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Posts with tag Botting

Blizzard wins 2 year legal battle against WoW bot creator

Blizzard logo
Blizzard's legal team has achieved another victory in their war against botting. Ceiling Fan Software, developer of the Shadow Bot and Pocket Gnome, is now facing a $7 million judgement and have been ordered to cease all operations.

After more than 2 years of legal battles with Blizzard Entertainment to both pursue our right to operate and our customer's right to play WoW as they choose, we did not prevail in the suit and have been ordered by the United States District Court in California to cease our operations.

This isn't the first time Blizzard has taken a botting company to court. The infamous Glider bot was deemed to have infringed on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and was shut down. The details of that settlement were never made public other than the fact that all Glider trademarks were transferred to Blizzard.

WoW bots are programs which will play the game for you automatically, and Blizzard has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to any kind of gameplay automation.


Filed under: Blizzard

Blizzard Customer Support live Q&A recap

Blizzard Customer Support Live Q&A
Yesterday, between 5pm and 6pm Pacific, Blizzard's Customer Support Team took part in a live Q&A, using some new software to answer players' questions in real time. In attendance were CS Forum Representative Vrakthris, WoW Game Support Manager Marcus Maczynski, SC2 Game Support Manager Angelo Concepcion, D3 Game Support Manager Andreas Unger, Senior CS Information Specialist Charles Areson, and CS Social Media Manager Antonio Achucarro.

With players asking the questions, there was fairly high traffic for the team to deal with, Zarhym told us they received over 1,500 questions in under an hour! Not all of them could be answered, but we've been busy pulling out the key questions and responses for your delectation.

Comment From legracen
Are there any plans to update/change the in-game ticketing system for World of Warcraft so that the wait times for tickets can be reduced?

Marcus Maczynski: Hello Legracen! We're constantly evaluating how we receive CS requests from players. Right-Click-to-Report and self-service options (such as Item Restoration) are both examples of this building in this efficiency. Updating the in-game interface to prompt players for exactly the information we need to service their requests is definitely something we want to do.

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Filed under: Events, Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

Why Blizzard isn't opening a gold shop

Last year, Blizzard started an experiment with the Guardian Cub, a pet store purchase that could be bought and sold in game with gold as well, since it was Bind on Equip. At the time, a lot of WoW players (including us) saw this as an experimental foray into Blizzard finding ways to allow people to get extra gold using real life money without directly selling gold. In part, that was because Blizzard came right out and admitted that's what it was. Since that time, we've seen no new Blizzard Store purchases that were BoE in this fashion.

Since then, we've heard a lot of complaints about botters who use hacked accounts to not only steal all the gold said account possesses, but also then use it as a farming bot for as long as they can keep hold of it. Some players are even suggesting that Blizzard should simply sell gold itself, cutting out the middleman and putting gold sellers out of business. Why isn't this a good idea?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security, Mists of Pandaria

Botters, how do they work?

One of the things almost everyone in every corner of our World of Warcraft can agree upon is that we hate botters... with the possible exception of those that bot themselves. Being the inveterate forum watcher that I am, this forum thread caught my attention. Should World of Warcraft have a system built in to randomly confirm that people engaged in excessive gathering or other 'suspicious' activities are in fact not botting? Well, I hope not the one described, a kind of captcha that would pop up a window needed to be typed into with an answer. That would just ruin gameplay for me the first time I had that pop up. Similarly, I have to agree that hiring thousands of staff to simply monitor for bots wouldn't be time or cost effective. We live at a period in the game where the game has automated a great deal of its customer service, after all.

What I really found interesting, however, was Takralus' takedown of a very old argument by players about Blizzard's stance on botting.

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South Korea bans botting in online RPGs

South Korea bans botting in online RPGs
The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is announcing a new law next month that will make botting in online RPGs illegal. According to this governmental body's calculations, 60% of all in-game items traded for real currency were obtained by automated programs. The law will also ban the listing of items in arcade games as real property that can be exchanged for cash. The maximum penalty for breaking this law will be 5 million won (approximately $4,300) and five years in jail.

It is interesting to note that while the announcement states that the law's purpose is to "halt all virtual item trades," only botting is being banned in online RPGs. So WoW players who buy and sell gold will not be breaking this new law (though they do break the TOS), unless they are using bots to farm. This distinction also means that the Diablo III Real-Money Auction House will not be made illegal by this law; thus, South Korea's previous decision about the RMAH has not been negated.

Since the new law will not be announced until next month, some details may change. Regardless, the government sees botting and virtual item trades as barriers to a "healthy game culture," and it is willing to use legal means to eliminate the problem.

Filed under: News items

Blizzard warns against buying gold

If it wasn't already obvious, Blizzard put together a page on their official website making clear their stance towards buying in-game gold, and have just recently given it another big push. To put it simply: don't. The page outlines what we at WoW.com have known for quite some time (hence our collective stance against buying gold) -- that gold buying harms other players. The site doesn't go into specifics other than to say that gold selling companies often acquire their gold through unscrupulous means.

They sum up their statement by saying that "players who buy gold are supporting spamming, botting, and keylogging." Basically, if you're a gold buyer, you're part of the problem. No, seriously. Gold sellers acquire gold by hacking into other players' accounts, taking their gold, selling all their items, and sometimes maliciously deleting their characters. That gold you think some Asian spent hours farming in Nagrand or something is more likely to be some other player's hard-earned gold and the seller is just as likely to be some dude from Jersey.

As tempting as buying gold may seem -- and I've read many arguments towards why people buy them -- the bottom line is that it is harmful to the game and you're not doing yourself any favors in the long run. Blizzard says that it "diminish(es) the gameplay experience," but that's putting it nicely. Gold selling and power leveling are against the EULA, anyway, so anybody who patronizes these services are in danger of getting banned. And if you don't believe in buying gold (go you!), protect yourself by getting an authenticator or reading up on account security.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security

High-Rated PvPers do the robot


We've gotten a bunch of tips recently that claim some very e-famous PvPers are botting in BGs. If you aren't familiar with the term "botting," Dictionary.com provides us with the following definitions of bot:

    1. Bot:
      –noun
      the larva of a botfly.
    2. Bot:
      –noun (Australian Slang)
      a person who cadges; scrounger.
    3. Bot:
      –noun
      a device or piece of software that can execute commands, reply to messages, or perform routine tasks, as online searches, either automatically or with minimal human intervention (often used in combination): intelligent infobots; shopping bots that help consumers find the best prices.

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Filed under: Cheats, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Rumors

Breakfast Topic: No ifs or bots.

It's not even a question, really. Botting is against the game's TOS. If you're caught doing it, you're going to get banned. In case you hadn't already heard, Blizzard recently dealt the botting program Glider a killing blow in the courts, which should lead to the demise of the program. Whatever your views on it, Blizzard frowns on botting and even here at WoW Insider, most if not all of us are strongly against it.

That said, yesterday's 15 Minutes of Fame was an eye-opener for me. I guess because I'd never viewed botters with much regard I often dismissed them. I've even reported one or two over the past years. But Daedren's interview was actually something to mull over.

If you did bot, what would you bot? All of us have experienced horrible, senseless grinds in the game. Whether it's farming for mats, grinding Honor, completing long quest chains... at some point in playing the World of Warcraft, we've all felt the tedium that can sometimes lead to unsavory (and TOS-breaking) thoughts of hassle-free automation. I'd never do it, but if I did, I'd probably have used it to level from 1-80 -- something I don't particularly enjoy. How about you? Hypothetically, what would you have botted? Or does the thought of bots make you feel all dirty inside?

Filed under: Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

15 Minutes of Fame: WoW botter tells all


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Daedren (not his former WoW character's name) ruffled more than a few feathers with an internet "confessional" (was it, really?) last week about his experiences botting in World of Warcraft. (To "bot," a term that comes from the word "robot," is to use a third-party program to play the game for you.) He initially declined an interview with 15 Minutes of Fame but was back in touch a few days later, after the comments and reaction began piling on.

With a measured, reasonable approach (somewhat at odds with the abrasive tone he takes with commenters on his blog), Daedren visits with us about botting. Is botting a blot on the soul of gaming humanity or a benign, time-saving technique for busy gamers? Read Daedren's post to learn what his botted characters were up to in WoW, then join us after the break to learn why his botting post was actually a farewell "ode to WoW."

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Filed under: Cheats, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Do botters really matter?

Blizzard has had the big botting ban now in place for a couple of weeks, and there are a few people I've noticed who are not online. Additionally I've noticed a change in the auction house price. There are some items like low level enchanting mats that are going for tons more, and others such as high level crafting mats which are going for much less. This is outside of the normal market fluctuations on my server, and many people attribute to the removal of botters.

This could be a fallacy of causation – the removal of botters might not have lead to the shakeup at the auction house. There really is no way to prove it, other than the circumstantial evidence of price fluctuations timed with the removal of often-botted items. And in the end, these price fluctuations end up being a wash anyways – the extra that is spent on the lower level items is more than likely offset by the cheaper higher level items.

Between the recent wave of bannings and the seemingly nominal impact the ban has had on the overall economy, this begs the questions – do botters really matter? And should Blizzard just ignore them?

While it might seem like the answer is a firm no, let's take a look at some of the underlying reasons and assumptions that people bot and why it's considered bad. In particular we'll look at reasons surrounding leveling, playing the economy, and engaging in PvP.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy, PvP, Features, Leveling

Breakfast Topic: Skeletons in the closet

It looks like Blizzard is busting out the ban hammer in full force. Last week is was on point sellers (and buyers) in the arena this week they're bashing down Glider users. There was a lot of noise on the forums last week from folks that felt they were unjustly punished. I'm sure we'll hear similar stories as a fallout from the glider events.

It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy all over when cheaters get their due. But it also makes me worry that the witch hunt might go too far. Here at WoW Insider we make it a point to be kind of hush hush about exploits, since we have no desire to lead anyone astray. (This is why we said very little about things like the Fire Nova Totem or Snake Trap exploits). The way I see it is if you don't do anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about. We've all repeatedly agreed to the terms of use.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Arena

Mass bannings strike Glider users

We've gotten more tips on this than any other topic in recent memory: apparently many users of the popular WoW botting program Glider have been hit with the ban hammer, including some of our very own readers. You may recall Glider as the company with whom Blizzard is currently embroiled in a lawsuit (does the word "embroil" have any use other than lawsuits?). The Glider forums are abuzz with comments and complaints, to which I can only reply "QQ." Botting is clearly against the EULA, the spirit of the game, and the best interests of the other players. Yes, I would be sad if I got banned, but honestly, anyone who was botting had it coming.

There are various objections to be made to this stance. Most of the people who wrote in claim to have been botting in order to bypass the tedious leveling process. I agree that it can be boring to level 1–70 multiple times, even with the new, faster 20–60 process. However, that doesn't make it OK to cheat. Others claim that with fewer bots in the system, the supply of primals will be reduced and therefore the price will go up; I'm not much of a WoW economist, so I'll leave that to others. But to this blogger, banning botters can only be interpreted as a good thing: some cheaters got what they deserved. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to sound off in the comments. And if you are a botter yourself, and haven't gotten banned yet, I'd advise you to stop -- they're clearly getting serious about this.

Filed under: Cheats, News items

Blizzard loses a round in the fight against botting

In Blizzard's attempts to get rid of gold farmers and hackers, one of their most annoyingly persistent enemies has been the WoWGlider bot, now known as MMOGlider. They've been throwing suits and countersuits at each other for a few years now, but the latest salvo seems to have gone against Blizzard, the Game Activist reports. Blizzard was trying to subpoena Joe Thaler, owner of Lavish Software LLC, maker of programs such as EQPlayNice. While Lavish Software's programs do not appear to be cheat programs on their own, they did make a deal with MDY Industries, maker of MMOGlider, to use the programs within MMOGlider.

According the judge's decision, Blizzard was hoping to obtain all documentation related to the deal, all communication between Thaler and Lavish and MDY and its owner, Michael Donnelly. They also wanted a list of all WoW accounts owned by Thaler and Lavish, as well as the contents of the WTF folders of every installation of WOW used by Thaler and Lavish Entertainment. Unfortunately, the Judge ruled that Blizzard was demanding information that could compromise Lavish's trade secrets and client confidentiality, and that the demand for the information within 9 days did not give Thaler and Lavish enough time to respond an gather information.

It's worth noting that the judge did specifically say that Blizzard could file another subpoena that would be more narrow in scope and allow more time for Lavish and Mr. Thaler to respond, so this is probably not a fatal blow to Blizzard by any means. I personally hope not. I've never had much patience for bots, or people who feel they have a civil right to cheat at games, so I'm rooting for the big bad corporation on this one. What about you?

Thanks for the link, Tyrsenus.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, News items

The key(s) to not getting banned

Just yesterday in fact, I was at my local computer store after having a bite of lunch to make my semi-regular browse of their wares. One of the items I saw that screamed "Buy me! Please!" was a Zboard Fang. I'd seen them at EB before, but they were always hanging on a rung so high you'd have to be Michael Jordan standing on the back of a Tauren to reach them. These Fangs were close enough to the ground for a gnome to reach so I picked up the box and had a look. I am definitely a keyboard guy. I hardly ever use the mouse at all – except to click totems on occasion with my shaman. The allure of the Fang and it's programmability was strong though. I only set it down and walked away when I started to think about how long it would take me to get used to it.

Today while following a story tip, I found a proverbial bee's nest of forum activity about one of the Fang's competitors, the Logitech G15. Although the G15 has a full QWERTY keyboard and and adds a programmable LCD display, it's core function and purpose is the same. It allows you to define programmable keys for in-game functions.

The question arises (and has arisen many, many, many times before) whether these products are legal for in-game use. The answer from more than one blue poster in the previous link is: "YES! They are legal!" Blizzard draws the line between right and wrong not at what keyboard (or accessory) you use, but what you use it for. A button to open your bags is not going to get your account banned. A timed macro to run around in a circle and kill everything in your path while you watch Twister in the next room will get you banned, because you're essentially "botting" at that point. The line seems to be drawn between attended and unattended play, but common sense is clearly the watch word here.

What other hardware input device toys do you use in your day-to-day play? What do you think about these Zboard and Logitech products that are marketed so aggressively to the MMOG market? Your comments are key!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Odds and ends, Features

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