A maker of bot software for World of Warcraft -- apps that auto-play characters and level them up -- has lost a judgment that shuts down its operation. The bot maker also owes $US7 million to Blizzard Entertainment, and it's asking those who used bots like "Pocket Gnome" to chip in.
"We are very sorry that we can no longer offer our products and we understand that you may be concerned about this result," Ceiling Fan Software writes in a statement on its web site. "After more than 2 year 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."
Yet Ceiling Fan's own conduct acknowledged that bots like Shadow Bot and Pocket Gnome were against World of Warcraft's terms of service, and warned users that they risked having their accounts banned if they were discovered using them. The judgment, entered last week in federal court in California, noted that Ceiling Fan provided advice to users on how to avoid detection.
The judgment notes that Ceiling Fan made $US289,000 from its botting operation, charging users a $US25 start-up fee, then a monthly licence of $US8.99, plus another $US2.99 for something called "Pocket Goblin". They sold about 2000 bot licences in all, collecting the money through auto-rebills of credit cards through PayPal.
"If you would like to make donations to help offset some of our outstanding legal fees, you may do so here," Ceiling Fan says in its statement, directing users to a PayPal link.
Kotaku has contacted both Blizzard and Ceiling Fan Software for comment. If we receive any reply it will be updated here.
Blizzard wins $US7m in bot suit [GamesIndustry International]