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'Overwatch' Bot Maker Ordered To Pay Blizzard $8.7M

U.S. district court judge David Carter ordered Bossland, a German company that makes bots for Overwatch and World of Warcraft as well as other multiplayer games, to pay Blizzard Entertainment roughly $8.5 million in statutory copyright damages and cover $174,872 in attorney fees. Blizzard's victory follows other wins against Bossland, whose bots are often used to effectively cheat at multiplayer games where balance and fair play are key.

Bossland offers bots for a variety of games, including Pokemon Go and Star Wars: The Old Republic, but it's best known for its Blizzard-focused tools. Watchover Tyrant gives players an edge in Overwatch, Honorbuddy takes care of all the grinding in World of Warcraft, Hearthbuddy lets 'em cheat in Hearthstone, and Demonbuddy will help you comb the underworld's depths in Diablo III. The company likely wouldn't exist without Blizzard.

That appreciation doesn't go both ways. Blizzard designed each of these games to limit progression, ensure fair competitions, and maybe have a little incentive to part with a few dollars instead of spending hours in Hearthstone opening packs of digital cards to build the right deck, for example. Cheaters improve their own experience--they can remove tedium from some games or finally win at others--but they can also ruin other people's good time.

So, the developer took Bossland to court in Germany, the UK, and the U.S. Blizzard won in all three countries. But that hasn't stopped Bossland; the company's website is still up, and it's still offering all its bots to prospective customers. Bossland managing director Zwetan Letschew told the BBC that the company doesn't believe the U.S. has jurisdiction over it and that the ruling ignored the fact that many of its "sales" were actually free trials.

In the meantime, Blizzard has made steady announcements regarding its various franchises. In the last month alone, Diablo III players were teased with a Necromancer class, Overwatch fans got a new character and were told a map editor might come in the future, and StarCraft: Remastered was announced for Windows and macOS. Oh, and the Battle.net service was rebranded as "Blizzard" more than 20 years after it was first introduced.

  • Martell1977
    To be honest, I'm happy to hear about this. The botting really ruins the games and I hope Blizzard keeps at it.

    As for their current projects, the Starcraft: Remastered looks awesome. I loved the original and I have to admit, I am going back and playing older games more than I do new ones. Not just Blizzard games, I'm on a Ultima Online Freeshard and find it to be a lot more fun than games like WoW.
    Reply
  • Virtual_Singularity
    I agree, yet at the same time I can understand why some turn to botting. Per Blizzard's rules, which are clearly stated in their EULA, there could be no other legal outcome, and ultimately it's the right decision. Yet, otoh, most people don't have the time, patience, etc, it takes to build a char in many games to be powerful or well geared.

    If a player really wants to have among the best geared, most powerful characters in WoW, other games from Blizz, and plenty of other games in general, they have to spend an incredible amount of time to do so. It gets to be like work, even more time consuming than a full time job, depending on the game. Hell, people in some areas of the world actually have/continue to grind for others as a job, for that matter.

    Because of this, some reckon that having to practically live and breathe a game day in and out is just as unfair as botting. Despite never having used a bot in any game, ever, I don't necessarily blame those who have/do, depending on the circumstances.
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  • HyperMatrix
    I'm conflicted. Glad to see an anti-bot/cheating ruling. But also not happy that companies are turning gaming, which used to allow people from all economic backgrounds to play and compete on an even level, into yet another arena where those with money (or poor judgment skills) are paying money in order to get an advantage over others.

    Of course, I will admit blizzard is the lesser of all evils with the way it handles micro transactions. Or at least it was until it started selling gold in game (through the "buy/sell a months subscription" loophole).
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  • toffty
    Classic level based MMO's require time. If someone doesn't have the time and wouldn't be happy unless they're max level, MMO's are not for them.

    OverWatch requires skill to be good. That can come from other FPSs. People still have to commit some time to OW to learn the maps/characters/abilities/etc.
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  • Anarkie13
    Guess I'm a bit old school on this. I'd rather play the games. Get frustrated. Be Challenged. And mostly, evolve both my character, and my own skills. If it takes time, I guess I'll have to put in the time.

    Yeah, I might WANT to have the top level everything. But if I don't get it myself, it would be a shallow victory. If I don't have the time, it'll have to wait until I have time.
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  • SteveRNG
    Agreed, Anarkie13.

    Saying it's not fair that you have to grind like a full-time job in order to be the best at a game is like saying it's not fair to have to practice *anything* to be good at it. Life isn't fair. If you want to be or have the best, expect to put in the time. It's the very much the same with most skills. You can't be a master musician/athlete/ without putting in the time. That said, I also hate pay-to-win. But I never dealt with that when playing WoW.
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  • caustin582
    There's really no excuse for botting in Overwatch. I can sympathize to an extent when it comes to botting in games like WoW or Diablo III, since those involve a long, arguably pointless grind before endgame content can be accessed, but in Overwatch everything is available to you upfront, other than the purely cosmetic skins and sprays. The only point of botting in Overwatch is to win matches that you'd otherwise lose. It's just plain cheating, and since OW is an exclusively PVP game it ruins the experience for everyone else involved.
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  • Virtual_Singularity
    19526958 said:
    Agreed, Anarkie13.

    Saying it's not fair that you have to grind like a full-time job in order to be the best at a game is like saying it's not fair to have to practice *anything* to be good at it. Life isn't fair. If you want to be or have the best, expect to put in the time. It's the very much the same with most skills. You can't be a master musician/athlete/ without putting in the time. That said, I also hate pay-to-win. But I never dealt with that when playing WoW.

    I'd like to agree, and guess I do to an extent. But the comparison of mastering gaming to RL arts, e.g, music, athletics, etc, despite your reasoning & eloquence, really isn't applicable imho. Or more precisely, shouldn't be. For one thing, with possible few exceptions, mastering some games may often result in a person having no life other than the game. Mastering a RL art or profession, otoh, results in something far more tangible. I know it may seem hypocritical to say, especially coming from someone who's also a gamer, but felt it should be pointed out just the same.
    Reply