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View Full Version : Jumping the Gun, by Mr. Anonymous. (4/11)



Woody
April 11th, 2007, 12:04 PM
An anonymous writer at Slashdot has submitted an article discussing the legal tussle between Blizzard and MDY Industries over WoWGlider a program that plays WoW for you. The writer summons forth an interpretation of the legal filing that reads as follows: "Apparently accessing the copy of the game client in RAM using another program infringes upon their rights. Under that logic, users do not even have the right to use anti-virus software in the event that the game becomes infected." The author also calls into question Blizzard's Warden program that scans users computers and sends data back to Blizzard.
Slashdot

From my perspective, that's a ridiculous leap in "logic" but makes for good political commentary on the issue. Reading the legal document (linked in the source article) shows no real room for that kind of interpretation with connecting dots that have no business being connected.

Blizzard, in my opinion at least, has every right to try to put the kibosh on a 3rd party piece of software that basically allows jackasses to screw with server economy and make repetitive tasks such as mining virtually impossible because some bot will always get there before you. Now, I personally hate their Warden program. My data on my computer is mine, they have no right to look at it. So, it's hard for me to decide which is the lesser of two evils: 3rd party asshat programs, or corporate anti-hack programs.

And before you jump to conclusions about the reasons for the comic, I'll tell you the purpose... sometimes posting the unbelievable/questionable will draw more attention to the real issue than the real issue will itself. And, I'm okay taking flak if it means you guys actually go out and read about the situation. Like I've said many times before "that's part of my job".
____________________
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Anjel
April 11th, 2007, 12:14 PM
Love the comic Woody, I actually signed up just to respond to this one and I have been reading the comic for sometime. I do believe that 3rd party programs should be completely banned. And as for software that scans our computers, I think that Blizzard should give us the option to have em, but not require them to be there.

Just another thought tho, did anyone reading the comic think that it made Blizzards look like the bad guy for a moment?

Opkier
April 11th, 2007, 12:24 PM
To be honest, I'd rather deal with Blizzard's anti-hack software, than anything. I'm already constantly plagued by gold farmers on a daily basis, either while out farming or standing around Shattrath with their little macros to tell me to go buy from such and such website.

Rzar
April 11th, 2007, 12:25 PM
I thought it made Blizz out to be the bad guy too.

I think bliz should have every right to try and stop 3rd party apps from screwing up the game. I really don't like their spyware program though. We are saposed to trust that they are only looking at data related to wow......

senecalp
April 11th, 2007, 12:28 PM
Jackholes out!, spyware...*grumbles* in.

Surely you weren't surprised to see the guys over at /. be a little over zealous about something. Having said that, I subscribe to their rss as do I yours.

Anjel
April 11th, 2007, 12:29 PM
I really don't like their spyware program though. We are saposed to trust that they are only looking at data related to wow......


I do believe Blizz is trustworthy in that. Let's look at how successful they are with WoW. Why would they jeapordize it with being a little sneakier about looking around people's computers?

shmoooey
April 11th, 2007, 12:30 PM
WTB Tinfoil Hat!!!

LegendsCafe
April 11th, 2007, 12:32 PM
And as for software that scans our computers, I think that Blizzard should give us the option to have em, but not require them to be there.
That would be entirely counter productive to the Warden's only purpose.

The only thing the Warden does is scan for third party 'cheat' (e.g. botting) software. If it was optional, it would be obsolete. The program doesn't even scan whole system files, nor does it send any information back to Blizzard unless a red flag was raised for possible third party cheat software.

Nekojin
April 11th, 2007, 12:36 PM
That's correct... Warden only watches for actively running programs in the system. It doesn't scan files on hard drives.

da'G-ELLO
April 11th, 2007, 12:48 PM
I'd heard something about this long ago, and it still doesn't sit right with me. The idea that I'm paying them to spy on my computer just sucks. Even if it is just active programs.

The comic did make blizzard out to be the badguys. Rightfully so.

I thought it was satirically funny.

loupdinour
April 11th, 2007, 12:57 PM
Me, not knowing one lick of programming or even a method to investigate personally what Warden does, I have to rely on what Blizzard and others (players) have said about the program. To what I've read, it will only look at the processes currently running while WoW.exe is running. As long as what is said is what it does, I have no problem with Warden, beyond the smidgen of processor usage it'll sap while running.

As for the topic of innocents getting gacked by a false-positive given by Warden....I would like to see the ratio of false-positives vs real bots. You often see/hear of people "wrongly accused" on the boards or on Vent. However, the vocal minority shouldn't be the sample that is taken. Alot of people cry/whine on the WoW forums, however their comment's shouldn't be taken as "gospel". I'm sure Warden is hitting people who are innocent, but I hope that it hits ALOT more of people who are using bots/hacks.

Where is the point where the ends justify the means?

elionbel
April 11th, 2007, 12:58 PM
I completely agree Woody.

In fact, this is a much heated debate on the WoW Customer Service forums as well. And if you were to stroll over to some of the bot sites and troll their forums, you'd be surprised at some of the commentary over there just laying out on their open forums regarding the game:

Botter: Omg, so last night I went to bed and stuck the bot on a loop program so I could wake up to 300g in the bank when all of a sudden this GM messages me like 3 hours later...I totally had to wake up and answer him!! OMG the nerve of some of these GMs. I mean...people DO have to sleep sometime!

meh. "kill'em all" i say!

and that's good album to listen to for when you're raiding... :D

Dairine Redhawk
April 11th, 2007, 01:10 PM
Go Blizzard Go!!!

It is getting to the point where I am thinking of quiting due to the amount of Gold seller advertising I'm getting. I turn in each and every one of these bozo's to the GM's and sometimes the GM's get so many that they can't talk to me about it at all. Goldsellers and Powerlevelers are the people who are using WoWGlider. I've read over the court papers and Blizzard is in the right to go after this guy. MORE power to them.

naura
April 11th, 2007, 01:15 PM
Botter: Omg, so last night I went to bed and stuck the bot on a loop program so I could wake up to 300g in the bank when all of a sudden this GM messages me like 3 hours later...I totally had to wake up and answer him!! OMG the nerve of some of these GMs. I mean...people DO have to sleep sometime!


does the bot wake you up when a GM messages you too?!? :P

as for blizz scanning my computer... i don't do anything wrong nor i have anything to hide... so i don't really care.

Twyll Oathtaker
April 11th, 2007, 01:18 PM
Had a buddy get banned for using a UI feature that reminded me sort of a stock ticker (sp?) some of his info would scroll across the screen. Makes me alittle afraid of using any kind of UI extras at all.

IS_Wolf
April 11th, 2007, 01:19 PM
Two things also have to be said though.

a) Blizzard already has all the information they need to rip someone off, if they were to choose to do so, they don't need the Warden for that (people themselves provide enough information when making their account for stuff like that).

So some of the arguments I've heard against it, since it was introduced, about how it infringes upon privacy and how they could lead to Blizzard having access to sensitive financial information (how about keeping the gaming computer seperate from the work comp, if one is really that worried).. Or, the age old, what about if Blizzard gets hacked and hackers get access to this Warden info..

Uh... If, Hackers get through Blizzard security, then they'll be heading for the Billing and Account Services Department section and plundering their DB of all the info they'd need to pull off some ID theft. Warden info doesn't even come close on their wishlist, I suspect.

b) As for Mr. Anon poster.. Writing style and word choice looks very familiar to me.. If, it is who I think it is, then you can take his rambling about as serious as Wacky Jack on a Rockstar Game. Small hint, chap is involved in the writing of hacks for WoW. So that should say enough, he has been complaining about the Warden ever since it was introduced. It's pretty much a race between him finding ways around the Warden and Blizzard making the Warden even more savy, when it comes to these types of work arounds.

Side note, the Warden really is not that different from Punkbuster, which is on a lot of games as well. It's just somewhat more effective. *grins*

Twyll, it rather depends on the add-on he was using. If it uses Blizzard's own lua script, then there shouldn't be any foul. Blizzard tends to remove functionality from the script, if they find it allows something they don't like (see previous versions of Decursive). If, it's .exe based on the other hand, then there's reason to worry.

All, I can say is, without plugging for the site, where I'm a moderator *grins*, there are a couple of sites, who provide add-ons, which are perfectly fine with Blizzard. The good sites have a working relationship with Blizzard, they host something that Blizzard doesn't like. Blizzard gives a call and the mod gets yanked from circulation. I know that we did that right before the changes effecting toon skins, which now require modifying the .mpq files, which is a bannable offense btw. We don't host stuff like that no more.

Yorrick
April 11th, 2007, 01:20 PM
I hate the fact that they can look at your personal data on your computer, but the End-User License Agreement (EULA) on any computer program states it has authority, as given by the end user, to access your computers personal data at any given time. It's a necessary evil that when we all hit that "I Agree" button. It's a double-edged sword based on the fact that, yes we want to have a license to the game we bought, but we don't want any "Big Brother" watching over our backs and seeing our personal data. I just wonder how many people stop to read the whole length of any of the EULA's that you hit "I Agree" to.

Again, I wish it were not as such, but we've all agreed to let them have access to those files on our computer if we installed the program, which includes almost all of the operating systems out there, unless you made it yourself.

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/legal/termsofuse.shtml

lordwolfy
April 11th, 2007, 01:24 PM
Well, actually I love the idea to kill off any progs that lets you leave your computer and let it mess up the balance of the game. I mean why should someone make a whole lot of gold, by letting a program run around and mine every known mine in the whole dang world. It's kinda unfair, if you ask me. You go Blizzard!! :D

Icebreaker
April 11th, 2007, 01:27 PM
Sure, the idea of Blizzard "banning 3rd party programs" while at the same time running its own program seems contradictory and oxymoronic, I do agree where Blizzard is coming from to ensure equal gameplay.

Nonetheless, great comic.

phierbrd
April 11th, 2007, 01:37 PM
Actually I think that MMORPG companies are the bad guy in this case. If they don't want people hacking their programs and using 3rd party clients, then perhaps they should invest some time and development in adding adaquate encryption and security technology. If they would write secured clients that properly encrypt and defend the data stored on the machine as well as going to and from the machine, 3rd party software would go away because it woudl not be cost effective to make.

Oh wait that might cost money!!! So instead of trying to fix the underlying issue the company instead chooses to infringe on peoples privacy in the name of policing the use of their product.

Just my two cents,

skippy
April 11th, 2007, 01:42 PM
I am also of the mindset that I'm torn. I despise with a serious passion the concept of some program snooping around on my computer. I also dislike the affect botting programs have on the game economy. I know someone, not myself, who has used WoWGlider. They used it for fishing, because they didn't want to grind up the skill.

As a side note, one should make effort to remember there's a difference between running a bot to make money, and selling gold, and trashing the AH economy. I suspect this action on Blizzards part is because they want to stop botting (or if you believe the conspiracy theories they want to LOOK like they want to stop botting). They realize that the most heinous users of these things are usually the gold farmers, but they consider a canceled account as just another business expense. Their controversial warden program is obviously not creating the desires cessation of this activity they would like. The only other recourse is to try to attack the company making the botting program.

Now I'm going to slip into devils advocate mode and irritate people...

The fact is many gold selling sites buy gold from regular players who have excess, then mark it up and sell it for a profit. One site I remember seeing had the current rate on my server as about $50 per 1,000 gold, which is down as it was $160/1000g at one point. (No, never used any site like this, but it's an interesting thing to watch). At the $160/1000 rate I could have at one point sold all the gold I had and paid for the HDTV I just purchased.

Another interesting aside to this. If arena teams are starting to get corporate sponsorship then how high is the ground of preaching that someone should not be making real world cash off a game? ("I just got a new video card cause I'm really good at the arenas and have a sponsor" v. "I just got a new video card cause I farmed a bunch of herbs and converted the gold into cash to buy a card with")

From the "what's the root cause of this" file. Why do so many people need to buy gold now a days? I can think of two reasons off hand. A) Consumables for raiding. B) 5,000 gold for an epic flying mount. Who designed those two mechanics? Why couldn't epic flying mount have been a quest line you completed instead of a purchase for instance?

Of course if you set the precedent that observing something running in a way which the creator does not want you to is illegal then there are buckets of worms you open up legally. So having a program watch your incoming Direct TV stream and pause recording when it sees a commercial is illegal if DirectTV doesn't offer that service itself? (tivo modifiers take note..) You have a program that helps you manage your bids on eBay and try to snipe auctions... tsk tsk... the DCMA wants to have a word with you...

Woody
April 11th, 2007, 01:46 PM
Like I said, I think Anonymous's take on the situation is ridiculoud and I completely support Blizzard in their suit against WoWGlider.

The comic is intentionally poking at Blizzard because that's more likely to get people to read about the lawsuit. If you read the lawsuit (linked in the source article) I did my job.

The writeup leaves it a little open, but I do think Warden is the lesser of two evils.

Ktok
April 11th, 2007, 01:55 PM
The concern shown over companies scanning our computers has always baffled me. To the absolute best of my knowledge, there is nothing illegal or even embarrassing on my computer. Why should I care if a company that already has my credit card information is looking at my PC? I trust them to take money from me every month without over charging me, so do I really *really* care that they might see EQ2 up at the same time as WoW? Not in the least. I hope they find my addictions amusing.

As for Warden specifically, my only complaint is that I seriously despise fishing in WoW and if I could automate it to get my skill up, honestly, I would. Warden keeps me honest in that regard, minor though it is. Good for it.

To the point that game companies are at fault because they don’t develop bulletproof means of sending data, this concept is flawed in every way. You would also have to say that the victim of a random shooting is at fault, not the gunman, because surely that random citizen should have known better than to not venture to the corner store without donning a full set of body armor. The fault lies in the perpetrators of the crime, not the victims.

I really wish more MMO companies would be as strict with third party applications as Blizzard has been. I recently returned to EQ2 after several months away, and one my very first night back, I was greeted by the ever-present “tank, healer, three nukers” plat farming bot group. At any given time on our server they can be found in the same regions, killing the same mobs, generally depriving legitimate players of quest drops in the process. SOE does precious little to beat them down. Perhaps they need to add Warden to their list of ideas to take from Blizzard.

loupdinour
April 11th, 2007, 01:59 PM
The only other recourse is to try to attack the company making the botting program.

Is it so much a "company" that is making the botting program or something along the lines of an open-source hacking ring?

The stereotypical pimply-faced hacker living in his parents basement coding up a new botting program to fool Warden isn't much a "company" per se (nothing against people who have pimples, are hackers or even those who live in their parent's basement...just stating a stereotype).

Beyond that nit-pick of mine...yes, targeting the people that need to be targeted more is more effective. That is why I have always been along side those who wish for those who BUY gold to be punished more than those who SELL gold. Place the loss of their account along with the loss of real world money over the heads of would-be-buyers and IMHO the gold-buying economy will crumble.

What if some country would start executing anyone found using illegal substances, would the sale of those substances go drastically down in that country? I sure hope they would, even if it would be the lack of repeat customers. ~sickly chuckle~

Enydimon
April 11th, 2007, 02:09 PM
I'm going to have to side with Blizzard myself. Sure, some people might be a bit uneasy about Warden, but unless you've got something else running that you shouldn't be, I don't see an issue.

Maybe innocent players will get hit, maybe because there was something on their machine they didn't know about was running. Theres a good side and a bad side to everything. The question is, how often does that happen?

It may not be 100% perfect, but I think the bigger picture, in my opinion, is the purpose.

Someone who produces a 3rd party program so someone can bot, ruin economy for everyone else and take an easy way out while others put effort into their characters is not looking after people's gaming experience.

Blizzard is making an effort to stop that.

Thats just what I think.

DashCat9
April 11th, 2007, 02:14 PM
This company doesn't have a leg to stand on. Not only are they distributing software that blatantly violates the EULA...but they are also charging for it (which I believe is against one copyright law or another).

Ban the people that are using it, and shut the company down. Go Blizz!

Nekojin
April 11th, 2007, 02:17 PM
Writing code that is so thoroughly bulletproof that it can't be hacked or reverse-engineered, and/or have the data-stream so thoroughly protected, is for all practical purposes impossible. Hackers are talented; they can figure out ways to crack even the most secure software given time and interest (and when there's real world money to be made from it, you can bet there's interest).

And despite all that, even if Blizzard was somehow able to achieve this impossibly high standard, it would still be wasted effort and money the first time an employee with an axe to grind took the unencrypted software - or, even worse, the information on how their data streams are encrypted - out of the company.

I honestly believe that Blizzard is doing the best they can to try to keep their game untainted by cheats, cracks, and so on. This is simply sound policy - people stop playing games when cheats become too prevalent and widespread, and any cheat that goes unpatched in an MMO quickly becomes widespread.

Warden isn't really an invasion of privacy, despite the occasional outcries of people who don't understand it. When they first launched Warden, they were actually very forthright about it; they weren't trying to sneak something in. Naturally, the people who never bothered to read the patch notes or keep aware of community news assumed that Blizzard was trying to pull some sort of fast one. There was a huge outcry among the gaming community, with the related privacy concerns, over the matter... until Blizzard explained (in broad details, not specifics, of course) about how Warden worked. The general response of the gaming community at that time was, more or less, "Oh, is that all?"

In brief: Warden runs when WoW runs. It scans all active tasks, and compares them against a list of known "problem cases." If there's a match, the accounts used get banned. I don't know how fine or accurate this search is, but from what I understand, it's pretty good. The results of Warden are not saved anywhere. All that Blizzard gets back from Warden is a notice that X account was running Y banned program at Z time. It doesn't keep a log of all of the active program scanned anywhere.

How is this invasive?

Wired
April 11th, 2007, 02:20 PM
Being one of those "false Positives" that blizzard banned without a second thought, I will tell you how the process goes.

Step 1) You get banned(supposedly for Botting, in my case).

Step 2) You find out, and if you don't just go "oh well it was just a game, Real life here I come!" you write an email to Blizzard.

Step 3) Blizzard replies with an automated response, sending you to another department.

Step 4) You write to the new department

Step 5) Blizzard claims they've gotten all the evidence from your computer they need, you're staying banned.

Step 6)Write back asking for a copy of the evidence, if step 5 wasn't enough.

Step 7) "The information we pulled from your computer is our property and we cannot show it to you"

So on, so forth. I did this for about 2 months, put a post to the BBB in the area(blizzard blew them off) and I just shrugged and went on my merry way. I just steer people away from it, calling it the "Meth" of the Game industry.

The reason why I fought so hard? I've played the game since beta. And while I was a little upset at how the game turned out, I was having fun in my own little way, PVPing with friends and ganking lvl 60s with a group of three lvl 40s. I just wanted to try to get my account back, and if I did I'd of probably of handed out all my gold at the Abby(newbie area for humans.)

I'm disappointed in Blizzard to say the least. However I found out that such important developers such as as Bill Roper left years ago, I pretty much understand how things got to how they are.


Step 7 is what really got to me - not actually being banned for something I didn't do. Sorry for the long rant to just get to this point. They claimed to have just plucked info off of my computer - ya know, data that probably is mine - and are using it as evidence, without actually showing the evidence. Thats like saying, "We have photographs of you at the scene of the crime, stabbing the victim in the crotch! But, we wont show you!."

In the end, yes - its a ploy to get people to repurchase WoW. Check those botting forums. I know I did once I found out what I was accused of. Nearly all of them re-purchased all of their wow software just to play again. Most likely even those falsly accused did the same thing.

Blizzard didn't do this to clean up their servers. They did it to refill their coffers.


(PS: if you're going to reply to my post, please don't go "You probably really botted" : you don't know. Neither of us can really prove it, and it's not the point. If you Want proof, try asking blizzard. I'm sure they'll be happy to refuse it to you.)

Devilsbane
April 11th, 2007, 02:24 PM
Originally Posted by Ktok
I recently returned to EQ2 after several months away, and one my very first night back, I was greeted by the ever-present “tank, healer, three nukers” plat farming bot group. At any given time on our server they can be found in the same regions, killing the same mobs, generally depriving legitimate players of quest drops in the process. SOE does precious little to beat them down. Perhaps they need to add Warden to their list of ideas to take from Blizzard.

Those are easy to deal with. Kill all the mobs they are killing. Wait until they spawn a named and attack it first. Charm some npc(s), invis your group, then go stand by the farm squad. Wait until they engage something, then camp out to character select. Go right back in and dance on their corpses.

niveck
April 11th, 2007, 02:26 PM
i think the comic is rather funny since it's woody's take on how Blizzard would answer to constant hackers. Just ban PCs in general and that should stop them.
in general i am behind Blizzard on the lawsuit. the glider is a cheat, plain and simple. it seems harmless enough in that it doesn't do anything to any of WoW's files, but it allows someone to walk away from their computer and it continues to play for them. that's cheating. now, i know for a fact that this happens in other games. i saw it when i played Lineage 2. there was a group who had several accounts per person and they would farm gold constantly, sell it to companies that would buy gold to resell, then continue with what they were doing. not uncommon in any game really.
now, my problem with Blizzard is their Warden program. at it's core, it's a spyware prog that's rooting through a PC for info. I know it's there to find hack detection software, but what bothers me is that it's on all the time after you install WoW. so now i pose the question, why is that necessary? why can't it just run during the use of WoW and why does it need to be hidden?

Enydimon
April 11th, 2007, 02:28 PM
I'm siding with Blizzard myself.

Unless you have something running while playing WoW that shouldn't be there, I don't see a problem. There might be an innocent player who has something on their computer that they don't know is there and gets hit by it. In all honesty, I don't know how often that would happen but I suspect it to be low. There is a good and a bad to everything.

The people who produce these 3rd party programs so people can bot, ruin the economy and take an easy way out are not looking at the best interest of the gaming experience. Those players who worked hard and ligit to obtain what they got are not benefitting from these kinds of programs.

Blizzard is doing something about it.

In my opinion, the big picture is who is looking at the gamers best interest.

Thats what I think myself.

Avaro
April 11th, 2007, 02:31 PM
*Hiss* An Alliance T-shirt.
BLASPHEMY!!!

loupdinour
April 11th, 2007, 02:36 PM
Step 7 is what really got to me - not actually being banned for something I didn't do. Sorry for the long rant to just get to this point. They claimed to have just plucked info off of my computer - ya know, data that probably is mine - and are using it as evidence, without actually showing the evidence. Thats like saying, "We have photographs of you at the scene of the crime, stabbing the victim in the crotch! But, we wont show you!."

In the non-legally binding emails you had back and forth, they had no need to show the evidence. If you would go as far to get a court hearing with them, they would have to present their evidence at that point. If you make a "higher power" force their hand, then you'll see what they pulled as "evidence". Otherwise, you are just Joe Hacker in their eyes and they are give you the cold shoulder.

Saying that it's all a conspiracy to sell more boxes is going too far IMHO. That IS a punishment to those who are botting, a small...small punishment in comparison. To those wrongly accused, it would seem as if they just want more box sales, to a hacker it's another hour's pay down the tube.

Phainein Terra
April 11th, 2007, 02:40 PM
That's the thing, however; if Blizzard incorporates this Warden program as an integral part of their WoW client, we as customers really don't have a right to complain. All you have to do is not accept it, not play, not give Blizzard your money. That's how you say "no" to things that game companies put out. That's why I don't play Vanguard even though I suspect the game is very good. I simply refuse to buy anything that part of the money I spend goes into SOE's pockets because I refuse to support their business practices. You can do the very same thing by simply cancelling your WoW subscription.

IMO, the blame is on those who degredate the very point of "game" by mechanizing the process and turning a profit out of it; people who make these botting hax and secondary marketers (farmers). If they didn't do crap like this in the first place nobody would feel a need to make programs designed to stop them. It's the case of some people ruining it for everyone. It sucks, but that's human society.

Ktok
April 11th, 2007, 02:52 PM
I know it's there to find hack detection software, but what bothers me is that it's on all the time after you install WoW. so now i pose the question, why is that necessary? why can't it just run during the use of WoW and why does it need to be hidden?

As stated earlier by another poster, Warden only runs when WoW is currently running, and does not report anything that doesn't match a list of "problem" applications running at the same time as WoW. If you don't run programs along side of WoW that could be considered suspicious, then you don't have anything to worry about. Blizzard is also not hiding Warden in any way other than keeping you from manually shutting it off, which is something they have to do lest it completely defeat the purpose.

Yes, there are people claiming to be falsely banned... but in my experience these people were doing something wrong. Sort of like the people who scream bloody murder when their name gets changed in an MMO, and then you ask them what their name was, and they either won't tell you or it turns out it was "Hooters" or "Muhtingishuge".

warlockco
April 11th, 2007, 02:57 PM
While "forcing" people to buy another copy of the game could be considered a goal, the true goal of any subscriber service is to retain current customers and acquire more customers, not to replace one with another.
Which is why alot of ISPs tend to offer a free month or two if you say you are going to switch or cancel, they usually see that as a small price to pay to retain you for your money in the long term.

As to Blizzard going after this company, I say go for it.
I am sick of being spammed via tells or by mail in game to go to this site or that site to either buy gold or powerleveling.

Sabby
April 11th, 2007, 02:59 PM
The warden program doesn't scan your software though - it merely checks the titles of windows you have open; looking for known hacking software. There was a writeup on it somewhere....

multitaskingmama
April 11th, 2007, 03:03 PM
<coughs> it's all an evil plot to make everyone play the WoW cardgame :P

Devilsbane
April 11th, 2007, 03:03 PM
Originally Posted by Ktok
As stated earlier by another poster, Warden only runs when WoW is currently running, and does not report anything that doesn't match a list of "problem" applications running at the same time as WoW. If you don't run programs along side of WoW that could be considered suspicious, then you don't have anything to worry about. Blizzard is also not hiding Warden in any way other than keeping you from manually shutting it off, which is something they have to do lest it completely defeat the purpose.

Okay need more info about warden please. Is it a seperate program? Does it need to be running for WoW to run? If it is a seperate program and WoW does not require it to play. Then the hackers simply use their firewall to stop it from accessing the internet.

starman7
April 11th, 2007, 03:08 PM
Enydimon, what if you had your web browser looking at adult sites? That shouldn't be running.

Seriously, though, I see no problem with Warden. Good points have been raised beforehand, and even if Blizzard tried, it would have to sift through god-knows-how-much stuff for relatively minimal profit, with a massive risk. If they wanted to do something illegal... you already provided a boatload of identity information. Really they'll stay honest with Warden-abusing it would be too much risk for too little gain.

And if they did crack down on 3'rd party programs, a lot of honest modders would be very angry (99% of raiders use common 3'rd party programs like CT, Titan Toolbar, etc). And I do hate all botters, though really I wouldn't mind having it grind up my fishing skill if I got WoW again... But that's more an issue with flawed game design than draconian policies (I am NOT saying Blizz uses draconian policies-don't misinterpret me).

Sarria
April 11th, 2007, 03:22 PM
I do believe Blizz is trustworthy in that. Let's look at how successful they are with WoW. Why would they jeapordize it with being a little sneakier about looking around people's computers?

From my understanding all the Warden program does is it collects data on the names of programs, files, and folders that you happen to have open at the time Warden is running. Nothing too serious. Its not like Blizzard is peeking around in your e-underwear drawer searching for goodies. ... I think.

P.S. Great comic, Woody. The new formatting looks awesome.

Tristate0999
April 11th, 2007, 03:34 PM
Well there are always going to be people looking to cut corners in games, and WoW is so vastly popular I was just waiting for this to happen. I heard about this issue with WoWGlider a while back on the forums, but after I quit WoW this is the latest news I've heard of it. I honestly don't see how the company that created and distributes WoWGlider see they have any case. Nor can I see how Mr. Anonymous draws up his conclusions.

Markusdark
April 11th, 2007, 03:37 PM
Enydimon, what if you had your web browser looking at adult sites? That shouldn't be running.



Then it would show that you had your web browser running - not the content that was on the web browser. Hence your Furry Ninja Skritchfest 2007 invitation is still private. :)

I read the case and although he makes good arguements, he keeps on glossing over the fact that the increase in gold could adversely affect the game.

But here's something of a point. I've been playing this game, off and on, since day 1. And since day 2, there's been the cry that gold farmers are ruining the in-game economy. I play on many different servers from first launched ones to brand new ones (seems my friends are very fickle). But I have not noticed any major issues with it. Stuff is still being sold, perhaps a little bit more but no major inflation IMO.

In fact, what suddenly inflated prices on may raw materials was the release of Jewelcrafting by Blizzard. Copper ore went from 45s a stack to 3 gold. It is now down to half that, but still more than three times what it was before the release of the new professions. And don't even bother looking at the cost of the actual jewels.

I will not deny that on some games, especially ones with lower populations, that gold farming and selling can have an adverse affect on an MMO, but in the case of WoW, it is, IMO, barely noticable.

Oh, as for the overall thing, yes I do believe Blizzard should shut them down. If they don't want something mucking with their game so be it.

But, think of it this way. People often say that a bot gives the player an unfair advantage - being able to play while not at the computer. Does that mean that those who actually can play for 14 hours a day have an unfair advantage over those who can only play 2? IMO< if someone wants to pay $30 for a bot to play a game for them that they are paying $15 a month for - what really is the big deal? They're just trying to say on a level field with those who can afford to play more hours than them.

DashCat9
April 11th, 2007, 03:47 PM
I don't think that having more time to play is an unfair advantage at all. It's an advantage for sure, but not unfair in any way.

In my opinion, that's like saying people who have the time to practice at sports, and become more skilled than others, have an unfair advantage.

Using that same analogy...If someone uses what is considered a known banned substance to gain an advantage, they would be suspended or banned from the sport.

My two cents on the matter. :-)

Ska
April 11th, 2007, 03:47 PM
MDY‟s software has not damaged the defendants monetarily, nor has it damaged the reputation or game play of World of Warcraft.

I think that's the basis for the lawsuit on both sides. Has WoWGlider harmed WoW's reputation? IMO, it has. You can make an argument for the exact opposite side of the coin, and a damn good one at that.

What it comes down to in the end is this:
A) Do you prefer fairness in the game? Do you value the time you put in to the game more than the money you pay?
or
B) Do you think the tedium of the game ought to be avoidable by someone that can pay for it? Throw out fairness, and whoever has the most money can start off the best?

If you think we should be able to buy level 70 characters and gold for real world money, then you're in column B.
If you think we should all get a fair shot at it, and be required to work for our accomplishments, you're in column A.

In the end, it depends on what kind of gamer you are. While I have joked a thousand times about paying to have my Shaman leveled, I would never do it because I know how proud I will be having finished leveling her.

Arctic_Slicer
April 11th, 2007, 03:50 PM
Blizzard is not the only company that uses programs like warden. Ever hear of punkbuster or gameguard? Those are the type of programs that many other games use. Such programs have become a reality of online gaming.

This post has been editted to be less confrontational. Learn the lesson further posts like that could get you in Easy Ways trouble.

DMEnoc
April 11th, 2007, 04:04 PM
We truly don't know what exactly warden collects.

We can honestly drop it looks for the name of the program because that wouldn't tell them crap because, for instance, all the company would need to do is change the name of the program.

I had a friend who decided to use this program, changed the name of its processes, the name of the program and any tell tale sign of it (no I don't know how he did it, maybe it was an option of the program he was using). The program he used let him program his own routes so he had it running him all around the zone he was in. Blizzard caught him using it.

He wasn't mad at all because he cheated and knew it. However, it definitely brings into question, what does warden actually do.

Warden is much different than Punkbuster from the way I understand it. Punkbuster only prevents you from using modified game files while playing.

Woody
April 11th, 2007, 04:05 PM
I can see both sides of the Warden debate. But, for me, I don't want any program running on my computer that looks beyond itself. Hard to do when companies hide such programs. Blizzard, at least, doesn't hide Warden.

KaiTenSatsuma
April 11th, 2007, 04:24 PM
Blizzard has to put up at least a small fight, and they are trying to solve the problem at the core instead of just banning people who use the problem to their advantage (ringing any bells?), and a program that plays games for you is disliked in all game types, web browser, MMORPG or console, so it seems logical to do something about it, though part of the fault is that the game gets repetetive and boring, but watching people get things that they had not earned is worse, especially if youre a hard at work miner/blacksmith seeing someone beat you to an ore and fly away automatically on a path, and a set path at that.

Then you get to the Auction House and see that same ore from the same person at an outragous price, and the price spikes go for all materials and ingredients, so in part Blizzard is protecting their in-game economy in this move.

Making a program that checks your computer though is a bit too far, another way they could handle it is to make the game ask for user input every hour or so, a randomized code of letters (such as used in browser games) to copy into the text box beneith it, if you do not enter it in about say.... 5 minutes, the game automatically boots you on suspicion of using the software, 5 minutes so if youre in a raid or group fighting a boss, you dont get your butt handed to you. (I understand the AFK portion of this problem, but its a small cost, just keep a better eye on the clock)

sounds good?

Bossie
April 11th, 2007, 04:25 PM
I really dislike the whole goldselling whisper and mailspam.
I play an Undead Priest, am specced for healing and am in a small but good guild (49 members total, but 2 Karazhan groups at any time minimum).
I've also played since WoW came out and worked my way up in levels, skills and reputation with other players.

Other healers (and probably tanks as well nowadays) will recognise the problem with getting a whisperspam as soon as you log in or head for Shattrath or any other capital city. 25+ Whispers/hour while idling in a city isn't hard at all if you are a known healer, but it appears that I get whispered about 10-15x per hour by goldselling companies as well.

Why would I care for powerleveling services and buying gold? I am 70 already, got my epic mount by hard work and some donations from friends out of pity ("awwww, a holy priest trying to farm... HOW CUTE!"), the only thing it does is make me enjoy the game a tad less.

I also find it very frustrating that you can encounter bots at any given point and Blizzard doesn't seem to be doing anything against it.
In fact, what really strikes me is that when I reported a player that I suspected to be botting, I got a warning myself for harassment.
I was playing on my human rogue in WPL, where I noticed another rogue farming undeads at Chillwind. Appearantly, it is not allowed to whisper a farming character 5x with a simple sentence, then training 15 mobs onto him to make him die... about 15 times... In a row...
Any normal player would either log out, whisper you, make an emotion to you or report you to a GM. In the end I finally got a nice GM to contact me that admitted that he should give me a 'formal warning' (yes, it really makes me shiver when I hear that *cough*), but explained to me that they could not do anything against that player, seeing as they had no proof about the player running any programs that allowed for that action. He did tell me to be carefull about talking to GMs about me getting people killed on purpose that are from the same faction on a PvP server ("That's the Horde's job").

Did anyone else also got the feeling most of the bots are Alliance?

Regards,
One very angry Hordie

Bossie
April 11th, 2007, 04:30 PM
Making a program that checks your computer though is a bit too far, another way they could handle it is to make the game ask for user input every hour or so, a randomized code of letters (such as used in browser games) to copy into the text box beneith it, if you do not enter it in about say.... 5 minutes, the game automatically boots you on suspicion of using the software, 5 minutes so if youre in a raid or group fighting a boss, you dont get your butt handed to you.

sounds good?
Not really... The last thing I need in a hard raidfight is a box popping up asking me to enter a code or getting kicked. I idle out a lot (dinner, walking the dog, etc) and I don't mind about that. What I do not need however is having to put a 5digit code in at a certain moment during a try at the Prince or at Aran. Even if the code is only 4 seconds work to put it, that is about 9k health for my tank, which in turn means that I do not have to heal 9 other people from overaggroing or, worse, rezzing 9 others after logging back in...


P.S.; sorry for the double post in a row, KaiTen posted while i was typing the other one and it's getting late here in Holland

VermillionZ
April 11th, 2007, 04:54 PM
Will table dance for gold
Accepting donations for portaling
Want to sell slightly used Spoon of rusting, Fork or Dispair, Knife of Cunning, and gold farmer sweat shop in Oakvale!
100% slave labor for all your needs!
*set for auto repeat while running around in Stormwind on auto pilot*

kitono
April 11th, 2007, 05:00 PM
I must say although a little decieved, I think I'd prefer the anti-3rd party software. I've got nothing to hide as a law abiding citizen, but as soon as blizzard steps over the line (the line being ANY information programs directly or indirectly affecting the WoW folder) then I think they have no right to look at the information that we have on our computers, I can just imagine a bunch of blizzard exec's going through my porn right now >.>

No.6
April 11th, 2007, 05:03 PM
Blizzard (and every other game company) offers a product. They're free to enforce their copyright and EULA by any means they see fit.

We, the customer, have the choice either to accept these means or conversely elect not to purchase the product.

For instance, Simbin offered its first driving sim, GTR, with Starforce copy protection. For reasons which are searchable on the web related to that copy protection, I elected not to purchase GTR. Simbin was within its rights to expect people to pay for the game, and I was within my rights to elect to skip that game.

The interplay between the producers' rights and customers' rights is, I think, well-illustrated by the fact that Simbin elected to use a different copy protection method for GTR2 and that I eagerly purchased the game.

The only malfeasance on the part of producers, in my opinion, is if they fail to inform their customers of their actions, to give them a knowledgable choice.

Personally I wouldn't blink an eye if Blizzard flatlined botters, and I don't even play WoW. Ah well, maybe someday the 'net will be able to bite back. :)

Shade0591
April 11th, 2007, 05:14 PM
HAHAHAHAHA! At first this was going to be a smacky wacky strip, though I recalled you saying not giving him the opportunity for him to be on the front page again, so that was out of the question. As soon as I read it, I laughed so hard at it.

That was a strange article and had a few attacks on Blizzard that should be investigated. With that-it's absurd-I imagined people trying to play WoW on a Commodore 64. I dont know why, but that's the first thing I thought.

Yirr
April 11th, 2007, 05:31 PM
Where i live, the law regulating customer purchases are rather strict. Among other, it states that no company can add user agreements which leaves the customer at a weaker legal standing then what is provided for in the law. This is regardless of wheither or not you agree to such an clause.

Not long ago, there was in fact a lawsuit regarding the copyprotection put on some CD's by companies to stop copying. This protection also means that the CD is unplayable in most computers, many cd players, ect...
Long story short? the lawsuit won through, and the copyprotection was ruled unlawful, as it infringed on curstomer rights.
The EULA provided by Blizzard has in other words no actual legal standing in a few countries, though a lawsuit would be needed to "ram the fact through" i suspect.

Though on the issue of 3 party 'bot software vs. blizzards anti-bot software, i will have to place myself (tentatively) on Blizzards side.
But while I agree that bot use should be banned and stopped, i am certainly not very happy that blizzard is scanning my files, even though it is just the active files currently running.
Do i have something to hide? -Absolutely not.
Do i still treasure my privacy? -Absolutely.
I think Blizzard should be very careful about implementing such programs without the users consent, as their reputation is in many way becomming somewhat tarnished, especcially in Europe. (poor customer service, frequent crashes at times, no feedback, ect.)

Bottom line though? Of two evils, i guess Blizzards anti-bot program is the least.

Oh! And grrrreat comic man! Kinda nailed the situation on the head ^^

xphenix
April 11th, 2007, 05:38 PM
Remind me of a windows patch last week, ask of you to install a program to monitor your hds and send back info to Microsoft for ... well forgot the reason and don't care about it as I'm far from trusting them anywhere near that.

lord667
April 11th, 2007, 06:19 PM
We truly don't know what exactly warden collects.

We can honestly drop it looks for the name of the program because that wouldn't tell them crap because, for instance, all the company would need to do is change the name of the program.

I had a friend who decided to use this program, changed the name of its processes, the name of the program and any tell tale sign of it (no I don't know how he did it, maybe it was an option of the program he was using). The program he used let him program his own routes so he had it running him all around the zone he was in. Blizzard caught him using it.

That probably had nothing to do with the Warden. Bots are still bots no matter how sophisticated they get, and no matter how circuitous your friend's programmed route might have been, if a GM caught him confusedly running into a tree, backing up and running into it again at a slightly different angle, or someone ninja-tagged 20 of his kills in a row without him responding in any way, well, you don't need state-of-the-art security software to see that there's something fishy going on.

LordRahl86
April 11th, 2007, 08:42 PM
AdventureQuest FTW.

Ewan
April 11th, 2007, 08:50 PM
Punkbuster has been around for what seems like forever. I believe that Sierra started it with some of the Halflife stuff, and versions of it show up in most EA games as well as in most stuff hosted by gamespy now (I think).

They state on it "you aren't required to use punkbuster, but if you don't you can't play on the official servers". Since Blizzard only has the official servers, if you don't want their Warden running you don't have to. Don't play the game, and cancel your subscription.

Cheating in games, for the most part, is a bit much for me. I can see on a single player game if you get stuck and you just want to get past the spot to get to the end, great. There's no real "accomplishment" to beating the game with a hack, but it's for personal benefit. Folks have made a business model out of exploiting MMO games (and players) for a profit by these hacks, and that to me is a sad state.

Oh, and the easiest way to foil these gold farmers? Don't buy from them. If no one bought the gold from them, they would go out of business rather quickly.

Just sad to me. So, when is Guitar Hero 3 for the Wii gonna be out?

Kyllinge
April 11th, 2007, 09:14 PM
I agree with No.6 about not liking the companies to run their own programs simply don't play their games. I just wish EQ2 had something like it when I played it, esspecially since I was on the exchange server.
Someone a few pages back commented about Blizzard and such putting in extra security and the reason they don't is because it costs money. While that's probually part of the reason, the other would be the simple fact with any security you make, a dedicated hacker can create a work-around for it. They can't get too secure or the game won't play right.
This whole topic is just a PC version to the console's MODchip debate. While it is legal to make a backup of a game YOU OWN, they still unsucessfully try to add copy protection to discs and scans in the BIOS looking for a MODchip.

Shassiash
April 11th, 2007, 09:29 PM
Late entry. I have a friend who played WoW. He doesn't play the game any longer. Why? Because apparently he was banned for Botting. Funny that, because he has never botted at all. He's just one of those people who play so well that it is automatically assumed that he's using a bot.

It took a friend who knows a WoW GM to find out anything about the reason for his account being banned. So, it seems that Blizzard will ban you simply for being too damned good at playing the game. That's just wrong.

Etifain
April 11th, 2007, 10:20 PM
Okay, this explains why my firewall goes all wonky whenever I play this game and kicks me out at least once every two or three days. Didn't even know Blizzard did that, but now that I do, I can't really say as I blame them. I personally couldn't offer up a better solution and I'm willing to allow spyware so that I don't get those annoying tells from the farmers to go buy some gold or power leveling more often than I do now. Hopefully, they'll figure out a better way of catching these guys in the future other than scanning their customers' pcs. Either that or some freak paranormal incident happens that causes only the farmers to disappear from the face of the Earth. :-/ Nice comic, btw, Woody...hehe

Fownde
April 11th, 2007, 10:23 PM
I keep reading in here about people complaining that accounts get Banned, nobody is informed a reason and they simply end up buying a new account. I have a somewhat reversed story.

A friend of mine had stopped playing because he'd become bored of the game and was playing another game for the time. He decided one day to log in and check his characters only to find out that his account had been banned. He was pissed (as one would expect) and emailed a nice long flame to blizz customer support. He ended up calling them the next day as well, and they informed him, that he had been banned for taking advantage of the WoW market (or something like that). In any case, they gave him back his account after some research and informed him that, from what they could tell he had a key logger in one of his mods (stupidity on his part for not verifying a mod) and that someone had likely taken his account when he let it go unattended for several days. When he got his account back, all characters were stripped bare on all servers. Over the next couple weeks, customer support did some research and managed to restore all of his items (much to his relieve and somewhat to my displeasure).

He complained at first that Blizzard wasn't doing their job right by banning someone that had never once given them reason to look twice at his account, yet after finding out that he had been the stupid one for downloading a mod with a key logger, he shut up and moved on. I went and looked at the mod he had downloaded.. near as i can tell, it was a program not a mod. It was over 400mb.. most mods won't be more than 10ish.. I personally have stuck with CT since the beginning and I won't use anything else.

I do wonder if a lot of people that get banned, do so because they don't bother checking the validity of the mods they use or they don't get it from a verified source. If my friend had stopped to think and look at it, he should have realized that a 400mb mod is a tad suspicious.

All in all, i do think Blizzard is doing their best to stop the hackers and such, and i personally think that some of those innocents that get banned, are inviting the problems in themselves with mods that are unchecked. I personally don't mind them running their program on my pc to make sure nothing is there that shouldnt be. i've had several other programs running (usually just webpages) and never run into a problem. And right now i'm rambling, so i end here.

Bluf
April 11th, 2007, 10:43 PM
hehe loved the comic!

but to the matther at hand..
Personaly, i dont mind the Warden program as such.. first of,, a GM have to Flag your account as a posible Bot for it even scan your pc, Second of it will only run if your runnning WoW, and then it will only scane to see what progams are afiliated with WoW and report the third party programes back to Blizz, thats all it do really,,, and considering the plague of gold famers in the game it is sadly an Evil we have to live with.. and personaly, i would not mind if the Warden were scaning ALL accounts logged into wow on its own and not haveing to be started by a Gm, beguse then it would be able to catch, more of the farm bots,,, and the adventisement bots aswell (the spam bots standing yelling and sending tells/mails. are normaly only on for about 30sec to 1min befor it auto logs out and delete the char befor makeing a new char and poping back into the game)

anyway thats just my two cent's on the matther :P

G.I. Joe
April 11th, 2007, 11:03 PM
Blizzard has the Right to terminate and block who ever they please from their servers and service. When they setup a program to block users who run WoWglider, it is in their full rights to do so. When WoWglider undermines this process by avoiding detection with frequent updates for that very reason then that, in my opinion, should be just causes for a lawsuit.

Coralis
April 12th, 2007, 12:12 AM
With the way that hacks/ 3rd party programs ruined online play of Diablo, I'm sure Blizzard is being extra vigilant so as not to ruin their major cash cow and could blame them.

Darkov
April 12th, 2007, 12:22 AM
No problem with bots programs in and of themselves, but I think the developer/publisher should have the right to say whether they are permitted to be used with their software or not, as I also believe they should have the right to say whether selling virtual items is illegal or not too.

The problem I see though is that Blizzard, and all MMO companies, don't ban all people who do the above even though they are against the rules. There were some internal estimates that virtual item selling can account for up to 30% (probably not for WoW, but on normal size MMOs) or more of a companies income from an MMO, most of which are likely bots, no company is willing to cut off 30% of it's income, they just pick away at it each month not really impacting it.

So unless the companies are willing to actually enforce their policies, they will continue to be laughed out of court.

Twyll Oathtaker
April 12th, 2007, 12:50 AM
Twyll, it rather depends on the add-on he was using. If it uses Blizzard's own lua script, then there shouldn't be any foul. Blizzard tends to remove functionality from the script, if they find it allows something they don't like (see previous versions of Decursive). If, it's .exe based on the other hand, then there's reason to worry.


I assume that anything that I can access in WoW's add-on options is ok, correct? I should also correct myself by says he was banned for 2-3 days but I did make sure to ask him if it was an exe and not a ui add-on (which it was an add-on).

Vassa
April 12th, 2007, 01:04 AM
I can see both sides of the Warden debate. But, for me, I don't want any program running on my computer that looks beyond itself. Hard to do when companies hide such programs. Blizzard, at least, doesn't hide Warden.


Woody, do you use any software firewalls, Virusscans, or Anti-spyware software? Its the same idea as Warden. It scans the active processes and compares them against a known list. Your firewall and anti-virus programs (and likely Warden) all use similar techniques to stop unwanted processes from running.

Woody
April 12th, 2007, 01:18 AM
No. My network is secure. I've never gotten a virus. And, I only download programs from trusted sources.

Vassa
April 12th, 2007, 01:49 AM
Well, for everyone not behind a hardware firewall who do any surfing on the internet, software like Zone alarm and every "on-access" anti-virus product on the market, scanning active processes is how they catch the malware.

Darkov
April 12th, 2007, 02:14 AM
Active scans are only needed if you are at risk, and the only way a normal home owner's computer is at risk is through user interferance.

Though I run Ad-Watch and McAfee VS, I would never run a third party firewall, Window's Firewall is ample for the job and much more user friendly than most of the 3rd party ones. I have no problem with Warden scanning my system.. they already have my billing information, nothing else on my system worth snooping out.

Paprika
April 12th, 2007, 03:18 AM
I've lived my internet life securely behind hardware/software firewalls, antivirus programs for many years now. Once bitten twice shy is a rather apt proverb in the wired age.

Personally I'm in favour of software that discovers the gliders and other hackers then causes a lethal surge in current to fry the jackasses, their computers and hopefully every electrical appliance they own. It may seem a bit extreme but hey, having had my gaming experience ruined by rampant botfarming and inflation then I'm game for more extreme solutions :/

osmigos
April 12th, 2007, 03:32 AM
Nicely done Woody. For a brief moment I was somewhat confused about the stance the comic seemed to be taking, but then read your explination about it just beeing to get people to read about the issue. I've noticed this is something you like to do quite often it seems, and I supose it does work.

I followed the links and ended up reading (and re-reading some sections) of the legal document to understand the case, and I found it quite interesting on several levels. Does this make me a freak?

Realmreaver
April 12th, 2007, 04:57 AM
I can see what he is doing is 'tech' legal. Furthermore other lesser versions have been abound and nothing been said about it. Kinda like cussing in game isn't an issue unless someone actually 'whines' about it to a GM.

That being said, the reprocussions is simular as the apparent allowing of Goldspammers to do just that 'spam'; as if they actually paid Blizzard to do this. Nothing good for the honest gamer.

As Blizzard is trying to kill this program I hope they actually win or rewrite the Eula where as 3rd party programs are allowed at THEIR descresion(can't spell) so this will not be a future issue. Raid Assist is really nice and I am a mod hater. (Outside basic UI mods cause they are only generic visual adjustments)

I hope Blizzard wins and I hope the US government get to tax any gold selling or item trading using real money mainly because making real money off games in this manner was never this bad before. It really needs to stop.

Undraxis
April 12th, 2007, 05:39 AM
Love the comic, makes one think.

I'm still getting used to the new comic size. Frankly, its so odd after seeing GU these past few years have the same format, but the new size will help tell bigger stories (pun not intended, hehe) while sticking to the one panel comic we all know and love, hehe.

Keep up the good work woody, hehe.

Frostburnx
April 12th, 2007, 06:24 AM
hm, While I do agree with the logic argument, I think it still needs to be said that sometimes it's just not all to do with logic! Bots absolutely should not be allowed in game, and you said it perfectly already. Real people simply wouldnt be able to compare to getting things done like the bots would, and sometimes mining something specific in game is hard enough as it is! Certain recources DO run out in game, so it does create lots of problems if you have bots running around ganking everything. Logic or no logic! Maybe I'm a purist, but I just dont agree with cheating in games, ever.

Djiss
April 12th, 2007, 06:57 AM
About Warden, yes you can disable it. Not difficult to figure out.

It called Un-Install WoW.

It's not like you need to choose between "Play WoW with Warden running" or "Die". Warden is the condition to play WoW. You don't like that condition? Don't play WoW. No one twist your arm.

loupdinour
April 12th, 2007, 06:59 AM
Though I run Ad-Watch and McAfee VS, I would never run a third party firewall, Window's Firewall is ample for the job and much more user friendly than most of the 3rd party ones. I have no problem with Warden scanning my system.. they already have my billing information, nothing else on my system worth snooping out.

If I remember correctly, Windows' firewall only protects incoming traffic, not outgoing. So if there were some program on your PC wishing to send out private data...it wouldn't be stopped by the firewall. However, if you don't allow an opportunity to getting such a program on your PC, then you don't need to worry about malicious outgoing traffic :)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled conversation about the Warden program.

Darkov
April 12th, 2007, 08:05 AM
My point exactly, Warden isn't malicious, it and other data miners in legit programs, should be advertised on the box though, I don't think they should sneak software like that in.

But again, considering how much personal data the average MMO company has on it's users, I fail to see what Warden can find that they don't already know.. unless you think they will sell that additional information? Browser habits for example, or gaming habits..

Though I still think if Blizzard want this bot destroyed then they must ban all bots in WoW, not just a token gesture once a quarter.

Anivair
April 12th, 2007, 08:14 AM
The solution for blizzard is simple. Just get rid of th ird party software alltogether. ta-da!

And if you still want to be able to fiddle with the system, then have blizzard put out this software. Or, for that matter, just have a compatibility key that is required for all software, so blizzard can just turn off certainl modules.

On the other hand, they could also just stop whining, since they make a trillion dollars a year.

Unrelated note: I've decided that i DO like the new site layout.

Ktok
April 12th, 2007, 08:22 AM
Late entry. I have a friend who played WoW. He doesn't play the game any longer. Why? Because apparently he was banned for Botting. Funny that, because he has never botted at all. He's just one of those people who play so well that it is automatically assumed that he's using a bot.

It took a friend who knows a WoW GM to find out anything about the reason for his account being banned. So, it seems that Blizzard will ban you simply for being too damned good at playing the game. That's just wrong.

Um... Have you actually ever seen a bot in action? "So good he must be a bot" is not exactly what comes to mind. It would be more like "So drunk that he runs into rocks and trees just like a bot". This isn't a FPS where bots appear to be super skilled. This is an MMO where bots are very, very clearly gimp and extremely easy to get killed.

Giddion
April 12th, 2007, 08:23 AM
There is a mod that automatically filters the Gold spammers out of your tells. You can get it here: http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/fileinfo.php?id=5552

Uses rules like filtering level 1 characters sending tells with the word gold in them or something similar.

Also supports auto petitioning the spammers.

Woody
April 12th, 2007, 08:34 AM
I'd usually remove outside links from threads, but that one is worth while if it works.

oneeye
April 12th, 2007, 08:44 AM
though I don't condone bots, having carpal tunnel type issues I do wish there were more automated systems to bypass monotous painful clicking without cheating.

skippy
April 12th, 2007, 08:53 AM
Above and beyond if it's right or wrong to be doing it I think the more interesting fact here will be if the courts decide that WoWglider is in fact causing monetary damages to WoW. In some ways it might be facilitating more income for blizzard through the number of botters who bot and sell gold because of things like WoWglider and wouldn't if they didn't have the tools.

I do believe that the token "we banned 20,000 accounts" runs they do from time to time are for PR and money. Of those 20k probably 16k buy new copies. at $25 or so a pop in profit that means banning 20k accounts makes blizzard $400,000 on the bottom line.

Another technicality I want to see the courts iron out is if breaking the EULA should be considered a criminal or civil offense. If it's civil then it would be damages they sue for and you get back to proving if botting programs hurt or help blizzards bottom line.

kawaru
April 12th, 2007, 09:44 AM
The arguments that Blizzard makes are a little bizarre. They approached their suit as primarily copyright violation. To my knowledge copyrights cover the following:

* The right to produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies
* The right to import or export the work
* The right to create derivative works
* The right to perform or display the work publicly
* The right to sell or assign these rights to others

Most of these are easy to dismiss. WoWGlider is very obviously not producing a copy of WoW, importing or exporting it, performing or displaying it publicly, or attempting to sell or assign these rights to others. The only one where you have to do a little more leg-work is in the derivative works area.

From the 17 USC 101 a derivative work is:

A "derivative work" is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a "derivative work".

WoWGlider is interacting with WoW, not attempting to reproduce any part of it.

The lack of anything that could be considered a copyright infringement blows their DMCA argument out of the water, since that portion covers avoiding "technological means" intended to prevent copyright violation. No copyright violation means no DMCA, regardless of whether WoWGlider is bypassing Warden.

The part where the author might get into trouble is the Tortious Interference. Simply put Tortious Interference occurs when one party convinces another to break a contract that they hold with a third party. By marketing WoWGlider to users of WoW who have "signed" the EULA and TOU for WoW which strictly prohibit use of third-party programs such as WoWGlider it could be considered interference.

The general provisions for Tortious Interference are as follows: (cribbed from Wikipedia)

* The existence of a contractual relationship or beneficial business relationship between two parties.
* Knowledge of that relationship by a third party.
* Intent of the third party to induce a party to the relationship to breach the relationship.
* Lack of any privilege on the part of the third party to induce such a breach.
* Damage to the party against whom the breach occurs.

The second can be easily assumed, especially since in order to develop the software they would have to install and play WoW. The third is also pretty easy, as the point of WoWGlider is to play WoW in a manner inconsistent with the EULA. As I'm guessing Blizzard/Vivendi haven't given MDY permission to develop WoWGlider, the fourth is pretty easy. The fifth is a little tricky, as on one hand if Blizzard terminates the account they no longer receive money from it; but the proximate reason for this is that Blizzard chose to terminate the account.

What will probably decide this is the first point, whether a "click-wrap" contract is enforceable. There has been a little back and forth in the courts, both deciding for "click-wrap" contracts in some cases, and deciding against them in others.

Of course, even if the court finds for Blizzard in this case, determining damages is likely to be kind of silly. They can say "we were forced to ban this many people," but it's hard to say how long those people were likely to continue playing and providing Blizzard with fees.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. However, as a software developer I have been forced to investigate intellectual property laws and the DMCA more than I ever really wanted to.

Gnomicide
April 12th, 2007, 10:22 AM
Personally, the warden is the front runner in a series of reassons why I don't play WoW.

It's very easy to say that Blizzard doesn't want to ruin it reputation by abusing the data it collects from our computers. True, but Blizzard isn't looking at that data. Individuals who represent Blizzard are.

The American Dental Association doesn't want to ruin its reputation by urinating in hand sinks and cleaning their nails with dental tools, but it happened anyway.

Starbucks doesn't allow spit as an ingredient in your latte. But some times baristas get angry.

What makes the Blizzard folks any more trustworthy than these folks?

I firmly beleive that once you allow someone to violate your privacy, you have doomed yourself to be exploited or abused in some way.

Personally, I feel that bots are annoying, but are no more annoying than people who spam for free money/gear, or twinks that pwn up a low level BG. But I don't see Blizzard suring twinks anytime soon, and so I disagree with thier legal action.

Andara Bledin
April 12th, 2007, 10:26 AM
Hmm... interesting.

I'm 100% behind Blizzard in this one and I hope the courts really stick it to the enemy.

I've never understood why people are so up in arms against Warden. Then again, most people I've spoken to don't understand that everytime you access a website and every time you send an email, that information can be legally monitored and/or viewed by no less than 2 other entities every single time unless you are working within a closed network.

In answer to the banned users getting new boxes; they don't sell boxes in China. It's all accounts and internet cafes. I suspect (although I could be wrong) that the majority of the banned accounts are based in China, so Blizzard gets nothing additional out of them when they resubscribe a week later.

As for "false positives" I'm willing to bet that there are almost none. However, I'm also willing to bet that a lot of people using mods just take whatever sounds useful without performing due dilligence to ensure they aren't downloading malware. I can't tell you how many times I've helped someone who I thought was smart enough to know better get some malware infection off of their computer.

^-.-^

Nekojin
April 12th, 2007, 11:00 AM
With regard to people who believe that they were falsely accused of botting, because they know that they didn't bot: Are you absolutely certain that nobody else accessed your account between the time you last logged off and the time you were banned? There are many, many keyloggers and account hijackers out there, many of which are disguised as (or trojaned within) legitimate mods. It's part of the reason I play with (mostly) the core, bare-bones UI.

sgiahatch
April 12th, 2007, 11:13 AM
(brief summary at end for you skimmers/ADD folk)

IMO, its more about game design. They design scenarios that require players to spend massive amounts of time doing repetative tasks, such as epic flying mounts, rare drops/recipes, rep grinding to access special PVE content, grinding for consumable to support PVE and PVP content, and so forth.

Aside from the rep, all these things tie to the need of virtual money in exchange for time, so the way the game is designed pretty much creates the demand for shortcutting those tasks. The reasoning for the players could be almost anything, like lack of time, patience, fun, lazy, beating the system, whatever.

Understandably, the grind system is required to support the MMO business model, but I think if they just made the money system not as important and focused more on player accomplishments (i.e. the bind on pickup items in instances require the player being there...well mostly, I could still see "power levelers" doing the work for them).

There still needs to be some balance in that regards. COH/COV (super bases aside) took the opposite route, making money mostly useless past level 40 or so. There's just so much a player can easily acquire, and not that much to spend it on after a point.

In that way, I'm glad I'm not a game designer so I'm not gonna burn my brain finding a solution.

************************************************** ********
Basically, the game design demands spending large amounts of time to afford very expensive items...so it should come as no surprise that players *will* find a way around that. All the pretty security in the world doesn't mean a thing if the game system always rewards time spent doing repetitive tasks.

Darkov
April 12th, 2007, 11:27 AM
Anyone, whether American, European or Chinese who wishes to play on North American WoW servers must buy an copy of the North American game, so that's what.. $30 a pop these days? Blizzard make money everytime a farmer/bot comes back after being banned.

But, why should a court uphold Blizzards action if Blizzard don't apply the rule to all bots? I'm actually more interested in seeing the outcome of the NCSoft case in South Korea.. as they are going after all bots that work on their products.. if they get a result then we will see similiar cases in the US and Europe from NCSoft and that, as it's going for all bots, is more likely to be successful.

IS_Wolf
April 12th, 2007, 11:42 AM
Next to the problem outlined by Bossie, there's another issues. The professional goldfarmers essentially have multiple machines running WoW. All gaming actions are dealt with by way of automation through bots. But, and this is one of the major problems, there is a human overseer, who reacts to warnings by the various comps.

Say, you're sending a train of about 15 level 70 Ogres on his backside. Or, you're tagging the Mobs, before he or she can engage, thus meaning that you get the loot. The computer is set to give out a warning that something is going wrong and the overseer, sits behind the keyboard and does his thing. Or, they answer, when questioned by a GM.

Plenty of folks afterall, who farm for their own needs, who put up a DND sign, and who don't respond to the whispers sent by other folks. That's what makes it harder for a GM to fully detect if it's a bot or not. Warden flags the account for investigation, but a GM still needs to look into matters afaik.

So, with your enter a wordkey every hour or so. Just a matter of adding another alarm to the mix. Overseer enters the code and lets the bot continue on its merry way.

So you'd end up, with normal players being inconvenienced, and it not even being a speed bump for the professional goldfarmers.

Twyll, not quite, there are a few add-ons, which have been banned by Blizzard, which could also be started by way of the add-on options, if memory serves me. IIRC, one was indeed in .exe-form and what it essentially did was give non-hunters a sort of detect skill. It would state what the person was: humanoid, class, level, to which faction they belonged etc. As you can imagine, definitely a pain on the PvP servers, it even detected rogues in stealth mode from far greater ranges than even a Hunter could do with Track hidden. And of course, Track Hidden has side effects, like not being able to see what other types of mobs are around, not being to use it with one of the resource gathering detection modes. Not so with that mod.

Hmm.. Odd btw. 72 hour ban is usually related to bad behaviour as opposed to running a Mod that they don't like. Afaik, and I've seen a number of complaints on our forums in my time. Run a program they don't like and it's temporary suspension time, till they get more information, and then it's permaban time. Very odd. Course, I got to admit, I'm a fairly bare bones user myself, I haven't even checked 2% of everything that we've got to offer either, so maybe I missed something about the Mod you mentioned. If, you can get a name, then I can do some digging, if you want.


Andara, there have been a few actually. Most related to keyloggers or trojans, like you said.. But the one that sticks the most in my mind, would be the little brouhaha a while back with one of the Linux versions.. *dig dig*

Cedega

It got into a tangle with Warden and a lot of innocent folks got banned. It's my understanding that Blizzard got together with the makers of Cedega and they managed to figure out a way to tweak both Cedega and Warden to help avoid this issue in future. All those banned, whilest running under Cedega were re-instated and they had additional time accreditted to their accounts. Both to square away the lost time they had suffered, and I think it was something like an additional 1 to 2 days as compensation for the inconvenience of the whole experience..

So say, you were banned. It took two weeks to resolve the issue, you'd get a total of 15 to 16 days of credit. The two weeks it took to resolve the issue and then the compensation. You'd have to check through either the WoW news archives on their own site or try and see if they still have some Blue comments about this issue on the official forums. This was around november, last year.

Rogend
April 12th, 2007, 11:43 AM
You know, I signed up as I was reading this thread so I could say just what sgiahatch said.

I think game designers need to attack the route of the problem. There is a very good reason why programs like this do so well. Making money in MMORPG's is a boring repetative task, and people will pay RL money so they don't have to do it. People play games to have fun, and making money is something that just isn't fun in games.

As to my opinion on the warden; I don't agree with it. I have a right to my privacy.

Kyllinge
April 12th, 2007, 12:20 PM
Text removed. This is a gaming forum not a political forum. If you want to talk about the Patriot Act, please do it in a political forum where that kind of commentary is more appropriate.

Kyllinge
April 12th, 2007, 12:24 PM
Rogend, you mean by stopping the selling of in game money and items? If so, it can't be done. Sony tried once with eBay. Know what happened? 50 more auction sites opened up selling gold/items. It isn't like the money selling is legally allowed by MMO companies, with some exceptions. (SE servers on EQ2)

Nekojin
April 12th, 2007, 01:18 PM
I'd argue that it's impossible to "de-grind" the MMORPG genre - heck, the entire RPG genre, for that matter. The growth curve is a core concept of having a small, weak (relatively) hero grow to epic proportions - it's one of the very cornerstones of role-playing games as a whole. Remove it, and you have just another meaningless fantasy hack-and-slash.

Take Morrowind, for example. To level up in Morrowind, you have to increase your "Primary Skills" by 10 points. To level the skills up, you had to actually use the skill. The more often you use the skill, the more likely you are to get a skill point out of it.

This can be automated for nearly any skill in Morrowind. Are there bots out there? Sure. Are they widespread? No. Why not? Because there's no sense of urgency - play at your own pace, do your own thing. With MMOs, the monthly fee puts a certain degree of time pressure on the matter, making people more willing to set up bots. Add to that good old everyday greed, and you get people botting for money.

There isn't a magic stick to fix it. People bot even in games like EVE Online (Macro miners). There isn't a single MMO out there that doesn't either have botters, or have people working on developing bots.

loupdinour
April 12th, 2007, 01:52 PM
As to my opinion on the warden; I don't agree with it. I have a right to my privacy.

If someone has any problems with the way the game is running, what programs run with it, if they think they deserve a refund on a downed server day...etc, there is a solution to it. Canceling their subscription. People who whine about a problem, yet continue to pay for the game aren't going to be listened to.

If Blizzard had placed in Warden, then 1/3 of their player base canceled with the reason of "I don't trust Warden", I'd place a bet that they would have pulled the program. However, if there was any drop in subs when it came out, it was obviously a small one. The people who continue to play, yet complain about the program aren't worth their weight in salt in my eyes (and obviously in Blizzard's eyes as Warden still remains).

Ktok
April 12th, 2007, 01:54 PM
Personally, the warden is the front runner in a series of reassons why I don't play WoW.

It's very easy to say that Blizzard doesn't want to ruin it reputation by abusing the data it collects from our computers. True, but Blizzard isn't looking at that data. Individuals who represent Blizzard are.

It's been said here several times already, but Warden does not take data from your PC in the way you're fearing. It only detects programs you are running at the same time that you are running WoW that interface with WoW. It doesn't log your porn collection, your financial docs, or even you secret stash of poorly written emo poetry. Warden is, in way, even less intrusive than an anti-virus app. The only thing anyone is seeing on your PC through Warden is what app you have up running along side of WoW. Aside from normal background apps and maybe Xfire, Ventrilo or IE pointed to Thottbot, I can't imagine what you could have up at the same time that you'd be worried about them seeing.

I mean if you do have a sudden urge to run potentially embarrassing applications during gameplay, just log out before you do it. Warden turns off when WoW turns off.

On another note, can anyone actually justify the paranoia over Warden in more concrete terms than “it’s the principle of the thing”, or “just because”? Assuming you’re *not* botting or running mods from questionable sources, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Your (the generic "your") principles aside, if you’re not doing anything that would get you banned, your objections are highly irrational.

Rogend
April 12th, 2007, 02:14 PM
Earning money in game is not fun, and that is the reason why programs like WOWglider make money. If game designers made making money fun to do, then a lot less people would be willing to pay real life money for in game money or a program that will make money for them.

I did cancel my subscription. The warden wasn't the only reason I stopped playing wow, but it was one of my top reasons.

Marth
April 12th, 2007, 03:09 PM
Now, I personally hate their Warden program. My data on my computer is mine, they have no right to look at it. Your data on your computer is yours and they have no right to look at it...

Until you give them permission to do it Which is what you agree to everytime they patch the game or you install it new the first time. You give them the right to scan your systems memory and WoW folder and anything that access WoW's memory space or scans it's executables.

If you don't like it, you have a choice - don't play. It's simple.

I don't mind the Warden, because I know if they got any personal info and it got stolen or misused, I'd be suing the bejeebus out of them. But since I don't cheat, and I enjoy the game and playing with friends, it doesn't bother me.

Markusdark
April 12th, 2007, 05:24 PM
With regard to people who believe that they were falsely accused of botting, because they know that they didn't bot: Are you absolutely certain that nobody else accessed your account between the time you last logged off and the time you were banned? There are many, many keyloggers and account hijackers out there, many of which are disguised as (or trojaned within) legitimate mods. It's part of the reason I play with (mostly) the core, bare-bones UI.

There are three main reasons people are banned for botting or using other hacks:

1) They used them.

2) They share their accounts with others who then use hacks.

3) Someone stole their account via another program - 99.98% of the time because they tried to download something from an unknown source (and 50% of those were sites stating that there was a way to beat the game without being found out).

4) A mistake was made.

Now, in my experience running an MMO, #1 is overwheming the answer - about 80% of the time. Oh, they claim they didn't do it but they did. There are some very simple ways to check for this. And the reason that the proof isn't given is that once you know how they check for that info, people will find a way around it.

#2 is 19%. People just trust people too much.

#3 is 0.99%

#4 is 0.01%. Despite what people think, cancelling an account means loss of money to the company. They make sure that their process works correctly.

midmagic
April 12th, 2007, 07:53 PM
It's been said here several times already, but Warden does not take data from your PC in the way you're fearing. It only detects programs you are running at the same time that you are running WoW that interface with WoW. It doesn't log your porn collection, your financial docs, or even you secret stash of poorly written emo poetry. Warden is, in way, even less intrusive than an anti-virus app. The only thing anyone is seeing on your PC through Warden is what app you have up running along side of WoW. Aside from normal background apps and maybe Xfire, Ventrilo or IE pointed to Thottbot, I can't imagine what you could have up at the same time that you'd be worried about them seeing.


All the data Warden sends is also hashed(hopefully a very strong one-way hash). No person can read it.

midmagic
April 12th, 2007, 07:56 PM
It is either programs like warden, which are ultimately unsuccessful, or a hardware solution to the problem. AMT and Intel are both working on methods for securing the PC platform with hardware.

Zenhon
April 12th, 2007, 09:17 PM
Actually I think that MMORPG companies are the bad guy in this case. If they don't want people hacking their programs and using 3rd party clients, then perhaps they should invest some time and development in adding adaquate encryption and security technology. If they would write secured clients that properly encrypt and defend the data stored on the machine as well as going to and from the machine, 3rd party software would go away because it woudl not be cost effective to make.

Oh wait that might cost money!!! So instead of trying to fix the underlying issue the company instead chooses to infringe on peoples privacy in the name of policing the use of their product.

Just my two cents,

Just wanna point out, WoW is rarely ever "hacked". There was a teleport hack and speed hack that I heard about when the game started, but thats the only hacks I have heard of.

Hellfire99X
April 12th, 2007, 09:22 PM
Here's my opinion on the Warden program that WoW uses. A long time before I started playing WoW, I'd started learning about "rootkits" that came bundled with music CDs from certain record labels *coughSonyBMG*. These CDs, when inserted into your PC, would install software that would, among other things, modify your Windows drivers for your CDROM drives to ensure that you never made a copy of that CD for your own personal use. Now, for a while beforehand I had resolved not to buy anymore music CDs; learning about this (and hearing the Sony executive declare, live on NPR, "Most people don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care?") solidified my resolve to never buy another music CD ever again. Hell, to this day, I don't even listen to music radio stations anymore; I listen to talk and to freely-distributed media such as RantRadio.

Not only that, but I've also heard that many game developers are starting to develop their games so that, when they detect that certain programs such as, for instance, Daemon Tools are running, they will lock you out of the game entirely. Now, I use Daemon Tools as a way to preserve all of my physical CDs; I copy my most frequently used CDs to my harddrive, and use Daemon Tools to simulate an actual CD-ROM drive -- it saves me having to dig for a different CD every time I get a hankering to play a game I haven't played in a while, and it also saves the life of my optical drive; therefore, it saves me time and money. To this day I will never buy a game that blocks the use of such a handy and useful program; doing so would mean that I would have to bend over backwards and throw all of my efficiency to waste, and a game isn't worth that to me.

Now, how this relates to WoW... a lot of friends tried for a very long time (like, a year prior) to get me involved in WoW, but I wouldn't, because I didn't want to spring $50 for a box of CDs that might claim that I'm botting or doing illegal things on my computer, simply because Daemon Tools or other programs are running in the background. Call me paranoid, but that's not how I operate; I don't like being put into that kind of "hit-or-miss" situation, especially not with real money ($50 + subscription fees) that would ultimately be wasted in what would be their misguided attempt at stopping piracy or cheating.

(I'd like to add here that I run a pretty tight ship on my computer. Regular virus scans / spyware scans / chkdsks / defrags, firewall software, and I do research on everything that I download and install before I do it. "Fluff" isn't welcome here.)

Finally, my friends broke down and lended me their WoW CDs and a 10-day trial key, so that I could install it and try it without the fear of losing the $50 + subscription fees. That was last year; WoW passed my (fairly) stringent testing, and didn't give me any flak about any of the software that I use. Believe me, if it HAD, I'd have never bought WoW or the expansion.

I can only conclude from my own personal experience that the guys at Blizzard really do know what they're doing, and while it does suck to have a form of "spyware" on my computer (as some people would label it), it doesn't appear to be the least bit malicious. I'll never cheat or even look up ways to cheat (I save that for single-player games, lawl), I report every goldspammer that PMs me or sends me in-game mails, and I KNOW what I'm putting on my PC; therefore, Blizzard and I should never clash on this subject. Believe me though, the first time we clash on this subject and Blizzard refuses to work with me to resolve the problem, I WILL put it all over the web.

Anyway, that's my own little story and two cents. Hope I'm not stepping on any toes with it. :P

P.S.: I love the site redesign, Woody. :)

kawaru
April 13th, 2007, 07:29 AM
All the data Warden sends is also hashed(hopefully a very strong one-way hash). No person can read it.

It may be encrypted, but it's not 'hashed' per se. The simplest mechanism would be to send the data as XML via SSL. That way you don't have to build anything new on either end. But if it's a one-way hash then they wouldn't be able to read the data on the other end; not a very good solution since it's information they want to see.

Marth
April 13th, 2007, 01:52 PM
But, why should a court uphold Blizzards action if Blizzard don't apply the rule to all bots? Same reason that patent holders don't have to go after every infringer....You can pick and choose.

Now, I don't have a problem with Blizzard going after all bots that are specifically written to bot in games. The problem is when the application has other uses (i.e. the macro applications you can write scripts for for other things in the OS, etc).

Darkov
April 14th, 2007, 12:23 AM
What I mean Marth is that Blizzard doesn't actually ban every bot/gold seller in WoW, they could, with the man power, remove them all. Obviously they would come back but they don't even make the effort. Banning a few thousand every quarter is just a PR thing.

If they want a court to believe that bots are bad for WoW and should not be allowed, then Blizzard should have a proven track record of removing every bot and gold seller in their game, which they don't.

IS_Wolf
April 14th, 2007, 09:36 AM
You've just answered your own unasked question Darkov.
They could with the required amount of manpower.

Problem is, they don't have that required amount, and just hiring willy nilly. Well, that effects the bottom line as well, something which their owner VU isn't too happy about.

Combine that with the amount of time that a proper investigaton takes. And the fact that this would also mean that regular petitions could not be answered..

It's not as easy, as you seem to think it is.

Heck, I'm a forum moderator elsewhere. we have a zero tolerance policy on gold selling and powerlevelling advertising. Doesn't mean that some don't slip unto the boards and that they're visible for a couple of hours. If, there are no mods around, then not a lot can be done about them. If, we spot them, we nuke them and permaban the accounts associated with the spam.

All a question of having enough manpower. Which we also don't have.

Twyll Oathtaker
April 14th, 2007, 11:13 PM
Hmm.. Odd btw. 72 hour ban is usually related to bad behaviour as opposed to running a Mod that they don't like. Afaik, and I've seen a number of complaints on our forums in my time. Run a program they don't like and it's temporary suspension time, till they get more information, and then it's permaban time. Very odd. Course, I got to admit, I'm a fairly bare bones user myself, I haven't even checked 2% of everything that we've got to offer either, so maybe I missed something about the Mod you mentioned. If, you can get a name, then I can do some digging, if you want.



Was told it was Titan. Someone else told me it was a 3rd party program. *shrugs

I'm using Dicoords, AuctionUI (wasn't working last time I checked), and Huntershelper (don't remember if this was working).

No.6
April 15th, 2007, 12:44 AM
I'd argue that it's impossible to "de-grind" the MMORPG genre - heck, the entire RPG genre, for that matter. The growth curve is a core concept of having a small, weak (relatively) hero grow to epic proportions - it's one of the very cornerstones of role-playing games as a whole. Remove it, and you have just another meaningless fantasy hack-and-slash.

In the traditional youth-becomes-hero story, interesting and unique things happen. Young Gilgamesh does not go out and kill 200 grass snakes before returning home to receive a shiny loincloth and a directive to go forth and kill 200 river rats.

Many single-player CRPGs focus intently on a directed plot with the specific intent of having the player so interested in the story that a level advancement is almost an afterthought. Sure, they have statistics and levels, but that's just a mechanism within which the story unfolds. (In PnP that's the difference between a roleplaying campaign and a rollplaying campaign).

Open-ended CRPGs, which include our MMORPGs, tend towards 'grind' or repetitive play, whether that's killing many of the same thing or repeating quests. That's because nobody's yet come up with a way to dynamically create truly interesting content. There are a limited number of designer and developer hours and an infinite number of player hours. Therefore what content there is is repeated, and (particularly for subscription-based games) the mechanics are set up so as to serve as a timesink.



There isn't a single MMO out there that doesn't either have botters, or have people working on developing bots.

I don't think bots work very well for the action or simulation MMOGs (Planetside, WW2O, Aces High, WarBirds, or even DDO).

I see that as a challenge to all game designers. If a script can play your game more efficiently than a human can, have you designed a game for people or a game for robots?

LTJaded
April 16th, 2007, 03:37 AM
Tone it down and try again. You can make your point without being so aggressively negative.

Andara Bledin
April 16th, 2007, 10:57 AM
Young Gilgamesh also isn't competing for the honor of being a hero with a million other young would-be heroes, either. The epic only works when you have either one hero, or a hero with a small group of supporting cast. When you have thousands of people per server all vying for hero-dom, you're going to have to have something in place to keep them all from going straight to having god-like abilities.

Also, many epics do have the young hero doing some boring, repetitive exercise for the purposes of training. "Wax on, wax off," anyone? Just because an author does a montage or just glosses over the years of training the hero goes through doesn't mean that the hero didn't have to 'grind' his way to competency.

---

I doubt there is a game invented that can't be played more efficiently by a bot. Bots can figure the least distance to travel for a set of locations. Bots can react to the spawning of a creature faster than any human possibly could. Bots can track opponents with far more accuracy, don't waste ammo, and have a reaction time measured in miliseconds (which is why they work just fine for games such as Planetside, etc).

The first "bot" ever invented played chess. Every competitve game every produced for the computer has had a bot designed for it.

Games are created for humans, but there will always be humans who want to win without the pesky problem of actually earning the victory, and they create bots. These are the same people who think getting to the end of Quake while in God-mode is some sort of achievement.

^-.-^

IS_Wolf
April 16th, 2007, 12:05 PM
0_0

Twyl, you're sure it was Titan?
That's one of the most respected UI packages currently out there.
Somebody getting banned for that..

Hard to believe, it would be like getting a ticket for buying a certain brand name shoes. Sure it currently has something like 169 components, then again only 43 are current with the latest patch and even then there are multiple language variations. A very very strange tale indeed.

*frown*

Twyll Oathtaker
April 16th, 2007, 01:22 PM
It's the only thing he was running with WoW. I kinda wonder if they banned first then research later.

Darkov
April 17th, 2007, 12:29 AM
I'm a GM, with the money that Blizzard makes, the can remove every bot, especially with warden. So they would have to double their GM team.. like that would hurt them.

They don't even try though.

junior
April 17th, 2007, 12:51 AM
Also, many epics do have the young hero doing some boring, repetitive exercise for the purposes of training. "Wax on, wax off," anyone?

It's either that, or the hero embarks on what will be his "heroic" quest as a way of making up for some horrible wrong. Hercules, for instance, went nuts and killed his wife and kids. His famous tasks were the penance he was assigned to make up for his actions.

(and in an ironic twist, his mortal life ended when a later wife was tricked into poisoning him)

Nekojin
April 17th, 2007, 09:03 AM
A low-level GM is not a highly-skilled or highly-paid position. It pays around $10/hr. That makes a monthly wage of around $2400 before taxes. Players pay $15/month (or less) for access to the game. To pay for only three GMs (one on each shift, for 24-hour coverage), you have to have at least 480 players for a break-even for just the GMs, not counting higher management, server expenses, and so on. So you're more likely looking at somewhere around 3000 players for a reasonable profit, for only 3 GMs per server.

Do you honestly think that Blizzard could still make a profit by throwing a huge crack team of GMs at this problem?

Darkov
April 18th, 2007, 12:30 AM
Blizzard doesn't need that many GMs because they have Warden. Assuming it actually does what they say it does, you could work on a 1 GM per 5 servers, as flushing them once a week would offer some control on the situation amd become increasingly expensive for the RMT companies.

Taking the European servers, that would be a team of 46 GMs, the average wage would inccur a cost of £552,000 a year, their average revenue from the 2.5mil players would be £24,000,000 a year.

No denying it would definitely impact their profit margin, but I'm sure if Warden is everything it's cracked up to be they could just automate the ban process from it and have a smaller GM team deal with fallout from the innocent people caught by it. Pretty sure thats what they do once a quarter, not sure why they don't do it more often.

And I'm talking about removing bots, not removing RMT.

Tuschinski
April 20th, 2007, 02:16 AM
Blizzard openly admits that warden exists. Who knows... maybe Woody tracks your IP, sends it to mining companies, who follow your online history through trackers and cookies.

So far Blizzard has more to lose than to gain. And for the individual employees... if they want to "get you", the warden is the least of your worries. There are easier (and more destructive) ways to "get you".

On a related note: is the chance of being mugged IRL still bigger than being ripped of on the Inet?

Post editted. It's not your position to correct opinion and comment on "logic". If you want to do that do so in PMs where it belongs.


Although I am very much convinced the amount of false positives is low, this is always hard to prove. If blizz goes on a banning spree, it will cause media-attention and a storm of complaints. This would affect the customer base (bad press) and it would cost quite a bit on tel/mail support, P.R. (probably even legal team).

Now I'll frown on how Blizz tackles the bots, but my R/L experience taught me that things are seldom as easy as the customers think it is. It also taught me that usually companies do care, not just for the bottom line, but because the people working there want to give good service.... most people have a hidden sense of honor, they unwittingly apply at work

Posts merged as per the Easy Ways. Two significant violations in back to back posts. That's not acceptable for someone with an account as old as yours.

Darkov
April 20th, 2007, 05:04 AM
The fact is that Blizzard could do more than they are, or that they are singling out an individual when they should be attacking the collective.

NCSoft has never made an effort to remove bots from their games, never made an effort to remove RMT, now they've decided to want to remove the former if not the latter, they are directly attacking the source of the problem. Is it illegal to use automated software on their products or not. Without that question being answered by a court, no MMO developer can actually do anything about bots. Blizzard going after one bot developer may get that bot developer to fork over some money, but it won't stop bots or remove them from World of Warcraft.

I really don't think Blizzard are actually trying to remove bots.

Despite the temptation to respond to someone that's violating the rules, please try to resist. In other more severe situations this could potentially get in trouble.

DizzyD
April 20th, 2007, 01:29 PM
Very interesting thread.

This is about alot more than WoW or what they're doing to prevent 3rd party hacking programs. This is all about YOU the players. It's funny to see what people are willing to sacrifice for a sence of comfort. In this case, you're all willing to sacrifice your real life privacy for a sence of "fairness" in a game... Interesting.

But what this really does is set presidence. For the sake of argument, let's assume that Blizzard is 100% honest. Let's assume they're using their sniffing app purely for reasons they say, and that you all agree to. Future MMORPGs or similar genre of games for that matter would certainly look at this situation and use it to justify using similar technologies to "protect" its players as well. But will everyone using this technology be as "honest" as Blizzard? Well I hope thet technically savy players keep an eye on them becasue I guarantee someone will push the envelope and try doing more than simple sniffing. I could see a game publisher sniffing for competitor apps... or checking web browser cache files to see if you've visited hacking sites lately... maybe they could sell this as a pre-emptive strike...

Anyway. I think we should all be careful how many of our rights and how much of our privacy we're willing to give away to a multi-national corporation purely becasue they sell us on the idea that some gold farmer is a "danger" to us. I personally would prefer having rats in my home than a slow poison leak designed to kill that rats now.... but ultimately gives me cancer.

Andara Bledin
April 20th, 2007, 04:57 PM
Nope, no privacy sacrificed. Heck, I lose more privacy than that just by firing up my email account.

^-.-^

Nekojin
April 20th, 2007, 05:12 PM
If Warden were doing anything more intrusive than claimed, you can bet money that there would be tech-savvy individuals who would spot its unauthorized activity, and raised a huge stink about it. If they were actually, genuinely invading our privacy in any real way, there's no way that they could hide it well enough for it to pass unnoticed.

Blizzard gets support from people like the ones you see in this thread because they said up front what they were doing, why they were doing it, and were completely honest about it. They did exactly what they said they were doing, and not one step more.

Darkov
April 21st, 2007, 07:31 AM
Maybe the question is wrong.. I'm sure this "big brother" software is going to increase over the coming years, but maybe we should be asking "what do we have to hide?" rather than "are they allowed to invade my privacy?" We're talking a company that has our billing information, so that's not something to protect from the software.. what else is there? Web habits? Who's surfing dodgy sites?

Anyways, roll on crushing of bots, however it happens.

$Blue$
April 22nd, 2007, 01:48 AM
Regarding the lawsuit, Blizzard has a very weak leg to stand on, legal-wise. The only protection afforded to their EULA and TOS is the right to ban accounts found to be in violation. The only (barely) legitimate claim Blizzard has is the fact that Glider tampers with some of the files in startup, which might be seen as violating copyright laws, though a stretch.

Im glad Glider is not being intimidated by Blizzard reps waving documents in has face at his own home and is fighting back.

EULA violating commentary has been removed.

Brother Laz
April 22nd, 2007, 10:53 AM
Repetitive, dumb gameplay that revolves around pressing the same buttons to kill the same monsters over and over and over and over and over again tends to spawn bots.

It's called defensive design. If you don't want people to try and cheat at some aspect of the game, then take a look at your game mechanics first. Don't stop cheats, prevent them.

If WoW provided any way whatsoever to move through the game faster on subsequent playthroughs, then maybe people wouldn't be botting or using powerlevelling services.

If Diablo 2 wasn't so much about killing bosses hundreds of times instead of regular monsters, there would be no maphack, or it would have much less impact upon the game.

Blizzard has always included repetitive gameplay that just begs to be automated, then attempted very hard to stop cheating.

In Diablo 2, the 'best' items are leaps and bounds ahead of all other items and also happen to be almost impossible to find. There is nothing remotely as good as the 'best' items, but you probably won't ever see those, which breeds frustration. Hello, duping. Hello, farmbots.

Back to WoW again, how is it any fun whatsoever to grind reputation? It isn't. It involves killing the same (easy) monsters over and over, by pressing the same buttons over and over in the same exact sequence. Hello, WoWGlider.

They brought it upon themselves. Let's hope Flagship Studios does better with Hellgate London.

Andara Bledin
April 23rd, 2007, 10:30 AM
As I stated earlier, if you build it, they will come. It doesn't matter how you design the game, if there is some way to advance, someone will find a way to automate it.

And, since there is an opportunity to get real money (started with the original EverQuest and out of control with FFXI so I somehow doubt the "repetetive gamplay" in Wow is the culprit), there is a notable incentive to work on it.

^-.-^

BorusWintersong
April 23rd, 2007, 11:12 AM
I am a fan of FFXI yet I do find the combat is actually quite repetitive and easy to automate. I sort of like how CoX did things, its a very hard to automate game, and the few automations I have seen are based on the game capabilities themselves. Best use of them I seen have been setting a tank on auto follow and auto taunt or a defender on auto follow and auto buff/heal. Both end up being very mediocre effective wise compared even to the most inexperienced of players.

Thing is that there is a market for "repetitive combat games" even if there is a lot of critics about it. I seen comments from people that criticize the "repetitiveness" saying how they do not want a "twitch game" and they would go play Street Fighter if that was what they wanted. Thing is, that is the alternative! It's either repetitive or twitch based. Twitch based is very hard to automate but seems most MMO players actually don’t want it. The current most used alternative seems to be what most people actually prefer, but it’s easy to automate and leads to bots, which leads to complaints.

In the end I think complaints about "repetitiveness", most often than not, are not because they want a less repetitive system, but because how this system allows for botting.

Note this is just how I see things, I may be perceiving it wrong, I have not ran any surveys after all.

Lakota
April 27th, 2007, 02:42 PM
The objectionable use of automation (bot) software in gaming (in general) is for use by these slimy organizations that promise to "power level" you for a fee, or sell you so much in-game currency for real-world cash.

These people and the tools they use are not the core problem.

The fact they get customers IS. If there was no market, no takers, for pay-for leveling and in-game currency, about the only people automating the game would automate something to get a rare drop, or finally meet that rare named that otherwise you'd have to camp 24 hours a day to find.

Blizzard cannot come up with software that will prevent clandestine transactions of currency or items in game. Any given rule would also match valid trades between family and friends. Their attempts to control automation in the interests of curbing gold peddlers is misplaced, imo.

I support gaming designs that DON'T reward or encourage people to spend over 8 hours in game (statistically speaking) in order to finish a quest, get a desired item, or climb the ladder in their trade skills. It is never a good idea to reward people for sacrificing their real life in order to achieve some goal in a gaming world.

There always are design alternatives to this. Instead of killing the epic boss, make killing 100 (or whatever) of their lieutenants equivalent. Instead of blue diamonds, trade 100 regular ones, and so forth.

The in-game trading systems help with that. For the parts that don't, Blizzard (et al.) need to review what parts of their game design are so insufferable that it creates a market for leveling and currency sales.

(For example, would it be that horrible to reduce epic flying mount prices to just 2000 gold?)