back to article World of Warcraft bot ban ticks off world of critics

A federal appeals panel has upheld a ban on the distribution of a once-popular World of Warcraft bot in a sprawling ruling that is sure to anger just about everyone with a stake in the debate over whether gamers have the right to tweak the titles they play. Tuesday's 3-0 decision from the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals said …

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  1. Marcus Aurelius
    WTF?

    Decisions, decisions

    I'm not sure which side to applaud here; on the one hand the use of bots to achieve an unfair advantage in games is definitely cheating, especially on a paid for service; on the other the DMCA is evil in its encroachment on right to modify principles.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Agreed completely Marcus

      Hear Hear!

      How can anyone think the DMCA was ever a good idea in the first place?

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Decisions, decisions

      I too have no problem with banning bots, but it should be dealt with under the US equivalent of the Computer Misuse Act as unauthorised access to a computer system, not under copyright law.

      1. Bullseyed
        Stop

        re

        I fail to see why any level of any government should have anything to do with the code of conduct within an online game.

        How exactly is it copyright infringement to have the computer play a game for you compared to playing it yourself?

        Why do I have a feeling that the courts involved in this case have no freakin clue what they're talking about? This sounds like it is on the magnitude of the "internet is a series of fluid filled tubes" stupid.

        Bots are bad, whatever. Blizzard's problem to find and ban them, the tax money of citizens should not be being spent to deal with it.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Pirate

      RE: Decisions, decisions

      ".....the use of bots to achieve an unfair advantage in games is definitely cheating...." But the bot in question only allowed plays to robot through standard activities, it didn't give them an advantage in PVP game play and wouldn't last five minutes in a dungeon or raid, it just removed the need for "grinding" to gain levels. Personally, I don't class that as cheating, just as stupid, seeing as you can level much faster by doing quests and instances rather than grinding anyway. Sure, you may level faster than someone that actually plays the game as you can leave Glider to run for hours longer than most players can actually spare to play, but it's a bit like buying a book and just reading the last chapter - how do you enjoy the story if that's all you do? And WoW has a very rich story line that botters will have missed out on. You might as well just buy a level seventy or higher character off eBay.

      No, my main problem with botters is not those looking to level quickly, but those using bots to farm materials to sell in the auction houses, usually so they can sell the in-game gold for real money. Those kind of "players" should be banned as they reduce the options for those levelling their characters' professions normally and upset the economics of the game.

      /Yeeaaargh, in finest Vashj'ir fashion!

      1. Ammaross Danan
        Boffin

        Title

        "But the bot in question only allowed plays to robot through standard activities"

        Yes, the advertised use for the bot is grinding "low" levels, however, there are plenty of gold farmers and account looting bots that means "Glider" may not have such a passive dark-sibling. If we allow (turn a blind eye) to "low level" botting, where does it stop? lv20? Allow them to run low-level dungeons too?

        Granted, it technically is Blizzard's fail here though. It wouldn't be terribly difficult for them to do a bot-weight Admin system in that factors overall playtime in a given timeframe, duration of play sessions, time-of-day of play sessions, types of actions during sessions (farming whelps or grinding mobs primarily?), use of in-game communications and social functions (member of a guild?), etc. Even a bit of ping-pong queries at the game client. For high-scoring suspected botters, a GM can pick tops from a list and shadow them, perhaps an automated in-game whisper for response. Teleport them on top of a mountain and see how their bot reacts. Granted, extreme measures of manipulation are reserved for high-scoring bots on this measure, but they can get temp-flagged as "non-bot" for a few months once proven legit.

        Regardless of who's FAIL it is, DMCA is the wrong law to bring in. I'd definately side more on the unauthorized access to protected computer systems. It's tantamount to reverse engineering my VPN tunnel and building your own VPN client to access my network and interact with my servers. Client/Server communcations, be they encrypted or not, are the same in either case: you (client) send/receive info to my (server) network. If you shouldn't be there, and I gave narrow means of access, YOU are breaking the law by circumventing my client.

    4. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      FAIL

      DMCA is evil

      what is considered cheating here is defined by Blizzard and should so be policed by them. Not the legal system. It's their servers, their game, their own byelaws.

      *** What does the DMCA or legal system have to do with it? ***

      Basically this - blizzard has found out it cannot deal with botters and gold farmers to the extent it'd like to and so has gone squealing to the law. Lame.

      I'm siding with Glider on this one as honestly, I can't see what they are doing that is *illegal*. Violating blizzards TOS yes.. but illegal? What sort of legal system would that be then?

      For the record, I dislike gold farmers mainly because they spam chat you ...

      ... but the 'actual' bots are less of a problem.

      They are mostly an annoyance when they queue battlegrounds ... but farming bots in the wild... well... I play on a pvp server with toons on both factions... If it's a farmbot, I can kill it.

      I also find the bot-ted 'acrobatics' in SW and Org quite amusing.

      Blizzard, FFS just deal with it, don't go crying to the law. It's lame. FAIL. Epic. No... Legendary.

    5. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      As far as I can tell...

      The use of the bot is against the terms of service of WoW. This means that Blizzard are within their rights to rerminate the accounts of people found to be using it. I have no problem with that. if people cheat in online games, they make it less enjoyable for others and consequently lose money for the producer in lost sales.

      However, I can't see how this has anything to do with copyright. I guess it's easier for Blizzard to go after the one target making the bot software, rather than the thousands using it, but that doesn't make it a copyright issue just on the grounds of inconvenience. In my eyes, this guy is in the clear, it's the people who buy the bot and use it who are breaking their Ts&Cs and run the risk of getting kicked off their game.

  2. Chad H.
    WTF?

    Way to support cheating El Reg.

    "That's sure to tick off gamers and hackers who believe they should be able to modify the software they legally acquire"

    Except of course, you don't "aquire" the game.

    Aside from the "Licensed, not Purchased" argument, WoW is an MMO - you're paying for access, just like you don't aquire your local gym (even after paying membership and sign up fees) you don't own/aquire the game.

    As a gamer I support this - The arguments made by this article are just like saying that an Olympic weightlifter should be able to use steroids - its their body after all.

    Cheaters out! Its that simple.

    1. Daniel B.
      FAIL

      It isn't about cheating

      The problem isn't about Blizzard wanting to crack down on cheating; that's acceptable on its own terms, even free games like MUDs or Quake servers will ban bot cheaters. The problem here is that DMCA is being used for things that it shouldn't be used, equating a simple "cheating tool" to a warez game-pirating cracker. This has bad implications on stuff not even related to "copyright infringement" or even "MMORPG cheating".

      According to this ruling, if I type "there is no cow level" on StarCraft, I'm BREAKING TEH LAW.

      If I use one of those "Diablo character editors" to give my sorceress an instant lvl 32, I'M BREAKING TEH LAW.

      Hell, I'm probably violating the DMCA if I type IDSPISPOPD while playing DOOM. "Oh noes! He's walking through walls!"

      Yes, cheating on MMOs is wrong, but the ruling in this case is also wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right.

      1. Franklin

        A title is required, and is probably a DMCA violation

        "According to this ruling, if I type "there is no cow level" on StarCraft, I'm BREAKING TEH LAW.

        If I use one of those "Diablo character editors" to give my sorceress an instant lvl 32, I'M BREAKING TEH LAW.

        Hell, I'm probably violating the DMCA if I type IDSPISPOPD while playing DOOM. "Oh noes! He's walking through walls!""

        Actually, no, that isn't the case. The things you mention--the Diablo character editor, the Doom cheat code, and so on--are not violating an anti-circumvention measure; indeed, cheat codes built into a game can't possibly do this by definition, as they are PART fo the game.

        Essentially, this ruling is not "cheating = breaking teh law," hysterics aside. It's "cheating by circumventing an anti-cheating mechanism that protects a game's database" is breaking teh law. You might not agree with that principle, but it's quite a lot different from what you're talking about.

        In a subscription service where you're paying for access to someone else's resources rather than hacking a bit of software on your won computer, I think it's reasonable to bring matters of law into play. To move away from WoW for a moment, if you were to violate the rules of your country club, you could be arrested for trespassing on the golf course. That's not saying that cheating = breaking the law; it's saying that the owner fo the country club enjoys legal protection from unauthorized use.

        Same is true of a gym, a public swimming pool, and so on. Even if you pay fees, you can't do whatever you want, and if you insist on violating the terms under which your membership applies, at some point the law will get involved.

        Blizzard owns the servers, the databases, and the routers. Buying a boxed copy of World of Warcraft doesn't entitle a person to do whatever they want on those servers or with those databases. If someone continues to abuse those resources, eventually the law will get involved.

      2. Chad H.
        Stop

        Err

        Thereisnocowlevel, etc are intended functions of the software put there by the developers, claiming using these would be illegal is as ridiculous as claiming you can no longer use space to open doors in doom. These people changed the game to cheat.

        1. Daniel B.
          Alert

          @Chad H.

          "Thereisnocowlevel, etc are intended functions of the software put there by the developers, claiming using these would be illegal is as ridiculous as claiming you can no longer use space to open doors in doom. These people changed the game to cheat."

          I also mentioned the Diablo character editor thingy. IIRC, that one isn't an official Blizzard tool, it was a hack-thingy that allowed to create or edit characters to give them stuff like extra levels, abilities, inventory stuff. That one might probably fall under the DMCA violation according to this rule. Take in mind that Diablo is playable online, and the gameplay style is kind of MMO-ish. I also forgot to mention the FSGS thingy that allows you to use a custom Battle.net server instead of the Blizzard one. Very useful for LAN parties w/o internet access :)

          Blizzard does have the right to boot/ban cheaters from their servers; after all, it is their service and I fully agree with that. It is the method which Blizzard is using to enforce this that I find as DMCA creep.

          1. Tom 260

            Diablo characters

            There are two portions to the Diablo online system, Open Battle.net where you can use locally saved characters online in a peer to peer gaming environment (and thus they can be edited, given top level items and so forth), and Battle.net itself, where your character is only ever stored server side, and Blizzard clamp down on incidences of cheating (duplication of items is the popular hack).

    2. P. Lee Silver badge
      FAIL

      re: Way to support cheating El Reg.

      No - not that simple.

      I loathe the bots and cheating, but in your gym analogy, all the gym can do to punish you for breaking terms and conditions is throw you out. If you hire someone to exercise for you they can block them from entry to the gym, but they can't stop someone from offering to exercise on your behalf.

      Blizzard should certainly have the right to ban users caught cheating from connecting to their servers, but they shouldn't have the right to stop the sale of a third-party product. That's far too dangerous a principle to establish, regardless of our distaste for cheaters.

      A good outcome for gamers is a bad outcome for freedom and a good outcome for freedom is a setback for gamers. Which is more important?

      1. Tharglet

        Actually...

        ... recently someone did get legal action taken against them for using someone else's membership card ¬¬.

        Amusingly, the company was defrauded out of.... 2p.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      You mean

      I can't use my bot to go into a gym and do my exercising for me?

      1. Elmer Phud

        Erm, no

        You can exercise your butt but not your bot

        hth

    4. Dapprman
      Thumb Down

      I can't believe people downmarked you ...

      Presumably those 5 (at the time I write this) either do not play MMOs or are cheaters themselves.

  3. mlo0352
    Stop

    Disagrree with Chad H.

    If you were only paying for access, then anybody could have the game for free, and wouldn't have to buy the CD. You are buying a copy of the game code, and as such are an "owner" just like you own your television. You don't own the cable, however, that is rented out to you at a monthly price, just like your access to the online play.

    So yes, you do own the game. No, you do not have a "right" to be allowed on their servers.

    1. Chad H.
      Stop

      It's no different to an initiation fee

      But you aren't buying the code, again ignoring the "license"v "own" argument, the WOW purchase fee is no different to the initation fee charged by some clubs... If you were to, for example stump up the 300k mr trump asks as an initiation fee to trump national, you can be sure that mr Trump doesn't agree that you own the club, nor have the right to rewrite the rules of the club to suit you at the expense of everyone else.

      1. pip25
        Stop

        The club analogy is great...

        ...but flawed. Still, to explain in similar terms, let us say you need an access card to get into the club. You can buy that access card anywhere, it then belongs to you. Unlike an initiation fee, you actually get something tangible for your money. You can do anything you want with it, but if you go to the club and try to get inside restricted areas by hacking the card, they are well within their rights to throw you out or even sue you - but not because you hacked the card, but because you were trespassing and possibly doing damage to them by using it.

        Similarly, creating bots or hacking software should NOT be a offense, especially not on DMCA grounds. It is using them that needs to be punished, and is being punished since quite a while. It is simply a necessary compromise between fighting cheaters and keeping personal freedoms.

        1. Chad H.

          But you don't own the card.

          I think pretty much every access card I have int wallet make it clear that the card remains the property of the issuer, not me.

        2. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: club analogy

          Except that the fee you pay is presumably for the right to enter the club, not for the access card. The access card is given to you as proof that you paid the fee. They are perfectly entitled, for example, to change the access system and ask you to swap the card for a new type of access token.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Sorry but your wrong

      The game can be downloaded for free, you pay for a code that allows you to create an account

    3. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Pint

      Afraid not

      YOU NEVER OWN SOFTWARE!

      When are people going to get this? In extreme cases you own code if you buy it, but with 99% of the software most of us use, we simply license it. With FOSS that license is free, with commercial you pay, either way you still only have a license to USE software for a purpose for which it was sold. You could argue you own the physical media it came on, the printed materials are yours, although I believe even that has been contested in court.

  4. Subban

    Good

    As a WoW player who has tried completing quests in zones with those bots running I applaud this decision.

    The bots go around an area simply killing any creatures/mobs present which are frequently required to complete quests. They will stay there for hours, days and even weeks making what should be a fun game, into a frustrating PITA as you try to complete with a mindless bot repeatedly killing the things you need to progress.

    This wasn't about whether you can mod a game to my mind, this was about ruining an MMORPG where these bots actions seriously affect *many* other peoples enjoyment.

    1. Matt Brigden
      Thumb Up

      You have a point but missed the obvious fun

      I spent many a happy hour thwarting the bots . With good timing you could let someone elses bot do your hard work for you . Oh and lets not forget the ones left to wander in pvp areas . Had a lot of fun with those lol .

    2. gauge symmetry
      WTF?

      The FBI should be involved?

      This is about money. Blizzard saw their subscription base diminished and decided to blame the bot maker. Their contention is proved by Subban; bots are ruining our mmorpg! Never mind the fact that WoW is so tedious that people will actually buy a bot to play the game for them... So, let's call the FBI!!! They're not busy at them moment... We'll use them to ban and police any software and behaviors that might spoil the fun of our paying customers.

      Blizzard need to grow a pair; and make the GAME more interesting, removing the raison d'etre for bots in the first place.

      1. Ragarath Silver badge

        Easily Answered! @ gauge symmetry

        Don't play the game. If the game is sooooooo boring that a bot is needed by that person to play it, then I suggest that the game is not for that person.

      2. Paul 4
        Paris Hilton

        Ok...

        So any game people use cheats on is in some way broken and the fault of publisher? There are, clearly, plenty of people who think the game is good, me for one, and even more who think the game is to easy.

        Unfortunatly there will always be those who find any game to much effot. There used to be cheat codes in every magazine. Entire companys grew up around cheat hack cartrages and memory cards. This is not about the game being bad, or boreing, but about some people not wanting to play fair. It is also about gold farmers and people wanting money. There is some expensive stuff in the game that takes a long time to get because Blizz wanted to make it hard to get, but for some people they want this stuff now, with no work.

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      WTF?

      WTF?

      "The bots go around an area simply killing any creatures/mobs present which are frequently required to complete quests"

      Ignore them or just kill 'em... Never had much bother with farmbots.

      On a pvp server I can't off hand think of any non-lowbie zones that are not contested.

      So, just kill 'em.

      Free honour. If they're the same faction, just get on your other opposing faction toon. Or I'm sure you have a guildie or mate with one of those.

  5. Neoc
    Happy

    Depends on reach...

    "...whether gamers have the right to tweak the titles they play..."

    Someone wants to mod a game they play on their own system, I say "go right ahead" (extra levels, new weapons, whatever).

    Someone wants to mod a game where *other people* play, I say this is cheating.

    To put this into Soccer perspective - so long as a club's players only play amongst themselves, FIFA doesn't care if they inject steroids on a daily basis. The moment they play other clubs/players, FIFA will step in, test them, and throw them out of the competition. To continue on this theme - anyone supplying players with the drugs *or with methods to pass the drug tests* will also find themselves on the wrong end of the hurt stick.

    To my mind, the same applies to on-line games :- you were told that bots aren't allowed; as a player, *the player* is banned from playing; as a supplier of the method to bypass the cheat-test, *the cheat supplier* gets sued.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But, Again,

      You are missing the point of the problem. If you get chucked out of the FIFA-controlled game, you're thrown out based on the agreement not to use drugs. Blizzard are going an additional step and claiming DMCA violation, which means something quite different in legal terms than cheating. Case law will stand for the next trial, and bear in mind the history of these kinds of trial - it never ends "there", but will go to the next level.

      Your analogy, funny enough agrees with the sentiment of the article (though I suspect you did not intend that).

      To use your argument (and I don't intend to convey that the argument is -right-, I'm just trying to apply your thinking to the article):

      Even though the club - or hell, you and your mates getting together for a game - may allow steroids and they're not illegal, you will not be permitted to use them because FIFA object to their use in professional games.

      Again, some will say - "so who's gonna chase home users". That's not the question. The question you should have been asking is "so who's gonna be sued next for DMCA violations". And the precedent being set means that it can - winnable if argued based on case law - be the creators of those Space Quest 1 <insert any non-mmo-here> hack tools that are nothing to do with any service. Hell, it might even be a text walkthrough that gets attacked next.

      Make sense?

      1. Steven Knox
        Boffin

        @AC But Again

        No, I think you're missing the point (directly from the article):

        " Glider maker MDY Industries added the measure to evade a feature called the Warden..."

        In other words, it's NOT the bot itself that violates the DMCA. It's the feature MDY added to the bot that was specifically written to evade Blizzard's protections.

        The club analogy doesn't work because it doesn't have copyright involved. A better analogy would be a library.

        You get a library card that gives you access to a library.

        You then decide that you don't have time to read the introductory books, so you build a robot to do that for you and summarize the results.

        The library then creates a system preventing robots from accessing copyrighted materials.

        You then modify your robot to look so much like a human that the library security system can't tell the difference.

        Now you've created a product specifically designed to circumvent access restrictions to copyrighted material. It ALSO breaks your library license agreement, but the modification is what allows the DMCA to come into play.

        The only material difference between this scenario and the case in question is that the copyright in the original case belonged to the security system owner, whereas the copyright in this example does not necessarily belong to the library.

  6. ph0b0s

    Not worth the price

    I hate game cheaters, so it is great that people cannot cheat in WOW anymore. But I really don't think it was worth the price paid. If to stop cheaters it means that we cannot have the freedom to own and modify the things that we have purchased, then leave the cheaters for another day. There must be ways to stop them that don't involve us having to shoot ourselves in the foot, to do so.

    But yet again to solve a problem, a tool that was not designed for the job is used which create several other problems in the process. But as long as we have solved the original problem who cares, right? Laws should not be used like this.

  7. The Mighty Spang
    Thumb Down

    Well, sue LOADS of people then.

    OK, any interference with program code loaded into memory is a voilation of dmca? so in windows those DLLs that get loaded automatically at process start that can intercept any system call - of which there are loads - sue them as well. its interfered.

    like the patent rules which say you must protect against any infringement, it should be applied across the board.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Is it really that simple?

      Remember that this bot actually completes quests, so it has to have some pretty deep hooks into either the code or the quest data. If that code and quest data is protected by any encryption (which it surely is) then the bot has to break that encryption -- the "countermeasures" mentioned in the DCMA are employed and letter of the law is breached.

  8. ratfox Silver badge

    Good for WoW

    The DCMA should not be used for that, and should not even exist, but good for WoW.

    I hate bots, even if I stopped playing long ago.

  9. mafoo

    Multiboxers

    At the same time, blizzard has no issues with people who multibox (controlling 4,5,6+characters from the same terminal) - which is as bad, if not worse cheating than glider.

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they pay a subscription for each of the characters they play.

    Must be the money.

    1. Mek

      Multiboxing: Not quite the case

      Totally incorrect. Multi boxing requires a massive amount of setting up if your doing it properly and requires you to actually be at the machine controlling all the characters at the same time, which is no mean feat if your trying to output as much DPS as possible.

      Take into account the new Cata zones. The amount of loot x off of Y mob, with the shere volume of people on the same quest. This takes a stupid amount of time whilst Multiboxing.

      Its not as easy you make out, and 100% adds a completely different dimension to the game.

    2. Ragarath Silver badge

      Personally...

      I don't like multiboxers and used to think in a similar way to yourself. But at the end of the day multiboxers are controlling the characters, it's not a bot. And they can be easily taken out if PvP is your problem.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      hmmm

      I take it you've never tanked and healed an instance as a multiboxer, because that is great fun. I can see the merit of people wanting to do instances that way, and also the way two boxers did Kara a while back... again, impressive. The amount of individual co-ordination is impressive.

      In PvP, like that Shaman 5boxer, it's pretty lame. But the thing is, you just need to split the multiboxer up. You won't do it solo of course.

      It's not without merit, multiboxing... if you find WoW easy, it's a way to make it more challenging. By the end of Burning Crusade I was tanking instances with my pet, while healing the instance with my Shaman, and acting as a DPSer too... not like tanking on a Hunter particularly easy in the first place!

      1. Bullseyed

        Re

        The only difference between a multiboxer script and a botter script is that the botter presses the start key further in advance and the script takes longer to run. Multiboxers often input from the user more often than botters do, based on the actions they generally undertake.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree to disagree.

    The bots I know of for games are nothing more than automated key pressers. This may be considered cheating to some people. But to say that these programs violate somebodies copyright is ludicrous. They do nothing to modify code or modify memory like trainers do.

    1. The Original Ash
      Thumb Up

      You and I both will get flamed

      I think Glider should be allowed. It's useless for any end-game content, and levelling up is a chore after your 4th or 5th toon. I'd be more than happy to have a bot automate the "1, 2, 1, 2, loot, run, 1, 2, 1, 2, loot, run, 1, 2, 3 (heal) 1, 2, loot, run..." process of the first 30 or so levels while I watch a few episodes of House or Babylon 5.

      If Glider could let you 8-man LK HC, then I'd say no, but if all you get are a few greens and a boat load of XP, I'm fine with it.

      1. ratfox Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Other players say: you have to EARN your characters

        The way we think is: You want a collection of high-level characters, you have to earn it the hard way. It's boring? Tough. Essentially, we think you are being lazy.

        Actually, I would mind less if it was used in instances. At least, it would not interfere with my gameplay. But then, I was not in the race to have the coolest weapons on the server. (Not playing at all anymore, actually)

  11. FordPrefect
    Pirate

    DMCA is an ass but as a gamer I applaud this judgement

    These bots are used to gain an unfair advantage over other players so as a gamer I totally agree with this product being banned. As for own/license its a virtual product really there is nothing to "own" you acquire the right to use it as agreed between software company and individual or more commonly referred to as a license. Now as for modifying the game ultimately on a single player game I don't think anyone would have a problem with it, but this game is accessing blizzard's servers which even apart from the DMCA argument there is another valid argument in that by connecting to blizzard's servers you are agreeing to respect their rules which includes not running a BOT.

    Ultimately if you do not like the terms of the software license don't purchase the product, world of crackcraft is not a monopoly and neither is it essential to the running of your PC.

  12. Filippo

    purpose of bots

    So, people use bots to get through the early levels quickly? I thought that bots were only used for gold farming?

    ...surely, if the game you're playing is so mind-numbingly boring that you'd rather buy a bot than playing it, then you should re-evaluate whether you should be playing the game in the first place...?

    1. Subban

      People are getting confused..

      Glider did not complete quests for you.

      All it did was move your character around predefined paths killing mobs it detected there. There was no intelligence to it, and once you got a few bots in an area, as a player trying to complete quests it was a complete nightmare and could levae you virtually unable to find any mobs to kill to progress.

      If the bots did quests, moved on and acted smarter they wouldn't be noticed different from normal players. That isn't how they behaved though and could really impact on real players ability to play. That is what was so bad about them.

      1. Bullseyed

        Re

        People aren't confused, they're just stupid and uninformed. They don't let that fact stop them from offering their "opinion". In this case, it didn't stop the judge from offering his opinion either.

  13. Drefsab

    meh

    I think they should just release the source code to the BOT and give a big FU to Blizzard and this ruling, not allowed to sell it sure no problem I wont sell it :)

    Im not saying I agree with the botters ether but I personally think they should be going after the people running the bot instead of the bot itself. Also look at what it is about your game that makes people thing I really want to pay money to someone else to do this part for me. The way I see if if part of the game is that bad people will give other people money to do it for them then it needs work.

    1. Ragarath Silver badge

      Fires

      "Im not saying I agree with the botters ether but I personally think they should be going after the people running the bot instead of the bot itself."

      That's like saying "Hey you know what there is no need to install fire extinguishers here. If there is a fire we'll just nip down to the shop, buy one and tackle the fire. Then next time we will do it again."

      Effective? I think not.

      1. Rabayn

        @Ragarath

        Don't be stupid. This is more like going after the manufacturer of kitchen knives because people were using them to stab other people. You go after violators not tools.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          Don't be an idiot

          Kitchen knives have an essential and legal purpose, game bots do not. The two are not the same thing, your argument is specious.

      2. Bullseyed

        Re

        People commit crimes. Prosecuting those people after they commit crimes is inefficient, we might as well just kill all people and therefore there will be no crimes.

        Rights? Freedom? What is that?

        1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re

          Who do think you are, Judge Death or something?

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Are you crazy?

      The guy made $3.5 million -- THREE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS -- from this software. This is a business, not a revolutionary stand. The guy would have to be mad -- that's the goose that laid the golden egg.

  14. Steven Davison
    Big Brother

    As a WoW Gamer...

    As a WoW Gamer myself, I actually have mixed feelings about this.

    I applaud Blizzard in cracking down on Botting, and by association Gold Farming. It ruins an already dodgy economy!

    Also, I agree that if you feel compelled to 'cheat' your way to higher levels, then you need to take a stern look at why you are playing the game.... levelling is a part of it, and especially following the new patch release (I'm sure you've heard about it!) is actually quite enjoyable!

    However, I don't think we should be allowing the use of DCMA here, to prevent the sales of a third party tool that circumvents Blizzard's rules. At first I thought It was a good thing, but I ran past this analogy...

    Most cars produced today can exceed the maximum speed limits in our countries, not to mention the lower, intermediary limits in towns and cities.... now imagine the uproar if the ideals from the DCMA were used to prevent the sale of all vehicles that could break a speed limit...

    I'm sure there would be people that disagree with my analogy, or whatever... but meh, it's my opinion don't like it... I don't care! :P

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      WRT your analogy

      This bot isn't just capable of breaking the rules, it's incapable of doing anything *but* break the rules. It's analogous to a car that only operates above the speed limit.

      Yes, your analogy is valid against the general wording of the DCMA, but not in practice in this specific case.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Stop

        no not quite

        American rules you mean. DCMA is only appropriate in america.

      2. MeRp
        Joke

        my car

        can't go below the speed limit.. or at least that is how it appears when I'm driving it.

  15. Jon Thompson 1

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Seems everyone keeps forgetting, this is Blizzards own provate network, to which they grant restricted access using very specific limitations and terms. They are under no obligation to let people on their network - remember the unwritten addage "our network, our rules".

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  16. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Bullseyed

      Re

      This post should be the article instead of in the forum. Spot on.

  17. iamgory
    FAIL

    Re: Purpose of bots

    I'd used a bot previously while WoW was quite new and mind numbingly boring to level (Although somewhat less irritating than the Star Wars Galaxies I'd previously played).

    I was banned; And obviously, I know I deserved it and didn't argue my case. Sure, I see people botting and I take a mediocum of offence, but it would be a bit pot-kttle. I play legitly now however, and prefer it that way now I understand the game a lot better.

    Still I do agree with the ruling as the vital difference of a bot is it gives you an unfair advantage. The article above hints that people modding games may have a stake in this - I don't agree. Botting isn't about modding, it's about unattended play, bypassing much of the games experience and required effort and it can ruin it for other gamers. (Plus it's easy enough to spot a bot if you have 10 minutes to follow the suspect).

    "Im not saying I agree with the botters ether but I personally think they should be going after the people running the bot instead of the bot itself. Also look at what it is about your game that makes people thing I really want to pay money to someone else to do this part for me. The way I see if if part of the game is that bad people will give other people money to do it for them then it needs work."

    And if you don't go after the bots maker, more people get the bot! So it makes sense. There are services online where people will do your university coursework/dissertation for you. Does this mean that the University of Xyz has a bad system and it needs work? No.

    I know a few botters (and can name their characters. You can normally spot the lack of quests completed and low level achievements). They're just bloody lazy and want an easy advantage.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Well said!

      With that last sentance you summed up this whole fiasco in a nutshell.

      The only reason to use a bot is because you're lazy.

      The only reason they exist is for lazy people to get on quicker than those that make an effort.

      What's the point in paying £25/month for an automated process to play entertainment for you while your out doing something else?! Would you hire someone to go down the tennis courts and play for you? When you come back at the end of the Summer you enter the tournaments and fail 'cos you don't have the gained knowledge to actually play the game!

      I was considering joining WoW for something to do over the bleak Winter months, but this has put me right off! Thanks I owe you one, think I'll find something more useful to do out in the fresh air!

    2. Daniel B.
      Thumb Down

      Legalese

      "The article above hints that people modding games may have a stake in this - I don't agree. Botting isn't about modding, it's about unattended play, bypassing much of the games experience and required effort and it can ruin it for other gamers."

      Problem is that the specific wording in this ruling means that it opens up the possibility to slam modders with DMCA violations as well. Diablo file editors, those playing SAMP or Multi-Theft Auto (GTA San Andreas was given a modkiller patch after the Hot Coffee incident), Doom 1 & 2 modders (I think Quake was the first one that officially supported modding) and others. Because this ruling means that any editing to any game code == DMCA violation.

      As if the DMCA wasn't bad enough!

  18. RyokuMas Silver badge
    FAIL

    WoW = FAIL

    This bot is proof that WoW has failed anyone who doesn't want to race to high end content or do PvP.

    I quit playing WoW because I couldn't break into the high end content - with no lower level characters doing dungeons, I had not learned how to play my class in a group environment. Add to this the fact that to be considered for a raid these days, you are required to have certain achievements and gear scores (ie: have already done the raid before) or be part of a guild who are willing to drag you through while you learn what lower level dungeon runs should be teaching, and the chances to break into raiding were virtually nil.

    And now there's a fuss because there's a bot that makes the charge up to high levels even easier. So much for social play.

    1. Subban

      QQ and l2p.. but seriously...

      If you didn't learn to play properly at lower levels in a group, then its likely because your high level friends just boosted you, or you stood around SW/IF perhaps begging for boosts.

      You don't have to be boosted, the game has never been *that* barren at lower levels, look to your own game play, and perhaps what your guild promotes (are they pushing to powerlevel you, not letting you learn)

      I prefer to let my guildies learn, I promote learning rather than boosting new players in our guild. There isn't an excuse for not learning to play other than lazyness, the game has gone downhill in recent times mainly due to attitudes, but look for guilds that fit your needs.. They are out there.

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Stop

      Not proof.

      I don't see how glider proves that WoW has failed anyone who doesn't want to race to high end content or do PvP. Truth is that there are just a whole load of lazy f#$kers out there.

      If anything blizzard has made WoW more noob friendly in the past year.

      Don't believe me, give it a try if you have time and money to burn. Would not recommend you try it otherwise because WoW as you know is still a terrible time sink and .. ultimately just a waste of time when you seriously think about it.

      If you do try it...

      You don't actually have to raid, you know? I hate those things personally. Time wasters.

      Lots of other things to do. Control the AH market. Level other toons. Do LFD heroics. Or my personal favourite, pvp, from duels to going around picking fights with the other faction to all out capital city incursions. Find the right group and you can have fun and not do boring pain in the ass PVE raids...

      Pre-cata I got quite a decent gear score which got me into raids (well I got pulled and cajoled into them by a few mates - hate those pve things) by just doing pvp.

      Honestly these days, WoW isn't that hard as it was at the start.

      /shrug.... Honestly, I'd say you'd do better trying to prove WoW is a total waste of time (it is! Definitely)

  19. Gordon861

    What's Next?

    I expect the next stage will be a developer asking for a fee to allow modders to continue to modify their titles.

    First it'll be the power graphs that tell you how much dps you are doing in real time and tells you what button to press. Then it'll be the ingame maping software that tells you where to find targets/places.

    This is only a matter of time.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why

    Why would you want to skip the early levels of an mmorpg, fast leveling is satisfying, it's the mid levels that suck the life out of you, once you start calculating the number of x monsters you need to kill to level up y skill, you know there's something wrong.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Heres an idea...

    if the games that boring that you need your PC to play it for you, don't play it. Seems to me the whole point of WOW is leveling and not about actually you know, enjoying the experience. Baffles me quite why so many folk play it if thats the case.

    The issue isn't about copyright, hacking, ownership or anything else. Its about how sad some gamers are that all they care about is "I'm a level 46 mage and you're only level 42, you're a NOOOBBBB".

    Halo Reach binned the visible ranking the previous editions had and its pretty much alienated all the 12 year old rank hunters who also tend to be those who cheat, grief and generally make the game awful for everyone else. and its all the more pleasant to play. I realise this couldn't happen with an RPG as leveling is an integral part of it but then thats why I'll still to Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age thanks all the same.

  22. kain preacher Silver badge

    @Why, oh why

    One problem with your theory. Maleware is illegal in the USA and you can't sell stuff who's sole purpose it is to circumvent crypto with out a valid reason .

  23. william_7

    what of the otherside of the coin?

    I used to play an mmo - it was riddled with bots, RMTers, dupe bugs and scammers. There was a bug that allowed duping and stat doubleing and the items would dissapear after logoff. Anyhow - this mmo was never fixed properly nor policed effectively.

    If it had been a paid for service you'd think the users would have some sort of recourse due to the lack of customer service ? (as it was it was a Free to play, with an enhancment shop for real money)

  24. Michael 36
    Joke

    Is WoW that boring?

    A dishwasher to wash boring dishes for you

    A video recorder to watch boring TV shows for you

    A bot to play boring games for you?

    Why bother?

  25. tumbleworld
    Pirate

    Glider. Bah.

    I loathe Glider; not because I meanly want to deny the lazy or incompetent the chance to level, but because it's so useful to the gold-farmers, who make swathes of the game difficult to play with their constant predation.

    But I really dislike the idea that modding a game is in violation of DCMA. I think that's a grossly retrograde step that will do a lot of damage to the industry. And the idea that it might be a matter of copyright is laughable.

    So, much as I dislike the defendant, I'm glad the judgment isn't worse, and I hope he manages to overturn the DCMA portion. I just wish he'd stop spamming WoW with his auto-pilot spammers.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title is required

    I actually agree with Blizzard on this one.

    The DMCA likely wouldn't have been invoked if this was a freely distributed bot, however this bot was being SOLD by a COMPANY in order to MAKE MONEY (not just donations to help compensate a freeware developer for their time). That is where they crossed a line.

    The problem is, as has been previously mentioned, that WoW is a pay-for-access SERVICE that for this bot to operate would require reverse-engineering of the WoW client in order for the software to send the Battle.net server(s) the appropriate calls and to authenticate to that(/those) server(s) in the first place.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    oh come on....

    If there was no unfair advantage to be had, then the product wouldn't exist. It's there to allow real world cash rich players to lord it over those that actually play the game the way it was designed.

    Simples

  28. Luiz Abdala
    FAIL

    Mixed feelings #735

    I don't like bots, like most people here already commented.

    But let's face it, you start playing some class of toon, you learn it, you grow in experience AND YOUR PLAYSKILL with it, playing honestly, you join a Guild, great; you have enjoyed the game.

    But now, you want to create another toon, of a different class, but you want to play the game around your beloved Up-level friends and not stay around newbieville for long. They won't wait your grinding until you reach their level with another toon. You don't have that much friends to give you XP gifts (whatever, I play other MMOs besides WoW), but still... you already have plents of in-game currency...

    Hmm... see a need... fill a need. You have a fat virtual wallet and an unlevelled toon.

    How about Blizz selling XP directly to people that already reached high levels, gobs of $$$, earned respect, collected merit badges, whatever?? Two choices:

    Oh, Blizz has it? My bad, carry on, bots suck.

    Oh Blizz doesn't have it? What are they waiting for? If you manage some form of lazyness for those that already proved their worth, they won't risk getting near a bot. As of playskill, it is your choice if you don't want to grind another toon just to party with your regular folks.

    On other MMOs, there are some equipments that have no bottom limit of usage, so you can equip a freshly created toon with TOP GEAR and power-level in a flash. We called them "golden babies". No special grinding, and you get to follow your friends easily from the get-go.

    It is a win-win-win scenario.

    Blizz wins, it got a player hooked for a while longer, paying monthly fees.

    Your friends win, they now can count on you for more than one class.

    You win, TWICE. You keep playing with your friends and made yourself a favor of learning versatility, making your hobbies more enjoyable.

    Ops, it is a 4-win scenario.

    But in the end, they want you to keep grinding, since logged time counts as addiction and ensures you will be a loyal monthly source of real cash. They should know when they are pushing the grinding too hard, when that sort of things happen.

  29. gdmitchell

    Ends justify the means? Maybe not...

    Using a DMCA provision I think is a complete crock to slap down a bot I think was a blight on WoW... hard to say where I want to come down on this one.

    I've found the attitudes of Glider users (well, I guess most of them are former Glider users at this point) to be a perpetual source of amusement - the Glider forums are filled with people saying, "Well, everyone cheats at WoW in some way or other!" No, they don't, but way to rationalize!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lots of mixed opinions here.

    I'm a long time Guild Wars player. Get caught using a bot and your complete account gets canceled. No need to spend money on lawyers and go to federal court for that.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    WoW Hacking

    Blizzard does some rather sketchy things in terms of tracking a users machine...

    During log on it transmits the contents (back then unencrypted) of a bunch of cookies back to blizz. Apparently they like knowing about if their users are searching for terms like "Mangos" and "Hacking" etc... That's pretty bloody invasive if you ask me,but if you install a binary on your machine and agree to the ToS, you're essentially PwNd by the company you "Licence" the software from.

    Anyway, for giggles last year I spent a few evenings setting up a MangOS server. The basic install was prety straight forward, but the usual deployment method is to force the WoW client to use a local IP, and avoid using Blizzards Launcher (Forces patch updates, and defines which server to can connect to.

    Using MangOS for it's real purpose (Learning how MMO's are built) rather than the usual "I wanna play for free and have a level 255 character with all the skills of every class", I became really curious how the network stack worked, and how blizz handled such a huge infrastructure.

    Firing up wireshark made my draw drop. as of Version 3.3.2 (Now version 4.x so this may well have changed) the whole launcher system was unencrypted, and the actual server-client stream was trivial to decode. A couple of hours later I'd worked out enough to setup my own DNS zones, patch script server and use a totally unmodified client.

    My next project was writing a wireshark plugin that could sniff the interaction between the client and the server. Having access to both ends of the link and the server logs made this pretty straight forwards. It was pretty tedious though!

    My goal was simply to understand the traffic flowing over my local network, and it seemed like a neat "Science experiment", but by the time I was done I had enumerated enough of the protocal to be able to build a network proxy and mess about with the stream in some pretty crazy ways.

    Think along the lines of those old Quake Proxies that auto aimed... And likely as easy to detect server side..

    None of this code was on the PC, and in essence could be considered a home brew version of some of Cisco's tools.

    Of course I was chuffed with myself, and then I found out some clever guys actually wrote a text based client that was written from scratch, ie no unpacked data from the client... Now would that be considered illegal? It's certainly a breach of ToS, and there's no way I'd ever try it against a real server, but I'd argue that that this would be protected behavior under the DMCA, as it allows WoW to be "Played" on a linux box (If you like matrix like interfaces).

    I used to play far to much WoW, but geting into the nuts and bolts of it was a lot more fun than grinding. It's pretty amazing getting "Some" insight into a system that has 30 Million subscribers around the world.

    When it first came out if you could deal with the latency it was quite playable with a modem, and quite possibly still is as just about the only thing on the wire are control characters. Stripping out the server side scripts and mirror of the client software the actual basic server code is not very big at all. This is one of the key reasons that all clients and all servers MUST be running the same code and "Patch Tuesday" exists..

    Anon, for obvious reasons!

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