisted in this endeavor despite knowing that the overwhelming majority of WoW players despise the presence of Glider bots in WoW, and that Blizzard is being forced to divert significant human and financial resources from game development and support to efforts to stop Glider… Bots spend far more time in-game than an ordinary player would and consume resources the entire time. ”

You may note I’m resisting my usual tendency towards ill-advised ranting here, and there’s a reason for that. The judgement, in this instance, is yours. I’ve tried to distill the arguments down into the key effects on players (as opposed to the claimed interests of the two companies involved). You’ll probably complain they’re somehow unfair, because that’s what you People On The Internet do, but honestly, it’s just intended to encourage your own conclusions.

So, there should be some buttons below. You should probably click one.

{democracy:2}

Maybe we’ll all learn something.

(And yes, I stole the title gag from The Daily Show. Thanks, Daily Show. Thaily Show).

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130 Comments »

  1. drunkymonkey says:

    That’s a pretty rubbish prosecution file, but at the same time, bots on MMOs are really quite annoying. It’s a case of people having more money than others being at the top of the list (just like real life!) and something that isn’t actually human stealing your kills, loot, etc.

    Luckily, I haven’t encountered many, but I really do hope something is done about 1. the gold-selling, and 2. the botting.

  2. Lu-Tze says:

    Bot haters are winning right now it seems… i’m supporting the defence. I say “play it your way”. The main problem with botters is the fact they can destroy the economy of a game, but with World of Warcraft it seems to mostly work on a reward system instead, so it’s hardly a massive loss.

    In response to the above, I don’t see how a “bot” steals your kills and loot that much more effectively than a grinder trying the same thing.

  3. Ben Hazell says:

    If the game is so dull you want to use a bot to get through it, why bother playing it at all?
    Clearly I’ll never understand MMORPG’s.

  4. drunkymonkey says:

    “In response to the above, I don’t see how a “bot” steals your kills and loot that much more effectively than a grinder trying the same thing.”

    At least with a grinder you can shout and ball at them! :)

  5. Flint says:

    “Getting a bunch of characters to 70 is a pain. Getting money to equip them is a pain. Doing big instances, battlegrounds, raids, and generally socializing in the game is fun.

    But it’s the journey to level 70 that’s the fun part, the big instances and raids and whatever are the icky things :(.

  6. kalain says:

    I’m all up for blizzard winning this one. Bots are annoying as hell, especially when they are repeatedly kill the quest mob you are trying to get to.

    If people want to bot in a game, then why play that game at all since you are not enjoying it or not interested in the actual aesthetics of the game itself.

  7. Babs says:

    Interesting, I’m having a bit of an internal argument about this.

    Defense:
    People should clearly have the right to run anything they like at the same time as WOW, and write/sell any programs the like that exploit what exists in memory. Loading a portion of WOW into memory is simply not copyright infringement (assuming it’s loaded from the HD of course).

    Prosecution:
    I don’t care about Blizzards bottom line, they’ve got enough gold money hats (decorated with menacing spikes of gold) already, but as bots ruin the experience for everyone not using them there needs to be some recourse to prevent them. Clearly technical approaches haven’t worked.

    In the end though this is a problem of Blizzard’s own making, so harping on about how it costs them money is a bit pathetic. They’ve made a game designed to be a tedious time-sink and then complain when people seek ways around it. They can’t offer a similar service (like jump to level 40 for $20) because of the dreadful press it would get them and the precedent it would set. Tough shit.

  8. Babs says:

    Sorry, double post.

  9. Fatrat says:

    Agreed with the above comment, why play if you want to bypass half the game. I botted for a couple of weeks in another MMO, called Lineage 2… that was murder to level compared to WoW and after those weeks i thought ”why am i doing this” and just cancelled my sub.

    Sure it can be a pain after the first time, i know… i have 2 x 70′s and 4 other toons at 60 . But when i get bored, i just leave for a while, like i have at the moment.

    It’s also Blizzards fault on making a lot of things so dependant on grinding and now making the gear gap so steep, which is why they’ve had to give easier means (EG – welfare epics through honour points) to get a fresh 70 (partially) up to speed. Then get 5k gold to get your epic mount, which the difficulty of varies on each server and depends on class/profs.

    I’d rather skip playing than bot, cause once past whatever you’re botting, you’re only gonna be grinding again, everything is grinding, even at endgame whether it’s instances/arena/BGs/profs/money. WoW is a grind. But it masks it far more successfully than most other MMO’s.

    Anyway, long rant… sorry. But also, the poll is worded a bit daft. SURE, grinding = misery. I agree with that for the most part. But that doesn’t make me agree with botting.

    Edit – Also, i agree with Flint. My favourite part of WoW is the levelling. Only harsh feeling part is 30-55. But that’s because it’s easy to get ganked and have not much chance of escape. Still fun though. :P

  10. Cigol says:

    It kind of defeats the purpose of buying a WoW subscription in the first place, it is after all a game designed and built upon grinding, which is precisely why Blizzard don’t want bots. Both parties are giving false testimony to disguise their real motives; simply making money off people grinding.

    In the end, ignoring all the cynicism and laughing hysterically at their lame excuses you have to support Blizzard because bots defeat the purpose of the game and if you’re willing to pay for it then you’re going to have to accept it. I wouldn’t want people paying for bots to do all the ‘hard work’ if I played the game, I know that much.

  11. Flint says:

    Fatrat: ganking is no problem when you play on PvE realms :P.

  12. Butler` says:

    Hmmm, babs seems to have the proper defence where as RPS has the ‘McDonalds’ version. :p

    It’s more about the fine line between whether he is altering the game (Blzzard say yes as it’s loaded into RAM etc).

    An interesting one indeed.

  13. Ben Abraham says:

    The *real* complaint I have against botting and power levelling services in general is that it fosters a 2nd class citizen that honest to goodness can’t play their own character – dreadful to group up with…

    That said, there are plenty of examples of someone who *has* played their toon to 70 they are still completely rubbish, so maybe not such a water-tight argument.

    I’m undecided. Is it *really* Blizzards game and they can ‘take their ball and go home’, or are we free to do whatever we want with what we pay for (EULA kinda makes me lean towards the former)?

  14. Z says:

    Before I quit, I was seeing at least as many bots as I was seeing actual players as I leveled up late at night. Considering most of them were hunters with names like ‘Grhsfa’, I’m not convinced that the majority were players trying to “skip the painful parts and have more fun”.

  15. Alex says:

    Get the bots out!

    See the game for what it really is!

  16. Jon says:

    I am inclined to let people play however they want, there will always be people who want that short cut and are willing to pay for it. I’d say the use of bots is inherent to MOGs, MOGs will always have repeatable content and someone will find a way to automate that repeatable content.

    I’d say the best way to combat bots as a developer is to make your game so interesting and good to play that no one wants to skip any of it out. Of course, that might be harder than going to court.

  17. Seniath says:

    Bots are tantamount to cheating. And cheating in online games is Wrong. I don’t see how it could be dressed up any other way.

    As an aside, back when I played I was on a PvE server. Fun could be had by toggling PvP and goading a bot into attacking you, and then ganking it for half an hour. It achieved nothing, but was still incredibly satisfying.

  18. Espy says:

    Interesting that some parts of this game are so dismal that people will spend 20$ to not have to play them. That alone should tell Blizzard a lot.

  19. Extorn says:

    Look at it from a fiscal point

    Blizzards sole objective is to get you to play the game as long as possible.

    So if you bot a character to 70, and botfarm materials and professions, while you are at work and come home then play for 2 hours, that’s 8 hours of time you didn’t spend in the game.. the bot did in one day what would have taken you 2 weeks if not more.

    Blizzard loses subscriptions because of botting.

    Once you run out of stuff to do in the game, why play?

    Also, if I sweat out grinding my two professions and materials for my items with my own time and hard work… everyone else should too.

    A.D.D + Mining = Bad combination.
    Why should I have to mine or farm gold to buy materials if someone else can get them for free and sell them to me for stupid prices? or undercut my prices and force me to sell my efforts for little to nothing?

  20. surprise says:

    seriously, somebody realized that the grind in WOW sucks? what a surprise…
    But they still keep playing? Their own fault, dont ruin the economy with bots then >_>

  21. Nick says:

    I thought the problem with bots was they were like sweatshops and thus fairly horrible?

  22. caesarbear says:

    If a bot can effectively play your game, maybe you need to make a more interesting game.

  23. Michael says:

    People who can’t honestly play for any reason whatsoever should not be in the game.

    Imagine if on the second day of getting a job, you could bring in some illegal alien and tell your boss that work isn’t fun, but getting paid is. So you are hiring this guy to do your work for you.

  24. K-k says:

    Extorn, a few pointers. First of all A.D.D doesn’t exist. It’s brought up when a kid is more active than another kid, and somehow this is a disease. It’s a part of personality, not a disease for crying out loud.

    Now that that’s taken care of, to the subject. No, Blizzard isn’t doing this because they would be losing subscriptions, it is untrue. How do you think the bot accounts are there? They magically hacked themselves in without paying a dime?

    Simply put, botting and gold selling are both against EULA (that long text file in the beginning, ever read it?)
    But one of them is, due to this End User License Agreement file, entirely illegal. (gasp! egads!)
    It’s just about as illegal as such friendly crimes as credit card fraud and white collar crime. Even if the money is virtual, the end user license agreement states that both the characters and items, gold and such in the game belong to Blizzard Entertainment.
    Now don’t get agitated about this, it’s the standard prodecure, and you’ll find little bit of text stating this in most MMO’s anyway.
    What Blizzard should do is just actively sue every single gold selling industry that it can. :)

  25. Sander says:

    Nayaye. Agree with Babs, especially because of the money hats. Go make a game that [a] cannot be grinded (ground?) because [b] it’s too much fun.

  26. Mattress says:

    Lazy and exploitative design does not beget the good graces of impatient players.
    Sort it out Blizzard, players won’t use bots if you give them a good (non-punitive) reason not to.

  27. matt says:

    Well, i don’t really like the idea of using bots, and it does probably spoil some of the fun from actually playing the game, as it might ruin the game’s experience for others.
    Now, on this one specifically, i’d also say that Blizzard should not be trying to have this guy’s company close. Maybe they should try and reach a settlement with him, maybe it does indicate that the game is not that interesting after all, maybe it does show some holes in the security / antibot system they have set up… But in anyway, they should not be sueing him to have his business closed, for god’s sake.
    Is it me, or does that point out a limit on the fun one can get out of a MMO ?
    Say, in Final Fantasy 7, there was a lot of levelling to do, and it could be painful towards the end, because it was really only levelling to be able to take on the bigger guns; but throughout the game, levelling was part of the game, so in a way it was fun. I can perfectly understand how levelling in WoW now could be painful, if you need to get to a particular level to get to enjoy the game and take part in the fun stuff.

    So i can understand how some people would want to skip that part somehow. But it’s highly subjective, since for some, levelling is fun, for others it’s a pain..

    Anyway, my vote is based on the fact that all in all, it has more to do with business than with the game itself. I say Blizzard should do something about it, but that something should not be trying to have that guy’s business closed.

  28. Michael says:

    I entirely do not buy the “make a funner game” argument. Here is why:

    If the game is not fun, why would anyone bother with bots or cheats? For example, as far as I am concerned LotRO is not fun. I don’t care if I could bot, or was handed down a top-notch character. This is not a game I want to play. Same goes for WoW. If you are paying for it then it’s fun for you. Otherwise you would have quit.

    People who pay for gold and use leveling services or bots do it not because the game is bad, but because their own psychological inadequacies. They DO want to be the biggest and the baddest, but don’t want to work for it. Back in the DnD days such people were called “munchkins” and universally despised.

    Also, I’d like to remind you that people cheated always and in all games. The web sites for cheaters seem to prosper and that means that hordes of people go there for codes, trainer programs, save-game editors and so on. So they do like the games. They just don’t like making an effort.

    This is fine, as long as the game is single player only. However the moment you start cheating/hacking/botting/etc. in multiplayer games, you begin destroying other people’s experience. And that is unacceptable, and that is why Blizzard is up in arms.

    Essentially Blizzard is protecting ME and MY fun from the knaves.

  29. tackle says:

    The deal with WoW:

    You pay to play the game, which requires you to play it so much that it impacts your social life. Sure you can play it less, but you get left out of the loop too quickly to not feel bad about it.
    So you have to invest quite some time into it, and yes, pay for it.

    Solution?
    In Sweden, the equivalent of craigslist; “blocket.se” (roughly: ‘the noteboard’) has tons of ads of people seeling their lvl 70 characters for generally $250 each.

    So for $250 you can bypass the need to play the game entirely, and you get your social life back as well! Success!
    You only have to pay the subscription, but that’s nothing compared to the deal you’ve made.

    Or wait… maybe you can cancel it then as well?

  30. Iain says:

    My stance is that getting a bot to level for you is akin to buying a first person shooter and then paying someone else to play it for you, and then claiming you completed it. Not only is it cheating in the eyes of other players, but it utterly defeats the object of buying the game in the first place.

    I’ve been playing WoW on-and-off for about three years now, and I find the process of levelling a character up from scratch the most enjoyable part of the game. Personally, I’m not fussed about the high level end game, raiding or getting all the Epic PvP armour sets…

    Sue them out of existence, I say. The fewer bots and the fewer gold-sellers I have to put up with, the better.

    [Edit: Totally agree with Michael above - if you play a game and want to get to the top, you've got to work for it. Paying for someone else to do it just cheapens the achievement. I could go out and buy the several thousand gold I still need to get my Epic flying mount, but what would be the point? I wouldn't feel as though I'd earned it, I'd value it a lot less, because I took a short cut on the journey - and for me, WoW has always been more about the journey than the destination.]

  31. trioptimum says:

    I’m in the minority (currently) that voted for option #3.

    Whether or not it’s right that people use bots, it’s a natural consequence of the way the game is set up, and railing against it is as useless as complaining that the moon causes tides.

    Skill doesn’t count for much in WoW. The only thing it rewards is commitment, and people only have a finite amount of that to give to the game, so of course they will try to find other methods of experiencing the game content otherwise unavailable to anyone not obsessive or unemployed enough to level up and equip a character to a point competitive enough to enjoy the endgame.

    If technical attempts to block bots and gold sellers have failed, and legal attempts fail too (as they inevitably will in the long term, because they’ll just move out of legal reach) then selling gold or levels must surely start to look like a pretty good course of action to Blizzard, if they can do it without pissing off the player base… they make money, reduce load on their servers, put the shady guys out of business, and get more players to a level where they’re putting most of their development efforts anyway.

    This wouldn’t be destructive. NCSoft and others already do it.

  32. Michael says:

    “Skill doesn’t count for much in WoW” != true;

    Skill counts for a whole lot, as is evident from feats accomplished by many players. The feats that others, with better gear or higher level, could not recreate.

    The best proof will be the current Arena tournament. Everyone will be able to create the character of their dreams, outfitted with the best gear possible, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it is skill and not gear that will win the day.

  33. Zeno says:

    I don’t even see why this is up for debate. The bot program violates the EULA, right?

  34. Willem says:

    K-k: I’ll bite. ADD is a disease and [I'm not very good at debate if I can't make my point without abusing someone]. No offence meant, of course, but you can’t deny it’s a disease. I’ll agree that 90% of the kids diagnosed with ADD are actually just active kids, doctors really are a bit keen on saying it’s ADD. But there’s still that 10% that actually has ADD. It’s unfair to say they’re just a bit lively when they actually have a problem. So, don’t make statements like these.

    Moving on:

    People saying that it’s Blizzard’s own fault for making the game so dependant on grinding: You are wrong. That’s like saying: “That girl was raped but it’s her own fault because she dresses like a slut.” And remember kids, that’s not right. Blizzard have the right to make a slutty game. Doesn’t mean you can rape it.

    Now, where was I?

    Oh yes! Bots are bad and evil. If you only want to go on big raids/socialise, don’t play WoW. Use MSN or IRC for the socialising, or, heaven forbid, go out to the pub. If you want to fight, play a game designed to do just that. Or go out to the pub.
    Don’t spoil the game for others/fuck over Blizzard (it’s not because Blizzard could buy China that we can steal from them.)

  35. trioptimum says:

    Perhaps, Michael, but you would no doubt agree that there is a massive commitment requirement involved as well. No amount of skill can make a level 1 character good for much outside the starting areas. Skill is optional, but the game absolutely requires time.

  36. J. Prevost says:

    I’m totally behind Blizzard on this. Cheating is cheating, and in a multi-player game, you can’t let it go on. It’s no excuse to say “omg, teh grind is suxz0rz”, because that’s the game. Yes, you may not find that fun. In which case, you don’t play. If you do find it fun, yet frustrating, you may note that Blizzard has made significant changes to make it less painful to level new characters up—increasing XP rewards, reducing keying requirements (rep and quests both). For people like me who don’t run alts, they’ve also made it easier to collect the money to maintain a jet-setting Azerothian lifestyle. Clearly, Blizzard is listening to complaints about what makes the game un-fun.

    Cheating also makes the game un-fun—and that’s true whether you cheat by using a botting program or by spending cash out-of-game to pay somebody to do things for you. Sure, there are levels and levels: going after somebody for having their friend level for them would be lame, yes. But calling China to level up for you is clearly beyond the pale.

    So why do I think Blizzard is doing such a good job? Mainly it comes down to this: They’re approaching the problem from many sides at once. They’re implementing changes in the game that make tiresome tasks less painful. More importantly, they’re implementing those changes in such a way that it makes the game nicer for people who play by the rules than for people who are trying to get around the rules. (Daily quests are a great example.) And, they’re also taking measures to go after people outside the game.

    And that last is kind of important. That takes a lot of resources. It’s not cheap. I think it’s pretty clear that it’s not just about the bottom line, because unless you think Blizzard stands to make a hell of a lot more money if people stop botting, there’s no profit in this. They’re doing it because they want to stop cheating: they want the playing field to be level.

    Why do they phrase their legal argument in terms of resource usage and cash, then? Because that’s what the law respects. If they went in and said “so-and-so is a big fat cheater, and other big fat cheaters pay him for his cheating”, they’d be laughed out of court. So of course they sue him in terms of wasting resources in the game: it’s something the court system can weigh objectively, unlike the existential angst of millions of WoW players.

    So, three cheers for Blizzard, for their willingness to step up to bat and spend cash on a lawsuit that they may-or-may-not win when technical solutions don’t solve everything. It’s a heck of a lot better than “well, we can’t solve this technically, so we’ll just have to let this sort of cheating continue.”

  37. Michael says:

    @trioptimum, certainly that is true. Still, this is the nature of the genre and people who play such games have an understanding of it. Role-playing games in general have leveling or an equivalent thereof. Attaining higher levels requires time and effort.

    It is perfectly understandable that some people don’t have the time to level from 1 to 70. In such cases perhaps it is best if they realized that this particular type of game is not for them.

    However sad it may be, it is not grounds for ruining the game for others and violating the EULA which they agreed to.

    @Willem, I’d sign my name under every word you said above.

  38. Myros says:

    Bots = cheating .. yes
    Grind = suckage .. yes
    Solution, for me anyway is just not to pay my $ for any game that has required mega-hours of grinding. Been there, done that … will never do it again.

    Love EVE because I ‘grind’ skills while not even being online, and just log in for the fun parts. Sheer brilliance.

  39. Geoff says:

    I was pretty torn on this one, and actually changed my mind after voting and then reading comments.

    First off, the “why play at all if you hate half the game?” arguments are silly. The answer is obvious – “I like the other half”

    I don’t, actually, I’ve never played WoW and never will, but I’ve played plenty of games with good parts and bad parts. The existence of bad parts (cheesy cut scenes, bad escort missions, too many collectibles, whatever) does not completely rob the whole game of all merit and make it not worth playing.

    Just the thought of MMO grinding makes me kinda sad, but then that’s why I don’t do it. Some people like that sort of thing, some don’t.

    Ultimately, I think the answer is: Blizzard have made a game, they have the right to determine what that game is like and decide what is cheating. If they make bad choices and people don’t like their game, people will stop playing it. For now, they say “this is not allowed in WoW”, and I see no good reason to force them to allow it.

    I don’t play WoW, but if you do, and you think Blizzard should allow this, then I guess your appeal should be to Blizzard, rather than the courts.

  40. trioptimum says:

    @Michael, I agree with you, but people do still want to take shortcuts, and are clearly willing to pay money to do so, even to disreputable parties. The demand exists, and we can complain about it, but realistically, the downsides surrounding this sort of exploit (in terms of negative impact on other players) won’t go away until Blizzard gets into the business.

  41. Noc says:

    I agree with Michael.

    Look at it as if WoW was an FPS.

    Grinding is the basic mechanic of WoW. The more time you spend grinding, the more work you put in, the more effective you are.

    In an FPS, the more time you spend practicing aiming, the more time you spend honing your reflexes, the more effective you are.

    Some people are better at aiming then others. Some people are better at grinding then others, too. They work out the numbers, do the research, and grind through 70 levels in record time. It’s an intellectual rather than a reflexive endeavor, but it’s still arguably a matter of native ability.

    So in a game where my relative effectiveness compared to other players is dependent on how well I can aim, it’s clearly cheating to make a bot to aim for me.

    But in a game where my relative effectiveness compared to other players is dependent on how much I grind, it’s not cheating to make a bot to grind for me?

    Is the grinding mechanic silly? Yes. Is it clearly a construct specifically intended to keep players playing for as long as possible? Yes.

    Is the multiplayer environment your own personal sandbox? No. Are you consigning yourself to play by the rules set down by the game when you install the game and create a character? Yes.

    So if you don’t want to grind, the solution is simple. Don’t play WoW. Similarly, if multiplayer FPSs aren’t your deal, don’t play them.

    Don’t cheat because you want the reward of winning without actually having to play the game.

  42. Alex says:

    There is a subsection of the MMO customer base that wants to be able to buy gold, equipment and levels, and is willing to pay for it.

    What is lacking from many (most?) MMOs is:
    a) A proper customer study to identify those who want to pay, along with the reasons why.
    b) A way to legally/legitimately provision these services.

    Any other argument defending the status quo essentially ignores the right of paying customers to play a game on their own terms (however abhorrent they may seem to other customers whose viewpoints are equally valid).

    May I also recommend progressquest to the bot payers out there? It’s a free bot service: http://www.progressquest.com

  43. Sander says:

    I see your point, Michael, and you’re right when you look at this lawsuit from the perspective of a player of Memorpegers. I’m not, and I was looking at what I feel about the suit itself, which is that legal wrangles are a money sucking game all on their own. Having any means at their disposal to throw out people who play ‘in bad faith’ is more or less a good thing for the Blizzards and for all good faith gamers, but only taking those steps, and not finding out why a game is vulnerable to cheating from a game play perspective (yes, mechanistically) is short sighted and will not lead to better games. Not to mention that granting big money software houses all legal means to determine how their code gets used is bad.

  44. Michael says:

    @trioptimum, I definitely agree, the demand is there. Should we ignore it? No, just as we should not pretend that crime doesn’t exist.

    The fact that there is a demand doesn’t mean that we have to accept it as something good. There is a demand for organs, but does it mean we should kidnap people and cut them up? Providing the supply illegally and at someone else’s expense is not the way to go.

    In that sense WoW and real life should be treated the same.

    @Alex, you said that “any other argument defending the status quo essentially ignores the right of paying customers to play a game on their own terms”.

    Allow me to remind you that there is no such right and no such thing as your own terms. The terms you agreed to when you first ran the game are the ones that you must follow. Otherwise you should not have agreed to them.

    For the purpose of this argument please imagine this game as a sort of a private property where you are invited. While there you follow the rules that the property owner has established as long as they don’t go against the law of the land. Blizzard’s EULA does NOT go against law of the land.

    If you come into someone’s house, you do leave some of your rights at the door. While we have freedom of speech, I for one, will not have skinhead slogans chanted on my property. Same goes for insulting my other guests and making their experience of visiting me unpleasant. If you disagree you will be asked to leave. If you refuse to leave you will meet Mr. Shotgun.

    In short, Blizzard has both the right and the obligation to go after those who break the rules and ruin the game. Since the only way they can do it is by suing, then let them sue!

  45. AbyssUK says:

    Let them eat cake! Blizzard however should be the ones making the money

  46. Winterborn says:

    I was initially against the third option but then I recalled EQ2. Back when I played EQ2(and probably still now) there was a server for people who wanted to buy gold and items. SOE sold them to this subset of players and probably made some money off it but most importantly they kept those players away from the majority who wanted to play without spending extra.

    Perhaps Blizzard should consider something like that. I don’t think I’d have a huge problem with it. In no case would I like to have to play with the people who bought characters and items though.

  47. alphaxion says:

    willem: um no, it’s not a disease.. It’s a disorder, learn your medical terms before using them. There is no contagion, it’s a behavioural activity, not a physical affliction.
    And it’s only seen as a disorder because their activities deviate from a percepted norm (where in reality normal is a state that is the deviate since no-one manages to attain it, we’re all defective in some way).

    Anyway, as a former raider, levelling up a character purely to fill a gap in your raiding needs is as dull as hell.
    The need to get your character dragged thru places also wastes the time of others and frustrates people when they can’t get a group for rfk or brd.

    How about this as a solution, once you have reached a certain level, you can make a new character at that exact same level?
    Already ground your way to 70 on one toon? how about making an “insta-70″ toon, it’s not like you’ve missed out on the levelling experience. Got your way to lvl 45 on your druid and feel that it isn’t doing anything for you? How about making a lvl 45 shaman instead?

    That way you force a person to play the levelling aspect once and then give them the chance to simply skip it for their next characters whilst keeping it open for those who enjoyed the levelling process to start of from any level between 1 and max level.

    All parties satisfied and no-ones money and time wasted.

    is it really that hard to think around the problem rather than throwing lawyers at it?

  48. Phil says:

    Has any asked the bots for their views?

    Tens of thousands of unemployed AI’s wandering around the internet looking for things to kill, loot and skin sounds dangerous.

  49. Butler` says:

    @Noc, that’s a really nasty comparison, and best countered with:

    In Counter-Strike I can enter a game with the worlds best clan and I’ve got a viable chance of killing one or two of them.

    In Call of Duty 4 I can go in a public match as a rank 1 with base equipment and dominate a game full of rank 55s.

    In WoW you can’t take down even the worst of level 70s with a 100 skilled level 1s. Equally so, an under geared but highly skilled level 70 can’t hope to take a full epic but poorly played level 70.

    @Michael – as above. But with the added note that even when gear is equal, you have racial or class based imbalanced and the huge luck factor that features in RPG-based games (parry, miss, resist, dodge).

    Apologies if that’s a little off topic.

  50. Michael says:

    @Butler’, that is the nature of this here genre. I understand you are not a fan of it and that is perfectly fine. Myself, I am not too fond of racing games for example. Yet, as both an RPG and an FPS fan, I can assure you that both genres are different and there is absolutely no need to look for features of the later while playing the former.

    Imagine getting a nice cup of coffee and then complaining that there are no bubbles in it, all based on the fact that whenever you drink a soda you get bubbles.

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