Monday, March 31, 2008

Ok so I am a Liar....

I've been thinking more and more about the fabled Elder Scrolls MMORPG, and I can't get it out of my head. I'm playing around in my mind with a way to make it work...really work, and I think I'm on to something. I'm tired now, but over the next few days I will publish posts explaining the madness that could make it work.

Hint: Madness == Server-wide dynamic spawning in an MMORPG.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Legal Battles

If you haven’t heard already, Blizzard, maker of World of Warcraft, is suing the creator of an automation program called Glider, Michael Donnelly. The program is used to automate such things as attacking, healing, etc…that the average botter doesn’t want to have to do themselves. Blizzard claims this disrupts their game, which I’ll admit it does, but Donnelly makes a strong counter-point in that it isn’t a breech of copyright law, as Blizzard is claiming. His program isn’t a copy of client software; it’s merely a tool.

The problem comes when Blizzard brings up the point that the software emulates the WOW client to fool detection programs on Blizzard’s servers. And as we all know to the copyright lobby, emulation == evil.

Now I am against botting, gold selling, and powerlevelling on a moral level. I come from a dying school of gamers who want to actually work for what they get and feel proud about how they did it. However, Blizzard is being a little ridiculous in prosecuting this. They are a company who tries very hard to make it easy for players to modify their game experience, with a whole system for add-ons and other enhancements to their game. Honestly, as a game company I don’t see why they care about another person making the game more accessible to players by making it easier. They are reaping more benefits in monthly subscriptions because of it, after all.

I think their problem lies in that someone else was making MONEY off of their program. Glider is a program that is being sold, not a free add-on. I honestly think that that is what woke the sleeping giant’s legal team. If Glider were a completely free program, I doubt Blizzard would do anything real to stop it. Maybe patch the game to disrupt it to appease players who complain about bots, but then let it resurface and do nothing about it.

From personal experience, Blizzard GMs do nothing about botters. I’ve talked to numerous players who report people who are performing bot-like actions and that do not respond to whispers, and not one has been banned, even for 72 hours. This isn’t real evidence by any means, but it’s interesting to look at.

What else is interesting is that Glider has been around for a long time, and Blizzard is just now suing them. Maybe it’s because Blizzard is finally fed up with them botting, or in anticipation of their new expansion. Or it could be that these guys have made at least 2.5 million dollars off of the product (at least 100,000 registered copies at $25 a piece). No gaming company can help but salivate at a few million dollars.

So whatever their reasoning, I see this not so much as a good anti-hacker/botter move by Blizzard, but an obvious attempt to make more money, or maybe to appease the anti-botter movement in WOW. Either way I doubt this is really Blizzard trying to protect it’s game.