Oct 192013

Let me guess… we all love bots, right? Those programs that automated your character for leveling, farming, BGs, and whatever? Set up a program and AFK your way to honor, loot, and glory, right? Right?

Ok, ok, stop with the rotten tomatoes already.

It looks like Blizzard got the courts to agree that there was a large, deliberate “interference with contract” violation or somesuch going on. As a result a company which made $300k selling botware now gets to pony up $7 million to Bliz.

Blizzard wins $7M judgment in World of Warcraft bot lawsuit

Blizzard Entertainment has prevailed in a two-year legal battle with Ceiling Fan Software over World of Warcraft bots, and has been awarded $7 million by a federal court in California.

The publisher originally filed suit in December 2011 against Ceiling Fan, a company that developed two bots — Pocket Gnome and Shadow Bot — allowing World of Warcraft players to automate aspects of the game. Using bots is a violation of the World of Warcraft end-user license agreement and its terms of use.

More: http://www.polygon.com/2013/10/18/4853318/blizzard-wins-world-of-warcraft-bot-lawsuit-ceiling-fan-software Read the comments, too. They’re very good.

If you’re interested in the legal stuff you can find the legal summary here and the actual judgment here.

This is another win for Bliz in the war against the bots. They previously got one against Glider. Here’s a brief Slashdot article which I thought explained the rules, nicely.

The court found that they did violate DMCA Section 1201(a)(2) (PDF), which prohibits trafficking in products that circumvent technologies designed to control access to copyright-protected works.” (source) 

The demand is too high for the problem to stop, but now the software people are aware of the potential costs. So we’ll see.

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Jul 012013
Has WoW Killed Off the Other MMOs?

Every time a new MMO is released a bunch of people hop onto their soapboxes and announce that it’s the New WoW Killer. It’s the game that will put World of Warcraft on it’s massive butt, blah blah blah.

Has WoW Has Killed the MMO Genre?Naturally they’re wrong and naturally all those games have either died or become pretty much “free to play.”

So here’s a different tale on the question, from The Escapist:

Has WoW Has Killed the MMO Genre?

The boss of new MMO Firefall thinks that World of Warcraft made MMOs “too accessible.”

“Sometimes I look at WoW and think ‘what have we done?’ I think I know. I think we killed a genre.” Former World of Warcraft developer and CEO of Red 5 Studios Mark Kern believes that WoW, and its countless clones, have killed the MMO genre by making MMOs too accessible to a casual audience. In particular, the ease in leveling through the main game and the race to the mythical “endgame” has made it increasingly difficult for new developers to create rich worlds. “And it worked. Players came in droves, millions of them. But at what cost?”

Check out the whole post here.

Then, after reading it, come back and tell us what you think (keep it clean.) Has WoW killed the MMO genre? Can any company, other than Blizzard, kill off WoW? What would it take?

Sure, lots of games have prettier graphics, by far, and decent stories and so on. But does any give a Goblin’s hangnail about story anymore? I like to explore new zones and read the quests and get into the story, but does anyone else?



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Aug 092012

Some of Blizzards servers were broken into. Blizzard has issued a press release. Here it is, in full, links have been removed. See the source pages for Bliz links. Credit cards and other important data do not seem to have been compromised.

Players and Friends,

Even when you are in the business of fun, not every week ends up being fun. This week, our security team found an unauthorized and illegal access into our internal network here at Blizzard. We quickly took steps to close off this access and began working with law enforcement and security experts to investigate what happened.

At this time, we’ve found no evidence that financial information such as credit cards, billing addresses, or real names were compromised. Our investigation is ongoing, but so far nothing suggests that these pieces of information have been accessed.

Some data was illegally accessed, including a list of email addresses for global Battle.net users, outside of China. For players on North American servers (which generally includes players from North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia) the answer to the personal security question, and information relating to Mobile and Dial-In Authenticators were also accessed. Based on what we currently know, this information alone is NOT enough for anyone to gain access to Battle.net accounts.

We also know that cryptographically scrambled versions of Battle.net passwords (not actual passwords) for players on North American servers were taken. We use Secure Remote Password protocol (SRP) to protect these passwords, which is designed to make it extremely difficult to extract the actual password, and also means that each password would have to be deciphered individually. As a precaution, however, we recommend that players on North American servers change their password. Please click this link to change your password. Moreover, if you have used the same or similar passwords for other purposes, you may want to consider changing those passwords as well.

In the coming days, we’ll be prompting players on North American servers to change their secret questions and answers through an automated process. Additionally, we’ll prompt mobile authenticator users to update their authenticator software. As a reminder, phishing emails will ask you for password or login information. Blizzard Entertainment emails will never ask for your password. We deeply regret the inconvenience to all of you and understand you may have questions. Please find additional information here.

We take the security of your personal information very seriously, and we are truly sorry that this has happened.

Mike Morhaime

Original source

MMO-Champion has the original release and an FAQ.


Dec 192011

Can you write well enough to impress Blizzard?

The idea is that you put all you buffs on (Mtn. Dew, Pizza, etc.) and find a cozy, quiet dungeon where you can be undisturbed. For awhile.

What you would be doing is writing epic prose that will be submitted to Blizzard for consideration in their writing contest. Can you write well enough to impress them?

These are the rules and while it’s too late for 2011, save that page and enter for 2012. There’s no reason that you can’t start your efforts  now.

Who knows? It might be the start of your path to fame and glory.


Here’s the announcement for the 2011 winners:

The wayward plans concocted by judges of the 2009 and 2010 Global Writing Contests have been foiled, and the Ocunomicon has been cast back into the howling Sightless Abyss whence it came. This victory would not have been possible without you, the writers, bravely wielding the ink-drenched Quills of a Thousand Truths! Even with two years’ worth of ocular fortitude strengthening their retinal acumen, the judges were unable to withstand the sheer number and magnificent quality of this year’s entries…

… especially considering that an entire mountain of short stories was airdropped on top of them.

With the smoke cleared and the errant judges corralled and subdued, the victors of the 2011 Global Writing Contest have emerged. Behold now, your champions!

And the winners are here => 2011 Global Writing Contest Winners


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Nov 042011

Bumped into this via a Facebook post…

MMO Melting Pot asks:

Pretty much everyone who plays WoW has had the “WoW stranger” experience, right? You’re at a bar, or a cafe, or a work conference, and you’re talking about WoW. Or you’re wearing something WoW-related. Or you overhear another conversation.

And the next thing you know, someone’s asked you if you play WoW, or vica versa, and you’re engaged in a long, detailed conversation about the game.

Do you think of WoW as a single community? Do you have anything in common with the people on the far side of the Azerothian debate?

Here’s their post: Is there still a WoW community?

Said post stems from a Big Butt Bear post on that subject:

I know that when I think of the community, my feeling is of the people I know in my guild, through my blog, and on Twitter that I chat with. I don’t think of an 8 million person strong community, just the names I see and know and chat with personally. I think of people in trade chat as being… well, being the outsiders. The lonely and sad. The shouts of people desperate for attention, any attention at all. They certainly aren’t part of any community I’m in. Are they?

Still, there is that thought, small though it may still be, that causes me to wonder; are we really all a part of the WoW Community, or are we beyond that now? Are we in communities formed by our mutual interests, and while WoW is part of that, we talk to our friends who like the role play, or the pet hunting, or who have similar attitudes to ours, or who love the raiding progression.

If we meet strangers who turn out to be WoW players these days, does the fact that they play WoW break the ice and make you instant friends, or do you check for trollish behavior before revealing yourself?

Here’s the whole post: Are you part of a single WoW Community?

Now the crowd that I hang out with has little experience or interest in WoW, generally. I don’t wear WoW apparel or interact with the gamer crowd, so I don’t bump into people much. I’ve made a some friends and contacts, though.

So how about you? Are you part of any form of WoW community? Is it just a pastime? Do you like the idea of being in a community or want to avoid it entirely? Do you have any interesting experiences with bumping into WoW players in the real world?