TG Daily interview: Chat with a World of Warcraft bot programmer

Could bot programs actually help Blizzard?

TG Daily: You mentioned that some people have set up an extra account, which means up to $15 per month - depending on subscription plan - more for Blizzard. While it may be a bit of a stretch, could bot programs actually help Blizzard's bottom line?

Mercury: In the short-to-medium term, I actually think they do. The plus side of having Glider or any other bot out there is that some people who would have quit will continue. And some of those people will create secondary accounts so they can party or avoid banning. On the other hand, it's possible that someone may burn out faster and quit from botting, but my experience shows that to not be the case.

The downside of it is the impact on non-botters in the long-term: if the botting population becomes too big, other players become more aware of them and think badly about the game. With the huge population base in World of Warcraft, it would take several armies of botters to do that, but it could happen after a long time. Part of our recent price increase was to slow down the rate of Gliders being introduced into the system, which it has done.

TG Daily: While it seems the main purpose of Glider is to level up the character, do you think people are also using it to grab gold for let's say their level 40 or level 60 mount. My warrior is up 54 and I'm sure it's going to take countless hours to get the 900 gold needed for the epic mount.

Mercury: Plenty of people use Glider to farm money for mounts or other characters, definitely. We don't discourage that just because it's not the primary use. A gamer's tendency to adapt a tool to his or her own personal use is pretty natural.

Personally, I hate farming at all, even with Glider. So I always do my best to aggressively sell and market items I find while getting to 60. So far I'm two for three on having my epic at 60.

TG Daily: You've stated in the FAQ and also in the forums that it will never be used to kill other players. Since the program doesn't directly attack other players, what do you think Glider's real impact will be on people who don't use bots?

Mercury: Honestly, I don't think Glider is going to have much of an impact on people who don't use bots. For people who are looking to have the best gear, do big raids, and compete aggressively in PvP, Glider is not that useful after a point, other than to make fresh 60's. You're never going get two-shotted by a guy decked out in epics and say, "Man, that guy must be using a bot!" Until Glider has a 40-man raid mode, which I must admit would be insanely cool and will never happen, it will have a very real ceiling on the direct advantage it confers.

If you're real casual, then a player using Glider does have a competitive advantage over you as far as leveling speed. It's the same advantage a hard-core player would have, though, or someone who really did have a 10-year old nephew they could press into grinding duty.

And, to be honest, we are changing the PvP policy of Glider because it's becoming more of a conflict with detection. A player who ignores an attacking player looks very suspicious, so we're building in some limited means to fight back. It will never beat a remotely competent player, but it will at least appear to be a very unskilled player. It was a pretty tough decision to make, but avoiding detection is job #1.