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Blizzard Lawyers Visit Creator of WoW Glider 229

Rick Hamell writes "On October 25th, Blizzard/Vivendi payed a personal visit to Michael Donnelly, creator of WoW Glider and accused him of violating the DMCA. Their demands were unclear, but come in the wake of recent player bannings for using bots in the popular MMORPG. It looks like he's going to fight it, but I think it'll be an interesting case if it ever reaches the courts." From the post: "The visitors from Vivendi / Blizzard made demands of Michael and stated that if the demands were not met that they would file a complaint in court if he did not meet them. I asked Michael what the demands were. He was unable to comment at the time to the exact details. But I do know they handed him a copy to very briefly 'Look at'. He was not given a copy. I think I could make a good guess and say that they asked for Glider to be shut down and if they feel that they have been harmed they may have asked for a financial settlement."
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Blizzard Lawyers Visit Creator of WoW Glider

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  • Re:Bots (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GodInHell ( 258915 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @06:43PM (#16899764) Homepage
    Tic-Tac-Toe :) They always quit when they realize they can't win, and then they stop killing the world like I wanted them to.

    Seriously though.. Bots do a BAD job of playing in these enviroments. That's why they don't workin in games like City of Heroes that have a death peanlty. The operative term in wow for leveling is "grind." I ground my way to 60 with a druid.. and a rogue.. and a mage.. and then I stopped one day when my butt hurt and I had nothing to show for all my hours and realized I was performing a robotic repetative act and calling it "fun." If someone has to behave like a robot, let it be a computer.


  • Re:Pwned (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slughead ( 592713 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @06:44PM (#16899774) Homepage Journal
    Part of having rights is excepting that some people aren't going to use them for what you want them to.

    The rights taken by the DMCA may well include this site's right to let people 'cheat' on WoW.

    If you believe that this site should be shut down, you believe in the same principles that the DMCA was based on. Private technology, even when licensed, can be used by customers in only methods sanctioned by the company they bought it from.

    I don't believe in that, no matter how much disdain I hold towards cheaters.
  • by reanjr ( 588767 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @07:44PM (#16900220) Homepage
    And by violating the TOS, he is no longer licensed to play the game. Doesn't mean he can't produce software to do so. Blizzard and other companies should wake up. If a bit can play their game, it is a fault of Blizzard making a repetitive game for dullards, not the person who likes aspects of the game and is trying to avoid all the poor design decisions Blizzard made for it.
  • by daverabbitz ( 468967 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @09:12PM (#16900874) Homepage
    Has anyone considered writing an MMO where scripting up the client and making bots is part of the game. It seems so many people just play to be the l33t357 (did I spell that right?), and they get to there by botting, so why not have a game where that is the aim.

    I don't play MMO's as I don't have time, and I can't really see the point in paying money to Blizzard so my bot can play (It's bad enough having to support my brother), but I think it would be pretty cool to have a game where I can write a bot in perl (or your favourite scripting language) and have it compete against other bots to master the game. The server would need to enforce state, as it seems to be the big problem with a lot of these MMO's that they trust the client. The client says hey, I've just picked up this uber item and moved to the top of this dungeon instantly, and the server says, ok, here you are.

    The game would need to have complex economics, and somewhat complex combat/raiding/whatever in order to make ai difficult enough that it was a challenge.

    It would probably best suit the space genre as it is more plausible that a space craft/robot/??? operates autonomously, than a Paladin/Wizard/Grue.

    Also it would be great for people like me who can't be bothered sitting in front of a computer for hours on end playing MMO, when there's better things to do (like sitting in front of a computer for hours on end playing FPS).

    Meh, maybe I'll make something, can't be that hard anyway...
  • by honkycat ( 249849 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @09:34PM (#16901000) Homepage Journal
    I take it you took that amended copy and had it reviewed by Blizzard personnel duly authorized to accept your changes on the company's behalf, right? Otherwise, I'll take any bet you'd care to make that you are legally bound by the original ToS to the extent that such agreements are enforceable in the first place.
  • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Saturday November 18, 2006 @10:26PM (#16901236) Journal
    Either way as he is effectivly using Blizzards service without permission (using it under a different ToS) they can kick ban him at any time without a need for explanation.
  • by GodInHell ( 258915 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @05:09AM (#16902824) Homepage
    Actually, it's called an adhesion contract:

    adhesion contract

    n.(contract of adhesion) a contract (often a signed form) so imbalanced in favor of one party over the other that there is a strong implication it was not freely bargained. Example: a rich landlord dealing with a poor tenant who has no choice and must accept all terms of a lease, no matter how restrictive or burdensome, since the tenant cannot afford to move. An adhesion contract can give the little guy the opportunity to claim in court that the contract with the big shot is invalid. This doctrine should be used and applied more often, but the same big guy-little guy inequity may apply in the ability to afford a trial or find and pay a resourceful lawyer.

    A class as large as the WoW player-base could roll that contract aside and claim damages (actual and punative) for loss of in game wealth and resources including their characters. Oh.. did I mention that Blizzard tends not to return your cash when they ban you half-way through a six-month subscription? This suit is almost inevitable.. once some lawyer gets banned and desides to form the class (on a health 10-30% commission of course).


  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @03:51PM (#16906010) Homepage
    Has anyone considered writing an MMO where scripting up the client and making bots is part of the game.

    There is a rather number of games tracing back at least as far as 1961 [] where the entire game itself is to program bots. The most famous is almost certainly Core Wars. [] Those two are more "pure programming" than "bot", but some later games did move to a bot style with a multitude of competing bots in a single arena such as the 1989 multi-platform Omega. []

    I'm not sure what the latest-greatest games would be in this genre... it is a genre that attracts little to no attention from major modern game publishers for a very simple reason... it has an extremly narrow target audience. Back in the 70's and 80's the majority of people who owned computers had an interest and experience in programming them. Today approximately zero percent of gamers have any skills and interest in scripting and programming.

    I don't remember the website or the name of the game, but a while ago I saw an opensource MMORPG development project. The client is to be opensource as well, and fully intened to be open to modification and scripting. All critical game rules would be enforced from the server end, so using a bot would not / could not be cheating. It was in a pre-betatest stage. I think you could walk around teh game world, but not do much yet. I'm sure someone will post it to Slashdot when it does hit a viable betatest stage. If anyone knows the name of this game, post it in a reply.


Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"