Firstly, I will admit that I haven’t had a chance to look at my reader yet this morning – I am currently at uni trying to puzzle my way through a Research Project while writing some units of work for the kids when I go on internship. Busy busy busy! So, someone may have already found what I am going to blog about, and you have probably already read it. If so, apologies for being boring to you, and apologies to whoever I unintentionally rip off!

Last night before I went to bed I did a quick flick through my reader again (I have to check it at least 3 times a day to ensure that I rarely have more than 50 posts to read at a time), when I found this nice shiny bit of information over at Tobold’s. The judge has finally made a decision in the Glider bot case, and Botting (or any other manipulation of the copy of World of Warcraft in the RAM) is a copyright infringement, and is therefore illegal (for the full technical stuff, please see Tobold’s post, where he has quoted the judge’s exact statement). They basically were able to come to this conclusion through the fact that when you purchase WoW, you do not purchase the game, but rather a license to the game (which is why you do not own your character, and technically you are not able to ‘sell’ your character).

This has immense implications for players. Of course, combined with the release of the Blizzard Authenticator, there should be a massive cut down in illegal activities in the game. Blizzard will be able to threaten gold farmers who use botting technology with legal ramifications (as opposed to previously just banning their accounts). Of course, I don’t suppose for a second that this will stop RMT at all, but it will certainly hinder the process just a little bit. At the very least, gold farmers are now going to have to find more legitimate ways of farming their gold. In all honesty, and I will probably get flamed for this, I don’t especially believe that gold farmers who farm their gold through ‘honest’ means (rather than account hacks or bots) really hurt the average player significantly. There are arguments that they artificially inflate the economy (but any more than daily quests, might I ask?) although in some ways they do provide a service. With the advent of dailies, many people no longer farm primals, herbs, etc to make gold. IF gold farmers make their gold through this process, they are simply providing materials to players in the AH, and also creating competition, which helps to keep costs down. I also suspect that most people who buy gold use it for large, extravagant purchases like epic flying mounts, which really do not affect the economy at all. This is NOT to say I support RMT by any means! I could also be way off base with my economic theories (after all, I am an English major, not an economist!)

The more paranoid amongst us will suggest that this could also potentially mean the end of modding as we know it. Logically, I believe that common sense will play a major role in this – bringing a case to bear over something as ridiculous as a harmless mod would be an expensive exercise with no real benefit to anyone concerned. This judgement wont mean that harmless mods are going to be affected, despite them ‘technically’ constituting an offense (I guess – I don’t get much of this computer mumbo jumbo!) I just hope people remember that common sense almost always wins out.

Now, for a small community service announcement!

Patch 2.4.3 is now active, which means that you need to update all your mods. Many people have complained about their mods being ‘broken’, when they haven’t updated. I know it’s a pain in the ass, but it has to be done people! :)

2 Responses to “Illegal Bots!”
  1. Economic theories can be applied to World of Warcraft and most other MMORPGs but aren’t really appropriate due to one very important flaw: resources in most MMORPGs are not limited. In any environment, there are a limited number of resources. You have so many of each resource, which results in so much items, which results in so much supply and influences the demand of that item. This can be both good and bad.

    Consider unlimited items. People can farm items in World of Warcraft repeatedly without ever worrying about running out. If the market gets flooded by this large influx of items, you’ll find that the high supply will inevitably lead to a low demand. Unless people band together to set a specific price, sellers will continuously drop their prices in order to ensure that their items are the ones that sell; as commodities, each item is exactly the same as the one provided by the other, which means that price is usually the only determining factor in which seller’s items get bought.

    Unfortunately, this isn’t what is happening. We have the opposite problem right now: instead of a high influx of items, we see a high influx of gold. In World of Warcraft, the amount of gold within the economy is unlimited, meaning that no matter how much gold each person gathers there’s always more out there. As a result, we see prices begin to rise in response to the large amount of gold currently in game. This growth becomes more significant when peoppe who were originally farmers stop farming to do dailies instead, which is an easier guaranteed source of income for many.

    Though, arguably, there is kinda sorta a limited amount of gold. The max amount of gold that a player can have is 214,748 gold, 36 silver, 48 copper. However, since it’s unlikely that most people will ever reach this lofty amount and since you could theoretically keep adding accounts to the game, the amount of gold in-game could be considered unlimited.

    I have no problem with people who farm for gold. Hell, I’ve farmed many times myself. However, RMTs have become much more unsavory in recent years; while farming items and selling the profits for real money is still thriving, many gold sellers rely on compromised accounts for the bulk of their income. They use spyware, keyloggers, phishing, and many other nefarious methods to get access to other people’s accounts; they then shard items, put things up on the Auction House, transfer the gold, and sometimes transfer the characters to resell them as part of a leveling program. This kind of behavior is especially harmful to the community.

    Buying gold means that you are adding value to these practices, which means that RMTs will continue to steal accounts. And while many people don’t realize that this is a large source of the gold that they buy, those who do know and still buy gold are giving tacit approval — which is really distasteful.

    Cynras last blog post..Is the Clock Still Ticking?

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  2. Oh, I definitely agree that the ways in which RMT’s ‘harvest’ their gold so to speak are definitely unethical and harmful to the average day to day player. Selling gold which is earnt through the theft of other people’s property is the lowest of the low. Hence the enormous disclaimer ‘IF’ they earned their gold through solely legitimate means, I would essentially have no issue with the practice of RMT (let’s face it, if it was completely legitimate, the only person you would consider foolish would be the person willing to spend a huge sum of money for in game gold).

    Also, as outlined on the Blizzard website page dedicated to the practice of RMT, one thing that many people who pay for powerlevelling services do not realise is that these are often the exact same accounts which are later targetted for hacking by RMT companies. Yes, that company you just paid, oh, let’s say $50 just hacked into your account and stole all your stuff. Even worse, you really have less access to recourse because Blizzard aren’t going to be too interested in helping if they dig a little bit and discover you were powerlevelled. Remember back back back when Laama got unfairly whacked with the ban stick? Blizzard made a statement (because there were SO many complaints and claims of false banning) that you are free to say you were unjustly banned. You had just better hope that there wasn’t any shady activity going on at ANY point on your account, because they would not be willing to help you then.

    Thankyou Cynra for explaining these issues so clearly and concisely as well (I had intended to do this at some point, especially following the recent rash of account hacks, but quite frankly haven’t had the time for the thought that it requires!) I think it really is quite clear that WoW Bloggers – people who love and care about the game, otherwise we wouldn’t be writing about it! – do not believe in the practice of RMT. Sure, it may be tempting… (but I am only 1k away from my epic flyer!… I can’t afford these enchants and if I don’t get them my class leader will kill me!…etc) but think of the people you are potentially hurting in the act.

    And for goodness’ sake, those companies who sell gold? Clean up your fricking act!

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