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Blizzard Wields The Banhammer Again 142

Posted by Zonk
from the ouch-they've-got-crusader-on-it dept.
Eurogamer reports that Blizzard is once again clearing house, and this time they mean business. From the article: "Blizzard has banned more than 5400 World of Warcraft players from the game for good as part of plans to clamp down on gold farming and cheating in general. A further 10,700 accounts have been suspended for 'participating in activities that violate the game's Terms of Use, including using third-party programs to farm gold and items.'"
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Blizzard Wields The Banhammer Again

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  • Anyone else just hear a hideous scream from the direction of China?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:21AM (#15121256)
    Now if only they'd use the "Make the Servers Work" hammer.
  • Banhammer (Score:4, Funny)

    by JigsJupeJive (956688) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:23AM (#15121276)
    Hunter Weapon!
    • by Ignignot (782335) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:58AM (#15121643) Journal
      OH MY GOD it is not just a hunter weapon you jerk because paladins can use +agil just as much because they need all the crit% that they can get! If I saw a hunter roll on a Banhammer I would be so pissed I would track him down and beat the crap out of him and also never group with him again and probably complain in the realm forums!

      Btw what is the drop rate because I have been farming this thing for 3 days and it still hasn't dropped!
      • Hunters can't use maces, you n00b! omgwtfbbq l2play kthxbai!

        *blink*

        What just happened? I think I had a flashback... *shudder*
    • My hunter's Quel'Serrar is way better
  • by sinner6 (884407) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:28AM (#15121328)
    Won't the farmers that survived the banhammer just be able to increase their prices, as their competitors are at least temporarly out of commision? Plus the supply of gold available for purchase is less so won't prices go up even more?
    • Wouldn't the higher prices cause less people to buy the gold?
    • The gold prices have been growing ever since Blizzard put in the "Get gold instead of experience at lvl 60" rule. I did a hand full of quests in Silithus and made over 60 gold in a couple hours. Just doing solo quests. The big group quests are worth even more.
      • Wouldn't that cause Gold prices to decrease though as supply increases?

        -Rick
        • Virtual economy has no such nonsense as supply and demand.They operate on basis of fads and prestige of having some trinkets while others strive to get them.Value doesn't shift unless
          its "sucks" "out of fashion" or declared
          crap.Supply is virtual too.
          Playing these games is waste of time and (and unless you employ a computer farm dedicated to exploiting game economy) money.
          • wait, are we talking about the US economy or the WoW economy?
            • This is Slashdot. Use your grey matter.
              • My grey matter tells me that once there is food in my belly and a roof over my head, anything else is fads & trinkets. Use your sarcasm meter.
                • something virtual has any relation with real material economy?
                  Fads and trinkets are
                  consumers preference,they don't shape the economy(Unlike MMORPGs).Unless masses diversify/reform the demand,supply is very stable.
                  In Games slight changes to values of some trinkets or game mechanics would
                  radically alter the economy.

                  Case of Diablo II(i don't play it anymore): Before the New Runewords,runes
                  would be priced very cheap,unless you had top runes and economy was based on uniques. Now the entire economy is based on ru
                  • you offer runes, I offer ring tones and itunes. Nothing but bits. I believe that the ring tone economy has eclipsed the CD economy. Reason: oh, shiney.
                    • Trading information thats free to replicate is fundamentally wrong.
                      These commodities don't lose value because they replicated.They remain the same(except for sheeple that chooses to buy them).

                      What is different from original file? What is difference between Official Digital Copy of Ringtone/File/Song/Information you buy and a copy you make?
                    • So now information is free, and people who pay for it are sheep. What about the people who contribute money to wikkipedia? They are paying to give information away. Where is the value in that? Are they grass? I pay verizon to get access to wikkipedia and other free content. What kind of animal am I?

                      Don't confuse what people subjectively should pay with what they do pay. People pay a buck a song. It must be worth it to them.
                    • " It must be worth it to them."
                      Subjective value,just another aspect.
                      These things have no real value.
                      The ringtones and DRMed songs you pay for are copies,digital copies.
                      Company who sells them just prints money out of thin air(not-considering distribution and storage which you already paid).
                    • So, are we talking economics, or only what you consider valuable? Don't let yourself be tricked by something that has no value to you. All of my money is just bits anyway. Yet people are willing to trade my bits for things like groceries and gasoline, or even ringtones. What does it cost to store my bank balance? I paid my taxes with an online servie this year. what were those bits worth?

                      The only real measure of value is what people are what people are willing to pay for something. Does it matter if
                    • Your money is valuable to all,Your Virtual Items are valuable to small subset of population who need them.
                      What you buy exactly is the time they spend to farm these game resources(to prevent wasting time yourself).

                      Digital Copies of Information on other hand are not Virtual Items,Its just data.Companies who charge for copies don't spend any time or resource.They only need the original for distribution.

                    • you'd have a point if the content would come into existance from nothingness without any effort put into it. As this is the real world, it doesn't. If content producers aren't paid, they'll stop making content.
                    • It's funny when someones argument actually defeats his point. Just look at the quality of slashdot posts on average. You certain that you want your music, TV, movies, books, newspapers to have that level of quality? I certainly don't. Also, what does "industy-sponsoed" sellouts even mean? And if this term is actually derogative of content producers and/or their content why steal it (the content) then?
                    • You got it all figured out pretty good, huh? Oh well, there is much wrong with your post, I don't even know where to start. First of all, slashdot posts, wikipedia entries, amateur video clips or funny funny image macros require little or no capital to create. They also suck compared to the wonders of modern cinema/TV/literature. You know how I know? Because nobody would drop a dime on this shit, all the while every grandpa downloads emminem from itunes for 2 bucks. Just as with software, there will always
                    • 1.judging content on commercial basis (i.e. prices) is wrong.Just because someone charges money for content doesn't guarantees its top-notch.
                      true. But you can see that it has some value to someone. Also, it's justified to say that content nobody would ever buy is probably inferior to content that is actually selling right now.

                      Of course you need big bucks to upload your video/music/Book torrent and getting hosted costs gazillions of dollars.yeah.I get the idea.
                      yeah, because nobody actually likes physica
                    • only if you are a little uptight :-D
          • Virtual economy has no such nonsense as supply and demand.

            Of course they do. How could they not? If there's a market, there supply and demand. It's not optional.

            They operate on basis of fads and prestige of having some trinkets while others strive to get them.

            That would be the "demand" part.

            • Doesn't Blizzard can alter "demand" (and supply) simply by making your items change their attributes?
              Don't a new exploit can make them worthless in a hour?
              Much like Duping http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duping [wikipedia.org] demonstartes this there still people who belive game world items are having intrisic value(to ingame avatars?).These are just bits on Blizzard servers.
              Information there is not Real (as in Existing) ,only our perception makes it have value and existance (like the Super swords of Dragon Slaying).
              Much like
              • so supply and demand do exist? Interessting. Just because the resources are limited on whim the economy evolving because of limited supply doesn't become less real. In the case of WoW , you can be very certain that Blizzard would abstain from any action that would destroy the economy. They really like the money they make from subscribers. Subscribers like the ingame economy.
          • wow, you are quite the economist. Noble price shouldn't be far out.
            But seriously, supply and demand exists everywhere. It's like a natural law of human interaction.
      • Maybe. But if not as many people guy gold, the gold farmers need to make money to keep farming. So, they will have to raise prices to keep the income flowing.
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <SatanicpuppyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:36AM (#15121418) Journal
      It goes both ways. On the one hand, supply is going to drop, so prices are bound to go up. At the same time the reduction in the overall amount of gold will cause currency deflation which would suck for virtual trade balances, but should make stuff cost less.

      All that is counter-balanced however by people who camp out the auction houses buying commodities that are "underpriced" and re-selling them at an inflated market value.

      I always wondered if blizzard sends in people "undercover" to manipulate the gold supply to keep the economy going. There are certain facets that drain money out of supply...repair costs, mounts, everything bought from vendors, but it seems like that would be really difficult to fine-tune, without some occasional corrections.
    • Yes, that's all they did in EQ whenever SOE bitchslapped them.
  • 5400/5M = 0.1% of the total population...

    Blizz can't cut *too* deep into the bottom line.
    • would you be happier if they banned more like 50% or what?

      what difference does the percentage of the total players make, as long as it is cutting down on the problem and not adversely effecting legit players thats fine
  • Although Blizzard has been under a lot of scruteny lately for a variety of issues (sexual orientation prejudice, bad servers, etc.), I'm glad that they are still a company with the integrity to keep the game running fair at the loss of profit (since I don't think many players care if others cheat a bit, at least not to the point of quitting the game). At $12/mo for 12 months, that's a loss of over777,000 dollars from those 5400 players. Seems like many other companies would rather keep the money then keep
    • This is a short-term loss but may end up providing more profits in the long run. It can severely detract from a game when you see cheaters and gold farmers peppered throughout. Now of course there are still farmers and cheaters in the game but the knowledge that Blizzard is actively smiting these evil-doers is a good moral boost for those playing/considering to play that appreciate an honest game.

      I myself like seeing this happen, regardless of whether or not its a significant percentage of the actual pro
      • mod parent down See the posts below for why this guy is wrong.
        • I'm sure many will rebuy the game to resubscribe, but not all are going to. It will piss of a buttload of folk and they'll move on to something else. I cant say for sure one way or the other because people rebuying is a good point I hadnt thought of, but it still is very likely a short term profit loss.
      • Too bad when they banned people they banned legit people as well. Myself and several others I knew were banned for bad UI's in which all UI's that were used were on their forum. Which this happened a day before the big patch that happened to disabled some addons and stuff. They fail to mention this in the article. Whenever you try to contact blizzard's departments about it they say they can't tell you what you did wrong but you did XX and XX wrong and we can't let you know because then others would know
    • I'm glad that they are still a company with the integrity to keep the game running fair at the loss of profit

      Riiiight. 5400 out of 5 million is less than 2% of the total "population". Add to this the fact that these accounts were probably causing a lot more strain on servers and support staff than average.

      Oh, and "integrity" is not a word I'd use regarding Blizzard, at least not after bnetd and "the warden"....

    • by egburr (141740) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:02AM (#15121702) Homepage
      They won't be out any money. The farmers will have to buy a new copy of the game to get a new serial number. So, the regular monthly subscriptions will still be there, plus 5000 new $50 serials will be sold. Sounds like even more profit.

      So, they are cancelling accounts using an excuse that many people will consider legitimate, causing the cancelled players to buy new accounts. How much is the farmer's profit compared to the cost of the new account?

      If I were getting the money from the sale of new serial numbers, I'd keep banning the farmers every chance I had, too. :)

  • by Helmholtz (2715) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:34AM (#15121397) Homepage
    "Blizzard is once again clearing house, and this time they mean business"

    Maybe I'm just being cynical, but I think that there are significantly more than 0.2% of WOW accounts involved in "gold farming and cheating in general". It sure sounds significant to throw around numbers like five and ten thousand until you realize that the number of accounts is in the millions.

    It sorta reminds me of when the politicos squawk about the financial carnage that a few million dollars will cause to the many billion dollar budget.
    • "but I think that there are significantly more than 0.2% of WOW accounts involved in "gold farming and cheating in general"."

      Really? how much evidence do you have? where are the hard numbers? whats that? you have no numbers? you just pulled that statement out of your ass?

      Sure there are farmers in wow - but thinking that they are some measureable menace on the system is just fearmongering. people (especially on american servers ive noticed) LOVE to claim that the immigrants/farmers/non english speakers, are
      • Yeah, I'm betting that all the eBay auctions and websites that trade in-game gold for cash are all in my head as well.

        Plus, when someone says "I think"...it doesn't mean that they are saying that "THIS IS FACT!"
      • Pshh. I've been called a farmer before, and I'm as bland ass american white bread as they come; it's like a lot of "racial issues" that really boil down to the fact that you're pissing off some fourteen year old, and they don't have enough imagination to insult you without dipping into stereotypes.

        Frankly, with WoW as with any other MMORPG, a certain amount of farming is inevitable. I farm mobs for gold. I farm mobs for experience. I farm them for rare drops, recipes, faction, fun, profit, amusement value,
      • It's funny how you scold the parent for not including any "evidence" when you didn't show any for your little rant either.

        I especially loved that tangent you went off on though, Blizzard being racist(very amusing). Thanks!
      • I think perhaps you missed my point. I'm not saying anything about whether farming is a good/bad thing, etc. The only point I was trying to make was that people are getting all excited about numbers that are not as significant as they might otherwise seem when stuck in a headline.

        To me, the notion that Blizzard is taking some kind of hard stance by disabling ~15000 accounts is silly, considering how many WoW accounts there are in total. There's no attempt to make any kind of judgement on whether the action
    • you won't believe it, but a huge majority is actually keen on playing by the rules (as long as those rules are not too restrictive/stupid: Re drug laws). That's how society works. If a significant number of people where robers, murderes, rapists there would be nothing the police could do about it. This is actually pretty well demonstrated when mass-riots happen (like in France a while ago). There, and in other cases, the police just leaves. They usually come back only after order has been restored.
  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:46AM (#15121511)
    Like creating some sort of grim reaper that starts chasing banned folks where ever they go, like in Gauntlet. Only it never gives up and if you're ever touched, you're dead, er, banned forever. Make it move at a nice steady pace so that everyone else is treated to some Pepe Le Pew style comedy. Or make it like a biblical plague. From time to time, folks are cleared out by frogs, boils, flies, etc.

    (I've never played, so it may not as good an idea as it sounds)
    • This has already been done by Ambrosia in Escape Velocity. It was shareware- you had 30 days to register. During that time, Captain Hector would occasionally fly by and remind you to register.

      After 30 days, Captain Hector got guns and would hunt you down. He wasn't too hard to kill if you had a decent ship, but he'd be back a few minutes later to attack you again. And again. And again. And again...

      • Yes, but this whole scenario wasn't too hard to avoid in the original version of Escape Velocity. The way around IIRC was to just to delete the preferences file and I'm not sure, but some invisible files may also have had to be deleted. However, dealing with invisible files are hard to deal with in the Classic MacOS unless you had ResEdit or Norton Disk Utilities.

        Later versions of Escape Velocity had several other methods that would not allow you get very far without registering. One way this was done wa
    • It sounds like fun! Make them sick as well, so they can't play at their level, and all the items they own or get during the time of the banishment become infected so they are useless or damaging to other players (makes it hard for them to open a new account and transfer all their loot).

      And better yet, they could then be slowly pushed to the banishment zone where their characters slowly turn into NPCs that others can defeat to receive the loot untainted.

      I like it!

      -Adam
  • if only there was some way I could get my WoW fix for free on servers that you are actually able to log in to.

    yep, too bad theres nothing like that on the interenets [wowstatus.net]
  • I've been a tireless defender of Blizzard but I finally ran out of patience. They've hopelessly crippled the PvP system with mindless battlegrounds grinds, where you farm rep and CP instead of XP and items. Boring. And now that my server crashes 2-3 times a night and is totally unplayable most weekends, and BWL is so lagged that Vael is impossible ... well I hit a wall. I can't justify $15/mo for a game that I can't even play. I hung it up and signed up for EVE.
    • After a year and four months, I finally let my WoW account lapse last week and moved on to EQ2 for much the same reason as the parent. Until one plays a non-WoW MMO, he/she doesn't know that the constant server lag, all-day-long weekly maintainences that often bork the server for at least another day after, sparse content patches (there hasn't been a new 5-man instance in a year), critical skill/talent/spell bugs that have gone unfixed for over a year, and the other problems that WoW is still experiencing a
      • ...and the other problems that WoW is still experiencing after a year and a half of operation aren't typical of the MMO genre. At least, they haven't been since the early days of EQ1, UO, and Asheron's Call.

        I think they're very typical. But not for a game in its 18th month of operation, working on an expansion pack, and managed by a company that, until recently, had a spotless reputation for quality. I expected more from Blizzard and gave them the benefit of the doubt for a few months. But I'm tired of

    • EVE ain't that different especially since player griefing will cost you quite a bit more. Blizzard might have server issues, but you effectively only loose time. In EVE, you can loose everything and it's part of the game.

      I left EVE for WoW and I'm not looking back.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't see what the criticism of gold farming is all about from the player's standpoint. Anyone who has an alt character on a separate account is doing essentially the same thing as someone who buys gold on ebay from a gold farmer. They are paying real world money to get an in-game advantage. Thing is, when you get an Alt it is Blizzard who gets all the payments. But with gold farming, someone other than Blizzard is profiting, too. Don't believe them when they say they are trying to keep the game bala
  • After reading over some of the posts here, I had an idea based on some of them. Rather than ban these people, why not keep them flagged for both Alliance and Horde PVP (like in the Arena), and set them up like Trial accounts where they can't send or receive ingame mail, and can't trade. Give them a tag like or or something, and let people police themselves. That would let the players on the servers vent some and force them to do the work of canceling their own account.
    • I second that idea. FFA PVP on farmers and cheaters. On all characters. On all accounts. On all new characters. Everywhere. Forever.

      Bliz would still be earning money from them for a while until they realized there's a conga line at the graveyard waiting for them to spawn. Oh, killing them gives honor.
  • by menace3society (768451) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @12:37PM (#15122622)
    Let's see, 5400 people @ $12.99/month (or more), that's about $800k a year--easily enough funds for a half-dozen developers' salaries+benefits+perks. So when Blizz's income drops by close to a million per year, who got axed?
  • I played EQ original to a very high level in the day Plane of Time etc and I think its ok for people to spend a huge amount of time in at least one or two mmorpgs. You learn to network with people, schedule large groups and pay close attention to detail. But you have to be careful not to get caught up in an endless experience that becomes purely entertainment after a while. Give it a year or two but then stop and experience other things.
  • I'm really curious what software people use to drive MMOs automatically. I've seen them in the past, and seen some of the scripting for them - but I just can't remember what they are. Anyone?
  • Way to go blizzard! (Score:2, Informative)

    by dsands1 (183088)
    You banned 5400 accounts! You're really showing those gold farmers who's boss! Boy, at this rate I bet those companies selling gold will be out of business in NO TIME! /runsOverToIgeDotCom

    Hrmm... 500 gold on my server was $30 bucks last week... Let's see what's up after blizzard's heroic bans! Arthas Server, Horde... 500 gold. $31 bucks. =|
  • ...that's almost 1000 a MONTH since they've begun! I'm glad they're not just paying it all lip-service. /rolleyes
  • that's like double all the people still playing star wars galaxies =)
  • Sadly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kilz (741999)
    Blizzard is judge, jury, and executioner . There is no way to appeal, once they ban you, you are gone for good. Along with the money you paid to play that month and use of the game. Unlike Diablo 2 where there is a single player option, WOW is only online. A lot of their bans are done by Warden, an anti cheat piece of software. We all know programs, or the people who create them, never make errors, Right?
  • At least they aren't banning us copper farmers...Because we are so important to the economy.

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