back to article Blizzard awarded $6m in WoW bot case

World of Warcraft creator Blizzard Entertainment won a $6m judgement from the maker of a software bot that allows users to play the wildly popular game while away from their computers. MDY Industries was ordered to pay the sum last week, following a court finding in July that its distribution of the Glider bot infringed …


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  1. milan

    The company spends close to $943,000 per year ...

    Am I imagining things or wasn't there a recent story about how much Blizzard had spent on WoW since it went live and that figure came in around $2 million? Who is doing these sums?

  2. Nicholas Ettel


    Actually, it's estimated at $200 million... only a couple zeros from your recollection.


  3. jay
    Dead Vulture

    mixed feelings

    posting as a reformed WoW (crack) addict, I know that bots were one of the reasons i stopped playing, being out farming for a couple of hours when your shit is constantly being ninja'd by a 'chinese farmer'.

    conversely, i had long entertained the desire to get glider because (more reasons for quitting) I became tired of spending hours/days/weeks farming for stuff when i could hear my guildies on vent running through dungeons and raids having a blast.

    i do find it unfortunate that this dude made nowhere near the money that this ruling is insisting he cough up, but i suppose that is the way it goes. Blizz sure don't need his 6 mill. lets hope he can settle for far less.

    Blizzard has millions (billions i suppose in the long term..?) on the line if everyone up and left because of these kind of issues, so using their not-insubstantial legal muscle to 'sending a message' to bot creators is one thing they can do to protect their investment.

    dont know what they can do about manual gold farming sweatshops...

    doesn't add too much to the intellectual pool but hey, if i was an intellectual giant would i be working in a call centre?

    gravestone for poor little M-Donnelly and his merry men.

  4. Ian Davies
    Thumb Up

    Call me melodramatic...

    ... but if the approach Blizzard are taking here (to go after the people who make the instruments of mischief, rather than the people who actually *perpetrate* the mischief itself) were to be applied to a somewhat more serious real-world scenario, wouldn't all of the gun manufacturers have been sued out of business decades ago?

    Not that it's a bad idea...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gold Sellers

    Now only if Blizzard did something about the gold sellers...

  6. Solomon Grundy

    Automating Certain Tasks

    Such as slaying monsters and mining gold...doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of the game if you aren't doing those things? I mean if you're just there to get your jollies off chatting with a fat old greasy man disguised as a hot young female avatar why don't you just play The Sims?

  7. Ben Mathews


    Glad no-one told the southpark kids about this, would have been a much less entertaining episode :)

  8. milan

    @Nicholas Ettel

    That's what I get for not being too lazy to check archives for the previous article but hey what's a couple of 0's, it's like...two nothings right?

    Fair enough that they won the claim against him but the payout seems fairly steep.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re Automating Certain Tasks

    Not really. These are boring and repetitive tasks that Blizzard have injected into the game in order to make obtaining certain rewards a long winded process, thus in their minds lengthening the amount of time people will subscribe to the game.

    The reality is there are far more substantial elements to World of Warcraft, otherwise you might as well simply get a hack and slash single player game, not pay a monthly subscription fee, and not risk having your character deleted when you cheat.

    As for pervs pretending to be girls. I'm sure it happens, but the most complex elements of World of Warcraft, the parts that make the game so addictive, are only possible with voice communication. Coordinating the actions of 5, 10 or 25 people without it is all but impossible in these parts of the game, because they require information being passed back and forth significantly faster than you can type. The most common application used for this gives crystal clear conversation with extremely low overheads. At that point pretending to be a girl becomes somewhat difficult.

    The appeal seems to be pretty broad. One thing I know for sure is it's played by more than a bunch of nerds, given the professions and attitudes of the players I've 'met'.

  10. Andy Worth

    MMORPG bots

    Going back a few years, I used to spend way too much time playing MMORPG's, but I eventually managed to wean myself off them with the use of a girlfriend (real not virtual). The sad thing is that you DO end up spending ages "grinding" skills just so that your character is strong enough to enjoy the actual fun parts of the game.

    The only times I really enjoyed it were when I was roleplaying, and the physical skills of a character meant nothing (as the PVP was all staged and acted out), or when I first started, and grinding skills and money meant going with a bunch of real-life mates on teamspeak and going on a Rancor hunt (it was Star Wars Galaxies - my choice of poison).

    A better method of achieving new skill levels would be to have a quest based (and even inject some story into it) system rather than a simple experience based one. This would encourage people to actually play the game and remove the need to "grind" skills.

    So, sorry Blizzard, but my opinion is that if so many people require bots just to be able to start enjoying your game, it points to a weakness in the game itself.

  11. John

    Re: Call me melodramatic...


    They do also ban the user accounts heres a blizzard announcement on the subject:

    "In keeping with Blizzard's aggressive stance against cheating in World of Warcraft, we banned over 30,000 accounts in the month of May, and with that removed well over 30 million gold from the economy across all realms."

    Its finally good to see the writer of Glider taken down, some areas in some zones were just impossible to quest in due to bots (Burning Steppes east side for example), you may as well just abandon any quests for that location and move on, it wasn't worth the pain of trying to compete.

    To Jay that thought 8million was excessive, no it wasn't, this really was a *good* case for punitive damages as it sens a nice big fat signal to anyone else thinking of writing a similar program, "Don't, or we will take more than you can earn from it.". Yes I feel sorry for him but he knew what he was doing and the grief that his program caused for profit.

    Saves players years of hassle from having entire areas and quests unplayable while a court case is built and tried.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Working in a call centre? Sounds more like you spend your time playing WoW. Maybe you should find a more useful pursuit - perhaps involving a bit of exercise and/or intellectual stimulation. Or not...

    Paris because she, too, lives in a world of fantasy and make believe...

  13. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    What about free bots?

    I have seen other MMORPGs killed by too many bot users, but the problem there was often that the bots concerned were passed freely between players so they spread very quickly. The companies concerned withdrew their games because they didn't have the staff to keep finding and defeating the bots and so many non-bot players stopped playing and paying. If someone "open-sources" Glider or another bot that WoW cannot automatically detect, what does Blizzard do then? Can they afford to go after a free Glider? Probably one or two, but without the ability to claw back some money represented by pay-to-use bot programs even Blizzard may have trouble in the long run.

  14. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    All I can see is that...

    ...the bots do not seem to be the problem. It's the stupid gameplay design which is at fault.

    I can only assume that the people who are happy to submit to Blizzards ways (with intrusive client's machine monitoring, legal aggression etc) have some masochistic streak to them...

  15. Jinxter

    A step in the right direction?

    As a founded geek and (unfortunately) dedicated player of WoW I am happy to see that Blizzard is now targeting the manufacturers of these Bots while at the same time identifying and banning the users of them.

    Blizzard has in the last year removed all need for repetitive game play of gold farming and generic mob slashing so that players have the opportunity to focus on their targets final goals whether they are PvP or PvE. The only monotonous task left in the game now is the levelling up of a character that has even recently been improved by systems allowing you to level up 3 times as fast.

    The purpose of Bots now days are only to support a ‘Glory Hunter’ who wishes to have everything in the game for none of the effort.

    With regards to comments of perverts in the game; this is why WoW is accompanied with age restriction, parental controls, server types (PvP, PvE and RP) and even language filters to protect the innocent. But this really does fall into a whole different article.

  16. Matthew


    Runescape was alot worse!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    @ John

    I spent some time playing WoW until the grind hacked me off so much I gave it up. I never used a bot although the idea was tempting.

    I feel sorry for the guy, over 100k people bought and used his software (Dunno how many were farmers, or just people fed up grinding) but thats a lot of possibly disgruntled people).

    I used to simply kill bots it was pretty easy to do, I wont post how here because I'll probably get arrested by the Blizzard police for interfering with the game mechanics.

  18. Wize


    All these people getting upset over a game.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let Me Guess...

    "I used to simply kill bots it was pretty easy to do, I wont post how here because I'll probably get arrested by the Blizzard police for interfering with the game mechanics."

    I guess you was a Shaman, used a Fire Totem and logged off before it went off ?

  20. Big Dave

    Chicken or egg?

    It seems to be that the bots are directly linked to gold farming. Sure, Blizzard have a right to go after the botting and botters, but when they add features to the game like elite flying mounts that cost 8000g to obtain (an amount that would take 'manual' effort of weeks to months of boring grind or many months of more normal playing) what do they expect?

    If they really wanted to stop botting they would stop making game objectives cost huge amounts of gold to achieve. Put in an enjoyable quest that takes a long time to achieve instead? Nah - that would cost Blizzard.

    For a company that profits hundreds of millions of dollars from a game, they could perhaps invest in coming up with ways to beat the botters/farmers.

  21. Scott Evil
    Gates Horns

    @Now only if Blizzard did something about the gold sellers...

    They do. They get fired and have to leave Paris, unless they lived there already.

  22. Tim

    Other Bots?

    I want to know why they only have gone after Gilder, a quick google search brings up loads of bot programs. They are based in America so that's why, I think.

    I have been looking at glider and what it does is use a driver that makes wow think keys are being pressed. It does not alter game code at all, it does is break the Terms and Conditions of the account however.

    People probably named Glider because it was the only bot name they know, it's like Hoover and Vacuuming.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BOT's not required in WoW

    says it all ....

    anyone that disagrees has either not played the game recently .. or is a bling player.

    It costs 6k to get a fast mount, which you would have if you get to Lv 70 with 3 areas quests still to do.. its not hard or difficult.

  24. Yfrwlf


    This should have been dealt with technically, not by litigations which went after how users wish to use software. EULAs can fuck off.

  25. Steve


    How did they reach this judgement. That's what's important.

    Lots of software exists that allows interaction with other 3rd party software, if the home users who happen to use this software are in breach of a license then sue them. What next, sue every software house that produces a screen macro/automation tool of any type?

  26. ratfox

    Bots are not required

    I do believe you can enjoy the game without using bots.

    Then again, some people got frustrated or lazy and used god mode to finish Doom, so... Nothing new, really.

  27. Dave The Cardboard Box

    Does this mean that...

    Sunday league footballers will now have to wash their own kit instead of getting their mum-bot to do it?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So what is keeping the next generation smarty from creating a hardware based bot? You know, a small, simple computer that sits in between the mouse and keyboard and does a little pixel reading between the videocard and monitor plug. Hard? not at all, software for that already exists, and an Eee with a video-in USB dongle isn't -that- expensive.

  29. Anonymous from Mars

    If a simple bot can do it...

    If a simple bot can do it, then there's obviously a problem with the gameplay.

    I'm glad I'm immune to MMORPGs.

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