First things first, if you are not a “gamer” there are a few terms you need to know here:
- Bot – short for robot, refers to a program that automates game play without the actually player being present.
- MMORPG – This is what World of Warcraft is, a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
- Vanilla – refers to the original version of World Of Warcraft
- Grinding – repeatedly doing the same thing over and over, in the game it usually refers to leveling up a character
- Farming – repeating a particular action, battleground, dungeon or raid to collect deer or honor
As you can tell from those last two definitions, the game has some aspects that can get repetitive, especially if you are like me and have been playing since Vanilla. Once you have leveled a character to the top-level, got them fully geared, etc. most players start a new character and do it all over again. I personally have one of each class, that’s 11 characters, and all but one is max level. So, Yes I have done A LOT of farming and grinding on World of Warcraft. As you can see, the attraction of using a “bot” program is not hard to imagine. While the millions of players still enjoy the game, the daily grind can get a bit old after a while. Along come third-party add-on programs like Glider and Honorbuddy. Used in moderation, bots can actually make the game more enjoyable and increase the longevity of the players. However, as is often the case, moderation becomes obsession. Botting got out of hand, as evidences in this video (WARNING: Strong Language, viewer discretion advised).
Botting is a violation of the Terms Of Service for WoW and enough was enough apparently. Blizzard (creators of WoW) handed down 100,000+ bans according to a screen captured GM (game master) chat posted on imgur, banning those accounts for 6 months. However, the Blizzard announcement itself did not give an exact number. With over 7 million active accounts, according to Activision (owner of Blizzard Entertainment), 100,000 accounts banned for bot use seems minimal, but it sends a message loud and clear to the entire gaming community. Blizzard has been battling bots for quite some time, including taking bot software creators to court (Glider bot).
This time around, it seems that Honorbuddy was caught in the cross-hairs of Blizzard’s wrath. Honorbuddy even posted an apology to their users on their forum, as well as making some observations regarding Blizzard’s choice of a six month ban. Back in the day, Blizzard would hand down permanent bans for those caught botting, so why six months? Honorbuddy speculates, “after 180 days it is 13th December 2015 – and a new WOW Add-on will be released.” Just in time for Christmas! In the Honorbuddy apology statement, they said “we’ve succeeded since 2010 – Honorbuddy had not a single software detection. It seems there is one now.” Then went on to add a more vindictive speculation on the motivation of the Blizzard bot-bans, saying “It also seems that Blizzard was really pissed at our first win at the court of appeals in Hamburg. It might have been coincidental. Nothing is for sure.”
As it stands right now, there are literally thousands of WoW players looking for something else to do. While many games have come out claiming to be the giant killer that is better than WoW, none have lived up to the hype. World of Warcraft is the benchmark in the MMORPG world, it is the standard that all others are judged against. It is also a very big target (market) for bot developers, cheats and hacks. Which is why Blizzard included a call to the player community to be on the look out for players “abusing a bot, exploit, or cheat, please let us know! You can do so by using the right-click report functionality in the game, and/or by emailing information to firstname.lastname@example.org.” The Epic Battles Continue, that is the World of Warcraft.