Robo Not Much Cop: Blizzard Win Lawsuit Against WoW Bot

By Graham Smith on October 21st, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

Probably these are all robots.

I always think of automated bots in MMOs as a type of game criticism. As in, if your players can, without mod tools, write scripts to easily automate some part of your game, probably that part isn’t as engaging as it should be. Probably there’s a reason why players want to bypass it.

I also understand why it’s bad for a game’s community for such things to carry on, so I don’t blame Blizzard for winning another agreeing to settle another lawsuit to the tune of $7 million against a World of Warcraft botmaker last week, as reported by WoW Insider.

The decision comes after a two-year long court case and shuts down Ceiling Fan Software, creators of Shadow Bot and Pocket Gnome. Both pieces of software were capable automating whole swathes of the game, from resource gathering to combat to even completing low-level quests for you. World of Warcraft is the kind of game players might play through multiple times, so they have multiple high-level characters; in that context, it maybe makes sense why even people who love the game would be seduced by a bot.

The full ruling draft stipulation can be read as a PDF. This isn’t the first time Blizzard have shut down a WoW bot, after taking down Glider two years ago.

I checked and, at current rates, Blizzard’s $7,00,000 payout would let them buy 4,169,900,000 World of Warcraft gold.

Update: A reader got in touch to outline the ways in which I was wrong in my original post above. This isn’t a ruling, but a stipulation agreed by both parties. In other words, both sides have agreed that Blizzard should win. The court has not yet ruled (as far as we know), and the stipulation linked above is probably a draft rather than the final wording of the settlement. Thanks Mark!

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88 Comments »

  1. mrmalodor says:

    If only FPS developers started going after aimbot sellers. DICE, Valve, I’m looking at you.

    • db1331 says:

      Great idea. I think they are far too lenient on hackers. I’d like to see hackers met with account-wide bans, even on single player games, instead of just being banned in whatever game they were caught hacking in.

      • mrmalodor says:

        Going after hackers is pretty much like arresting drug addicts, though. You’re only treating the symptoms. The dealers are still out there. It’s the aimbot makers that need to be squashed. Big devs have more than enough resources to do that. I bet they could use the same legal arguments Blizz has made.

      • HorrifyingClown says:

        Why single player games? I mean, I get multiplayer, as it ruins the game for others, but in a single player game it has no effect on anyone else, so why ban it?

        • LTK says:

          Who has ever used an aimbot in a single player game? Aren’t there way better and more fun cheats to use in SP?

          • Thrashie says:

            Pretty much every console shooter has aim assist.. even seen it available in some pc games..they should ban the developers :P

        • db1331 says:

          Why not? Why shouldn’t they punish these scum as much as possible, by taking away all their games? It doesn’t matter that they can’t hack in SP games.

          • tetracycloide says:

            Because civil society isn’t about punishing those you feel are scum.

          • Svardskampe says:

            Punish as hard as possible, you know how ridiculous you sound right? Why not elevate it to court, and give them imprisonment?… There is a line, and that line is confined to the game in question. On steam it even goes further under vac.
            And not everyone is guilty. People have been vacced without proper reason in WarZ, COD and other games. They can’t use the multitude of multiplayer games at all without proper reasoning. Also, steam support does not help. Actually steam support is actually the worst support I know.

          • LionsPhil says:

            I assume he’s deliberately advocating the VAC position so that when people yell “yuo stupid”, he can turn around and go “you agreed to Valve doing this”.

          • Stromko says:

            I’d support the death penalty for every act of outrageous dickness, if guilt were 100% certain. It never is, so I can’t really support anything harsher than a slap on the wrist. Certainty makes a massive difference.

            I suppose there’s also that most people using hacks and other methods to circumvent fair play on a damn videogame are either children or mentally children, so maybe we can kind of give them a break. If we want to allow MORAL DECAY! Get the rude whipper-snappers off my lawn I say, let the game industry cater to me until I die a ripe old age.

            Note: I’m being a little facetious with the intention of comedic value.

        • Boffin says:

          “Why Not?” isn’t really an acceptable reason to ban someone from all their games ever. Can you remember the stuff about people losing access to all their (I want to say Origin) games, for minor forum infractions? Until such a system is totally bulletproof, you’ll need a far better reason. And even then, it’s still a terrible idea.

          On top of that, why would companies even care? Look at the CoDs, there’s absolutely no incentive for them to waste time, money or energy hunting down hackers – especially when they can wait another six months and their fans will move on to the next one.

          I think you’re taking this way too seriously, these “scum” are still people playing a video game – they’re just cheating at it. Would you want to ban someone from playing boardgames if they snuck some extra money in monopoly, or hid a card in uno?

          • kud13 says:

            Actually with Origin, it was someone getting banned, because some douchebag made a bannable comment, and quoted the person who got locked out in it.

            i.e., the guy who got locked out didn’t do anything. his innocent comment was quoted by someone making a bannable comment, and the EA mod banned both and they got locked out of Origin.

        • fish99 says:

          He didn’t say ban people for using a bot in single player (which of course no one does), rather people using bots in multiplayer should be banned form their whole account, including both their single player and multiplayer games.

          Seems a bit harsh to me though, just ban them from that game.

      • Jexiah8bit says:

        You know they used to build hacks right into single player games; they were called cheats! Oh the good ol’ days of Big Head GoldenEye and infinite health.

        • Reapy says:

          Was going to say… I grew up with ‘trainers’ and cheats for games, recalled save files, unlimited money in civ, no fuel requirement to shoot in star control… the list goes on. When you are really little and just want to have fun playing a game (civ) trainers and the like are awesome….esp back then too when hints and tips were very hard to get.

          It seems now the trainers and cheats are demonized by multiplayer so much to the point that it affects SP, which should let you cheat to your heart’s content. I feel very strongly about online hackers, but only to the point they should be locally banned from servers, nothing more. I

          • Stromko says:

            I take issue with the idea that nothing more should be done than local server bans. Popular games have virtually infinite servers to choose from, a server ban just encourages them to find fresh new victims.

            People hacking without permissions on servers they’re sharing with other, unwitting people is unethical and ruins the game for others. What’s bad for gamers is bad for the game, therefore something should be done.

            I think some FPS developer was onto something when they decided to just funnel all cheaters into their own mini-server list so they only get matched with other cheaters and can cheat and get cheated to their hearts content, but that requires an opaque system where players do not get to choose their own servers and that rather kills mods as well.

            It’s better to ban — temporary or permanently depending on frequency and severity — cheaters from all public multiplayer in that given game, bound to their game registration key. If one who is banned believe it was unjust there should be a repeal system. If they want to keep screwing around they can keep buying new copies of the game, so that the temporary annoyance they cause to other players is counterbalanced by funding the servers and further game developments.

            If they somehow manage to be more of a nuisance to the community than they’re worth, I guess go up the chain to IP bans, then account bans, then I don’t know, ban their social security number? Sue them? Ultimately they are just games it’s only worth so much fuss, but if someone’s causing THAT much trouble and just won’t stop, taking away the game that they’ve spent so much energy ruining for others is entirely fair.

            If a player wants to keep their toys, they need to stop breaking other kids’ toys, even a child should understand that, and if not just smother them in their sleep because they will be a serial killer someday. Play is serious bizness.

    • Bishop says:

      I doubt it would have that large an impact on the number of cheaters. I’ve written a few wall hacks, they all work off of the same principle and generally work in any Direct X game with a little updating. They’ve never been detected as they work within VAC’s detection rules. People trade hints and solutions to different parts of writing one for yourself rather than the full solution as a hack being public is typically the only way they ever get removed. Public hacks get detected pretty quickly, private ones never and I’m unsure as the percentage of buyers vs DIY but I’d be surprised it there were significantly more buyers.

      • suibhne says:

        You deserve to be sued blind.

        • tetracycloide says:

          Are you serious? Monetary damages because he cheats in a video game? WTF is wrong with you.

          • fish99 says:

            It’s not a victimless act, you would be ruining other peoples enjoyment by doing so. I know from playing Planetside 2 when there’s someone with an aimbot/map-hack cheat, they can easily spoil the fun for a lot of people, and they can even drive players away and effectively help kill a game.

          • tetracycloide says:

            No one argued it was victimless. When my brother cheats at monopoly it’s not victimless either but that doesn’t mean I think he should owe me or parker brothers real money. The very idea is absurd.

          • Stromko says:

            Your brother cheating at Monopoly doesn’t mean he owes Parker Brother’s money, no, but he does deserve a noogie or a two-for-flinching punch in the arm. As that is quite impossible to perform over the internet, our ability to play and not have our idle times ruined by people who don’t follow the rules has to be enforced through some other methods.

            Either that or they can just post the real address and photo of anyone who plays online. Oh sure it could lead to all sorts of problems, but it also means we can just run cheaters over with our car. Yes that’s illegal and immoral, but we should be allowed to do whatever we can because nobody can stop us, see? This paragraph is hyperbole.

            Where one draws the line is entirely subjective, so how about we as a community just stop it at “Don’t ruin other people’s fun” so nobody ends up in the hospital.

          • fabulousfurrygingerfreakbrothers says:

            Remind me not to play monopoly with tetracycloide’s brother. Or monopoly full stop.

            A game is supposed to be fun, and everyone’s idea of fun varies.

            You can get a buzz out of gaming a system, or you can get a buzz out of playing a game how it was designed to be played. Or get a buzz out of creating hacks or scripts to produce something the developers didn’t anticipate, which for me is a more extreme version of gaming a system. The end result is people have fun. Unfortunately in anything online, some people’s idea of fun stops other people having their idea of fun. Why ruin someone else’s fun? One word: competition.

            A friend of mine recently realised our other friend was approaching his hours spent on Skyrim, so he’s taken to firing Skyrim up while doing other things – watching a video, playing another game, anything. Puerile, petty, pointless, yes. Fun for the man who loves a game where he can one-shot anything he comes across? Hell yes. And what does it mean to our other friend? Nothing. Because it’s offline and he’s cool. But Skyimhoursboy wants to win, whatever it takes. God, you should have seen him at KSP!

          • fish99 says:

            tetracycloide/

            It’s not absurd, like I said cheating can impact the size of a games player base and end up costing the devs/publishers a lot of money. You can’t compare SOE investing millions in making Planetside 2 – a F2P game which relies on microtransactions, which lost a lot of players through aimbots and hacks – to your brother cheating at monopoly. There’s a significant financial loss there and SOE would be within their rights to pursue the producers of these hacks for damages.

            (of course it would be up to the court to decide how much, if any, of the loss in player base was due to hacks/aimbots, but from my perspective as a player, it was significant)

        • MellowKrogoth says:

          I despise cheaters and I enjoy cheater-free multiplayer games. However, I enjoy my civil liberties much more, including the right to do mostly whatever I want with my computer, car, or whatever I own. This is why I’ll never support suing people for cheating online (under current laws/jurisprudence you could even be sued for cheating offline in a solo game) on a PC.

          • bstard says:

            There’s a pretty simple anti hacking method the devs should implement: scan for inhuman behavior, out of the rules stuff like damage reduction or recoil removal, wall hacking and aim botting. A server can scan for these functions hacks are being sold for, and bans the naabs of as much as possible. Big money fines are supported by me as well, but I see practical problems with most hackers living in Baluchistan.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        And kicked off the internet.

      • quarpec says:

        logged in to say that you should kill yourself.

        thanks in advance

        • Bishop says:

          I feel this is an over reaction on your part. I’d be interested in the RPS hivemind’s view on users telling other people to kill themselves, seeing as they take a tough stance against sexism, misogyny and other generally nastiness. I was helping inform and bring balance to a discuss. Dry. Your. Eyes.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Well, personally, I am interested in seeing a good conversation with you – I’d kick it off myself but my hands are literally broken right now and typing is really painful! (Do not leave wheelchair switched on for waitresses to snag)

            Take no notice of the trolls but do understand that your communication here, in this thread will be bombarded by them – you are after all admitting to something which pisses people off no end!

          • AngelTear says:

            While he’s exaggerating in wishing your death (as so many people on the internet recur to very offensive language over nothing – I’ve been called retarded idiot for losing a matchup in LOL way too many times) I can definitely understand the sentiment behind it.

            Even if you’re not a pro, when playing a game against other people, it’s expected to be fair and skill-based. By cheating you ruin the fun for everyone (and for yourself as well I believe; you’re basically a bully. Do you even enjoy winning when you’re cheating and honest opponents do not actually have a fair chance? Whenever I think about it, I can’t help but feel cheaters are actually compensating for something.)

            You don’t deserve to die; you deserve to be banned from every multiplayer game (competitive or cooperative). Or, if you want, you can make a clearly labelled “cheaters allowed” server so you and like-minded people can go in a game and cheat against each other without ruining the fun for everyone else.

          • tetracycloide says:

            I get that it’s cheating. I get that cheating is bad for the enjoyment of non-cheaters. I’m not seeing how completely banning a cheater from multiplayer forever is a reasonable reaction. People who are literally paid to play games and cheat don’t always get banned from the game for life because they cheated or at least they don’t except in extreme circumstances and that’s when literal livelihoods are on the line. An aimbot in an amature, no money on the line match just doesn’t seem serious enough IMO to warrant that kind of reaction.

          • KevinLew says:

            AngelTear pretty much says what I wanted to say. But I’d add that you intentionally wrote your words to get a negative response. You didn’t write, “There’s wall hacks that bypass all anti-cheating software”; you said, “I made wall hacks that bypassed all anti-cheating software.” The key point is that you wanted others to know that you in particular got away with something and helped ruin others’ entertainment.

          • dE says:

            @Sheng-ji: I’m sorry to hear that. Hope you’ll quickly recover, looking forward to reading further input from you soon.

            @Topic:
            Despite the negative implications of cheating, I feel like it actually has a place. Not that I like it. In a way it’s like graffity sprayed on my wall. It lessens my enjoyment of my “wall” and is a clear unprovoked fuck you in my direction. But at the same time, there’s a level of communal creativity to it. Someone did put a lot of work into it. People flock together to disassemble a game, forcing it to their whim. They’re working and trying to find creative ways to engage the game. In a way, it’s the most extreme form of conquering virtual space. And as such, there’s also pride in that equation. Pride in creating something of that power.
            I think ruining others fun doesn’t cross the mind (outside of Trolls) when cheats and hacks are made. It seems more a case of not giving a single fuck. It’s a romantized identity. Like a Johnny Depp Pirate, free and sailing the seven seas, like an actual hacker that sticks it to the man by breaking corporations defenses and ridiculing them in public. Only that the man in this case is the rather easily tempted and angered gamer.

            Do I like cheaters or cheat creators? Hell no. But I can respect the work they put into their craft. I can even see why they’re proud of what they do. And I can see the lure of a typical subculture. Don’t want to be one of the many? Be something else than. I don’t follow it, but it checks all the marks for subculture, including opposition to the mainstream.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @Sheng-ji
            Hope you make a speedy recovery and that the pain killers are of suitable quality.

            @AngelTear
            A ban from every multiplayer game there is still seems a bit over the top to be honest. Its an annoyance sure but that’s about it.

        • Ovno says:

          @quarpec: Please keep that kind of shit off rps, you should grow up you bloody child.

          • Svardskampe says:

            I want to add that as a teacher, I see this behaviour especially in the age group of 12 to 15. Some guys generally feel lost, don’t know what they like or should do. For one, they do it out of boredom as they say, but it is more than that I feel. They want to feel it to be good, to ‘pwn’, generally feel superior to others.
            What I also found in my research is that those people don’t buy these bots or wall hacks. There definitely is a crowd out there who do, but it’s not within my scope to know what’s going on there.

        • particle says:

          Most average gamers (probably everyone on this site) aren’t even good enough to know who’s actually using a hack. Blind accusations, and claims against skilled players all the freaking time by your kind. Especially ones with caustic attitudes and insults.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Everyone on this site except you I’m guessing?

            In saying that, the first time I saw a rocket jump I thought it was a cheat.

          • Stromko says:

            That reads like flamebait, particle, and I also don’t get your point. We’re not talking about people being ‘too good’, we’re talking about people using known utilities to break the rules of video-games to achieve an unfair advantage against those that don’t.

        • Boffin says:

          Hacking is one of the go-to excuses for losing, right up there with gun x is cheapb, but I think most people are qualified enough to know that the guy on 40-0 from headshotting people through walls with a pistol is probably hacking. Or the guy moving at lightspeed, or capping points without moving.

          • derbefrier says:

            ahhh i miss the good old days when i was good enough at first person shooters to get accused of cheating. now I just get accused of being bad, which I am.

        • GiantPotato says:

          It sure is nice to hear the witty banter of the larger online community every once in a while on RPS. It reminds me why I only play games offline or with small groups of people.

          I think it’s a good move that so many recent games are restricting their chat feature so that players can only select from a list of sentences instead of saying what they want.

        • lurkalisk says:

          Erm, cheating could only be described, at the worst of times, as irksome. Some people just need to lighten up…

    • angrym0b says:

      I apologise in advance if this sounds a little melodramatic, but it does really get to me.

      As a long time Counterstrike player, owner/manager of a Counterstrike community, and now member of a prominent CS:GO server/community, I wish there was a more strict regime on hacking and those that play multiplayer games in general.

      I think that a hack policy needs to find its basis in society in general, and take queues from our modern world.

      People hack with one main, overarching reason; they want to play better than their natural ability. That could be for a number of specific reasons; to look like they are a great shot to impress friends, to enhance their e-peen/reputation, or just to ruin someone elses day. It might even be to earn money, or anything else.

      This can be translated to real life quite easily. People commit crime for status or wealth (and occasionally due to mental illness).

      So what deterrents exist in real life to prevent everyone from committing crime? Quite simply, the consequences of getting caught.

      In real life, if you commit a crime and get caught, you are generally in for a bad time. Criminal record, potentially a custodial sentence or other punitive measures. Sure, people still commit crime, but there are deterrents in place that prevent many people from crossing that line. Without those deterrents, many would step over the line. Looking back through history at lawless times gives a good example of how human nature excels at crossing that line where no punishment or consequence exists.

      As it stands, there is very little consequence to cheating in game. A chap could cheat, get caught, then just buy a new account. Job’s a good un’!

      I’d like to see your in-game actions tied to you, as an individual in some way. The social security number isn’t a bad suggestion. The big problem is that it is filled with data security issues. If your actions could be tied to you, even if it was anonymous, but still intrinsically tied to you in some way, then that would be great.

      People could hack, but the consequence of getting caught could be a black flag, banning you for X years, in EVERYTHING. Sure, it sounds extreme, but god damn, it would work.

      Anyway, I’m a bit over-zealous about this shit. As a mediocre-skilled player that sometimes has a moment of brilliance, I hate to see people cheat on a game. Why not make extreme consequences to make it a fair playing field for everyone?

      • zal says:

        That sounds enormously melodramatic. First off I threw some money into CS back in the day, and I abhor cheating, especially within a competitive monetized environment.
        Instead of comparing cheating in video games to CRIME, lets try comparing it to… cheating in real life. I know its a bit of a stretch, but stick with me here.

        Also, lets split between E-sports or similar monetarily incentivized cheating, and cheating in an entertainment only environment.

        On the non-competitive aspect:
        I’ve seen many people cheat on darts at a bar (by stepping past the line), cheat at chess (switching pieces), cheat at races to the end of the block (a push at the start in good fun). NONE of those people faced criminal penalties, this is because its not a criminal offence…. In fact none of them even faced some global social awareness. If you met these people today you would NEVER know that they had cheated. And thats how people like it, we don’t dispatch interpol notices for non-competitive dart cheaters… because a drunken oaf blatantly cheating his way to a win of darts to stroke his “e-peen” just really doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. I get that maybe his lowbrow behavior may have annoyed you, but that is just an unfortunate part of social interaction. Typically criticizing the person on the scene will just have to suffice, and its quite probable he will go on to cheat again, and no one will see it coming.

        Onto the competitive side… once money is involved the situation changes… or does it?

        Lets talk about small cash prize recreational leagues… how strong is the anti-doping testing for your typical Roller Derby league? How stringent are the fines for intentional fowls in a self funded amateur soccer league? How many of these people ever face criminal charges? EVER? What about professional sports… surely once a players been caught doping they’re banned for life and thrown in jail, with no hope of any good future…. Nope not there either.

        So even with 10′s of MILLIONS of dollars on the line, players often avoid criminal charges, and in some cases even RETURN to the sport they were caught cheating in!

        So the idea that everything you do should be branded to your identity like the mark of Cain is pretty silly. I could cheat at a game of chess in the park and then sign up for a softball league. I could get banned from an amateur soccer league and still go sign up and pay my way into another. This allows people the chance to atone, and recognizes the fundamental truth that people in society are flawed, and ultimately a certain amount of leeway is required for it to be able to function.

        Stop being so melodramatic and understand: Cheating is bad, and should be called out and criticized when you see it, but its just not the major crime you’re making it out to be… and if we look to society we see the EXACT opposite of what you’re describing on every level of competition.

      • Bishop says:

        I don’t get banned, because I don’t get caught. It isn’t tougher penalties that are needed, it’s better anti cheat solutions.

  2. db1331 says:

    Leveling and resource gathering were actually something I really enjoyed about WoW. End game stuff was boring to me.

    • Rizlar says:

      Some of my favourite memories from WoW are of running circuits of Azshara and Winterspring late at night, gathering stacks of the high level herbs there to sell and make into raid potions for my guild.

      Peaceful, meditative moments in games are great, particularly in MMOs where there is a pleasure in feeling part of a living world.

      • tetracycloide says:

        My favorite WoW moment was in TBC flying from the dailes in terokkar forest to the ones in the blade’s edge mountains on a nether ray, skimming the surface of rivers and ponds as I went, while listening to streamline by pendulum. By far the most fun I ever had playing that game.

      • jonahcutter says:

        Funny. One of my enduring memories from WoW is similar, and also happened while I was farming in Azshara. I was up there farming I forget what. It was about 3am and I listening to 3 other guildies chat on TS. Eventually two of them went quiet. But the third just quietly kept talking about various things about the game. I just kept farming listening to this guy talk away in the early am. It was exactly like you said. It just became this little meditative kind of moment.

      • Metalmickey says:

        When WOTLK first came out, the PvP zone Wintergrasp was completely devoid of players for the first few weeks. I remember riding around across the lake surfaces as my death knight and realizing that there were tons of metal veins in there, including large ones and even the top tier rare titanium veins that needed maximum mining skill. Once evening I spent about 3 hours in there raising my mining skill by about 5-8 points per circuit, slowly being able to mine each higher level of metal, avoiding the mobs 8 levels higher than me, until eventually reaching the cap and mining at least 7 titanium veins within 20 minutes as I had memorised all their locations. For a week or 2 until they fixed the zone and added daily quests, that was my personal little mining zone. I would visit it each time I played before logging off and while waiting for friends. Ah, Wintergrasp :)

  3. rei says:

    “if your players can, without mod tools, write scripts to easily automate some part of your game, probably that part isn’t as engaging as it should be. Probably there’s a reason why players want to bypass it.”

    I don’t know about players, but the reason gold farmers want to automate it is because that’s how they make money. Whether the action is boring or not isn’t relevant; they’d automate it even if it was a total riot, since they’re not there to have fun.

    • Vinraith says:

      But if it was fun to farm gold, there’s be far fewer people interested in buying that gold from the bot farmers.

      The issue is on the consumer side. The only reason there’s a market to buy WoW gold for real money is because people don’t want to play that part of the game.

      • tetracycloide says:

        Exactly. When people buy gold they’re literally paying for a bot to gather the gold for them. It’s functionally the same thing as buying the bot themselves really so the point still stands: people are paying money to automate parts of the game regardless of the fact that there’s a middle man.

        • Captchist says:

          Never bought gold but I don’t agree.
          1. There is typically more to do in an MMO at end game than anybody could realistically accomplish so buying is an opportunity to get things you couldn’t get even if they are fun. .

          2. The speed at which you are able to do things is an issue for people with certain goals. If you want to end game FIRST then even if it’s fun you want extra gold to buy items quicker.

          3. If X is fun, but Y is more fun, then people will skip X for more Y. Farming might be fun, but raiding is more fun and so people spend their money on gold and their time on raiding.

          • tetracycloide says:

            Basically what your’e arguing here is that something can be fun and just relatively less fun than everything else in the game. I’d counter that how fun something is is always relative and that pointing out that it is relative doesn’t make any difference. It’s still the part of the game people would pay to avoid.

      • darkChozo says:

        Without speaking to WoW specifically, from my experience it’s not that the gameplay associated with grinding is unfun, though obviously it can be (JRPG grinding, for example, is the opposite of fun if you’re paying any attention to it). It’s mostly a matter of mindset; if you’re focused on some objective (“I need to get twenty bear asses so we can make bear ass potions for our raid”), it tends to be a lot less fun than if you are focused on the game with the objective in mind (“lemmie run through the Hall of Bears, I’ll keep an eye out for any bear asses that happen to drop on the way).

        Paying-to-advance, legal or otherwise, also has roots in other things besides grinding being boring — trying to play with your experienced friends, or a desire be more competitive, or good ol’ I want it now syndrome.

      • jrodman says:

        No, it doesn’t really matter. The activities that earn gold can be as fun as you like, but you can’t do them 24 hours a day. Automation will always be able to make more gold than you can, which means that it’s always going to be profitable to bot. The question is whether it’s “worth it” overall in terms of giving you more resources in the game traded off against the risk of an account ban, or whether you can do it well enough to make real-world profit.

    • Moraven says:

      People farm gold because they want wealth and be able to do a lot of stuff on the Auction House. If you simply play the game nowadays you end up with a reasonably amount of gold and just doing stuff you get gold.

      Leveling alts has been made trivial with heirloom items (stats on item level up with your characters, gives exp bonus) along with new content leveling exp requirement has been lowered 1-2 patches ago.

      Gathering resources has not changed and well, that is something to think on how you could make it more interesting. At least skinning you have to kill things. People want automated extreme wealth and will do anything without putting the time into the game.

      In original and Burning Crusade, raiding required a huge time commitment outside actually raiding. Farming materials and tubers took a lot of time but was nearly required so you could have every slight advantage in a raid. Its trivial today to be raiding ready compared to the past.

  4. Mctittles says:

    What is “engaging” or “fun” is pretty subjective. A game of Chess can be automated as well, but I still enjoy playing.

  5. Faxmachinen says:

    Ludicrous. There are no laws against breaking EULAs, whether you accept them or not.
    Would be helpful to know what Ceiling Fan Software were actually charged with.

  6. aliksy says:

    I always think of automated bots in MMOs as a type of game criticism. As in, if your players can, without mod tools, write scripts to easily automate some part of your game, probably that part isn’t as engaging as it should be. Probably there’s a reason why players want to bypass it.

    I’ve said things like this before. Usually MMO players start frothing about how I have to “earn” things.

  7. GameCat says:

    Does WoW-Bots dream of real sheep?

  8. Nevard says:

    A lot of WoW bots simply do the bare minimum they need to do not to get kicked from a pvp battleground, they’re not grinding for gear or gold but letting people get honour points while being afk. It’s not a very large amount of honour points, but it’s more than none, it’s not attempting to emulate any actual gameplay element but exploiting a system that is difficult to police.

    This one I imagine is similar, whether someone enjoys levelling and gathering or not it is more profitable to have something do it for you so that you can do something else: such as have more of them do it for you. People will sacrifice enjoyment for in-game wealth, for reasons I don’t really understand.

    • HighlordKiwi says:

      “People will sacrifice enjoyment for in-game wealth, for reasons I don’t really understand.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overjustification_effect

      Essentially intrinsic rewards are more fulfilling (the enjoyment you get playing the game) but our brains are easily seduced by extrinsic rewards (shiny loot!) to the point that even if you used to play the game for fun you will be conditioned to only play for loot.

      This is why games shouldn’t have arbitrary advancement systems layered on top, no matter how well designed and integrated they are they actually make act of playing the game less fun.

  9. paulapuffmutter says:

    Missed a ’0′ …

  10. Themadcow says:

    Bots and scripts are often created in order to make real money and distort the in-game ecomony in the process. In my 5 years playing WoW I don’t think I ever found in-game bots to be that much of a gameplay issue (although I stopped before Cata) compared with App games like Rage of Bahamut where the simplistic browser nature meant that some people had hundreds of accounts and made tens of thousands of pounds selling items on the black markets.

  11. mtomto says:

    I hate bots, but come on… the game has become “$Lobby of Warcraft$”… not much reason for the “world”. Who cares about a few bots if the game isn’t evolving? The only direct effect I can think of is longer low-level queue times for battlegrounds, so 1 step forward and 2 steps back for new customers?

  12. Shooop says:

    Did the defense argue that bots are actually the only things that could reasonably enjoy a MMO?

    If not, that’s why they lost.

  13. cpy says:

    Still this is nothing, there is bot that can do dungeons, level 1-max, do bgs (and be in highest ranks), gather stuff, AH stuff, do proffesions, or if you’re total no life script kiddie, it can do everything at once. I haven’t seen it in action for a long time, but only weakness it had is jerky movement. Dead giveaway. Thing is some materials are so dirt cheap thanks to bot that, not many people really have to do boring grind stuff for some materials. Well unless you like to mine and gather stuff, or play bg, well bad bots in BG are worst.

    • Stromko says:

      As a new player way back in beta, I enjoyed seeking out nodes and gathering my own materials, which I imagine would be much more difficult were I competing against scripts. A lot of players don’t enjoy relying on the market, they like having the option of grinding for what they want. It should only be optional, on that I completely agree.

      On the one hand the bots are a tool, and no one should ban tools that make life easier, but this is a game. If someone can’t have fun in the game, they shouldn’t play it. I realize that would probably cut WoW’s playerbase down to a third, let alone other MMOGs which tend to be even grindier and less rewarding, but if the industry could be served that kind of wakeup call it would be a great favor to innovation.

    • airmikee99 says:

      “I haven’t seen it in action for a long time”

      It sounds like you’re talking about the Glider bot program, which Blizzard got shut down years ago.

      • cpy says:

        Well, not glider, this bot still works and i still own 3 session lifetime version. I used to have 3 bots running around and getting herbs and spices. So when i came back from work i could do professions, raid, dungeons, leveling, bgs. You name it! I never had work for gold or materials, i could just do what the hell i wanted to do without boring resource gathering.

        I made topic on eu.battle.net forum on how i bot and what i do. Bans? Except for insulting some spanish folks with some slurs, nothing. I never sold gold for cash so Blizz: 0 fucks given.

  14. Don Reba says:

    Ah, I remember the olden days of automating my Runescape character. That was fun. In fact, it was when I realized it was more fun than playing the game that I quit.

  15. jonsnow says:

    .

  16. ruthj240 says:

    My Uncle got black Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Sedan just by parttime work from a laptop… ………. http://WWW.JOBS60.COM

  17. Armitage says:

    Why would the defendants agree to a $7,000,000 judgement ?