Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blizzard Loses In Court, Botters Lose In WoW

Yesterday saw a major ban wave hit World of Warcraft. Many botters believe the move was retaliation for the victory of Bossland GmbH, the maker of the Honorbuddy series of bots, in a German court concerning the Demonbuddy bot for Diablo 3:

"Bossland GmbH (https://www.thebuddyforum.com/), creater of bot software for several MMOs, has won the lawsuit against Blizzard Entertainment S.A.S, creator of World of Warcraft and Diablo III. Blizzard had argued that the sale of virtual currency “Gold” in the game Diablo 3 is anti-competitive. The judges of the Civil Division of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court considered this question with reference to Federal Court of Justice of Germany case law and it recommended the applicant to withdraw the application for an injunction.
"On 6 May 2013 The Hamburg Regional Court had issued a temporary injunction without a hearing and thereby ruled that the defendant (Bossland GmbH) have to refrain, without the consent of the applicant to operate a gold-trading website for the game Diablo III.
"On 7 May 2015 (3 U 45/14), the Civil Division of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court disagreed with this order.The court ordered that the entire costs of the two instances of the process be paid by Blizzard Entertainment S.A.S.
"'I am pleased that after many years, a Court of Appeal has finally dealt accurately and in detail with the legal assessment and the key points of the law has worked out so well for us. I am optimistic that the federal court will view our other business models as permissible.' says Zwetan Letschew, CEO of Bossland GmbH expressed.
"Bossland GmbH fights in different legal proceedings against Blizzard Entertainment S.A.S. and Blizzard Entertainment Inc. These proceedings have the objective of clarifying various legal questions, for example, issues of integration of EULA of software bought in shops or at online retailers and, for example, the legal status of virtual items and issues of competition law.
"Bossland GmbH is represented in Cases for many years by the lawyers Marian Härtel, and Dominik Büttner and Carsten Neuhaus from the firm Kaesler & Kollegen."
A nice conspiracy theory, but botters are not exactly known for quickly recognizing when reality shifts in unfavorable directions. The introduction of the WoW Token to Azeroth suggested that Blizzard would follow CCP's top down, bottom up approach to combating the scourge of black market gold selling in World of Warcraft.

The Donchian channel for WoW black market gold

The chart above shows the "top down" effect of the WoW Token on the price of black market gold listed on twelve websites that sell WoW gold. Since the introduction of the WoW Token on the North American realms on 7 April, the median price of black market gold on those sites declined by 46.9%. Obviously, the top down pressure is hurting the bottom line of the gold selling sites.

The belief that yesterday's ban wave is in retaliation for losing in court is perhaps understandable. Apparently Blizzard does not conduct frequent ban waves and the company conducted a sizable ban wave less than two months ago. If Blizzard really is following the CCP model, then the botters should expect more frequent ban waves. CCP's philosophy is to continuously ban botters and ISK sellers so as not to give the rules breakers any time to feel safe from receiving bans. Don't expect Blizzard to have that capability in the near future, so expect smaller, more frequent ban waves in the months ahead.

The "bottom up" part of the strategy involves making conducting RMT operations, which includes botting and hacking, as painful as possible. How much pain did Blizzard inflict yesterday? Since the Honorbuddy forums are open to the public, here are a few comments from actual WoW botters. For regular readers of The Nosy Gamer who play EVE, please remember that Blizzard lumps certain hacking and macroing activities into the botting category. Enjoy!

bimaman - "My main account just got banned. I was only using garrisonbuddy, because fuck doing garrison shit on 11 characters. So Blizz just reported that they have lost 2.9m subs, and then goes and bans a bunch of people for botting... They won't have many subs left after this :/"

Luvs2spluge - "I have been using HB for a long ass time running the same profile for farming motes on ISLE Of THunder .... never had ANY issues untill today.

"I got a 6 months ban, which i am gonna try and get reduced to 72 hours seeing how I have NEVER had any issues prior to this and i have been playing wow for over 9 years... 6 months is kinda bullshit for a first time offence.

"Funny thing is my buddy got caught as well and only got a 72 hour ban...WTF! how does he get a 72 and i get a 6 months!!!! thats just crap.. and he was farming current content leather..."

Talazemico - "6 month ban, used enyo oracle !! FUCKK!!!! FUCK YOU BLIZZARD"

NG Note: Enyo is a cheat program described as a raidbot. Basically, raiding is so hard in World of Warcraft that people need to use a program to push the buttons in the correct order.

Kaosqueen -  "got me too. Just now.. I only use Enyo. Only routines to raid. i move on my own. and even self click extra actions. i was standing there doing nothing. when i got booted and got the email. this sucks. main and only account. Guess im moving on to a new game or something."

drew90 - "Got me with a 6 month suspension first time in like 8-9 years ive been caught! "

Jtroy - "I just got banned too. But the e-mail says I was banned for using bugs and all items and gold that I 'cheated' got removed from my account D: I used questbot (for leveling my toon from 90-100), enyo (with tuanha premium), grindbot (to farm exalted at the frostwolf orcs).

"EDIT: My first ban since I started botting in cata :< FUCK YOU BLIZZARD!"

nuclear898 - "I've been botting since WoTLK, and have never been banned until today. I only used raid bot the last year. 6 months. See you all again on November 13 !"

HceTiG0L - "I guess WoW will drop another 5MIL users until November :')"

Shiningstar - "3 accounts banned, just using enyo and garrisonbuddy, not that it matters, this is obviously a ban wave that's going to cause even bigger waves within the game. All these guilds losing key players will fail to make mythic raids, losing more members and disbanding causing more players to quit, i can see wow hitting 5/6 million subs after this. We all take this risk but i just want to thank the HB team for sending out a detectable version of HB, obviously the trigger went off at some point and they've been expecting this for awhile... It's not the first time this has happened and we've been kept in the dark, it happened a few years ago too when people could be detected by their keyboard not being used while the bot was running. 

"See you in 6months if it's worth coming back at the end of all this."

dromios - "Just got nailed! I was making food at the time - BAM - went dark. I wrote and asked if this means I STILL have to pay and if I will lose my guild status as GM. I'll let you know the response. ARGH. Was not using ANYTHING at the time of the damn ban"

Masterik - "This wasnt a banwave, it was a ban tsunami, what is enyo?"

McWeiss - "well they got me too and since hb and botting was the only reason for me to stick with world of warcraft i am done with it... i dont think i will come back after the six month suspension. see you in the next game guys ;-)

"oh and a little info: this was my main account. just using enyo and routine there (mostly tuanha and leaves. sometimes portal and stars no free routine. all where premium)."

justbob - "well it looks like ill have to go back to all my old hobbies in RL (searching for Keys to drive to Bar) .. maybe ill go fishing with the kids now..."

Kasoqueen - "it is all over the blizzard forums too. people reading these forums and laughing over there. i guess i always knew it would happen but blizzard will lose a lot of money im sure.. but this is my last post and the last time i will be here on this site or any other blizzard related anything. it was fun while it lasted. late folks."

NG Note: I'm shocked that anyone would visit a botting forum and find amusement in botters receiving 6 month bans. What's the world coming to?

Osx86 - "Talked to a blizz employee explained I didnt have 3rd party software. They said it was detected without a shadow of a doubt and they are busy getting calls about it. He was very polite and told me they dont revoke these and since log in only happened from the same location it couldnt have been a compromise. He said not to use third party software when my ban is lifted. I will not get any money back."

Manioso - "They removed telephone contact in my country, and I tried to appeal saying I sometimes played in a friend's house through one of his computers, and he probably had a bot program installed. I don't know if it will work because I think I've never played from other IP... This ban really hurt me."

Captain - "i guess you can add me to that list now.. using ONLY enyo just got a 6 month ban on an account that has been here since 05 lol.. blizz told me it was '3rd party software/automation' that did it... guess this is one way for wow to hurt itself so many ppl are getting banned their subs are about to go way down.. i think the only reason they are doing 6mo bans is so they can keep the subs after we 'learn our lesson' LMAO im done with wow after this"

LowKey - "omg bed bath and beyond, worst possible time to send me some spam to my WoW email address. gave me a heart attack!"

dtadrunk - "Banned 6 months 9 year account. I really liked my appeal response (which is automated of course) but I found this funny. 

"'Now something on a positive note, this isn't an account closure. The account will just be suspended for a couple of days and should be back up on 11/13/2015. This means that there's another chance to play fair and play nice!'

"Lol"

blackyouout - "It was a great run been botting for just under five years on the same account and i just got banned,  six months fuck it."

crispybacon - "You could have answered this yourself. I mean, look around. This is the biggest banwave since Glider (correct me if I'm wrong). So if you are worried about your account, THIS is definitely NOT the time to go on using HB. My last HB use was on April 24th and I still got banned."

qtmeganr - "Fuck yeah, I got hit today as well. I came home and checked my e-mail. I was like wtf. Tried logging in and sure enough, you're account has been suspended. Greedy fuckers."

Terrif - "its funny. you guys dont have your bots to distract you and you start arguing lol if you cant remember that this is all still just a video game, even if you are turning a profit from it, then maybe its time you not play anymore and remind yourself that there is an actual world outside! you know outside? that place you go to buy more soda and taco bell? you should give exploring that a shot sometime."

razer - "You know everything amazing! Its not the hardcore botters who use HB a lot of guilds use it just for CR and they are really pissed. They aint coming back now who the hell wants to spam buttons all day for shit content. WoW has just fucked themself over again lol The sub count will drop and drop this game content is worse and worse every exp. People are moving on WoW is dying"

crispybacon - "Eactly this. They fucked a LOT of guilds and non-botters really hard tonight with the banwave. Raidleaders, Guildleaders, top DPS, top healers... bammmm, all gone. Considering the awful state the game is in, the majority of those people will not come back. I even believe that a lot of non-botters will cancel their subs now that their raids and/or guilds have completely fallen apart. Blizzard really fucked themselves over tonight. Just wait and see."

lyvewyre - "I always thought it was a bad idea not to upgrade to a 64 bit because very few legit people would be running 32 bit client. It's easy for me to say, I know it was only possible to do what they did because Blizz fucked up once and released the 32 bit client data, but the fact that HB could only run 32 bit was going to be used against it sooner or later.

"They never did though because it just wasn't worth the $$ to do so. At the end of the day, the original audience for HB, trash account gold farmers, have had 5 years of botting with bans here and there. This is merely a setback for them... They will be back with some other bot.

"For those of us who used HB as a crutch for our gameplay or as a way to take out the boring shit, we are the one's hit hardest, and there's not much can be done. As they said 'we told you not to use your main accounts'."

Taybox - "If I decide to keep playing WoW... I have to do everything manually now that HB is detected? like...

"leveling toons, grinding gold, raiding, grinding reps, farming mounts, etc? 

"AW HELLLL NO. I havent played this game manually in a longggggggg time. HB was such a joy.

"Im not sad about my account, I'm sad that HB is not longer working...."

20 comments:

  1. INB4 idiots attempt to compare botting software with ISBoxer

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  2. I love how many try to use the excuse of playing for 9 years as a reason they should get a pass on botting. They know damn well that using ANY software to automate game task is bannable. Doesn't matter if it's doing your daily Garrison task or doing your class rotation while raiding.

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  3. Those responses, and more that I have seen, just seen to reinforce my opinion that once you start botting or buying illicit RMT currency you also begin to become detached from the game. When the cheat gets cut off, it becomes tough to go back to the game.

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  4. No — no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should have sent a poet. So delicious. So delicious... I had no idea.

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  5. Lucas SchumacherMay 14, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    Yeah... even addons that makes thing "too easy" are bannable...

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  6. Getting quite the giggle from all the people that say "I just used..." as if any of the programs that follow the ellipse were somehow within the TOS or just a toe over.

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  7. I wonder how many grindy MMOs are as grindy as they are because they see bots grinding the content, think the bots are human players, then increase the grind because that's where a large number of players spend most of their time.


    If this is true, that's just another reason to hate botters. We didn't need another reason.

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  8. You have anything to back up that bit of fear mongering? Because getting banned for using the API that Blizzard controls sounds like either an outrage or bullshit.

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  9. Noizy's roundups of tears are always delicious, but this one was so huge that I actually think I have indigestion, like I'd just eaten too many slices of delicious cake.

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  10. Don't be silly - Blizzard isn't losing money on banning you all, and they planned this all very carefully to maximize how much they can make. It isn't a coincidence that they banned everyone just a little while after introducing the wow tokens....many many who get banned will 1) Buy a new copy of the game, 2) make a new subscription, 3) buy crap from the blizzard store since they lost everything and 4) buy wow tokens to fill up their gold stores that they lost. And blizzard makes 5$ more on every wow token than they do on a normal subscription fee. They are laughing all the way to the bank while walking on the backs of people who have been paying their paychecks already for 10 years.(BUT THEY CHEATED? Whatever, it's a game and botters don't really do any harm to anyone in any way that actually matters, particularly people who are fishing in their garrisons or some stupid crap like that). The whole thing is just a way for Blizzard to exploit the real world economy - shame we can't ban THEM for that shit.

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  11. People go to that exact same court to win with really weird cases. That court is basically the laughing stock of courts in Germany and basically every ruling gets recinded in later rulings.

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  12. I remember one addon that would, if I remember correctly literally put a circle on the ground where you needed to stand, and do a couple other things. Blizzard didn't like that, announced that doing so was not intended game play and told the users of it to stop. Those who did didn't end up with bans etc, but the people who ignored the rather public warning did face action (short bans IE a couple hours, for not heeding the warning after they detected it). They also worked to make the code no longer function. Problem for WoW is that the lua coding language is actually really powerful, so people come up with things that abuse this power.

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  13. Let me guess, you lost your account?
    Bots do all kinds of damage to video games, from making it annoying for real people to play (battleground bots that farm honor). To making it really annoying because the gold and items they create really fuck with the economy. It makes the effort put in by people actually playing worth less because it can drive both currency inflation, and the supply of crafting materials. Botting is also one of the mainstays of illicit RMT, which along with inflation helps promote shadier ways of getting gold (account hacks etc).
    Funny thing is that the people who are gold farmers and not scrub players just know this is reality and don't cry about it. so these tears are some of the sweetest I have seen in a while.

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  14. And the maker of the Honorbuddy bot is claiming they are throwing in the towel.

    http://www.gamepolitics.com/2015/05/15/world-warcraft-bot-maker-admits-defeat

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  15. Lucas SchumacherMay 15, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    Sup Wilhelm...

    See the Terms of Use Violations > World of Warcraft:

    http://www.curseforge.com/wiki/knowledge-base/policy/project-acceptance-policy/

    You wont find a "list of wow banned addons" but i remeber one oldschool that allowed you talk with alliance/horde called BabelFish.

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  16. When I read that post on the forums, it was more like they'd shut down until they could figure out a way around the detection, not that they'd given up completely.

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  17. Nope, was just making a commentary on the reality of the real world economics of companies like activision and the reasons they make the decisions they do. Big corporations never make decisions that cause them to lose huge amounts of money. Ever.

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  18. Just to clarify the judgment a bit and put it into perspective:

    It's
    only about a temporary injunction (look at the dates: all the rulings
    happened only within 2 days), that is, Blizzard asked the court to stop
    the gold selling until the main proceedings are done.

    Also keep in mind that the press release is from the laywers of the bot maker, so take it with a grain of salt.

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  19. I am completely revolted. It used to be that you played these non-stop because you were too lazy to have conventional hobbies that required direct person to person interaction. Now our younger generations can't even be arsed to put effort into what is considered a sedentary hobby! Staggering, just staggering how GROSS people are getting.

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