It appears that Blizzard, the makers of World of Warcraft, are in the process of suing some company over a program (I assume) that is named “Glider”. The short version of events is this program plays the game for you, doing the more menial and boring things. The “technical” terms are “bot” and “grinding” respectively.
I’m not about to debate – or even discuss – the legality of this software, as I haven’t read the EULA of WoW in quite some time, nor am I a lawyer. What I am going to rant about – since this is my blog and I feel the need to rant – is the “fairness” issue, or possible lack there of.
Typically, in games, when something is unfair it is called “cheating”. But in this system, who is being cheated?
WoW is not a game that, normally, pits players against other players – the majority of the game is player vs. environment (PvE). Most of the time it’s one against the world, ones lone sword/staff/wand/small knife against legions of bears, wolves, small ogres, slightly larger ogres and the occasional economy size dragon. Rarely one may enter into combat against other players, but such battles are mostly geared in such a way that the person with the better skill stands a greater chance of winning, regardless of stats and other outside influences.
There are also guilds, player created communities with shared goals, and occasionally, money. Normally these are the groups you run with when fighting the dragons or other large “end game” beasts. These people tend to take care of their own rather well, and help out when needed (as long as one is within a half-hour walking distance. No, really WoW is that big.)
This all said, who would be cheated by a bot? Who in the game suffers because one has the computer slog through the bits found to be boring and/or pointless?
The other players? I don’t think so. The bot is not taking anything away from them: Anything killed will re-spawn shortly afterwards, and had it been a player instead of a bot, it would still be just as dead. Anything mined will also regenerate given a short amount of time: again, if one weren’t botting, it’d still be gone.
There are no winners or losers in the game, in so far as there is no score, no prizes, no “A Winner Is You” ending followed by credits High Score board with initals and limited spaces. This game is not meant to be a competition between players, but a contest between them and their environment, them and the small woodland creatures. Botting does not give anyone an unfair advantage in such a world as that, as all the regular rules of play still apply. One still has a limited ammount of health, one still can only cast spells so fast, and one still can only take so much damage – all that has changed is hours are not being spent on the mindless boring shit – one is merely skipping to the good bits.
Why do this? Because it’s a game, and a game is meant to be fun.
So, no – I don’t think it’s unfair, as it’s not creating any sort of advantage for anyone. I don’t think it’s cheating – as such – as the only person “losing out” is the person using the bot, not the rest of the players.