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Posts with tag addon-policy

The Lawbringer: Mailbag 6.0 and Rogers updates

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Welcome to another exciting edition of The Lawbringer, where your questions about the esoteric topics revolving around WoW and MMOs potentially get answered, usually if the question is compelling. You know the drill -- ask a question, and maybe I can hash it out or at least point you in the right direction to get things under control.

Mailbags are fun, and updates are even more fun. This week, we have a couple of questions from the mailbag and an update to the situation with Rogers Communications up in Canada. Remember back a few months ago, when the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission demanded that Rogers find a way to stop the admitted throttling of World of Warcraft data because it appeared to be peer-to-peer traffic? Well, the Canadian government wants a plan by Tuesday. More on that in a bit. Questions first, yes?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

What happened to TourGuide?

There have been many Addon stories that will live through World of Warcraft's history and beyond, as cautionary tales, expressions of visions or the refinement of a segment of the MMO genre that, rapidly, is becoming the norm in most games. Tekkub's TourGuide is going to be, if it is not already, one of those stories. Join me on this adventure where we discuss what all the drama was all about and an interview I did with Tekkub concerning the transpired events.

[This article has been updated.]

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Interviews

PopCap's addons are obfuscated, Blizzard is OK with that

We've posted about both the Bejeweled and the Peggle addons here lots -- we're big fans of PopCap releasing free versions of their games for us to play in Azeroth. But all might not be well in addon land -- a few authors have come to us to point out that PopCap's addons actually contain obfuscated code in them. Obfuscation is a little hard to define -- it's a coding technique that makes code difficult to be read by other programmers, either for purposes of compression or to deliberately hide the code's function or purpose from anyone reading it. Obfuscation is strictly prohibited by Blizzard's addon policy, and so when addon authors dived into PopCap's code and found it obfuscated, they were concerned that PopCap is dodging Blizzard's rules.

We spoke with PopCap about the issue, and they told us that yes, they run a program called luasrcdiet on their code to shrink it down and keep the memory footprint to a minimum. While working on their addons, they were in contact with Blizzard (and showed them the original, non-obfuscated code), and they tell us that Blizzard decided that since the purpose of the obfuscation rule in the policy was to allow the community to police their own addons for bad code (and since Blizzard trusted PopCap, there were no concerns there), then Blizzard was OK with PopCap releasing obfuscated addon code.

So. Has PopCap broken the rules? In the strictest sense, yes -- the rules say no obfuscated code, and PopCap's addons do make things hard to read. But Blizzard, who wrote the rules to begin with, has no problem with making an exception for PopCap, and in doing so, their reasoning seems pretty sound. It doesn't seem fair to make an exception in any case, but we admit, if you're going to make an exception for anyone, you can't go wrong with PopCap. What do you think?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Outfitter not discontinued after all

Once upon a time, Mundocani created Outfitter, and it was good, and lots of people used it, and there was general rejoicing. Then Blizzard released their new addon policy, prohibiting selling addons and asking for donations in-game, and many addon writers thought that was not so good. Mundocani pulled his addons from public distribution in protest, as did some other authors. This was sad, even if I did seize the moment to write about some other mods that did the job.

Now it has been brought to my attention (thanks, nadewow) that Mundocani is both continuing development on Outfitter and returning it to public distribution (i.e. Curse and WoW Interface). His stated reasoning for this latest move is that "Blizzard isn't going to respond to the concerns raised by the community, which puts things at a stalemate," and he doesn't want to punish users for what he sees as Blizzard's mistakes.

In short: Outfitter is coming back (this goes for GroupCalendar too, by the way). Yay! That news is especially welcome because we won't be seeing the Blizzard Equipment Manager in 3.1 as we had expected to. While we wait for them to be posted back to the addon sites, you can get a copy of either mod at the author's forums (registration required).

Filed under: Add-Ons

A Lawyer's take on the new UI policy

The intertubes are abuzz with the new UI policy enacted by Blizzard a couple weeks ago. Not being able to charge for add-ons or solicit donations has caused quite a stir amongst some folks. Certain add-on authors are even going as far as to boycott their projects until Blizzard changes their policy.

ZAM networks, who runs the WoW information site Allakhazam, got a chance to sit down and talk with Connie Mableson, a lawyer specializing in Intellectual Property Law and Computer and Internet Law. You can read the full interview over at their site.

One of the highlights of the interview is that Connie thinks Blizzard will begin monetizing the UI. "Based on all the changes Blizzard is making, I believe the Blizzard business model is to "Monetize" UI Mods/add-ons by developing them in house and offering them for sale to players "

Now I don't necessarily agree with the end analysis, but her arguments are compelling and make sense.

It will be interesting in another year or so to see where this UI policy change lands us. We'll have to wait and see!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Add-Ons, Interviews

Carbonite going free, continuing development

The guys behind Carbonite have finally responded to Blizzard's new addon policy, and probably not in the way you might have guessed: they're continuing development, and they're making the addon free. Carbonite was rumored to be the addon that started all of this trouble: they had a partial version up for free download, and were charging for the full version of the addon, which apparently Blizzard didn't appreciate. But rather than shutting down the addon completely, they've decided to go free for everyone, and they're continuing development -- version 3.00 is supposed to be out next week.

It's worth noting that they still have a number of donate buttons on their download page, which Blizzard is supposedly fine with -- all Blizzard wanted was the donate buttons out of the game itself. And of course, if you find this addon (or any other) helpful, you should definitely support the people who make it.

Reaction on the addon's forums is grateful as expected -- lots of people figured that this addon would be shutting down for good, so many are glad to see it will be continuing development. And one developer does say that Carbonite will be removing any obfuscation from their code, as per the new policy, so it's possible that other addon developers will be able to more easily hook into their code and use their techniques. Of course, whether the addon will still be financially worth it for the devs remains to be seen but for now, they're going along with the new policy and widening their audience at the same time.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Add-Ons, Making money, Hardware

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