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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

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

Gold Capped: How to calculate inscription costs and prices

Every week, Gold Capped brings you tips on how to make money on the auction house. This article from inscription specialist Steve Zamboni has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

With its myriad of materials and finished items, inscription can be one of the more complicated professions for a crafter who's trying to track his expenses and profits (or even to know if he's made a profit at all). Herb prices have changed dramatically over the past several months, dropping to record lows as farming bots proliferate and climbing just as dramatically during the ban wave that followed. After months of being spoiled by a market overflowing with cheap herbs, many players stopped paying attention to what they were paying to make each item. Now that herb prices are climbing, it's left a number of sellers scrambling to reprice their items and to take a closer look at what they're paying for their supplies.

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Filed under: Guest Posts, Gold Capped

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

Account security is your responsibility, not Blizzard's

PlayNoEvil recently published an article explaining why they think it is that hackers target gamers by stealing their passwords and other account information.

While there is some truth in the premises offered, articles like this one only serve to fuel conspiracy rumors and encourage players to think of themselves as victims rather than take responsibility for their own account security.

Gaming companies do place some of the blame for a compromised account on the account holder, and for good reason. The hacker certainly didn't gain access to your computer because of their actions, and their computers that store your information are as yet untouchable.

The browsers you use, sites you visit, firewall settings, anti-virus software and update practices are just a few of the ways that you contribute to your own hacking experience.

Sharing your account information with your lover, best friend and mother may sound safe, but you don't control the security of their computers, or their friends' computers. The majority of people I know who have been hacked signed into their accounts on their sibling's computer or a publically shared machine.

In fact, NASA ended up with a keylogger targeted at gamers on the International Space Station. It traveled aboard on the laptop of one of the astronauts. You just can't trust any computer that isn't your own.

It may be hard to hear, but a hacked account is because of something you did, whether it was an unfortunate stroke of luck, such as stumbling onto a redirect on a legitimate website in the small window before the site addresses it, or a serious oversight in security on your part.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Add-Ons, Account Security

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

[1.Local]: The under-the-radar edition

[1.Local] serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

With Wrath of the Lich King beta upon us, who has time to read comments from the past week's worth of posts? Little ol' [1.Local] would be a sad panda if we weren't positive that the meta-fans who love to comment about comments are still circling. So here ya go, guys – this Bash Ale's for you.

Up for discussion this week: making Spellcloth without danger ... your vision of a perfect world for crafting ... a reader's new feature request answered ... a dissection of drama-queen tanks ... chatter over the recent anti-botting court decision ... and what might just be the final word on Horde vs. Alliance faction choices.

Join us after the break for this week's meatiest reader comments here at WoW Insider. Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts – unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

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Filed under: Tailoring, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Wrath of the Lich King, [1.Local]

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

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

Why the botters do it

Frybread over at Notaddicted yesterday posted about a chat that he had with the owner of an American gold botting company. Evidently the massive gold farming bans that went through on Monday hit his company especially hard. First of all it's interesting to note that there are such companies in the US as well, so China doesn't have complete monopoly on the illegal gold selling market. So what is it like inside a botting business?

Well, the anonymous business owner runs an office with about 150 computers. It sounds like a lot for a guy who runs his business using bots, but he explains that all tells need to be made by actual people since they are monitored constantly. When asked how many accounts he lost in the ban sweep on Monday, he says 100. All of his characters were between levels 40 and 70, which answers a lot of questions I've been having about all those people I have been competing with over primals.

The question came up, why do it if you risk losing your business? The reply was clear and without hesitation: I'd rather deal with the risks then [sic] work a normal office job. This is now the third time I have read an interview enlightening the reader to the plight of the poor goldfarmer just trying to make a living at the game he loves. But if you love the game that much, why do you abuse its rules and harm the player base to make a profit? Sure he lost 100 accounts, but he'll have those back in a month, and will be out skewing economies once again.

[via Notaddicted]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy

Blizzard suing WoWglider creator

I know what you're thinking: haven't I read about this before? You've probably read something similar, but we've moved on to the next phase of ligation: the counter-suit! Back in November MDY Industries, the creators of the automation software WoWglider, was suing Blizzard over an alleged attempt to prevent the distribution of their software. MDY wanted a court to assert their right to create and distribute WoWglider. And now Blizzard is fighting back with a lawsuit of their own. Besides asserting that the sale and promotion of WoWglider violates both the World of Warcraft EULA (end user license agreement, which you re-agree to each time you install a patch) and TOU (terms of use, which you agree to when creating your account), Blizzard claims that...

Blizzard has suffered damage in an amount to be proven at trial, including but not limited to loss of goodwill among WoW users, diversion of Blizzard resources to prevent access by WoWGlider users, loss of revenue from terminated users, and decreased subscription revenue from undetected WoWGlider users.


And Blizzard is asking not only for MDY to stop selling and distributing WoWglider, but also that Blizzard be given all rights and titles to the application, the source code, and all sales information. And while I'm not a lawyer, I think someone just got pwnd by Blizzard's legal department.

If you are a lawyer, or if you just enjoy reading dense pages of text, you may like to see the full text of Blizzard's counter-suit and MDY's initial complaint.

[Thanks, Prissy]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard

Bot Spotting 101

Doc Robot has a short but sweet guide to how to spot a botter (or, sometimes, a farmer) wandering around the World of Warcraft. Warning signs: they behave erratically, don't answer tells, use repeated attack patterns, and so on and so forth. Chances are that if, like me, you play on one of the higher population servers, you've seen this stuff happening, even if you didn't know at the time exactly what you were dealing with.

My own bot story is pretty funny-- I was leveling my rogue through Stranglethorn Vale, killing and skinning panthers to grind and make some money. Along comes a paladin-- she walks right up to a panther near me, and proceeds to kill it. I play on a PVE server, but I've got no love for the alliance, so I did what I thought was an appropriately undead rogue-y thing to do and I ninja'ed the skin from her on that kill. She tried to skin, failed, and... moved onto the next mob. I got no reaction out of her at all. So I let her kill the next mob, beat her to the skin again, and still nothing. I did this three or four times, and I didn't get so much an emote out of her-- not even an angry look.

I couldn't believe that someone would let me get away with this, so even despite the fact that she was a few levels ahead of me, I went ahead and flipped my PVP flag on, and threw down a few /taunts. Still nothing-- she just keep rolling on in her pattern without even acknowledging I was there. By then, of course, I knew I was dealing with a bot, and so for an hour or so, I tagged her panthers, let her kill them and gain experience for me, and then ninja'ed the skin out every time. Wonder if that botter was surprised that his paladin wasn't very productive that hour.

Unfortunately, I never did report her, which is what you're supposed to do when you find a character botting or farming (as the article says, it's usually a hunter, so my guess is that my paladin was simply being powerleveled). Blizzard is doing everything they can to battle this stuff, but my guess is that it's much more rampant than even they will admit. Have you seen a bot? What did you do when you discovered it?

Filed under: Tricks, Cheats, How-tos, Economy

WoW Glider suing Blizzard

In case you're out of the loop, WoW Glider is a 3rd party application that automates all major aspects of gameplay. You set the parameters and it starts farming loot, experience, reputation -- whatever you'd like. This is, unsurprisingly, against Blizzard's terms of service -- those things you have to click agreement to before you play the game after every patch. But this lawsuit isn't just about whether or not WoW Glider breaks the terms of service: it's about whether or not Blizzard has the right to kill the distribution of WoW Glider. WoW Glider's complaint suggests Blizzard has been attempting to strong-arm them into stopping distribution based on alleged copyright and DMCA violation -- and WoW Glider's makers are jumping in with the first lawsuit, which (and, no, I am not a lawyer) seems to be asserting their rights to distribute WoW Glider and telling Blizzard to back off. Lawyers and non-lawyers can read the full text of the complaint and chime in with your own opinions below.

[Thanks, Baratrill]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard

Breakfast Topic: Dealing with Bots


Last week we saw a couple of entertaining ways to deal with bots. However, the entertaining is not always the practical - and if you don't play a priest on a PvP server, the methodology contained in those videos isn't going to help you much. For my part, if I encounter an obvious bot I'll tend to look for somewhere else to grind - it's not always easy to beat the speed of an automated hunterbot, and trying to tends to just be frustrating. But how do you deal with bots? And do you, perhaps, have advice for the rest of us?

Filed under: Tips, Tricks, Breakfast Topics

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