Blizzard Brings Banhammer Down on 100,000 WoW Accounts

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Blizzard Brings Banhammer Down on 100,000 WoW Accounts

blingatron world of warcraft

A reported 100,000+ World of Warcraft players have had their accounts banned for six months.

Blizzard recently announced via an official blog post that it had swung down its mighty banhammer on a "large number" of World of Warcraft accounts that were found to be using third-party programs that automate gameplay (IE: botters). According to a screenshot entailing a conversation with a Blizzard Game Master, the number of bans exceeds 100,000 - meaning a little over 1% of World of Warcraft's entire population has suddenly been snuffed.

According to the Game Master, the bans are not "permanent" account bans, but rather, six month bans.

"We're committed to providing an equal and fair playing field for everyone in World of Warcraft, and will continue to take action against those found in violation of our Terms of Use. Cheating of any form will not be tolerated," said Blizzard blue poster Lore.

Furthermore, the makers of popular WoW bot Honorbudy have released an official statement confirming that the recent banwave had specifically targeted its bot, and would thus be completely out of commission for the time being. "With Honorbuddy you thought that we are unbeatable, we never thought that, we've succeeded since 2010 - Honorbuddy had not a single software detection. It seems there is one now," said an Honorbuddy representative.

"We want to be offering Honorbuddy as soon as possible. Right now, we have no news for you. Please do bear with us - immediately we have news we will share it," it added.

So the bottom line is, if you cheat in a Blizzard game, they probably will find you sooner or later!

Source: Blizzard, Honorbuddy.

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I've never understood the point of using a bot in a subscription-based MMO...you're literally paying to not play a game. >.>

If you find it so much of a chore to play that you would use a bot...why even play?

I do find it pretty humorous that the maker of the bot basically said "Yeah, this is a minor set-back. We'll work on the issue and get back to letting you use a bot as soon as we can." :P

RJ 17:
I've never understood the point of using a bot in a subscription-based MMO...you're literally paying to not play a game. >.>

If you find it so much of a chore to play that you would use a bot...why even play?

It's because of the way MMOS are designed and people being too lazy to try and come up with alternative ways of doing things. At the end of the day all MMOs involve a huge amount of grinding, and no matter how much you love the game it can be mind killing after a while. Let's say you want to hang out with your friends and raid for example, back when I did it you needed to get your hands on tons of money for repairs, flasks, and other things which could take hours of farming, herbing, etc... and usually competing with other people doing the same thing for limited resources of the appropriate level. Basically coming home every day from work or whatever to sit down and grind for four hours so at the end of the week you'll have enough resources to actually do the part of the game your interested in becomes a chore. As a result people have done things like make bots that will keep them online and run around a specific area and auto-attack and auto-loot easily farmable mobs, and say collect herbs of a specific type, or whatever else. That way the game can be doing the mind-killing grind while your at work, and the you can come home and have time to goof off with your friends, do some extra dungeons, or whatever else.

I am personally opposed to botting because I think part of what makes someone "elite" is the endurance needed to maintain that status, and I find bots incredibly annoying when I'm trying to play/farm/harvest manually.

This crackdown seems to be aimed at the worst kind of botters though, who are the PVP botters, going by the whole "honor" mention in the name. Basically people who create bots to join Pugs and run around randomly so they can gradually accumulate hours and hours of "participation" rewards. The general argument being made is that PUGs will not win anyway, and it's mind killing to even try, so you might as well just let the computer lose for you. A lot of PVP people do things like that to pad their points and such when they don't care about actual win/loss ratio (which many games don't even make visible), then they PVP seriously only when they are on with their buddies in a pre-made team.

I've been retired from WoW for a while, but those who ran Arathi Basin might have seen cases where you'd say have a mage buff himself and then run right out to the flag at the stables and circle it casting arcane explosion, before sitting down to drink, and then start doing the same thing again. That's a bot in action, albeit a lot of the ones people used were more advanced and might say have the controlled character head off into the boonies in hopes that during the action nobody will notice he isn't there and assume the character is always at another point. They can be hard to detect at times if your not paying attention.

The problem is that MMOs have not really found a good solution to grind and fetch quests since at the end of the day they need to pad out content and progession to keep people playing in order to collect subscriptions or tempt them with the cash shop. As long as grind exists people will find ways to cheat at it. I see that as a problem because I feel if you don't grind and show off your endurance you don't deserve to be successful. To me the people who argue self righteously that they have limited time and don't want to spend it in repetitive actions, are kind of missing the point. I myself would like to see a different way of doing things, but I do not think we'll see it for quite a while, what ideas I and other gamers have for changing things don't matter because at the end of the day publishers don't want to experiment too much, and of course we have yet to see many "lowly nerd to billionaire lottery winner" stories with people financing their own MMOs as a dream to prove other concepts might work.

Therumancer:
Snip.

And yet they're still pissing away money with the subscription while not playing the game. If you find MMO's to be such a chore (which I completely understand) then why bother playing at all? I would be more understanding for a F2P MMO, but it seems like a waste of money if you're going to have a bot do all the work for you in the first place. If you only PvP when you want to, then you're a "casual" by definition...someone not truly dedicated to playing the game. Personally, back in the days when I played WoW, I got my money's worth even if it was involving a lot of grinding. If you're only really going to play a handful of days out of the month, you might as well find a cheaper way to get your PvP kicks.

But hey, I really don't care if people choose to waste their money in this manner. It is, after all, their money. :P

RJ 17:
I've never understood the point of using a bot in a subscription-based MMO...you're literally paying to not play a game. >.>

If you find it so much of a chore to play that you would use a bot...why even play?

I do find it pretty humorous that the maker of the bot basically said "Yeah, this is a minor set-back. We'll work on the issue and get back to letting you use a bot as soon as we can." :P

WoW, like every other MMORPG is basically a big Skinner Box that encourages you to grind. The bot does the grinding when the player can't (hanging out, working, sleeping, etc). That's one of the reasons I avoid MMOs.

RJ 17:

Therumancer:
Snip.

And yet they're still pissing away money with the subscription while not playing the game. If you find MMO's to be such a chore (which I completely understand) then why bother playing at all? I would be more understanding for a F2P MMO, but it seems like a waste of money if you're going to have a bot do all the work for you in the first place. If you only PvP when you want to, then you're a "casual" by definition...someone not truly dedicated to playing the game. Personally, back in the days when I played WoW, I got my money's worth even if it was involving a lot of grinding. If you're only really going to play a handful of days out of the month, you might as well find a cheaper way to get your PvP kicks.

But hey, I really don't care if people choose to waste their money in this manner. It is, after all, their money. :P

It seems plausible that there are people that enjoy certain aspects of MMO gameplay, but not others.
Sure, they could play something else, but that depends both on the existence of something else that contains the elements of the MMO experience they actually care about, and of course, because an MMO is (theoretically) a social thing, where the people that person knows hang out.

Still, it does come across as a little stupid to have a bot doing everything for you...

Doom972:

RJ 17:
I've never understood the point of using a bot in a subscription-based MMO...you're literally paying to not play a game. >.>

If you find it so much of a chore to play that you would use a bot...why even play?

I do find it pretty humorous that the maker of the bot basically said "Yeah, this is a minor set-back. We'll work on the issue and get back to letting you use a bot as soon as we can." :P

WoW, like every other MMORPG is basically a big Skinner Box that encourages you to grind. The bot does the grinding when the player can't (hanging out, working, sleeping, etc). That's one of the reasons I avoid MMOs.

True enough, though I also consider circumventing the skinner box aspects of the game part of the fun of MMOs. For example, I still occasionally play SWTOR, and one of the main sources of my enjoyment in the pretty stock gameplay department is to figure out the most efficient way to complete quests and move around on the map. I even developed an acute sense of aggro-radiuses that allows me to skip between mobs to shave off precious minutes. It's something of a meta-game. :P

Most of the complains stem from the Battleground bots or the LFR bots. The bots that just farm a particular area are hardly a concern due to how the respawn algorithm operates. At times it's actually beneficial for multiple people to be farming an area rather than just one.

But when your LFR raid has 5 people afk/botting not contributing it can be cause for wipes and wasting people who are actually playing's time, the same applies to PvP battleground bots.

Let's ban these bot users that will show them we mean business! ...but let's make it not a permanent ban, that should show them when a large chunk of the population by this point is bots especially now that you can bot to get gold to get gametime.

RJ 17:

Therumancer:
Snip.

And yet they're still pissing away money with the subscription while not playing the game. If you find MMO's to be such a chore (which I completely understand) then why bother playing at all? I would be more understanding for a F2P MMO, but it seems like a waste of money if you're going to have a bot do all the work for you in the first place. If you only PvP when you want to, then you're a "casual" by definition...someone not truly dedicated to playing the game. Personally, back in the days when I played WoW, I got my money's worth even if it was involving a lot of grinding. If you're only really going to play a handful of days out of the month, you might as well find a cheaper way to get your PvP kicks.

But hey, I really don't care if people choose to waste their money in this manner. It is, after all, their money. :P

Well, as I pointed out it's not just PVP, although that is what I suspect that bot was for (entirely based on it's name). The thing is people want to do the "fun" parts of the game without the work, being online for the social experience and challenge of doing raids (a big factor here as well) or fighting with a pre-made PVP group. While you can see it as not playing the game your paying for, in reality the people doing it are usually still playing as much time as they would normally put into it, which can be a good number of hours, they just aren't putting that time into the grinding and other parts of the game they find boring, they relegate that to an automated system when they aren't able to play (asleep or at work). As a general rule someone who resorts to botting is going to be pretty hardcore to even go through the trouble. A casual doesn't generally need resources in the amounts that lead to botting. This is just my experiences and observations of course, I'm sure others have their own opinions. I'm just trying to explain the mentality.

RJ 17:

Therumancer:
Snip.

And yet they're still pissing away money with the subscription while not playing the game. If you find MMO's to be such a chore (which I completely understand) then why bother playing at all? I would be more understanding for a F2P MMO, but it seems like a waste of money if you're going to have a bot do all the work for you in the first place. If you only PvP when you want to, then you're a "casual" by definition...someone not truly dedicated to playing the game. Personally, back in the days when I played WoW, I got my money's worth even if it was involving a lot of grinding. If you're only really going to play a handful of days out of the month, you might as well find a cheaper way to get your PvP kicks.

But hey, I really don't care if people choose to waste their money in this manner. It is, after all, their money. :P

The reasons fall into three categories. One, addicted and not willing to move on. Two, somehow, having the "perfect cahr" still means something them, but not wanting to grind for it. Three (close to but different enough) they want the loot to build something else, either directly or indirectly, but have grown tired of grinding for it. You can be sure, however, that once someone is botting, they'll probably be bored with their new character within two weeks.

I still play Diablo II, and 90% of the public games are automated and it's pretty much these reasons that people log in, but don't play the game. It's especially sad that it's on all difficulty levels, not just Hell. And for the record, I solo because there's still a build or two I want to finish Hell difficulty with.

NickBrahz:
Let's ban these bot users that will show them we mean business! ...but let's make it not a permanent ban, that should show them when a large chunk of the population by this point is bots especially now that you can bot to get gold to get gametime.

~1% is "a large chunk"?

I guess that would explain the "statistics" that tend to get thrown around in internet arguments.

Not that I doubt there are a fair number of people who have set up bots to play WoW for them, but their subscriber base is still, what, seven million? A few hundred thousand accounts is kind of negligible in comparison.

OT: Eh, as long as the people paying for the accounts don't get charged for the time they're banned (I'd assume not, but I've never been banned from battle.net so I wouldn't know), I find it hard to feel any sympathy for botters. They've been particularly annoying in Hearthstone lately.

RJ 17:

Therumancer:
Snip.

And yet they're still pissing away money with the subscription while not playing the game. If you find MMO's to be such a chore (which I completely understand) then why bother playing at all? I would be more understanding for a F2P MMO, but it seems like a waste of money if you're going to have a bot do all the work for you in the first place. If you only PvP when you want to, then you're a "casual" by definition...someone not truly dedicated to playing the game. Personally, back in the days when I played WoW, I got my money's worth even if it was involving a lot of grinding. If you're only really going to play a handful of days out of the month, you might as well find a cheaper way to get your PvP kicks.

But hey, I really don't care if people choose to waste their money in this manner. It is, after all, their money. :P

Conjecture: People that use bots to grind probably do so while they are at work or engaged in other mundane activities during which they could not play the game anyway. When considered that way, the utility of bots makes for an efficient use of potentially 40+ hours a week of subscription time that would otherwise be wasted.

Honestly, I don't blame people for using them. I've tried to play MMOs, and I do find some aspects - social included - to be interesting and fun, but the grind always drives me away. It did for Everquest, WoW, Eve, SWTOR, and every other little MMO I've tried. I just can't do it.

shrekfan246:

NickBrahz:
Let's ban these bot users that will show them we mean business! ...but let's make it not a permanent ban, that should show them when a large chunk of the population by this point is bots especially now that you can bot to get gold to get gametime.

~1% is "a large chunk"?

I guess that would explain the "statistics" that tend to get thrown around in internet arguments.

Not that I doubt there are a fair number of people who have set up bots to play WoW for them, but their subscriber base is still, what, seven million? A few hundred thousand accounts is kind of negligible in comparison.

OT: Eh, as long as the people paying for the accounts don't get charged for the time they're banned (I'd assume not, but I've never been banned from battle.net so I wouldn't know), I find it hard to feel any sympathy for botters. They've been particularly annoying in Hearthstone lately.

"Large chunk" might be an exaggeration, but it's certainly a significant amount, potentially more so when you consider the unknown potential loss of money due to microtransactions not being made by people not playing the game.

Scars Unseen:

"Large chunk" might be an exaggeration, but it's certainly a significant amount, potentially more so when you consider the unknown potential loss of money due to microtransactions not being made by people not playing the game.

I dunno, if they're just gold sellers, maybe, but I get the feeling that the types of people who would set up bots specifically designed to grind things out for them would be the types of people who would drop a bit of money just so they can have everything.

Not that I've ever heard any definitive figures for such a thing one way or the other, but that's just how it strikes me in the moment of thought.

So here's a fun question. How low would WoW subs have to get before they stop enforcing these types of rules? I mean yeah, 100,000 is just a drop in the bucket right now but there are obviously more people than that using bots and WoW is dying. There is a substantial sub bump for new expansions but the content is completed in under a year and even more people leave...
image

Good! Why would you pay $15 a month to not play the game? If you're going to that you're probably better off watching Lets Plays or something.

I can understand the idea behind coding a bot to learn how to code some rudimentary AI, but then selling it (or offering it) to people in WOW so they can basically cheat their way to the top is detestable. That they'd take pride in being undetected just shows how little respect they have for fair competition.
Some people though just think not being caught doing something illegal (I'm making a parallel, not saying botting is illegal) is something to be proud of... its not. It is something you should be thanking your lucky fucking stars you didn't get caught.
Blizz is even being nice about it and not perma-banning. But I'll bet you those accounts will be permaflagged and any permutations that would suggest cheating if/when those accounts become active again they won't get just the banhammer... they'll get Mjolnir.

Sarge034:
So here's a fun question. How low would WoW subs have to get before they stop enforcing these types of rules? I mean yeah, 100,000 is just a drop in the bucket right now but there are obviously more people than that using bots and WoW is dying. There is a substantial sub bump for new expansions but the content is completed in under a year and even more people leave...
image

Blizz has ramped up their expansion development/release cycle though, if I remember correctly so there'll be less time between expansions and more people returning to play the new game. The game will never be non-sub based, unless somehow the population drops significantly and doesn't rise after an expansion but there are a lot of dedicated WoW subscribers who play, finish the content they want and wait for the new expansions. Plus WOW is one of the few MMO's thats constantly updating the game to remain relevant to the hardware its being played on.
Try playing Everquest one day... its still the same shit UI it had in 2000.
The reason WoW is still going is that they learn from their users (addons were a wonderful idea that Blizz allowed, so long as they don't mess with the base game mechanics) and Blizz has even incorporated some addons as true in-game features. Whatever people think of Blizz, they're still one of the most community driven dev studios out there and they're a blessing with the only blight on their record being that they're part of Activision. I see them outlasting Activision since Call of Duty can't last forever, and there's nothing new being developed over there.

Edit: Hit post before I finished

To answer your question, they won't stop banning people just to keep sub counts high. The guys who make WoW love their game and aren't about to give it over to botters just to keep the money flowing. They're a smart company and I think they could find a way to make money other ways if it ever became that dire, which I don't think it will. I'm pretty sure we'll see WoW wrap up in the next decade, whether people like HOW it ends though is a different matter.

I find it funny that blizzard can just 6 month ban the entire population of other mmos...

Kinda puts things into perspective doesnt it?

image

Imperioratorex Caprae:

Blizz has ramped up their expansion development/release cycle though, if I remember correctly so there'll be less time between expansions and more people returning to play the new game. The game will never be non-sub based, unless somehow the population drops significantly and doesn't rise after an expansion but there are a lot of dedicated WoW subscribers who play, finish the content they want and wait for the new expansions. Plus WOW is one of the few MMO's thats constantly updating the game to remain relevant to the hardware its being played on.
Try playing Everquest one day... its still the same shit UI it had in 2000.
The reason WoW is still going is that they learn from their users (addons were a wonderful idea that Blizz allowed, so long as they don't mess with the base game mechanics) and Blizz has even incorporated some addons as true in-game features. Whatever people think of Blizz, they're still one of the most community driven dev studios out there and they're a blessing with the only blight on their record being that they're part of Activision. I see them outlasting Activision since Call of Duty can't last forever, and there's nothing new being developed over there.

Edit: Hit post before I finished

To answer your question, they won't stop banning people just to keep sub counts high. The guys who make WoW love their game and aren't about to give it over to botters just to keep the money flowing. They're a smart company and I think they could find a way to make money other ways if it ever became that dire, which I don't think it will. I'm pretty sure we'll see WoW wrap up in the next decade, whether people like HOW it ends though is a different matter.

That's all well and good, but look at the numbers. Subs were already on the decline and then WoD came out. A huge sub spike occurred as people got back in for the new content... then in less than half a year (after people finished the content) the sub cout dropped lower than it was before WoD. I think that's gonna be the model from here on out. WoW will have huge bursts of activity around new content and then die back down to a trickle. The same boom and bust cycle has been happening since Cataclysm (also when people started to say WoW was "dying"), it's just gotten more pronounced and happened faster (see graph).

The part about Bliz being somehow "better" then the rest of the industry just made me shake my head. If Bliz took so much more pride in their game than money, why are there paid max lvl boosts? Is that not in the same vein as a bot? Do nothing, get rewards. And really, I see WoW as the CoD of MMOs. It changes nothing on gameplay or innovation, just releases "more of the same", but with higher lvl caps.

Sarge034:

The part about Bliz being somehow "better" then the rest of the industry just made me shake my head. If Bliz took so much more pride in their game than money, why are there paid max lvl boosts? Is that not in the same vein as a bot? Do nothing, get rewards. And really, I see WoW as the CoD of MMOs. It changes nothing on gameplay or innovation, just releases "more of the same", but with higher lvl caps.

The paid max lvl boosts aren't mandatory, nor intrusive and not being pushed on new subscribers. They added it in to attract people who want to play the newer content but have fallen behind and don't want to grind a character to 90, which is a lot of time. Its a time-saver and the way lvl boosts work, helps you learn your class basic mechanics for new players who may not want to play at the bottom. Its not botting, its just expediting and I don't feel slighted by it as a 10 year veteran (minus months here and there between expansions and patches). I don't see it as a bot because it doesn't max-level you, it puts you at 90 and lets you play from there on, it doesn't play the game for you or give you achieves aside from the useless "you got a level" achieve. A bot doesn't teach you to play your class either, the level boost allows you to become acquainted with your class and spec if you're new, and it doesn't take long to get through the intro anyway.
There's a world of difference between Vanilla WOW and today's WOW. Some people don't like it because the game is more accessible to new players, and of course resistant to change. But there have been many innovations with WoW. Cross-realm functionality for one thing I think is innovative as well as the dungeon queues. Some would argue that its taken a lot out of the social aspect of WoW, but I've never been happier grouping with a bunch of people who may or may not talk to me during the run. Dungeon Queue has done a lot to improve the game as has the changes to PVP queuing.
Talent trees being "simplified" really was a way for WoW to get rid of a system that was already cookie-cutter anyway. Back when the talent trees were huge and either by spec or full spectrum (depending on era) there was a lot of wasted space and talent points and very few builds helped a player have an advantage except the cookie cutter builds. So they removed a time-wasting thing by allowing players a few choices, sacrificing complexity for depth.
Innovative: Now players can choose talents that compliment the way they play their character (though there are some on each tree that are either useless or over/underpowered depending on which way you look at it).
Also WoW isn't releasing a new MMO every time it makes an expansion, so "more of the same" is going to be true in some way but it is not the same game it was 10 years ago, it just resembles it somewhat. And I'm glad a lot of it has been streamlined because the extraneous crap that was done away with really didn't add depth to the game, it made it more complicated and those aren't the same thing.
There are a lot of things on the Blizz digital store that are vanity items, and then the paid level boost isn't exactly cheap either. So its not a cheap bot that plays the game for you and dominates the competition, its a decision whether your time or money is worth more to you. It also takes a lot of power away from the totally risky services offered (which is a bannable offense if used and found out) by less-than-reputable folks who will "power level" your character, provided you give them your login info and password, which is stupid but people did it anyway.
Bots however will not ever be adopted by Blizz in any fashion. They want people playing their game, and they want to make it as fair as possible.
You may not think much of them just because of a paid level 90 character option, but in the long run it is not comparable to a EULA voiding 3rd party program that plays for you. Its a one-time deal and the rest is up to you. Trying to compare the two is ridiculous.
I trust Blizzard far more than every other company. I've known people who worked there and the passion the staff has for the game is phenomenal (as well as their other products). I've talked with GMs before about the game while waiting for them to fix an issue on a character, and they're pretty decent folks. The customer service is among the best I've ever encountered.
All in all I've found that they do love what they make and do what they can to make as many people who play the game happy as possible. Its impossible to please everyone all the time, but Blizz sure does well to keep loyal customers for 10 years on the same damn game and people are willing to keep paying subs for it. That says a lot about them as a company.
And yes the dropoffs have been steeper, but it happens and will continue to happen but I don't think it will kill the game anytime soon. I'm not done with this xpac but I'm waiting for the next patch (and some budget freedom) to play again.
And if they didn't take pride in their game, you'd get shit like Slaughtering Grounds the MMO, not a game that has outperformed every other title in its genre for 10 years running, and has made more money annually than any other game in the history of gaming. If Blizzard honestly didn't have love for WOW, all your gear would be microtransacitons (skip to this raid tier now!!! only $29.99!!). They'll never do something like that, which actually makes the game pay-to-win.
That would mean they don't give a damn anymore and just want money, but the most they do is sell vanity items such as mounts or transmog gear or pets, realm transfers for folks who want to move to lower or higher pop realms depending on what you want, faction changes for people tired of being on one side or the other... all of it is cosmetic except the level boost and that is so small a thing, so innocuous its almost ridiculous to use that as a knock against the dev's love for their product. If it was like $10 a character, then I might agree with you but the pricing as it is now means that they're not really expecting people to take advantage of it as often, only if they really feel they don't want to wait and have the money.
You may not agree with me and thats fine but my personal experience with Blizz has been much better than and more personal than with any other developer out there. I've never had a conversation with a developer as a customer before I met one of Blizz's top programmers, and the guy talked about the game less like a dev and more like someone who loved to PLAY WoW.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
The paid max lvl boosts aren't mandatory, nor intrusive and not being pushed on new subscribers. They added it in to attract people who want to play the newer content but have fallen behind and don't want to grind a character to 90, which is a lot of time. Its a time-saver and the way lvl boosts work, helps you learn your class basic mechanics for new players who may not want to play at the bottom. Its not botting, its just expediting and I don't feel slighted by it as a 10 year veteran (minus months here and there between expansions and patches). I don't see it as a bot because it doesn't max-level you, it puts you at 90 and lets you play from there on, it doesn't play the game for you or give you achieves aside from the useless "you got a level" achieve. A bot doesn't teach you to play your class either, the level boost allows you to become acquainted with your class and spec if you're new, and it doesn't take long to get through the intro anyway.
There's a world of difference between Vanilla WOW and today's WOW. Some people don't like it because the game is more accessible to new players, and of course resistant to change. But there have been many innovations with WoW. Cross-realm functionality for one thing I think is innovative as well as the dungeon queues. Some would argue that its taken a lot out of the social aspect of WoW, but I've never been happier grouping with a bunch of people who may or may not talk to me during the run. Dungeon Queue has done a lot to improve the game as has the changes to PVP queuing.
Talent trees being "simplified" really was a way for WoW to get rid of a system that was already cookie-cutter anyway. Back when the talent trees were huge and either by spec or full spectrum (depending on era) there was a lot of wasted space and talent points and very few builds helped a player have an advantage except the cookie cutter builds. So they removed a time-wasting thing by allowing players a few choices, sacrificing complexity for depth.
Innovative: Now players can choose talents that compliment the way they play their character (though there are some on each tree that are either useless or over/underpowered depending on which way you look at it).
Also WoW isn't releasing a new MMO every time it makes an expansion, so "more of the same" is going to be true in some way but it is not the same game it was 10 years ago, it just resembles it somewhat. And I'm glad a lot of it has been streamlined because the extraneous crap that was done away with really didn't add depth to the game, it made it more complicated and those aren't the same thing.
There are a lot of things on the Blizz digital store that are vanity items, and then the paid level boost isn't exactly cheap either. So its not a cheap bot that plays the game for you and dominates the competition, its a decision whether your time or money is worth more to you. It also takes a lot of power away from the totally risky services offered (which is a bannable offense if used and found out) by less-than-reputable folks who will "power level" your character, provided you give them your login info and password, which is stupid but people did it anyway.
Bots however will not ever be adopted by Blizz in any fashion. They want people playing their game, and they want to make it as fair as possible.
You may not think much of them just because of a paid level 90 character option, but in the long run it is not comparable to a EULA voiding 3rd party program that plays for you. Its a one-time deal and the rest is up to you. Trying to compare the two is ridiculous.
I trust Blizzard far more than every other company. I've known people who worked there and the passion the staff has for the game is phenomenal (as well as their other products). I've talked with GMs before about the game while waiting for them to fix an issue on a character, and they're pretty decent folks. The customer service is among the best I've ever encountered.
All in all I've found that they do love what they make and do what they can to make as many people who play the game happy as possible. Its impossible to please everyone all the time, but Blizz sure does well to keep loyal customers for 10 years on the same damn game and people are willing to keep paying subs for it. That says a lot about them as a company.
And yes the dropoffs have been steeper, but it happens and will continue to happen but I don't think it will kill the game anytime soon. I'm not done with this xpac but I'm waiting for the next patch (and some budget freedom) to play again.
And if they didn't take pride in their game, you'd get shit like Slaughtering Grounds the MMO, not a game that has outperformed every other title in its genre for 10 years running, and has made more money annually than any other game in the history of gaming. If Blizzard honestly didn't have love for WOW, all your gear would be microtransacitons (skip to this raid tier now!!! only $29.99!!). They'll never do something like that, which actually makes the game pay-to-win.
That would mean they don't give a damn anymore and just want money, but the most they do is sell vanity items such as mounts or transmog gear or pets, realm transfers for folks who want to move to lower or higher pop realms depending on what you want, faction changes for people tired of being on one side or the other... all of it is cosmetic except the level boost and that is so small a thing, so innocuous its almost ridiculous to use that as a knock against the dev's love for their product. If it was like $10 a character, then I might agree with you but the pricing as it is now means that they're not really expecting people to take advantage of it as often, only if they really feel they don't want to wait and have the money.
You may not agree with me and thats fine but my personal experience with Blizz has been much better than and more personal than with any other developer out there. I've never had a conversation with a developer as a customer before I met one of Blizz's top programmers, and the guy talked about the game less like a dev and more like someone who loved to PLAY WoW.

Take a moment to look at how much you said to counter two points. Kindda getting a "fanboy" vibe here...

You can pay for a bot to play the game for you or you can pay to skip the game content. I don't see much difference, except for who you're paying that is.

CoD- "New" guns, "new" maps, "new/continued" story, UI improvements, fish AI, mo-cap dog
WoW- "New" gear, "new" areas, "new/continued" story, UI improvements
...
Damn, you're right. They are different. I'll start saying they're alike again when WoW gets fish AI and mo-caps a dog.

100,000 is half the population of my city.

Their game, their rules, but really does botting actually hurt anything? It just lets people automate things that are time consuming. That's why we created computers in the first place.

While I play neither, I don't think you can compare WoW to CoD. In WoW's case, it's a case of expansions being released for the same base game over time, so it's expected that the content will conform to the base game in some form or another. This has been an MMO template since at least the days of Ultima Online and EverQuest. In CoD, whatever differences may or may not exist between games, these are still full priced, independent games.

Anyway, I don't think WoW's going to go anywhere anytime soon, and for that, I point to the MMOs I mentioned above, both of which are still going. Even if WoW reached a point where it had, say, a few hundred thousand subscribers, that's still enough to be financially viable.

shrekfan246:

NickBrahz:
Let's ban these bot users that will show them we mean business! ...but let's make it not a permanent ban, that should show them when a large chunk of the population by this point is bots especially now that you can bot to get gold to get gametime.

~1% is "a large chunk"?

I guess that would explain the "statistics" that tend to get thrown around in internet arguments.

Not that I doubt there are a fair number of people who have set up bots to play WoW for them, but their subscriber base is still, what, seven million? A few hundred thousand accounts is kind of negligible in comparison.

OT: Eh, as long as the people paying for the accounts don't get charged for the time they're banned (I'd assume not, but I've never been banned from battle.net so I wouldn't know), I find it hard to feel any sympathy for botters. They've been particularly annoying in Hearthstone lately.

%1 got banned, they didn't ban all the bots just to correct you that would of only made a tiny dent in the bot market for the game.
We can't speculate how much % really is bots and isn't all i can talk about is personal experience from when i played the game.

You also say 7 million people, yes but you have to take into account that that is 7 million over 3 different versions, and then in those versions are split into battlegroups and then into servers, so you interact with a fraction of that maybe a couple hundred thousand at most if you include all cross server stuff that that is being very generous.

When i played the game from Wrath til 2 days ago i last logged in (I play on and off large stretches i don't play admittedly).
- Every single PVP/Battleground, there is at least 1 or 2 bots per team so when you have 2-4+ bots in a 10-15 player match that is a significant chunk.
- Every time i would go to mine for some mats or something there would be a person standing in the middle of nowhere, and the millisecond a mining node would respawn it was already being mined.
- Anywhere on the map especially in cities and the zones around cities, is a lot of spam from bots trying to sell gold/mounts/etc.
- A lot of times you do a dungeon there is a bot so thats 1 person out of 5 people in that case, significant chunk.
- The above is the same for Raids, there can be 5 people maybe more botting out of 40 people, significant chunk.

So Blizzard banning what seems to be a tiny fraction of botters once in a blue moon, not even permanently is nothing, and the reason they rarely ban bots is because its to much effort and they lose money is they ban botters which pay them money though buying the game, subscribing etc.

Sarge034:

Take a moment to look at how much you said to counter two points. Kindda getting a "fanboy" vibe here...

You can pay for a bot to play the game for you or you can pay to skip the game content. I don't see much difference, except for who you're paying that is.

CoD- "New" guns, "new" maps, "new/continued" story, UI improvements, fish AI, mo-cap dog
WoW- "New" gear, "new" areas, "new/continued" story, UI improvements
...
Damn, you're right. They are different. I'll start saying they're alike again when WoW gets fish AI and mo-caps a dog.

I'm also getting a "vibe" from your post. It is not conductive to anything but fostering resentment and anger. I'd like to keep the discussion respectful, which I have up to this point where I honestly feel you've disrespected me.
Sure I'm a fan of WoW. I won't hide that. I will however say that the way you used the word "fanboy" was dismissive of anything I said. This is a forum, not twitter and if I feel passionate about something, I may write a few paragraphs worth. Dismissing my post because of its length is ignorant too because I wasn't just countering points, I was offering my thoughts.
If you feel my thoughts have no worth, fine. But have some integrity to say it straight out. My feeling right now is that you don't care much for discussion, but are unwilling to walk away, so you take a parting shot at me. I'm not pissed off, but I am a bit annoyed. Its not so much that I care what you think of me rather that I won't let someone disrespect me and not say something about it. So I'll say what I have to say in response to your baiting: Leave the sarcasm and juvenile dismissals out next time if you want to be taken seriously or if you've something to say that has nothing to do with the discussion, and something to do with the person posting, say it. Or if you've nothing to add to the discussion, and just feel like attempting to be subtly rude, then drop the failed subtlety and say what you really mean. Like I'll come right out and say I think you're disrespectful, rude, and don't even have the gumption to say what you mean outright and your attempt at sarcastic responses comes off as juvenile.

Now to the discussion, which I'll continue whether I feel you want to or not because you've raised points I feel are incorrect in a factual way not philosophical. You've compared CoD to WoW in ways that are not comparable, and here's why they aren't:

WoW has improved their graphics but most of it has been reskinning and not using a whole new engine or rebuilding the game from the ground up, and some of the underlying mechanics but the core game is still the same as it was during Vanilla. Maps have changed but they needed to change and some parts were taken out. But I still play WoW the same and the way it works at the core is the same. Basically WoW is Warcraft 3's engine with a LOT of patches and updates, but at the core its still WC3.

WoW feels the same to me as it did the first day I played, with some streamlining, cutting away the things I rarely used anyway.
Warlods of Draenor is not "World of Warcraft part 5", its still the same game with an exception that the original vanilla questlines have been done away with and the original map has changed due to the introduction of the flight mechanic to the core world, thanks to Cataclysm.

CoD hasn't just reskinned their games and released them under a new title with new content, they're all different in core mechanics. I can say safely that playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare is not the same mechanically as playing Advanced Warfare. You don't get CoD 1-4, MW2, Blops 1 and 2, MW3, and Ghosts when you buy Advanced Warfare. And they don't all use the same core engine. They rebuild the engine to work for the newer game for the most part and the underpinning mechanics feel at least a bit different with each iteration. They may have a lot of the same features, but they don't play the same as previous entries and some of them have made me feel like I needed to relearn the game from scratch. I don't play Advanced Warfare the same why I play MW2, because they don't function the same way.

I still play WoW pretty much the same, there's more going on with the UI but I still move the same, jump the same, fly the same and I feel like I'm playing the same game I started with.

I will say that WoW has innovated by adding in phased areas, where the map changes dependent on what quests you've finished, but you're still technically on the same map as someone else on the same realm who may have completed more of the quests or none at all in comparison to your character.

I get it, you don't like WoW or CoD, but they're not comparable in any way except in that they're two of the top played games in the world, and you seem to not like either of them. One is the same game that came out in 2004 with patched additions and expansions and the other is a series.

Yes I wrote another lengthy post to counter your points. If you feel that is somehow the wrong way to go about it, go use twitter where there's a character limit since you seem to be unable to handle someone putting some thought into their responses and dismissing them as "fanboys" because they feel you're wrong or at the least not comprehending why you are wrong.

If you choose to continue discussion, again I'm going to ask you drop the condescension, failed subtle sarcasm, and actually discuss something instead of acting like a myopic juvenile. I'm perfectly willing to discuss things rationally, but if you aren't then don't bother replying.

I remember how much it sucks to grind honor for your first pvp set when you hit level cap. I also remember how much it sucks when you start the match destined to lose because you've a bunch of selfish cunts on your team afk'ing or botting. Fuck em, should have been done long ago.

Temp 6 month ban. You might as well forget those accounts Blizzard. That's twice as long as it takes for someone to break your skinner-box mind conditioning. Once they're out... they don't want to get back in it.

Suggestion... maybe, maybe just maybe design your game with enough open-ness in game play to make using bots well.. not an issue. Anyone who's played wow kknows it's basically about jjust skill rotations. Make your mechanics a bit more challenging and maybe you won't have to worry about bots. I mean I remember around the time I quit I was doing DUngeons practically on Auto pilot. Had to keep playing tank role just to keep it interesting enough . Playing Healer literally made me fall asleep. DPS not much better.

Blizzard, you made your game so linear that it's practically a straight line now. Heck at least in the old days you could do something crazy like switch up your talent, See if you could find a way to make a dual wielding Tank work. Effecient no... but challenging and different enough to keep someone thinking and interested for a month or so.

SecondPrize:
I remember how much it sucks to grind honor for your first pvp set when you hit level cap. I also remember how much it sucks when you start the match destined to lose because you've a bunch of selfish cunts on your team afk'ing or botting. Fuck em, should have been done long ago.

I loved back when you could buy gear if you had the currency even if you couldn't wear it, i only played Alliance back then and the Call to Arms weekends was just added, nothing was better then being level say 50 doing a weekend of AV on the CTA and walking away with a full set of basic pvp gear waiting for you at level 80 and gaining 5-10 levels.

NickBrahz:
Snip

You apparently had incredibly bad luck, because aside from gold spammers, over my own five and a half years of playing the game I rarely saw bots in the actual game world. Certainly never running dungeons or raids, though I can't say the same for PvP. EDIT: And I played on servers that were frequently listed as being "High" population (one of them occasionally even had a queue to log in).

Or, in other words, anecdotal evidence isn't really enough to start making huge generalizations like that. Like you said, the average player interacts with a mere fraction of the overall population actually playing WoW. Some people are going to run into a higher number of bots than others. Sorry you have apparently seen so many over your time.

(Also, 40-man raids stopped being a thing after Vanilla. Raids in BC and up wouldn't let more than 10/25 people in, and it wasn't until, what, the end of Mists that they finally put in the flexible raid system? And in 40-man raids, a good ten of those people tended to be useless and just there as warm bodies to throw at a boss anyway.)

EDIT: I will grant that I can't speak for how it's gone in the past year and a half or so. Maybe nowadays LFR is full of bots. But it wasn't back when I used it.

Got an email saying I was banned. Dont even play WoW.

Bottom line is they will find you? it seems they have been running this bot program since 2010...I think 5 years is a pretty good run.

Cheat your butts off I say, by the time they detect it you will probably not be playing the game anyways of if so my lord how much DO you need to bot in that game? lol.

MMO's are pretty helpless when it comes to these things, bravo for shutting one down but its far from eliminating the bulk that probably exist i'm sure. this short of thing is more for public scare then anything, the admins are always at a disadvantage when it comes to not only detecting but stopping them.

MonsterCrit:

Suggestion... maybe, maybe just maybe design your game with enough open-ness in game play to make using bots well.. not an issue. Anyone who's played wow kknows it's basically about jjust skill rotations. Make your mechanics a bit more challenging and maybe you won't have to worry about bots. I mean I remember around the time I quit I was doing DUngeons practically on Auto pilot. Had to keep playing tank role just to keep it interesting enough . Playing Healer literally made me fall asleep. DPS not much better.

Blizzard, you made your game so linear that it's practically a straight line now. Heck at least in the old days you could do something crazy like switch up your talent, See if you could find a way to make a dual wielding Tank work. Effecient no... but challenging and different enough to keep someone thinking and interested for a month or so.

And because WoW is so simple and easy you will, naturally, have no problem whatsoever posting a link to your main character's armory page so we can see that you've completed all the hardest content in the game, right?

Well, unless you're yet another Hypocrite who whines about the game being "too easy/casual" yet has never done anything beyond LFR, that is.

Also:

Temp 6 month ban. You might as well forget those accounts Blizzard. That's twice as long as it takes for someone to break your skinner-box mind conditioning. Once they're out... they don't want to get back in it.

Feel free to explain how WoW's "eeeeeevil mind control" gameplay of "do the same task multiple times for a reward that isn't 100% guaranteed" is different to any other Video Game's gameplay of "do the same task multiple times for a reward that isn't 100% guaranteed", by the way.

Because I've asked that question to just about every "SKINNER BOX SKINNER BOX HURRRR" spouter, and none of them have been able to answer that, possibly because "Skinner Box" is a thing so loosely defined that it could feasibly be applied to any activity that has ever existed, ever, that they just heard the term from Extra Credits and are now slapping the term on any game that's cool to hate on at the moment.

Aeshi:

MonsterCrit:
Temp 6 month ban. You might as well forget those accounts Blizzard. That's twice as long as it takes for someone to break your skinner-box mind conditioning. Once they're out... they don't want to get back in it.

Suggestion... maybe, maybe just maybe design your game with enough open-ness in game play to make using bots well.. not an issue. Anyone who's played wow kknows it's basically about jjust skill rotations. Make your mechanics a bit more challenging and maybe you won't have to worry about bots. I mean I remember around the time I quit I was doing DUngeons practically on Auto pilot. Had to keep playing tank role just to keep it interesting enough . Playing Healer literally made me fall asleep. DPS not much better.

Blizzard, you made your game so linear that it's practically a straight line now. Heck at least in the old days you could do something crazy like switch up your talent, See if you could find a way to make a dual wielding Tank work. Effecient no... but challenging and different enough to keep someone thinking and interested for a month or so.

And because WoW is so simple and easy you will, naturally, have no problem whatsoever posting a link to your main character's armory page so we can see that you've completed all the hardest content in the game such as the Mythics right?

Well, unless you're yet another Hypocrite who whines about the game being "too easy/casual" yet has never done anything beyond LFR, that is.

Considering I haven't played WoW since just before MOP came out... I wouldn't even know how to go about doing that. My last impression of the game was just... boredom. It was like a deskjob at the office. Something that's 80% rote.

MonsterCrit:

Considering I haven't played WoW since just before MOP came out... I wouldn't even know how to go about doing that. My last impression of the game was just... boredom. It was like a deskjob at the office. Something that's 80% rote.

How awfully convenient for you.

But my point still stands: Did you actually try/do any of the hardest content Cataclysm had to offer?

Or were you (again), yet another Hypocrite who whined about the game being "too easy/casual" yet never bothered doing anything beyond basic questing/instances?

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