Blizzard Shuts Down World of Warcraft Bot Maker


Blizzard has shut down a major WoW bot-maker and won a substantial legal judgment against the company.

Blizzard Entertainment has won $7 million in a long-running lawsuit against a World of Warcraft bot company.

Blizzard initially filed suit against Ceiling Fan Software in December 2011. Ceiling Fan was responsible for a number of WoW bots – the most popular of which were Shadow Bot and Pocket Gnome – and has now been ordered by a California court to cease operations and pay Blizzard $7 million in damages.

“After more than two years of legal battles with Blizzard Entertainment to both pursue our right to operate and our customer’s right to play WoW as they choose, we did not prevail in the suit and have been ordered by the United States District Court in California to cease our operations,” a statement on the Ceiling Fan website read.

Any WoW players who can supply details about what these bots did and if you’re happy they’re gone? As for the financial aspects of the case, I’d estimate that 1) Blizzard spent more than $7m in legal fees, and 2) they won’t see a dime of the judgment since the botters spent all their money losing in court. Conveniently, there’s a popular image macro that sums the whole thing up from Blizzard’s PoV:

it+s+not+about+the+money+_c12e45b923dede0603587df8dea12ca0

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard, Legal, World of Warcraft

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  1. Probably some farming bot. They’d go around well known farming locations stealing all your nodes/monsters. Of course, MMOs are such a soul crushing grind who could blame them when you need 400 pig butts for one leather helmet? Course, the natural answer would be to just not play the game if it’s too much trouble for you, but what fun is that? (A lot, probably.)

    • If you don’t enjoy grinding, you shouldn’t be playing games that revolves around it, same goes for Diablo games.
      Nothing excuse you to botting, it’s the same as stealing, beating someone, murdering, etc, in the end, there is always another choice.

      • Did you just compare botting to beating someone or murder? Were you dropped on your head as a child?

      • Sorry but if you think that MMOs REVOLVE around grinding you need your head checked.

        Botting is bad, yes and I wholeheartedly am happy they try fighting against it. Still dumbing down MMOs to a grind and saying they revolve around it… .

      • “If you don’t enjoy grinding, you shouldn’t be playing games that revolves around it, same goes for Diablo games.”

        I know, that’s why I said that in my original post.

  2. Hhahah good for Blizzard, and perfect screenshot =p

  3. I’m not really down with the different bots that exist. But for me it doesn’t matter if those were farming bots or bots that just ran around like headless chicken in the PvP battlegrounds. It’s a good thing they got their asses kicked.

    Lately Blizzard actually does more good than bad (IMO). A few months ago it was the other way around.

  4. The 7 millions is not really about compensation, but a way to prevent them from attempting to start the same enterprise under another name.

  5. Ceiling Fan Software was a company originally based around the bot Pocket Gnome (Mac OS X), which was an open source project for the longest time and developed by Gnome Overlord. It survived on donations and it was a powerful bot, with an easy to use UI. No detection of the bot was ever reported and the reason was believed to be that the bot was only used by a tiny segment of WoW players, i.e. Mac OS X users that botted. However, after a while Gnome Overlord stopped working on it and the project was mostly pushed on by Tanaris4, the co-founder of CFS. He and other well known people on the forums, took over production completely and founded CFS which I think was based in France. Later they bought the Windows bot – Shadowbot, which was 100% passive i.e. did not trigger Blizzard’s bot detection system Warden. Going from open source to cashing in on WoW botting software got the attention of Blizzard. The forum community still stood for much of the actual meat of the product (Pocket Gnome) e.g. specialized routes (map coordinates that the bot followed), behaviours (manually made prioritization of actions, which could be very deep and powerful if made correctly) and profiles (just small configs that told the bot to PvP, gather or level by grinding). The bot was mostly used to gather as it had very good routes and behaviours set up for this. Unfortunately, Pocket Gnome 2.0 was just around the corner of being released with navigational mesh pathing (the bot could see the world) and many other improvements. CFS wanted to merge the two different bot programs and integrate the two communities into one where bot configurations would work seamlessly. Furthermore, the community had an Elite section where a Protected Lua addon was being made and released to the users, which allowed for perfect rotation raiding via macros and which utilized Pocket Gnome’s hacking tool dubbed Pocket Goblin. It enabled, wall walking, protected lua and many other standard hacking features.

    • God reading that brought back memories of glider. I’ve played WoW since vanilla. I’ve had a lot of fun playing, but honestly some of my best memories are botting. Nothing like waking up to 8 bots with full inventories of primal shadow 😀 Even setting up bots and designing the pathing for your farming was a lot of fun. Making $80-100 a day as a high school student was the icing on the cake haha.

  6. a) just a pr move that wont change much
    b) they already shut down one american-based bot (glider), those guys are stupid to not register company in other country, there is german based bot and all they managed is to hold its sales in … germany till case is solved (everywhere else is fine) – gl to them if someone finally register company in russia

  7. Very nice.
    More companies should sue to hell out of bot makers, gold seller companies etc.

  8. QUOTE

     gold seller companies etc.

    haha, you need to invade china for that

  9. No sir, we have predator drones for such things!

  10. I am glad they are shut down and Blizz are chasing others too. They drive prices down in the AH because someone will always place another auction just below their price and it goes on and on until it’s not worth farming mats. Now maybe we can make some real money on mats.

    Other than that, I have never seen a bot in action in WoW, at least not that I recognized as one. I have seen lots of players mining or whatever and maybe some were bots. But I know I have seen bot auctions in WoW. There are names you recognize after a while. When someone keeps placing auctions for 20 or 30 stacks of ore twice a day for weeks at a time, you know what it is. That’s why it drives prices down.

    • “maybe some were bots” I can tell you right now, some were 😛 they’re everywhere and good ones act just like players, even reacting to someone standing near/following them.

      As for the tons of auctions listed all the time, you might be surprised, a lot of time it’s not bots. I stopped botting when glider went down in BC but continued making a killing buying low and selling high on the AH. Had hundreds of listing ending at different times each day.

  11. These guys should have tried coming up with a game where you use bots as the only form of input. Its not unusual for new and inventive works to be punished by the system for not fitting in or not being used properly. I can’t help but admire the smarts that goes into making these bots. Still they should have applied their brains to building their own entertainment rather than ruining others. Its sad really.

  12. I agree about the effort that goes into it and the awesome technology needed to make them work. It’s essentially AI in a real world raw environment. The problem is that they’re doing it for profit, without the permission of Blizzard and to the detrement of the rest of the player base.

    What they should have done is approached Blizzard with the idea of wanting to use the WoW enviroment to explore the uses of AI. There would no doubt be stipulations that would have to be met, but it would be interesting to see. And if Blizzard wasn’t open to it, they’d respect that and move on and find another game and approach them with the idea.

  13. I botted for quite some time in WoW at the end of WoTLK and at for a year into Cataclysm. There are a few different types of botting that occured, gathering, mob farming, archaeology, and PvP. I didn’t really care about botting for money because all I did was PvP so I botted in PvP only. Now when you talk to people who love to live their lives in BGs and anytime they see a bot they complain that the bots are the reasons why they constantly lose and not their own ineptitude. To just give some details behind PvP botting, or at least piroxbots that I used, you set up a sequence of macros and it will do a skill rotation and it will also do several other commands based on health/resource percentages. To anyone who hasn’t played WoW BGs it is a grueling grind flooded by absolutely incompetent garbage that prevents you from receiving optimal honor. The day I started botting in PvP after years of farming honor, I had never been happier. I would watch my bots from time to time, and people who were obviously not bots would die to my bot, I would constantly be in the top 4 on damage, and I’ve watched many games where my bot would cap 2/3 flags in a capture the flag match. It’s pathetic when people complain about bots when they cannot even beat bots.

    The main reasoning behind PvP botting was that most people just want to arena and BGs were required to obtain peices of gear whenever a new season hits, or when you have a new character to play. 2-3 weeks of grinding just to compete is a ridiculous system, especially when it is based on sub-par team mates performances.

    I don’t agree with botting to farm items to flood a market, or anything else that is silly, but when it comes to getting gear that one needs to arena with it is a blessing.

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