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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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  • by Laser_47 (234412) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:30AM (#15121358)
    5400/5M = 0.1% of the total population...

    Blizz can't cut *too* deep into the bottom line.
  • by Helmholtz (2715) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:34AM (#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.
  • 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.
  • Re:I'm curious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Samurai Cat! (15315) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:53AM (#15121588) Homepage
    Ah, the typical all-devs-must-focus-on-one-thing-at-a-time mentality.

    The misguided assumption that because one group is doing one thing (and publically), that another group isn't doing other work.
  • Re:I'm curious (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:54AM (#15121593)
    The problem with this sort of thing is that most of these people aren't really "cheating." They are playing the game perfectly by the rules. The problem lies within weaknesses in the basic game mechanics; as long as it requires frequent, repetitive actions to improve your character, people will find a way to automate that process. If there are incredibly rare items in the game that everybody wants, there are people who will hunt for this item 24 hours a day and then sell it; and, of course, in order to get the money necessary to buy it, players will just buy that money online, because they don't want to press the same button a thousand times in order to get enough money. Fixing these problems requires making changes in the way the gameplay works; naturally, this upsets honest players who had come to rely on whatever had been changed, and so they resort to exploiting other weaknesses in order to keep their character adequate...

    There's really no equivalent in games like Quake and UT. Players have no attachment to their characters; every few minutes, you restart with the same basic equipment and stats as everybody else. Even if the developers decide to change a particular game mechanic, it's not a problem, because the change affects everybody equally, and nobody has lost anything.
  • by ClamIAm (926466) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:56AM (#15121624)
    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 @12:02PM (#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 Intangion (816356) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @01:00PM (#15122273) Homepage
    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
  • by menace3society (768451) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @01:37PM (#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?
  • Sadly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kilz (741999) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:46PM (#15123265)
    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?

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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