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Banned From WoW For WINE & Programmable Keyboard 701

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-hates-them-the-emulation dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Player gets banned for playing World of Warcraft under WINE and using a Logitech Gaming keyboard. "I am an experienced network engineer for an ISP and I am often running World of Warcraft on Linux through the use of WINE..."" Although the e-mails exchanged are unclear my guess is that the programmable keyboard was more the problem then WINE. Not that you'd ever know that given that Blizzard communicates with their users seemingly almost exclusively with form letters.
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Banned From WoW For WINE & Programmable Keyboard

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  • Anonymous? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:33AM (#14923631) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot profile [slashdot.org]

    The keyboard he is using sounds quite cool though :)
    I shall have to look into getting one.
    • It's very cool. I got my step-daughter one for Christmas... sadly... to play WoW. She's playing under Windows, so maybe it won't be an issue (besides... she's 14. I'd be surprised if she's even figured out how to program macros.)
    • Re:Anonymous? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by n00tz (926304) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:01AM (#14923902) Homepage
      Around Christmas I bought me and my brother both a Logitech G15. They are really nice keyboards, with a lot of versitility. G15forums.com [g15forums.com] has a lot of different ways to use the display it comes with.

      Unfortunetely, for the keyboard to be effective in WoW, Blizzard is going to have to support it and program some hooks into the game for it to be supported. Even if there was a 3rd party program (or even a UI mod) that would take care of the hooks for WoW it would be against the ToS, and my account would be banned for it.

      As much as I like the game, I have found blizzard themselves to be fairly nazi about what can do what and who can do it. CmdrTaco had an instance with Blizzard Nazism not too long ago. [slashdot.org]
      • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:15PM (#14924701)
        As much as I like the game, I have found blizzard themselves to be fairly nazi about what can do what and who can do it. CmdrTaco had an instance with Blizzard Nazism not too long ago. [slashdot.org]

        Oh please. Lets get some perspective. Blizzard told CmdrTaco to change a name he had been using for awhile because it violated the game rules. That's it. Blizzard has yet to start rounding up and gassing Slashdot editors.

        "I can't use my nickname! It's like Auschqitz in here!"

    • by Juliusz (905365) <jwalczyn@sourcio.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:28AM (#14924203) Homepage
      Yeah, cool, but it got him banned. He should have used one of those little, swinging, water-drinking, wooden birds with the funny hats, they're harder to detect.
    • Re:Anonymous? (Score:5, Informative)

      by infernix (300990) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:44AM (#14924360) Homepage
      I did not submit this anonymously myself; I submitted under my own account a week or two ago. I guess someone else resubmitted it.

      And just a minor remark here to people who claim I was botting. Please, go look up some botting software.

      1) They virtually all need MS .Net framework - in other words, botting software doesnt work on WINE.
      2) Botting software runs around, taps mobs, kills them, loots them and repeats this process. I didnt. I did not loot, move, nor change target. Anyone with a WoW account can run to Thousand Needles, find a Windchaser creature, get a lowest level weapon and hit it indefinately, provided that you are a healing class.

      Anyway, I mentioned this, but I can understand why people who quickly read would miss it.
      • Re:Anonymous? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by thelost (808451) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:21PM (#14924769) Journal
        I sympathize with you man. This kind of treatment is why I gave up WoW. I haven't had to go through that terrible process myself, I just sick of the way people were being treated and cancelled my account, but to see you being blind-sided like that with no warning really makes my blood boil.

        One of the most obvious problems with WoW these days is that there is this massive wall of low level employees (GMs, Billing & accounts etc) who don't have either the authority or time to really look after customers properly. Add to this Blizzards obvious contempt for it's playerbase as easymeat who are pretty much addicts so can be treated like trash and you have a situation where people will frequently get reamed like this with no way to prevent it.

        You will of course get accused of botting by lots of players, but lots of players also happen to be 14 year old children who love to point fingers (not to say every 14 year old is like this, but the culture of WoW has shown to me that while there are exceptions if a player sounds like a 14 year, acts like a 14 year old and talks AOL trash talk then he's caek).

        In the end Blizz and it's employees can pretty much act as they want and this is the most problematic part of it for me. There is no accountability, GMs have been to behave extremely innapropriately in the past, it's impossible to defend yourself from accusations of cheating because Blizz wants to be seen to having a strong anti-cheater policy so if false positives come up then it doesn't really matter. Amoung the thousands of cheaters those innocent will go unheard.

        I suggest that you give up on WoW, and find a MMO that treats it's customers with at least a little common decency. Hmph that might be tricky though.
      • Re:Anonymous? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dnoyeb (547705) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:32PM (#14924869) Homepage Journal
        I think your only legitimate statement is that Logitech claims the keyboard is useable for WoW. Other than that, using macros is a definite nono.

        Botting is not defined by "botting software." Its defined by Blizzard. In Eve-online, they don't have a 'bot' ban. They ban you if you are using macros. Maybe Blizzard should upgrade their terminology to make it clearer. If you were a younger person I might accept that you had no idea you would get banned. If you never gamed before I might expect you may think a legalistic position would work. But as a network engineer, and someone that has probably gamed before you should know better. You know there is neither judge nor jury. You know legitimate users get banned all the time. Knowing that you should have known the keyboard would be an issue.

        I hope they let you back in. You seem like an honest person based on how much info you told them. My mom also taught me to tell the truth. The world really doesen't care...
        • Re:Anonymous? (Score:5, Informative)

          by merreborn (853723) * on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:41PM (#14924977) Journal
          "I think your only legitimate statement is that Logitech claims the keyboard is useable for WoW. Other than that, using macros is a definite nono."

          If you RTFA, he provides a (now defunct) link to a post in the EU forums, with a quote, in which blizzard had stated that using keyboard macro functions is okay.
        • by Evil W1zard (832703) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @01:17PM (#14925329) Journal
          The game itself allows you to create macros in game through the /m command and then in game you can assign a key to the macro button you just created. Maybe I'm being overly simple here, but to me that would mean that Blizzard does in fact not only allow macros but also assists the player in setting them up?
          • by kscguru (551278) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @01:37PM (#14925503)
            In other words ... Blizzard allows macros that don't fundamentally alter the game experience. This user used outside equipment (keyboard) to set up macros that do fundamentally alter the gaming experience - allow him to run automated attacks, from what I can read here - and Blizzard banned him for it.

            I don't see this as any more novel than someone getting banned for inserting a graphics driver wallhack. He's violating the spirit of the game (no automated character improvements; you must invest your own time) while trying to weasel around the letter of the rules. Blizzard is vague precisely so that they can ban smartasses like this guy!

            (All that said, I think Blizzard would be better served inventing some other "punishment" for this. Like, if your character spends 20 minutes attacking a critter it shouldn't be able to kill and it looks like you are a bot, some big SLOW nasty spawns and kills you. If you weren't a bot, you could outrun the nasty... but dumbass bot users die. And maybe take an experience penalty too.)

            • From his writeup, he wasn't using an attack macro, he was using the button to switch equipment. Functionality that is included in legitimate add-ons, and I think supported thru the in-game macros.

              As I gather, he was just using the game's built-in, normal auto-attack feature. While in combat characters will do their plain vanilla attacks at a regular rate for as long as the combat lasts. He was just doing that to an enemy that could heal, and thus would never die to that sort of attack. He didn't alter

            • I have a Logitech and its not some super secret weapon that allows you to do all these things that you couldn't normally do. Really the best part of it for WoW is that the keyboard has extra keys so you can assign more buttons. You can create macros in game and assign them to a key on a normal keyboard. This is no different and is allowed via WoWs user interface. It isn't against their EULA to assign keys (even a macro to swap weapons) to a keyboard. If this person is telling the truth then he did nothing a
      • Keyboards (Score:4, Insightful)

        by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:52PM (#14925091) Homepage
        I have one of those Logitec G15 keyboards, as well as a Belkin Nostromo N52 (Which I no longer use). I am very concerned that Blizzard considers them a bannable offense. Only, they apparently don't. But they do. But...

        Blizzard is infamous for refusing to give details about exactly WHAT you did wrong when they ban you. As you can see in the emails. "We looked, you're guilty." "of what?" "Being banned." "For?" "Being guilty". "Of?" "Being Banned." "Well, can you review it?" "Ok. You're still guilty." "Of what??" "Of Being Banned." "For..."

        They're unfortunately just asking for a lawsuit in this matter, but... I guess 6 million customers paying $15 a month makes one feel they can get away with anything.

        I suggest you call their headquarters directly. They will tell you to email them instead. Refuse. Be a huge pain in the ass, and don't accept being told to go away. They *are* accountable for disabling your account. Fortunately you are in Europe where their EULA holds MUCH less weight than in the US -- they can't write away your consumer rights, so fight for them!
      • by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:55PM (#14925123) Homepage Journal
        It just is a matter of degree. In your view you were not botting as you define it to a scope which your event does not qualify.

        Look, if your not paying attention to the game go do something else. If it is that boring to do what you were doing then why bother? If it is for improvment within the game should you not focus your attention on it.

        Unattended play, botting, macroing. Call it whatever you will.

        If you want a game which will allow you to bot, supposedly only attended, then go play Asheron's Call. Turbine themselves approved of combat automation to the horror of the entire industry.

      • I'm not sure if mono [mono-project.com] and WINE are compatible, but mono does provide some .NET functionality on Linux. I have no experience with using it myself, however.

        Where the heck is their support from, anyhow? It looks like 2 Indians and a Russian responded to your e-mails, at least giving a casual glance at the names. It's entirely possible that you're getting outsourced support and they may not be able to do anything directly for you.
      • by Viv (54519)
        Carefully examine your case. Consider the TOS and AUP.

        Then, if you really honestly think you have a case, use your credit card's chargeback ability as a bludgeon. If you really think you have a case that you can make, then they'll start talking back if you can convince the credit card company to take your side.

        (Keep in mind that by selling you the software, they *offered* to provide you with continuing service at a certain price. Because RPGs are a character building exercise for some people, that "futur
        • Two comments about this.

          1) Be very careful about issuing a CC chargeback on questionable grounds as it opens the possibility of your committing fraud if your interpretation of what you've been wrongly charged for doesn't turn out to be legally correct. Personally (IANAL), I think you'd be justified if they charged you for the period during which you were banned, but I think it'd be a real stretch to say that you have any legitimate claim for payments for service you already fully received.

          2) If you decide
  • Favor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:34AM (#14923639)
    He should consider it a favor. Now he can go back to living his life.
    • Re:Favor (Score:3, Funny)

      by imdx80 (842737)
      Everytime I think I should get round to trying wow et al I see a story like this.

      So i should pay x per month to sit there pressing the same keys over and over while watching a film?
      I can do that for free, and if I unplug my keyboard i can do it roaming!

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:35AM (#14923641)
    I just got out of a pink page of death ban myself here at Slashdot. Somehow they mistook my frequent reloading of pages and multiple-thread bouncing as some sort of bot or malicious bandwidth-stealing script. It was neither.

    So I sit out a couple days trying to get the techs behind banned@slashdot.org to notice my emails. Finally, after a long negotiation with these guys and promising that I will turn off all my Firefox extensions when accessing the site, I get let back on.

    And this is what I come back to. A story about someone getting banned.
  • He's better off. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GundamFan (848341) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:36AM (#14923651)
    It stings to get banned... but realy any MMO is a waste of time, WoW being one of the worst in my opinion.

    if this is Blizzards new attitiude towards it's customers, maybe I can get all of my friends to stop playing WoW and spend some time in the real world interacting with people in person.

    Mod me a troll if you want it won't change the fact that I am siclk of Fantasy MMOs.
  • Not a Suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Herkum01 (592704) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:36AM (#14923657)

    In any situation which one party has vastly superior authority and little chance of penalized. Don't expect them to act in a reasonable manner.

    • Re:Not a Suprise (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ergo98 (9391) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:49AM (#14923767) Homepage Journal
      In any situation which one party has vastly superior authority and little chance of penalized. Don't expect them to act in a reasonable manner.

      I guess it depends upon your definition of reasonable.

      In this case they actively pissed off a customer, terminating the account of a paying subscriber, because they felt that his actions were detrimental to the rest of the community. His actions had nothing to do with Linux, but rather were the result of what appeared to be automated activity (which could have been that a user saw him there stat padding for hours, complained, and then an admin trying conversing with him to find the character just mechanically repeating the same steps). Reading his account, it sounds like he configured a variety of complex activities as macros on his keyboard, and just sat there repeating them ad nauseam for hours while he did other things (fun!), doing this largely automated activity for his own gain. Given that MMMORPGs are somewhat of a zero sum affair, this means that it's at the cost of other players.

      I'm actually amazed that the company acted so responsibly. It would have been easy to just backtrack and forgive and forget, but they forged ahead, making an enemy and losing a customer, to try to maintain the "rules of the land". Good for them.

      I should also say that the individual in question might want to learn why "the right to silence" can be an important trait. He completely indicted himself in his emails ("so I was sitting her occasionally triggering macros while I watched TV...").
      • Re:Not a Suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:08AM (#14923973) Homepage Journal
        I'm actually amazed that the company acted so responsibly. It would have been easy to just backtrack and forgive and forget, but they forged ahead, making an enemy and losing a customer, to try to maintain the "rules of the land". Good for them.

        You have a funny definition of "responsible". If you read TFA, he went through great lengths to attempt to resolve the issue with Blizzard, keeping his emails polite at all times. He pointed out that both Logitech and Blizzard had advertised the keyboard as being good for WoW, and even offered to accept a temporary ban to make up for any accidental infractions.

        Blizzard ignored all his correspondance, and went for a permanent ban, apparently in direct violation of their own terms of service. [blizzard.com]

        Blizzard was WRONG, and paid no attention to a reasonable customer. I find it perfectly acceptable if he was currently considering either legal or grass roots responses to their gross negligence in the matter. If that is the best they can do for loyal customers who attempted civil resolutions, then they deserve to end up in a media circus of bad press and class action suits.
        • Re:Not a Suprise (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:29PM (#14924842) Homepage Journal
          Blizzard ignored all his correspondance, and went for a permanent ban, apparently in direct violation of their own terms of service.

          I wonder what it's like to make so much money you can give a dedicated customer a high handed heave-ho.
      • I have read some research on MMORPGs that suggests that there is an endless supply of creatures to slay and mobs to fight (i.e. Blizzard keeps the economy running through infusions of resources). If that is true, then I don't think the game qualifies as a zero sum system.
  • by JasonUCF (601670) <jason-slashdawt@@@jnlpro...com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:36AM (#14923659) Homepage
    They have stated repeatedly that programmable keyboards like the Logitech one violate the EULA for WoW. While the current iteration of hacks -- sending the keyboard the mana/HP, are benign, the possibilty exists for there to be future mods that become harmful to the game or allow for some form of hacking.

    Source:
    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.aspx?fn=w ow-interface-customization&t=330798&tmp=1#post3307 98 [worldofwarcraft.com]

    • "Now it is quite well possible that during that time people contacted me in-game without me replying." (from TFA)

      This probably didn't help either. I'd think he was a bot.

      I wonder how they determine if the player is using a programmable keyboard? As popular as WoW is, I can imagine that some prog. keyboard manufacturers will find a way to avoid detection. Maybe a random pause between key presses?
    • OMG! I wanted to get the link in, but I read through the rest of the email:

      At the time of the suspension I was playing WoW on Linux. I was training my weapon skills because I recently turned to level 60. I had programmed the switching of weapons (I use Wardrobe for that) to my programmable keyboard and was fighting a low-level healing mob to upgrade all my weapon skills to 300. As you might very well know, this takes hours, and while I was training my different weapon skills by pressing the macro keys and healing myself every now and then, I watched some movies on my TV, because fighting a level 25 healing mob doesn't require much attention if you're a level 60 priest.
      It's not a matter of WINE, he was fucking botting! He took his programmable keyboard and built macros for fighting mobs and then left it unattendend.

      When you a grinding, if a GM suspects botting they will whisper you looking for you to respond. If you don't respond within a reasonable amount of time you get nailed for botting.

      Yawn..

      • When you a grinding, if a GM suspects botting they will whisper you looking for you to respond. If you don't respond within a reasonable amount of time you get nailed for botting.

        IOW -- "Human fails Turing Test. Film at Eleven."
      • When you a grinding, if a GM suspects botting they will whisper you looking for you to respond. If you don't respond within a reasonable amount of time you get nailed for botting.

        Same thing that admins would do back in the BBS days. A friend of mine and I used to write scripts for Telix to grind for us in a couple of MUDs. We ended up having to make the script give some kind of generic reply anytime someone talked to us and then start beeping to notify us that we were being watched. Worked really well.

      • If you RTFA you'll see that he was at his keyboard, but his eyes were more focused on the TV next to his monitor than on his monitor, since the chance of a level 60 priest dying against a level 20-30 mob are next to 0. Just not giving it 100% attention should not be a reason for an immediate and permanent ban.
      • by Arathrael (742381) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:29AM (#14924215)
        It's not a matter of WINE, he was fucking botting! He took his programmable keyboard and built macros for fighting mobs and then left it unattendend.

        As I understand it, he didn't actually leave it unattended. On the contrary, he couldn't leave it unattended, he still had to be sitting there pressing the programmed keys. He just wasn't paying attention while he was doing that. You can argue not paying attention is equivalent to leaving it unattended, but a simple macro on a programmable keyboard that you can't leave unattended does not make a bot, let along a fucking one.

        Anyway, the real culprit here is the game design. If Blizzard want their players to worship at the altar of the great Time Sink, then they can expect them to use things like this to make it less mind-numbingly tedious.
      • It's not a matter of WINE, he was fucking botting! He took his programmable keyboard and built macros for fighting mobs and then left it unattendend.

        So why is this a fucking problem? Computers are made for automation of repetitive tasks. If a bot can play the game, you've done something terribly wrong in game-design.
    • There is a link in TFA, allegedly to a post on the European forums where a Blizzard rep (I think) says explicitly that programmable keyboards are allowed.

      This is the link, however it's giving me a "service unavailable" message. I'm not sure if that's because I'm not authorized, or because I'm in the US and trying to get to the European forums, or what. If anyone can access it and quote their answer, I'd be very interested.

      Besides, Blizzard employees have stated in a blue post on the EU forums:

      "We have looke

    • by geddes (533463) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:53AM (#14923823)
      1. He wasn't using the LCD functioning of his programmable keyboard, he was using macros, it is far less clear if that is against the WoW tos, since programmable macro-keys do not involve "intercepting data" being sent from the WoW application.

      2. But you are right, it was the Keyboard that brought this on. He was wathing movies and just casually pressing his macro key every now and then. Since he wasn't paying attention and doing the same thing over and over again, it looked like he was botting. Blizzard may have been right to ban him. Though I tend to think that since they have no clear programmable keyboard policy, they should have warned him.

      3. Nonetheless, after reading his website, I have sympathy for the guy. Blizzard's communication with him really sucked. Getting sent those form letters must have been so frustrating. He asked specific questions to his accuser and they were replied to by generic form letters. He went into great detail explaining what his (somewhat unique) situation was. Even if Blizzard had replied and said "We have no problem with your running Wine, but using those programmable keyboards are against our ToS." Then that would be fine. But Blizzard was vague in their responses, which is unfair, and if they were a government (which they sort of are in this online world) for a developed, democratic, nation, this guy would have the right to at least SEE the evidence against him. It sounds like here somebody reported him as not responding to messages. They should tell him WHEN and WHERE it happened. Explain what showed up in their logs for them to conclude that he was botting.

      The true problem here isn't lack of Wine support or Programmable Keyboards. The problem is that Blizzard makes decisions behind a closed curtain and doesn't tell you what evidence they used to support their decision.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not that you'd ever know that given that Blizzard communicates with their users seemingly almost exclusively with form letters.

    Gotta love the hypocrisy from Taco complaining about unresponsive, noncommunicative companies.

    Anybody else unfortunate enough to email the editors about an issue? Whether it is abusive moderation, story dupe/inaccurate/inflammatory, or posting bans, almost all the editors respond with one-line dismissals or direction to read their outdated FAQ which hasn't been updated in years.

  • Uhm, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Syberghost (10557) <syberghost@@@syberghost...com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:39AM (#14923679) Homepage
    Banned for violating the rules with his programmable keyboard. They outright told him that; he was interacting with his environment in an unattended manner. That's a violation of the TOS for every MMORPG I've ever read the TOS for, which admittedly isn't many.

    However, it is telling that he knows that bot programs won't work on Wine under Linux; I'm not buying the story that he tested them all subsequently.

    Summation: Cheated. Got caught. Got banned. Whined and told his buddies an "edited" version of the story, so they all rallied behind him. Tough noogies.
    • Re:Uhm, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EddieBurkett (614927) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:47AM (#14923751)
      Banned for violating the rules with his programmable keyboard. They outright told him that; he was interacting with his environment in an unattended manner. That's a violation of the TOS for every MMORPG I've ever read the TOS for, which admittedly isn't many.
      The best part is that the guy wraps himself in the I'm-being-persecuted-for-running-Linux flag, which he knows will raise the ire of many the WoW player. If he was playing the game unattended and got caught, he deserves to be banned, and if he finds fighting low level mobs to raise his skills so boring, maybe he should find another way to spend his time.

      Its been a while since I've played WoW. Can Trolls be Priests?
  • by globalar (669767) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:39AM (#14923680) Homepage
    I don't think you have any rights related to software you can't completely control yourself. Please, someone correct me if I'm wrong here. That said, my experience with most RPG's is that they involve a lot of repetition (which is why the guy programmed some macros). Apparently this is part of the official, mandatory WoW experience. That would explain why goldfarming (or whatever it's called in the game) is so popular. Someone at Blizzard must have taken econ101 somewhere along the line?

    The fact that Blizzard needs to know if you're sitting at your computer or not is a bit disturbing, however. Like a parent.
    • Apparently, for WoS, they're going to require a webcam, and if they find out that your character is moving and you're not in frame, they send a zergling rush to your house.
  • by Neologic (48268) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:41AM (#14923690)
    Incidents like this remind me that when you play WoW or other mmorpg's, you don't own your character, despite the often thousand of man-hours people put into them. It seems to me that if there was a similar real-world analogue, the account holder would be able to get some sort of redress to his losses in a court of law, or at least reinstatement. In these virtual worlds, the game company is able to rule by diktat and is able to twist the TOS to suit their needs. Indeed, they can change the TOS at will and if you don't agree to the new terms, then you forfeit your right to your account. Eventually, the legalities of virtual worlds will need to be addressed.
    • They -are- addressed, you just don't like the result.

      You enter a contract where you're paying ONLY for access to their world (with the related assurance that they'll protect you against TOS violators generally). The fact that your access allows you to alter some of their data - your avatar - does nothing to change the fact that your contract is explicitly not about 'owning' anything.

      Want something different? Hit up SecondLife, where you own everything legitimately. The market provides us with what
    • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      It's not like your civil rights are being violated, it's a game, a peice of entertainment. If you don't like the terms, stop giving them money and go play another. There are LOTS of great games out there. Lately I've been playing very little WoW because I have three new games I want to play, and I've got a list of about 6 more I want to try that I probably won't get to. I't snot like I'd be happy if Blizzard terminated my account, but I wouldn't be all broken up over it, I'd find another game to play (actua
  • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@xoxFREEBSDy.net minus bsd> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:42AM (#14923699) Homepage Journal
    It seems like it was definitely the programmable keyboard and not WINE that set off their bot detectors.

    Apparently the macros on the keyboard were making him do repeated actions, and somehow this was interpreted by Blizzard as "unattended" operation. (Why they think it was unattended I don't know, TFA doesn't say exactly ... why didn't they just message him when they saw the odd behavior? Or do something else to verify it's a human on the other end?)

    Anyway, a quote from TFA:
    "So it seems that if I use a programmable keyboard I am botting. However I suspect their 3rd party detection software saw a very strange enviroinment in which WoW was running; that combined with the repetitive task of healing myself, switching weapons, and casting Hex of Weakness programmed in my keyboard, I am viewed as a bot."

    So it seems other people using WoW under WINE are safe, you'd just better not get too trigger-happy with the keyboard macros.

    What's really the problem here is that there seems to be a huge disconnect between official Blizzard policy (programmable keyboards are okay, this has been explicitly said by one of their reps in the forums, according to the article) and what the GMs did. And after the guy got banned, they seem to just be just stonewalling him and hoping he'll go away, giving him a lot of "the matter is closed" crap. I have to salute his perserverence, though, in spite of this.

    Rather a disappointing showing from Blizzard.
    • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:34AM (#14924263) Journal
      Why they think it was unattended I don't know, TFA doesn't say exactly ...

      Yes, TFA says the guy had been watching movies during this because his character was owning the enemies anyway. That counts as unattended gaming and is strictly prohibited in WoW due to unfair advantages it grants the botter.

      Now, how Blizzard pictured this may be up for debate, but Blizzard has in the past been monitored suspicious accounts if the strange behavior goes on over long periods of time and aren't just flukes. That's probably how they can say this, and if pressured could maybe even say for how long he did it.
  • by Tominva1045 (587712) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:43AM (#14923706)


    On this point (botting) the EULA has been clear since the release of the game. If one knows something he is doing could be percieved as botting (at the discretion of the owner of the content) then why tempt fate by using it and then admit to using it?

    They made a judegement call with their corporate reputation as the foundation upon which they stood to defend this principle. That didn't leave them any backing-down room. When you admitted to the programmable keyboard that gave them what they needed to completely defend their position.

    Step 1: ditch programmable keyboard.
    Step 2: obtain new credit card.
    Step 3: Hellooooo Level 1.

    good luck - EULAs can be tough.
  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:43AM (#14923711)
    The way Blizzard replies to the guy's emails, if I had been him, I would have emailed them a large high rez uncompressed photo of my middle finger with the caption "this is the finger I used to press my final macro key in WoW".
  • I'm sure your luck is bound to change.
  • Please do not reply to this email as you will receive an automated response.

    Regards,

    English Game Master Team
    Blizzard Europe

    -----
    and he wonders why he git shitty responses. maybe he should have tried a different email route first I replied them with the following e-mail:
  • He Had It Coming (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kylow (581998) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:48AM (#14923761)
    Any dunderhead should realize that automating levelling of skills is and SHOULD BE against the rules of an MMORPG. He got what he deserved. He was also deceptive early in the correspondence, trying to convince them he was only using his macro keyboard to change armor sets. Whether weapon skills are important to a priest or not, he gained levels in those skills with this macroing. This also has very little, if anything, to do with WINE. I think that played no part in the expulsion.
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:51AM (#14923794)
    First off, I've never played WoW (nor any other MMORPG). Now, let me get this straight. The entire WINE aspect seems incidental, so we'll ignore that. Otherwise, he set up some macros on his Logitech keyboard to perform some repetitive tasks. He set those in motion, put up a 'Do Not Disturb' message, and then proceeded to go off and do something else (which admittedly was watching the movie on the other monitor). While this is not a bot program, per se, how is this not running a bot? It's unattended automated actions performed repeatedly. To the best of my knowledge, that's what a bot is. In which case, a banning is what you get.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:53AM (#14923822)
    Search google for "wow warden client" and read a few things. In a nutshell: Blizzard most likely checked if their watchdog program was running (which should make sure that you only run "good" programs and makes sure that you're a "good" player) and didn't find it in the process list.

    Result: You must've been hacking your way to 60.

    Dunno, as much as I hate cheaters, but some companies go a tad bit far for my taste.
  • by fleck_99_99 (223900) <belaNO@SPAMmaine.rr.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:02AM (#14923915) Homepage
    From reading the linked explanation, it sounds to me like the playing really WAS essentially unattended. If a GM sent a tell while this guy was watching TV, and he didn't answer, but his character kept performing actions -- well, if it looks like a bot and quacks like a bot...
  • by mmalove (919245) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:08AM (#14923976)
    This is why you got banned:

    "At the time of the ban I had configured my keyboard to switch weapons, cast hex of weakness and renew myself, all with the press of a button."

    There exists a global cooldown of one second between most gameplay affecting actions in WoW, most certainly for casting these two spells hex of weakness and renew.

    Therefore the only way you could have cast both with one button, is if the keyboard is interjecting a wait period, and issueing a keystroke to the game that you are not pressing after this wait period. Now in this case, that keystroke may only be a second after you pushed the button. But the issue is that you have, at this point, just barely crossed the line into botting. It has to be drawn somewhere, and to me this is where it makes the most sense: If you allow the keyboard to issue commands while you are not interacting with the hardware in anyway, you are botting.

    Not saying this to be an ass, just to let you know what most likely Blizzard took issue with.
  • Ridiculous. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xutopia (469129) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:12AM (#14924019) Homepage
    This has nothing to do with Wine or Linux. If he had been using the keyboard and macros but been able to respond when asked a question it wouldn't have been a problem. The problem is this guy was not at his computer for all intent and purpose and leveling his character's skill through automation. He was close to his computer but not on it while leveling his skills. Bannable.
  • by binkzz (779594) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:15AM (#14924049) Journal
    To me, it seems Mr Taco is still peeved that Blizzard made him change his invalid nickname, and is using this story and abusing slashdot to try and shed some more negative light on WoW.

    Unfortunately, none of the major MMORPGS offer any form of reasonable communication to their users, and if you decide to disregard the ToS (by installing macros and playing the game unattended or using bad nicknames), you're likely to get stung sooner or later.

    Which is why I don't play MMORPGS anymore, because they can undo all your hundreds of man hours without warning or compensation for reasons that are just or not and there'll be nothing you can do about it, until someone starts an MMORPG player's union.
  • Very Mature (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kristopher Johnson (129906) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:19AM (#14924091)

    At the bottom of the article:

    P.S.: I'm no kid. I'm 24.

    Priceless.

  • Player TOS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bonewalker (631203) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:25AM (#14924155)
    You know, the real irony here is that while Blizzard won't allow players to 'bot' their way through the game, the only responses you get from them are bots. Standard form letters that are automatically activated when you contact them.

    There should be a Player TOS that the company agrees to before selling their games. It would read like so:

    17. In the event you, the player, are ever in need of technical assistance, customer support, account maintenance, or in the event you are banned from the game and your account closed, you have the right to expect that a human Blizzard employee will examine your situation and respond without the use of bots, form letters, or automated responses to make certain that your situation is fully resolved. Furthermore, while the resolution may not always be to your liking, the details will be explained in full using simple, standard language showing the logic we used to make our decisions. Once we have made every effort to explain our decisions, if you still feel that Blizzard has errored in some way, you will have one appeal effort to escalate your situation. This will mean that a team of three Blizzard employees will examine your case in full, reaching a decision. You will only be notified that either Blizzard's previous decision has been upheld, or that there is sufficient evidence to reverse the previous Blizzard decision.

    • Re:Player TOS (Score:3, Informative)

      by cmburns69 (169686)
      Unfortunately, until people stop buying games, there will be almost no incentive for companies to add this. Remember, we all like Blizzard for being "for gamers by gamers", but the reality is that they revolve around the almighty buck.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:26AM (#14924174) Journal
    ... "while I was training my different weapon skills by pressing the macro keys and healing myself every now and then, I watched some movies on my TV, because fighting a level 25 healing mob doesn't require much attention if you're a level 60 priest. "

    That is the key problem in what he did. If he used macros while watching TV, I can only guess at how long these repeated actions went on.

    This isn't about Linux, not about WINE, not even about programmable Logitech keyboards! This is about: watching TV while letting your computer play the game. And... "playing" the game unattended is most certainly against most MMO agreements, and usually equalled with botting, much like Blizzard indeed told him.

    I can only guess at why the Blizzard Boards once told him that it was OK to use keyboards with basic programmability, but a guess was that Blizzard didn't mean it was OK to fucking abuse them to play WoW while watching TV. Yeah, maybe that's why.

    If it in his eyes "doesn't require much attention" or not is completely irrelevant, and an "excuse" stupid enough to just worsen his case. It's the very same excuse used by "true" botters. Blizzard has most likely monitored his account over some period of time and seen, "hey, this guy is doing identical actions all over". The follow up reply from Blizzard shows they were listening to his complaints and clarified the problem once again.

    He then went on saying:

    "I have also apoligised in advance if using a programmable keyboard violates the TOS - but your TOS does not say anything about using such keyboards."

    No, but a TOS doesn't detail every individual piece of hardware or software disallowed either. That would be impossible. Instead, they try to explain what's allowed or not. Not that Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboards are disallowed when used to exploit game mechanics. Whether Logitech says they're OK or not is also irrelevant as they don't have a say in the WOW ToS anyway.

    And I'm sure they are right too that using their keyboard is allowed, but do Logitech say "using our keyboards to 'play' WoW with during TV watching is in agreement with Blizzard ToS"?

    So that's flaw number two in his argument, after trying to excuse himself with "but *I* thought it was OK to play the game in an unattended way, because ... my level 60 char is so powerful anyway!"

    Come on, just because he's using WINE and this stupid keyboard doesn't excuse his actions.

    "However I suspect their 3rd party detection software saw a very strange enviroinment in which WoW was running"

    Nah, that's just him trying to find ways of blaming his behavior on Linux and WINE.

    "that combined with the repetitive task of healing myself, switching weapons, and casting Hex of Weakness programmed in my keyboard"

    Yes! That's why though! You know, stuff botters write Windows software to do Does it really matter that much how you do it? This guy need to understand what botting implies (= tools to enable game play automation) and that botting isn't allowed.

    "Now to the advantage gained. What exactly did I gain? All I did is train my weapon skills. I did not gain any gold, did not gain any experience at level 60, no honor, not even any loot whatsoever."

    This argument is beyond comprehension for me. He gained trained skills! That's what he gained. Gee.
  • by egarland (120202) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:31AM (#14924232)
    A macro keyboard is a descent defense but realistically I doubt it would be hard to programmatically inject keystrokes to a program running under WINE and there would be no way for that program to detect that they weren't coming from hardware. Sending the right keystrokes in the right order can do some basically useful stuff and Blizzard would consider this botting. A clever way to get around the warden and bot but not undetectable.

    The problem with Blizzard's stance on this issue is that they have created a game with some mindless repetitive tasks that beg to be automated. Realistically, they beg to be eliminated entirely since a computer program assigning you fake, easily automated, mundane repetitive tasks isn't good for anyone. Most of WoW is not this way, however. Most of it's parts are interesting and immersive and those are the parts people find fun. Nobody is going to bot their way through an 5+ person instance run (well, almost nobody.)

    Blizzard has drawn a hard line on botting but the problem with any line is there are gray areas and the mundane easily automated tasks (like grinding up a weapon skill at L60) that are so wildly easy to automate as to be trivial. Sitting in one place pushing button 1.. 2.. 3.. 1.. 2.. 3.. 1.. 2.. 3.. gets old after about 1000 repetitions. It would even be easy to create a macro keyboard that would fully automate this activity beginning to end. It wouldn't in any realistic way be "botting" but Blizzard would probably ban you.

    Blizzard needs to fix WoW. Pull the mundane easily automated crap out. I'm level 60 and never used a crossbow, don't make shoot 100,000 arrows at rats in the tram to level the damn skill.. it's mundane, repetitive, and I don't want to do it. Ramp that skill up much much faster to the point where it's maybe a little weak but I can use it in regular combat and you eliminate the mundane easily automated task issue. They should also allow you to assign one of your characters to a task and log out and have the game essentially fake the thing for a while (fishing, farming mobs, etc). That short circuits a lot of the desire for botting and allows them to control the negative aspects of it (the characters "botting" could appear differently or not at all in-game.)

    As a society we should consider making it illegal to ban the automation of easily automated mundane tasks. Do we really want humans to be forced to sit at a keyboard hitting the same 3 keys in the same order for hours and hours? Blizzards stance on this simply shouldn't be allowed. If Blizzard notices a player standing in the same place doing the same thing for hours the thought on their side shouldn't be "Ban this guy!" it should be "How do we eliminate the desire for automating this task?"
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:47AM (#14924407) Journal
    I am not a WoW player.

    My take-away from this is that some people are simply addicted. If the game can be so boring, that, at times, a player watches movies while playing, what kind of entertainment is that? Sounds like classic addiction - small rewards at random times("wins" of enjoyment, I presume)keep you coming back despite the overall "loss" tedium, time-wasted, monthly fee.

  • by Millard Fillmore (197731) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:30PM (#14924850) Homepage Journal
    Is it possible that Blizzard banned him not because his activities were violating the Terms of Service per se, but rather because he had the audacity to engage in another form of entertainment whilst he was playing the game? Blizzard was losing critical mindshare to some movie studio or television producer. Their customer might even have seen an advertisement for a rival video-game company - while he was ostensibly using their service. The horror!
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:43PM (#14924995) Homepage Journal
    Getting kicked off of Wow for using a bot keyboard $15

    Complaining about it uselessly $0

    Posting it to Slashdot so everyone can see how high your 14M3 factor is ... PRICELESS!
  • Against the EULA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kindbud (90044) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @01:28PM (#14925427) Homepage
    EULA is now an enforcerable contract with a fanatical following on Slashdot. Who'd a thunk it?

    I wonder if that will carry over to the next thread about the next change in Microsoft's license terms.

    Has anyone ever established that an EULA is a valid contract in any state?

  • by Noishe (829350) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:02PM (#14925722)
    "I had put myself on /DND with the note that I was watching movies and was not paying much attention to the game, which i muted because of the movies I was watching"
    Now afaik, the Blizzard GM's will whisper you if they think you are a bot. And what does dnd do? blocks all whispers and instead sends an automated reply telling them that he is watching movies.

    So someone reports him as botting, gm checks it out, gm get's automated reply saying he's not at the computer while the character continues to attack a mob, he get's banned, end of story.

    Regardless of what he was actually doing, he told a blizzard gm through his dnd message, that he was away from is machine, aka that he was botting.

    Never mind the fact that whether or not he is violating a specific rule of the tos or not, he is clearly violating the spirit in which that rule was made.
  • by mattgreen (701203) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:33PM (#14926011)
    If players feel compelled to bot their way through tedium, then it says a lot more about the gameplay (or lack thereof) within WoW than it does about the players. Although, admittedly, they should be a lot more picky about what they choose to waste their time with. (I'm become bored quickly, so MMOs are about as fun as watching paint dry on the wall.) Anyway I don't see anything wrong with hitting macro keys every now and then. At least he's doing *something*, and not just having it run full auto without having to watch.
  • by NoMercy (105420) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:57PM (#14926252)
    After reading his lists, it seems it's most likley a combination of things, the repeated equal-spaced timed events from the keyboard, in combination with the lack of responsiveness while he was watching movies and yet continuing to preform actions, and the suspicious program list, probably all contributed to them writing him off as a bot.

    Personally I think it's also a fault with the way WoW works, if you can can gain skills by doing trivial tasks repeatidly, the system is broken.. You learn a damn sight more about anything by pushing at the limits of what you can do, the game should reflect that.

    Gold farming's harder to overcome, but coding the game to encourage skill farming?!?!

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