Blizzard wins $6M in WOWGlider suit

World of Warcraft purveyor awarded damages in case against automation add-on for massively popular MMOG.

Running a massively multiplayer online game with nearly 11 million patrons from all corners of the globe comes with its fair share of challenges, to put it mildly. While the vast majority of World of Warcraft-related problems can be settled in-game, Blizzard has shown no hesitation in taking its grievances to court. Primarily, Blizzard's efforts have been limited to the illegal buying and selling of in-game currency, more colloquially known as gold farming.

Another issue that has given Blizzard cause to loose its stable of lawyers is third-party software that runs counter to its End User Licensing Agreement (EULA). In 2007, Blizzard filed a counterclaim against MDY Industries, which sells the game-automation software WOWGlider, an add-on that lets players automate certain monotonous tasks in WOW such as repeatedly killing enemies to quickly gain character levels.

Blizzard's counter alleged that the automation software company was in violation of WOW's EULA, which prohibits third-party add-ons from being used with the popular MMOG. The counterclaim was in response to MDY's original suit filed in the US District Court of Arizona against Blizzard in 2006. As part of that complaint, MDY sought relief after Blizzard threatened the company with legal action, saying WOWGlider was a flagrant copyright violation and MDY was being unjustly enriched from the program, among other charges.

As reported by the BBC today, the Arizona court has awarded Blizzard damages totaling $6 million related to its first three counts against MDY. Experts had expected Blizzard to reap a higher sum from MDY, but as noted by the BBC, the company won a portion of its arguments as well as openly conceded the point that paying some form of damages would be reasonable.

Still outstanding in the case are issues related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and whether the company's founder, Michael Donnelly, will be forced to pay the damages out of pocket. The court expects to hear arguments over these issues beginning January 2009.

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Discussion

128 comments
LoranHalvard
LoranHalvard

It's very simple: They violated the rules, they were fined. Maybe this will discourage game-ruining activities by gold farmers etc. in the future. @kaziechameleon and probably a million others: Why do you and everybody else complain about the grinding. I have been playing the game for the past 4 years and never grinded. Never. Why? Because the game NEVER forces you to grind. It is not necessary to reach the maximum level. It's not necessary to get decent gear. YOU decide to grind. There is a massive amount of highly enjoyable content in the game that does NOT require "grinding". In fact, the new quests implemented in WotLK are so much fun you might as well roll a new character just to experience the quests you missed out on. But if you want to "grind", be my guest.

Roggirek
Roggirek

You guys think Blizzard would go to court for 6 mil? Lets do some math 11 million subscribers x $30 every 2 months = 1.98 BILLION dollars a year! thats without factoring in the actual games and the new WotLK thats out soon. Blizzard wouldnt GET OUT OF BED for 6 mils. Think about it. jeez

zanthia661
zanthia661

its not about money piss on all those gold farming idiots who ruin MMO's especially Lineage2. If you guys r accusing blizzard of wanting more money thats why they filed this lawsuit your an idiot end of story.

Kcoshiob
Kcoshiob

Blizz is NOT stupid by any stretch of the imagination. The amount of money WOW makes is more like $170,000,000 per month if all 11,000,000 are paying something like $16 a month. That's a lot of White Castles. I wouldn't begrudge Blizzard at all for being smart enough and capable enough to make a game so Christingly addictive as WOW. Crush the people who want to ruin the experience? I would do the same if it were me. $6,000,000 more buckeroos to go into the next expansion! Yahooxorz!!!

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

MDY are mind-numbingly stupid. How can anyone in their right mind contest a EULA stipulation? The only way they could've topped their stupidity is to demand a suit against their company. WOWGlider affects everyone in game. Here's how it works. A WOWGlider user uses the program to kill the same baddies over and over and over again, ending up with every slot of their inventory full of stuff. They take the good stuff and put it up on the auction house, undercutting everyone because really, said person didn't put in the time to get the items so what do they care about maximizing profits? After said undercutting, someone who actually took the time to farm these items now has to undercut the WOWGlider user to sell their stuff, getting less money than they would've gotten without the farming program. It's not a huge deal now, but if you have dozens and dozens of people using WOWGlider it drives all the prices down so you really can't make as much a profit as you used to. It ends up wasting -everyone's- time trying to make money as they have to put more hours into gaining the same amount of money as they used to make without the bots. Not to mention that on top of all the undercutting, these bots would be actively farming in profitable areas, meaning any legit player that wants to go to that area to farm now has to compete for the monster spawns. For leveling up I suppose it's not that big of a deal, but still there are better spots to grind XP than others and it sucks when you know that person is automating their grind and you're stuck there putting hours into doing the same thing the person isn't putting in hours for. It's like two people working the same job at the same company, person A shows up, does their job and gets payed. Person B stays at home, doesn't do anything, and gets payed the same amount. Yeah it's a video game, but like the saying goes, time is money.

biggy887766
biggy887766

stupid blizzard, they make like 20 mil each month from subscriptions...jesus christ

TheBeeJ
TheBeeJ

wow impressive. never heard of a video game company being that mad, props.

Moloch121
Moloch121

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

twe1ve_5tones
twe1ve_5tones

mailbox2112, its not about the money, its about maintaining the integrity and quality of the game. Imagine if this is left ignored, how rampart 3rd party programs will be? Think you're gonna enjoy wow like that?

onlineterrorism
onlineterrorism

Blizzard has a right to support their games. This is what makes Blizzard a legend among hardcore gamers. Then again, $6 million dollars is a roll of toilet paper to them. It is probably in one of the employee restroom stalls right now.

mailbox2112
mailbox2112

Wow...a lawsuite over something that ruins a fake economey. Blizzard, as much as I love your games, that is a new low. I think you guys are making enough money as is, you don't need an extra $6 million.

Kenji_Masamune
Kenji_Masamune

I condone the use of gold farmers. If you got the money to spare, then why not throw down some money to get free time in it's place (the time that you'd saved by not grinding it yourself). There are by far worse things you can do with RL money.

tsb247
tsb247

I quit playing a long time ago because of how gold farming hurt the in game economy. The auction house prices skyrocketed as a result of the inflation effect it cause. If Blizzard is cracking down on things like this more vigorously, I may start playing again.

JeffyBoy121
JeffyBoy121

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Sarxass
Sarxass

Everybody, please remember that this is supposed to be a Role-Playing Environment, where you play a certain character totally different and independent from your real-life character. If you use real-life money to buy in-game money, this would be totally against role-playing now, wouldn't it? People have no idea what is role-playing is all about, and this is the sole reason why I keep away from MMO games. Yes, it is boring; but life is boring as well; so bear with it; or rather just die. I hear rumors that there are some servers out there that does not allow any out-of-RPG acts; but with such programs, and with greedy companies like Sony, I don't believe it would ever work properly. Don't forget that it's that hard-work that make higher-level characters that formidable. I am still hopeful though, at least there are still many FRP board-gamers or cRPG'ers (Baldur's Gate, TES Series, Icewind Dale, NWN, etc.) out there who know the beauty and importance of role-playing. Yes, it is hard, it is painful; but that is the point! On the other hand, I don't consider WoW to be a good RPG because of the lack of depth and structure, but ı don't go as far to say that Blizzard is not successful with it,because 11 million subscribers is no mean feat! I think it targets for the mainstream audience, and it would not be possible with a more complex game. So I congratulate them it this regard. Not good enough for me though; maybe I'll try StarWars Galaxies...

CrapmaPants
CrapmaPants

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

DeadlyVomit
DeadlyVomit

I did include all MMO's (Plural) in the grinding problem. As a casual player of WoW with 3 70's I enjoy the game at my own pace. However, I can't join in all the "reindeer games" (Rudolph the red nose inside joke), and play with groups that are well geared since I usually am not, at least not with 2 of my toons. I think a case can be made that there are legitimate issues that contribute to the problem that Blizzard has created. Cheating is never a good thing and there's really no excuse for it but I can understand how or why someone would rather do other things in the game than grind for a few hours. People can work just as hard in earning things via quests. You want that kick @$$ sword, well here's what you have to do to get it. You have to complete so and so and such and such to get it verses mindless boring grinding to get all the reagents you need to make your kick @$$ sword. Which would anyone prefer? Maybe the quests are to get a reagent that you need to make a sword but at least it's a quest that you may enjoy doing verses hours of grinding. If you think hours of grinding is fun then great, grind to your hearts content. I rather mow my lawn. Also, just because every MMO grinds doesn't mean it's ok. I'm just suggesting an option and perhaps a more creative way to get the gear you want or need. Daily quests are a good idea precisely for that reason. Your grinding accomplishes something with relatively little effort and with immediate reward without the cost in time to do it.

Paganstar
Paganstar

Drgonjo I agree with the first half of the comment but I have to disagree with your second part. WoW does have "terrible" game design. WoW is basically the MMO version of McDonalds. Cheap and easy with lowsy food/content. But that does not stop millions of people from going to McDonalds every day. It does not make what they have good, just successful. The real unfortunate thing is there is not an MMO equivilant of a 5 star restaurant yet. Maybe one of these days.

drgonjo
drgonjo

Good job Blizzard. Allowing 3rd party botting apps to run wild undermines the achievements of the players who actually play the game. Also from my understanding, glider, in order to function copies portions of WoW into its memory. This behavior is where the app violates copyright laws by making a copy of blizzard's IP without being granted a license to do so. I know that's a bit of a logical stretch but from my perspective I understand the argument. For all the people who whining that its blizzard's own fault because of their "terrible" game design please get a clue. There is an old adage that you can't argue with success. 11 million subscribers in a market that four years ago was assumed to be less than 1 million is an astounding success. If you hate the pace of an MMO go play an FPS don't b1tch and whine and cheat when millions are perfectly happy playing WoW the way it is.

Dragoon_Jett
Dragoon_Jett

DeadlyVomit, ALL mmorpgs have mindless tasks, if they didn't the game would be to short, its like going to school to then get the job you will love. You need to spend time and work hard at school first.

DeadlyVomit
DeadlyVomit

Blizzard is part of the problem! Video games are another source of entertainment and fun. However when you set up a game that requires the player to involve themselves in mindless grinding, wasting 3,4, maybe more hours of NOT having fun or being entertained, it creates a need in players to somehow keep it fun. Blizzard has mounts costing 5k. Not easy to do without mindless grinding to get that amount of gold. Blizzard creates professions that require a ridiculous amount of reagents to make which again requires the player to do what again? Yes, grind, either for the mats or for reagents they can sell to purchase the mats at the AH. This all becomes an exercise in frustration and makes the Game that was supposed to provide some fun and entertainment feel more like a side job than anything else. Hence when a program like Glider comes into the seen, providing the player with some "out" to help them focus on the fun parts of the game without sacrificing too much of their personal time trying to grind for these ridiculous amount of mats that Blizzard set up. A novel idea may be to set up Quests links that can provide a fun way to reach quest goals to get special items. So if I want that superfast mount, I have to complete a series of enjoyable quests to get it and in the meantime get other nice helpful trinkets for each step completed. MMO's do this to a degree but not enough to keep the necessary grinding to a minimum. Maybe if Blizzard structured the game differently so players aren't forced into a grinding situation, add-ons like Glide may not be such a problem.

kaziechameleon
kaziechameleon

well i'm totally against gold farming, among other such abuses, but blizzard should take a step back and look at why people buy this kind of stuff, could it be to get past the sometimes horrible game play design/grind that most wow players do complain about. i will never understand wanting to spend dozens of hours grinding/wasting my precious life, on a single game so i can say i leveled up a character, all i see when someone boasts a max level character or two is someone with way to much time/no life.

Paganstar
Paganstar

Not a fan of WoW as a game but they did right by the suit and hopefully this sends a message to the third party / botting companies and hopefully other MMO companies follow the example. Best way to get them to stop is to make it financially unfeasible to do.

mrriggzz99
mrriggzz99

Owell i used glider for long time its bout the only thing made wow somewhat fun...i went to warhammer heh boring also im through with all mmorpg i waisted 4 yrs of my life with wow..screw all that crap..just stupid if u ask me....there so pointless and waist of time

wexmajor
wexmajor

That's a really bad legal precedent.

templin
templin

any way i've quit wow insted i'm plaing now warhammer online - but sad thing is that ch@@@@farmers start spam there :(

js0823
js0823

Have people here read the article? They are talking about third party software called WoWglider which is definitely against EULA of any MMO games. Gold farming, on other hand, is different story. I used to do some gold farming and there is nothing wrong with it. But if third party program was used to farm, then that would be illegal which totally makes sense. This article isn't about if the gold farming is good or bad for the game, it's about banning third party programs to benefit yourself ingame.

aztc
aztc

One quick addition to my previous post - and yes, i realize the auction houses for both games, which causes the bind of having players mail gold, or setup auctions to sell a common item for 75 gold, which defeats the purpose of using an excellent tool to fund a character's bank acct for better gear and mats to make their own items. I just wish there was a way to alleviate the farming.

aztc
aztc

They are commenting on gold farmers because the article mentions this problem in the first paragraph. Regarding gold farming, the only game to get it right happens to be free, Dungeon Runners. You can't trade gold in the game. And guess what? You'll never get a spam mssg about it. You can still email gear,etc, so you can email alts gear to use or sell for money that way. I have several 70's in WoW and currently playing Warhammer, I wish they both would implement this policy, and gold farming wouldn't be a problem anymore.

matte989
matte989

RE: dg3215 I imagine people are talking about gold farming because this program is used by many gold farmers. If companies like Blizzard did nothing against products like this it would destroy their whole business model. I for one would quit any MMO if cheating was a free for all.

Nakor
Nakor

Running a bot is obviously cheating and it should not be allowed. Most people here are talking about gold farming though, and I'm not entirely certain why after having read the entire article. Anyway, Blizzard should sell gold themselves. The gold is going to be farmed, and it is going to be bought, so Blizzard should sell it themselves. I would love to be able to buy gold from Blizzard. Have you tried doing the recruit a friend thing? I am doing it with my girlfriend and leveling up from 1 to 60 takes a /played of about 2 days, and that's with her having never played an MMO in her entire life. How the hell am I supposed to pay for all that training? You simply can't half the time.

dg3215
dg3215

I find it funny that most people in the comments here are talking about gold farming yet this has to do with a add on program.. Plus as far as people spending thier own money to buy fake wow money should be out lawed. Not because of in game problems but come on you worked hard for your money spend it on something that will last you or invest it in something other than fake gold.. But a program that automates the leveling process man I wish I knew about it leveling esp in wow is so boring.

valcrist09
valcrist09

gold farming screws up games, it drives prices up and pretty much forces you spend tons of real cash to get ingame stuff?? and leveling in WoW hard? are you serious? that game is freaking easy, if you have alot of time on your hands you can hit 70 in a couple weeks. but the game is designed for all player types...

BenderDK
BenderDK

Im glad Blizz won... I HATE GOLD SPAMERS/BUYERS and I HATE BOTS !! If you need money go do some quests, sell some stuff on AH or simply buy a "How to make easy money in WoW" book Its pritty easy to earn lots of money in wow DO NOT BUY GOLD from others, its the ones that hacks your account !!

Toek
Toek

If the grind wasn't so boring people wouldn't use those types of programs so much. I'm all for games allowing game currency to be bought securely with real world money. Eve has a good example of how to sell in game currency. ISK (EVE currency) can be securely traded for game time cards (GTC's)

Savage_Jason
Savage_Jason

So... leveling is work? Then why are you playing? Blizzard, and indeed the other players, have every right to ensure that it's a level playing field for everybody. If you don't want to commit to the grind, here's a thought, play something else with an easier curve. As far as gold farming not being wrong... are you aware of the horrible conditions most "farmers" are forced to endure? They make pennies a day while the men in charge rake in thousands upon thousands of dollars. They're exploited and abused, and you want to defend that practice? Gold farming is wrong, period.

thescorpion1983
thescorpion1983

Sorry i just wanted to add, that the whole EULA is a big excuse. Next step they will way they will get confidential information about us and people will still click the "accept". This is just playing with the words, like when you buy a music CD, you should even lend it to a friend, or put it in a CD player during a party. You are buying it for the sole purpose that you keep it for yourself and private use.

thescorpion1983
thescorpion1983

Add-ons arent illegal...or at a limit tolerated. I find this sad, because gold farming isnt cheating the game, but simply that some people "take" the time to do it to sell to others. By itself it is not illegal, but blizzard dosent tolerate this action..why?..they are hiding the excuse behind the "EULA" saying it is a third-party add-on. Buying that gold isnt that bad either, but if Blizzard would want to punish the real people behind it, its those who have money to pay that gold, but Blizzard wont do it, because it is the hardcore players of WoW that do it..it would be a self-kick-in-da-nuts! Instead they punish those people behind the gold farming, wich will be around until there wont be a demand for it.

Paveric
Paveric

I'm torn by this because while it does indeed violate the EULA, Blizzard themselves created this incentive to cheat by making lvling and earning gold boring as hell.

ratm247
ratm247

@ devotus im glad youve enjoyed playing your first few characters in wow. i did too. however i now have over 50 chars spanned across 8-9 servers, and leveling up is just work now. yes, i have heard of raiding in the almost 4 years ive been playing wow, and unless youre happy with any gear that drops, it does take months to get fully set up in end game. if you do not think so, i think you may be too caught up in the game to realize the months are flying by, or your gear sucks.

Gamingcucumber
Gamingcucumber

As if Blizzard needed more money. Anyhow, good and bad. Personally I wouldn't mind having something that ease up all the montome tasking there is in WoW.

tony2077ca
tony2077ca

you need to earn gold not cheat to get it

tony2077ca
tony2077ca

i'm glad blizzard won now get rid of the rest of them and we're set.

69Kameleon69
69Kameleon69

I agree with Dungeoncrawler1. Blizzards should just sell gold itself. Then players would stop going to 3rd party sites to buy 'their'(Blizzard) gold. I know some guys, my self included, that would pay real money for ingame gold at the right price and safely.

Myrkan
Myrkan

Hmm...After reading some of the comments I'm sort of confused about this. I hate the gold spam and the ruined in game economy from all of the gold buyers. So I'm glad they won. Hopefully this will stop the gold spammers.

Myrkan
Myrkan

I'm not agreeing with Blizzard. And this is pretty stupid. But if it violates the EULA then I suppose they have a right to take action. Though I feel bad for MDY (whoever they are).

Invoquer
Invoquer

@ Devotus: (Don't know if you'll see this, but just in case) I know dozens of people in game who have purchased this software, and although I will neither confirm nor deny using it myself, here's a hint: it really helps with the grind.