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Thursday, May 14, 2015

[WoW] Botter tears fuel my LOLZ

A day or so ago Blizzard announced on that it was issuing a huge wave of bans for the usage of bots. Unlike previous waves this one was accompanied by a lot more visible rumbling from the playerbase than I could recall from previous ban waves. Historically news about these waves has had an undertone that the majority of the banned were offshore gold-farmers rather than the "ordinary" player. This time the wave was accompanied by a myriad of reports of Mythic raiding guilds losing half their roster, streamers getting cut off during their stream, and known personalities finding their accounts banned for 6 months.

This particular wave seemed to affect large numbers of people who historically have managed to slide under the radar and they were not particularly happy, as the quotes harvested by Nosy Gamer attest.

But what bots are we talking about? As described in the posts collected by Nosy, these can include:

Enyo - A bot that essentially automates a DPS rotation/priority and pretty much just means the player needs to move their character.

Honorbuddy - A bot that keeps a player active in a battleground so they can farm Conquest and Honor points without actually playing. It apparently can also be used to automate farming in lower level zones where the mobs aren't a threat.

Garrisonbuddy - A bot that automates the care of a player's garrison so they don't have to

...and many more!

The quotes Nosy collected are an amusing collection of justifications for the activity, with such great hits as "I just used _____...", "This will hurt my non-botters/guild because I am not around...", "I'm going to sue!", and "They're gonna lose so many subs, WoW is dead because of this." Let that last one sink in, they're asserting that WoW is going to die because they banned people who CHEATED under the terms of the ToS.

Look, we can argue what is and isn't a bot. Was sticking a rock on my W key so I can level Athletics in Elder Scrolls Oblivion botting? In a way yeah. But it's not nearly to the level of automation as installing software that plays most of the game for you. Hardware "hacks" are a different beast all their own; if I can solve a lack of crosshair by sticking a dot on my screen it's not necessarily cheating.

Plus Oblivion is single-player so my conduct has no effect on the game economy or other players. In a multiplayer game the use of bots DOES affect other players, even if it does not seem readily apparent. A bot that harvests 11 garrisons worth of resources is injecting lots more into the economy that otherwise would be. A bot that farms honor means the people on your team are essentially down a teammate. A bot that automates raiding takes a spot from a player who doesn't and reduces the intended difficulty for the raid.

Also a fair point
Personally I have absolutely no sympathy for people who used bots and got a complimentary 6 month vacation from the game. I have plenty of complaints about WoD; I am not fond of the faction rep grind, of how much of a chore Garrisons can be, and of how many frustrating battlegrounds one must do to get a good amount of honor. Yet my solution to those is NOT botting, it's working internally. There are plenty of situations when saying "Fuck the rules!" is justified, this is not one of them. For those banned that have threatened not to come back after their ban, I have but one message...

That said, I also offer an amused "Good luck!" to those threatening to sue Blizzard over the ban wave. I admire someone trying to put EULAs and ToSs in video games to a test, but this particular challenge is unlikely to get very far.

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