Friday, January 24, 2014

Blizzard Kills A Bot

I don't know how much the mainstream gaming media has covered the story, but apparently Blizzard dropped the ban hammer on quite a few botters in World of Warcraft over the past two days.  Well, WoW players are calling PQR, which I believe is the application in question, a bot.  I would call it a macro, but as macros are legal in WoW, I believe bot gets used to avoid confusion.

Image edited to show the last edit date.
According to the official description on the OwnedCore forums, PQR was:

"PQR is a bot designed to perform complex DPS, healing and tanking rotations for the player. It was mainly designed to reduce the tediousness of performing a complex rotation for hours on end, which for many can be a huge relief and provide them with a better WoW experience where they may have wanted to quit in other cases."
Note that I indicated "was"?  That is because, as the graphic above shows, that the download link was removed from OwnedCore's forums, probably at 4:02pm yesterday, Central Standard Time (GMT -6).  Since the application was freeware, Blizzard can't go after the developer's wallet, but if the lawyers were able to track down Xelper, perhaps he was persuaded to cooperate.

Someone posted a rumor that 510 thousand accounts were banned.  The users of PQR apparently believe that people who used the application in PvE were receiving 72 hour bans and those using the hack in PvP were receiving permanent bans.  The fact that Xelper took down the link has led to some conspiracy theories on the forums similar to ones seen when the EVE bot RoidRipper closed down due to aggressive action by CCP.

The story is ongoing, and the MGM will need to cover the story if highly ranked Arena players were caught in the ban wave.  I'll go through all the information I have and post something more comprehensive on Monday.  And for those of you who want to read some tears, I'll leave a link to the official ban wave thread.

UPDATE: I'm not so sure PQR is permanently dead.  I tracked down the statement people were using to say it was.

"I'm going out for the night, and I just want to be clear: I am not sure if PQI was the reason for detection. I am just saying that listening on that addon channel was a bad idea, and a potential avenue for detection. There are others. If people were banned for using PE (and have never touched PQR/PQI) There is certainly another. Another thought is that Blizzard may be able to see what addons are running, but these are all guesses for now. I highly suggest people do not continue to use PQR."


  1. It looks like an Autoit or AHK script. Technically they're interpreted macro scripting languages but powerful enough to write quite complex applications with.

    A lot of WoW bots were written with Autoit, including the one that was probably the most used.

    1. BTW, the reason I recognized the look of Autoit/AFK scriptsis because dual boxing with complex Autoit/AHK scripts was allowed in WoW and I wrote my own dual boxing scripts for it in AHK.

    2. It brings up an interesting question of where a macro ends and a bot begins. I really don't know WoW at all, but this looks like it's right in the middle. It is running skills on repeat for you with perfect timing, with no input from the user (bot-like). OTOH I'd think that it would still require movement or targeting from a human in order to be useful (macro-like).

    3. "Well, WoW players are calling PQR, which I believe is the application in question, a bot. I would call it a macro, but as macros are legal in WoW, I believe bot gets used to avoid confusion."

      Let me clarify a bit further:
      * Actually, macros are not only legal in WoW, but it has built-in macro support. So, yes, using the word macro in any other context than the build-in feature be confusing to any WoW player.
      * Blizzard uses the more general term 'automation' instead, which covers more than bots. But that term is not common among players. Automation is forbidden by the ToU 2.A. (

      Regarding the ban:
      * I am not sure from the reading material I found, whether PQR has the ability to send actions while you are afk. If so, I consider that botting.
      * Even if not, PQR does e.g. smart interrupts, i.e. it chooses the action for you depending on your environment, which goes beyond *my* understanding of macros (replaying a prerecorded, fixed series of actions).
      * The rule of thumb is that anything that is not possible with the built-in macro system (or the add-on interface) is questionable and a candidate for being declared automation.
      * Regardless of the former points, PQR openly admits that PQR reads the memory of the WoW process, which is a bannable offense by itself (ToU 2.C).

    4. @Anonymous - that's a great explanation. Thanks!

    5. Lol its still funny to me that someone would need to buy gold in wow.....a game my 15 yr old maxed her gold in....this country is so fucked

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  3. One bot is off the next bot will born soon. PQR is a LUA protection removal tool nothing more. Example code is rather clear - if UnitCastingInfo("target") then SpellStopCasting() CastSpellByName("Kick") - and you get insta - interrupt skill.