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Posts with tag private-server

The Lawbringer: A primer on private servers

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world 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?

The history of private MMO servers goes back to the heyday of the massively multiplayer, when the concepts of these virtual worlds were still in their formative stages. World of Warcraft private servers, also called emulated servers, boast numbers in the thousands, usually running off donations and providing a limited amount of the full WoW experience due to the nature of the reverse server engineering and implementation needed to run the game. One thing is for certain, though: Using the game client to connect to an emulated server is against the World of Warcraft EULA and cuts into Blizzard's profits.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Private server company forced to pay Blizzard $88 million

A judge in the California Central District Court ruled Thursday that Scapegaming, also known as Alyson Reeves, has lost its lawsuit against Blizzard. Scapegaming had set up private Blizzard servers that included a microtransactions market. Blizzard sued them in October 2009 for copyright infringement.

As we've covered here before, private servers are a violation of license limitations of the EULA. Blizzard considers any violation of those license limitations to be copyright infringement and sues people for such. Furthermore, Blizzard established in the "Bnetd" case that crafting software to set up a private server is a copyright infringement all on its own.

The total reward of $88,594,589 comes from $3,053,339 of inappropriate profits, $63,600 of attorney's fees, and $85,478,600 of statutory damages. Statutory damages are damages required by law that are increased for willful and commercially based infringement. Scapegaming may appeal the amount.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Blizzard files lawsuit against private server

We've talked about private servers on the site here before, but in case you haven't heard the term: they're unofficial servers, very much against WoW's Terms of Use, that are run by companies other than Blizzard. They're shady as get out -- some make you pay (and these are not people you'd ever want to give any credit card information to), some will delete or change characters on a regular basis, and many times they're created just so whoever's running them can mess around with GM powers, and cheat with any items they want.

So you can see why Blizzard would want them shut down, and that's exactly what they're trying to do with this lawsuit filed in the California Central District Court against a company called "Scapegaming" that runs at least one private WoW server (and they've apparently been running microtransactions in-game -- selling in-game items for "donations" of money). The law firm working for Blizzard, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, also worked on the "Bnetd" case, which was another piece of unofficial server software that allowed players to play off of Blizzard's setup.

The complaint lists copyright infringement as the cause, which means they're probably using the same argument targeted at other private servers in the past. We'll keep an eye on this, but it's very likely Blizzard will win this one unopposed, and Scapegaming (or at least just their WoW server) will get shut down for good.

Thanks, Phenom!

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items, Hardware

15 Minutes of Fame: Members only

15 Minutes of Fame is's 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.

As Blizzard re-imagines old Azeroth, sweeps tired systems out the door and injects new ways for players to connect and work together, we can't imagine why anyone would not want to take advantage of what this top-notch MMO and company have to offer. There are players, however, who choose a different path. These players game on private servers, where conditions range from near-original mirrors to god-mode gameplay with super-GM abilities.

We don't condone private server play, which is clearly against Blizzard's Terms of Service and EULA. Still, there are plenty of players who believe differently, and we were curious why they've chosen the private server route. We visited with a player who plays on a relatively tame private server featuring near-"normal" game play. What can he do that we can't? And what do we have that he doesn't?

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Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

[1. Local]: He broke out the mad baby pic

Reader comments – ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week. 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.

The great Hunter nerf of 2008
We knew this week was off to a rousing start when our mailbox began filling up with "ZOMG!!11! Hunter nerf!!1!" e-mails. Just how big a nerf it was began to sink in when Adam Holisky capped his post on the topic with the image of a face that has launched a thousand QQs. "Oh boy, you guys broke out the mad baby pic!" exclaimed InsaneAssault. "This is serious business. Haven't seen that guy since the honor carryover article."

Even those who weren't familiar with Mad Baby realized the gravity of his presence. "Where is the mad baby picture from originally? Does anyone know what happened to that kid?" wondered Frijona. Who nerfed that poor Mad Baby? Readers suggested a few theories – but we'll leave it to you to dig those theories out of the comments for yourself.

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Filed under: Hunter, Features, Death Knight, [1.Local]

Breakfast Topic: Are private servers really that bad?

Blizzard has a very clear line on private servers: they are against the rules. If you have one or play on one you're going to get in trouble. Your account will get shut down and you'll likely face some legal issues if you don't capitulate to their demands.

However is their stance right? Are private servers really that big of a deal?

There are two ways that I look at the issue. One way is to view the issue through the lens of morality and legalese. In this respect Blizzard is on solid ground. They own Warcraft and all the associated games, and they own the servers we play on. When we buy the game we're not buying the property. We're buying the right to use the property as long as we keep paying a monthly fee, and as long as we operate within their guidelines (the terms of service).

Some might contend that there is an innate right to privacy in the fact that after we've purchased the game (and its associated data), Blizzard has no right to tell us what to do with it or to find out how we're using it. I'm not a lawyer, but some are, and there's an interesting debate to be had here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Blizzard legal targets private servers

Privately run WoW servers have been dropping like flies in the last day or so after receiving letters from Blizzard's lawyers under the DMCA. They've been shut down so quickly and rapidly that it's being heralded as "the end of private servers" by quite a few people. The biggest and most well known servers such as Toxic WoW and Ani-WoW are more or less all gone already, and it seems that it's only a matter of time before the smaller ones go down as well. Supposedly, this letter has a pretty long list of sites and servers that are to be taken down.

Some of these sites have just called it a day, shut down their servers and will move on with their lives, but a few others are already talking about starting them back up elsewhere, 'underground.' It's the internet, and at this point, that just seems silly. Blizzard is watching, and it seems this issue has moved up a notch on their priority list. My advice? Don't tempt fate.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Preview of the Motorbike vehicle in Grizzly Hills

Did you doubt that engineers would be the coolest players in the expansion? This little demo of the motorbike coming (supposedly) to engineers in Wrath of the Lich King is, as our own Dan O'Halloran said when he saw it, the first movie of WoW where the death metal actually belong. The thing tools around Grizzly Hills at top speed. Maybe it's just the way it's been implemented on the private server, but if those jumps are possible on the live realms (physics? in WoW?), then vehicles in Wrath are going to be awesome.

Of course, this doesn't exactly signal the return to swords and sorcery that players were hoping for in Northrend -- what does it mean if we've replaced the spaceships of the last expansion with tanks? But WoW has always had a steampunk feel, and this does seem like a natural extension. Ladies and Orcs, start your engines!

[Thanks, Akussa!]

Filed under: Engineering, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Expansions, Mounts, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Moviewatch: The BurningWoW Staircase Event

This video has been around since Spring, but I'm pretty sure we haven't spotlighted it. It's a creative way to use a WoW private server. Instead of lining up raid bosses and making them do the Macarena, these players created an event.

They built a staircase in Azeroth a couple of miles high, allowed other players on to their private server, then had a race to the top. Let's just say not everyone made it to the top without falling. A very long way.

Check it out for a fun event that should be in the game.

Previously on Moviewatch...

EDIT: I should add that while videos created on Private Servers are great fun to watch, playing or creating a Private Server is frowned on by Blizzard. And we don't recommend doing anything that might affect your game account with them.

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

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