Tag Archives: Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard is Adding a Silence Penalty to World of Warcraft



Blizzard Entertainment logoBlizzard Entertainment is adding a new silence penalty to World of Warcraft. It is designed to enable players to report those who cannot play nice with others. This new silence penalty for World of Warcraft has some similarities to the one Blizzard added to Heroes of the Storm in 2015.

The silence penalty will be implemented with the pre-expansion patch for Legion (World of Warcraft’s newest expansion that will be released on August 30, 2016.) The pre-expansion patch will appear sometime before that date.

The silence penalty will enable players to report other players who are engaging in spam, abusive chat, or other inappropriate chat behaviors. An investigation will be done.

Reported players who, after an investigation, were found to be engaging in bad behavior or chat will receive an account-wide silence penalty. That means they can’t switch from their character that got silenced to an alt in the hopes of being able to get around the penalty.

Silenced Players are Unable to:

*Talk in Instance Chat (Raid, Party, and Battlegrounds)

*Talk in global channels that are autojoined (such as General or Trade)

* Create Calendar Invites/Events

* Send in-game mail

* Send Party invitations

* Send War Game invitations

* Send invitations to Duel

* Update a Premade Group Listing

* Create a New List for a Premade Group

Silenced Players are Able to:

* Whisper to friends (both World of Warcraft and Battle.net friends)

* Reply to Whispers from non-friends

* Party/Raid Chat (with Invited Players)

* Create Parties and Raids

* Talk in Global Channels that have a moderator

* Share Quests

* Sign up for a pre-made group

The first time a player is silenced, their chat will be restricted for 24 hours. The silence penalty restriction will double for each silence penalty received after the first and there is no maximum.


Blizzard Sues Company that Made Overwatch Cheat Bot



Blizzard Entertainment logoBlizzard Entertainment, creator of the popular Overwatch game, has banned players who were cheating. Recently, Blizzard sued a company that made a cheat bot called “Watchover Tyrant” for copyright infringement.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court Central District of California on July 1, 2016. The case is called Blizzard Entertainment v. Bossland GMBH. Blizzard is suing the bot maker for trafficking in circumvention devices, inducement to infringe copyright, contributory copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, intentional interference with contractual relations, and unfair competition.

Blizzard states that the Bossland Hacks “have caused, and are continuing to cause, massive and irreparable harm to Blizzard.” It also states: “The Bossland Hacks destroy the integrity of the Blizzard Games, thereby alienating and frustrating legitimate players and diverting revenue from Blizzard to Defendants.”

In the lawsuit, Blizzard Entertainment states that Bossland GmbH is a German company that has created several Buddy Bot software programs that, when installed on a user’s computer, enable that player to automate his or her play of Blizzard’s games. Blizzard included a list of all the Buddy Bots, which Blizzard game each bot is being used in, and a description of the harm this causes to not only Blizzard, but also to Blizzard’s players (who aren’t cheating).

A section of the lawsuit is about the Overwatch cheat (called Watchover Tyrant) and the unfair advantage it gives players. Blizzard notes that Bossland GmbH is making money from selling its bots to players. Blizzard states that this Overwatch cheat was released just days after the release of Overwatch, and says that Bossland GmbH is “attempting to destroy or irreparably harm that game before it even has had a chance to fully flourish.”

In other words, the lawsuit is primarily about the Watchover Tyrant cheat bot. But it is also about all the other cheat bots that connect to other Blizzard games that Bossland GmbH sells.

One of the things Blizzard is asking the court for is to require Bossland GmbH “to shut down the Bossland Hacks and any colorable copies thereof, hosted at any domain, address, location, or ISP”. Blizzard also wants the court to grant them “actual or statutory damage for copyright infringement and willful infringement.”


Blizzard and Facebook Team Up to Empower Streamers



Blizzard Entertainment logoBlizzard announced that it is working together with Facebook to give gamers new ways to connect and share their gaming experiences, and to bring more high-demand content to Facebook’s global platform.

The collaboration between the two companies will begin later this month with the integration of Facebook Login in Blizzard’s PC games. (The console games are unaffected by this collaboration). The integration of the Facebook login will enable players to sign up for and log into Blizzard’s games – including World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Diablo III, StarCraft II and Overwatch – using their Facebook accounts.

What do these two companies get from this collaboration? Blizzard gets a way to add new social functionality in their games. Facebook gets a means to highlight its platform for sharing, viewing, and discussing AAA game content.

Blizzard is in the process of incorporating Facebook’s Live API in order to create its own “Go Live” streaming functionality for its games. When that functionality is implemented, players will for the first time be able to livestream their Blizzard-gaming sessions directly through their Facebook timelines. The player’s Facebook friends will be able to subscribe and be notified when the player’s new streams are available.


Overwatch Beta Launches Today!



OverwatchOverwatch is the newest video game created by Blizzard Entertainment. The game has not yet been released, but the beta launches today, October 27, 2015. It will launch in both the Americas and Europe gameplay regions at the same time.

Overwatch is a highly anticipated team-based shooter game. Those of you who attended Blizzcon 2014 had the opportunity to play it at the conference. There has been a lot of hype about the game, and many of the people I follow on social media are excited about it.

The first phase of the beta that is being launched today is a Closed Beta. It is invite-only. The number of players invited into this beta test will be extremely limited.

The goal for the Closed Beta is “100% gameplay feedback”. Blizzard wants players to discuss and dissect every hero, map, ability, and other aspects of the game.

From time to time, Blizzard will open up the beta test for Beta Test Weekends. The main goal of the Beta Test Weekends will be a stress test. They will “open up the floodgates and call on an army to overwhelm” their hardware. These stress tests will be hardware and tech-focused, and will include a restricted number of heroes, maps, and gameplay modes. Feedback, of course, will be welcome.

Want to get into the beta? Be aware that the Overwatch beta will be Windows-only. If you are like me, and use a Mac, you are out of luck. You also have to have the Battle.Net desktop app installed on your computer. Make sure to log into your Battle.net account and opt-in to the Overwatch beta.

The Overwatch beta will include something new – Battle.Net Voice Chat. The goal seems to be to enable players who got into the beta to test out the Voice Chat. If it works out well, perhaps players will use it instead of Mumble or TeamSpeak while they play Blizzard’s games.


Blizzard Adds Silence Penalty to Heroes of the Storm



Heroes of the Storm logoThose who cannot play nice with others in Heroes of the Storm are about to receive some consequences for their bad actions (and words). Blizzard is introducing a Silence Penalty in the release of their next patch. It will limit the ability of a player who has been reported multiple times to interact with other players.

Heroes of the Storm is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. In short, each player becomes part of a five player team. That team fights against an opposing five player team. The goal is to destroy the other team’s Core (which is a physical structure that is located in their base) before the other team is able to destroy your Core.

Blizzard announced that they are about to add things to Heroes of the Storm in their next major patch that give players new reporting options and a brand new consequence “for those who consistently try to put a damper on everyone’s fun”.

Report Categories and Guidelines for Use:

* Abusive Chat – defined as “insults, cruelty, or ongoing harassment directed at one or more players”, hate speech, and real life threats

* Intentionally feeding – defined as “player intentionally and repeatedly gets their hero killed in order to anger allies of feed XP to the enemy team

* AFK/Non-Participation – AFK means “away from keyboard”. You can now report a player who is idle or inactive for an extended period of time during a game. You can also report a player who is present but has given up or refused to take part in the game.

* Cheating/Botting/Hacking – defined as “suspicious behavior which indicates the player may be using third-party software or hack programs to gain an advantage during a game

* Inappropriate Name – defined as “character names or BattleTag that are offensive, insulting, bypass the mature languge filter, or are otherwise considered objectionable”

* Spam – excessively repeating the same phrase, or pure nonsense, or repeated advertising for third party websites.

Starting in the next patch, any player who is reported multiple times under the Spam or Abusive Chat categories will, after investigation, receive a silence penalty. An icon will appear on their player portrait to let everyone else know that they have been silenced.

Silenced Players Cannot:
* Use Allied Chat in-game
* Chat in Hero League Draft Lobbies
* Chat in General Chat channels
* Chat in custom chat channels
* Send Whispers to non-friends


Blizzard Fights Gold Sellers with WoW Token



Blizzard GoldBlizzard Entertainment is about to enable World of Warcraft players to securely purchase gold and to use their gold to buy game time. Something new, called a WoW Token, will make it harder for the illegal gold sellers to find people to scam. Why bother with gold sellers when the WoW Token will safely enable a player to purchase gold?

The concept behind the WoW Token is not new. Eve Online uses a similar system called PLEX. Wildstar uses a similar system called C.R.E.D.D.. However, this is the first time that something like this will be available to World of Warcraft players.

How does the WoW Token work? A player that needs more gold will be able to buy a WoW Token from the in game shop. That person can then sell the WoW Token in a special portion of the in game Auction House for gold. The player will get a quote of how much gold they will receive if another player buys that WoW Token.

Need game time, but don’t have enough real-world currency to purchase it? A player in that situation can buy a WoW Token from a special portion of the in game Auction House. The player can then redeem the WoW Token for 30 days of game time.

The cost of the WoW Token is going to be set by Blizzard Entertainment based on an algorithm that considers supply and demand. That means that players won’t have to bid for a WoW Token (like they can for other Auction House items). It also means that individual players won’t be able to set the price for the WoW Token they want to sell on the Auction House.

Best of all, the WoW Tokens, once purchased, cannot be sold directly to another player. They will be account bound. This makes it impossible for third-party illegal gold sellers to buy up all the WoW Tokens on the Auction House in an attempt to make money from them.


Blizzard Entertainment Hit by Another DDoS Attack



Blizzard GoldFriday nights are typically a great time to get online and play some video games. Unless, of course, you can’t play due to a DDoS attack destroying your fun. That’s exactly what happened to Blizzard Entertainment’s Battle.net the Friday night after Thanksgiving. Frustratingly, this is not the only DDoS Blizzard has experienced this month.

The Battle.net launcher is what players use to log in to any of Blizzard’s games. Those games include: World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Starcraft II, and Hearthstone. Players who were already logged in and playing noticed some big problems and mentioned their experiences on Twitter.

Many said that the World of Warcraft servers had crashed. Some lamented the loss of their hardcore characters as issues plagued the Diablo III game. If your hardcore character dies, for any reason, it stays dead. That character can’t be “resurrected” and keep going – you have to start all over again.

The @BlizzardCS account on Twitter later confirmed that they were experiencing a DDoS attack.

About 90 minutes later, the @BlizzardCS account tweeted that things had been resolved.

Earlier this month, Blizzard released Warlords of Draenor, the fifth and newest expansion to World of Warcraft. That same day, a DDoS attack prevented players from accessing the game.


Hearthstone “Bot” Accounts Banned Until 2015



Hearthstone logoBlizzard Entertainment, maker of Hearthstone (as well as several other well known games) has cracked down on the accounts that were using “bots”. Hearthstone is an online card game that is highly competitive. I am no longer surprised when some players feel the need to “bot” instead of actually play in an effort to do better in a competitive game. It is disappointing, though, when people cheat their way to victory.

Recently, Hearthstone did something about this problem. The Battle.net Hearthstone section has a post titled “Recent Actions Against Botting in Hearthstone”. The significant portion reads:

We’ve recently banned several thousand Hearthstone accounts that were associated with the use of third-party programs that automate gameplay, otherwise known as “bots” or “botting”. These accounts will be banned until 2015. As we’ve stated, fair play is at the core of the Hearthstone experience, and cheating and botting will not be tolerated.

It also very clearly states that: “From this point on, accounts found to be cheating will be permanently closed without warning.”

In addition, Hearthstone has banned accounts that were participating in “win-trading”. In short, “win trading” is when a player makes two accounts and queues them to play against each other over and over again. Doing that is against the Terms of Use in Hearthstone. The key portion of the announcement regarding “win trading” says:

We’ve recently banned Hearthstone accounts that were found to be participating in win trading. Win trading at any rank is something we do not take lightly, and is in violation of our Terms of Use. As we mentioned in our previous statement regarding fair play in Hearthstone, instances of cheating will not be tolerated. Accounts that were discovered participating in win trading have received permanent account closure and disqualification from events where ranking is used as a method of qualification.

It is my hope that these actions that Blizzard has taken will make Hearthstone less frustrating for the players who were playing the game without the use of “bots” or “win trading”. Personally, I’d like to see players reach a Rank via fair play instead of by cheating their way to it.


World of Warcraft Servers Coming to Australia



Blizzard GoldBlizzard Entertainment has announced an upcoming deployment of infrastructure that will support World of Warcraft players in Australia and New Zealand. These new servers are going to be hosted in Australia and will support the Oceanic realms.

This is huge news for people who live in Australia or New Zealand and who play World of Warcraft (WoW). The more localized servers will reduce the latency that many have experienced when they had to play WoW on the servers that were located in North America. In other words, this change should reduce the lag. Nobody likes lag, so this change should make a lot of people happy.

The only thing that people might not be so happy about is that the maintenance period for World of Warcraft will very likely be at the same time. It takes place on Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning when most players who live in North America are asleep. That same maintenance period falls into a part of the day in which many AU players would like to be able to get into the game.

I like that Blizzard Entertainment is starting to make an effort to reach out to players who are outside of North America. This week, they did a Launch Event for their upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion in Australia. Previous to this, Blizzard had local game servers for Diablo III. They also have local game servers for the players who are in the Technical Alpha of their upcoming Heroes of the Storm game.


Say Goodbye to the Diablo III Auction House



Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment has officially shut down the Auction House in Diablo III. This includes both the gold Auction House and the real-money Auction House. A controversial concept right from the start has been removed from the game – forever.

For those who are unaware, the gold Auction House enabled players to take the items that they found in game and put them up for auction. Doing so could result in the sale of the item and some gold for the player who sold it.

The real-money Auction House functioned in a similar way. Players can take the items they found in the game and put them up for auction. The difference, though, was that instead of gold (the in-game currency) the items sold in the real-money Auction House allowed the seller to earn some real world money.

The real-money Auction House in Diablo III was the first time that Blizzard Entertainment created an auction house that could be used to earn real money (instead of in-game currency). I remember people being really excited by the idea of selling enough items to pay for their subscription to World of Warcraft (one of Blizzard Entertainment’s most popular games).

There were both positives and negatives to the Auction House system. On the one hand, the Auction House was a great way for players to obtain the items they were hoping to find in the game, but could not. Previous to a recent patch, the “loot” system in Diablo III was problematic. On the other hand, there were those who felt that the Auction House allowed players who had money to “pay to win”. They could buy the best items, and gain an advantage over players who didn’t have the real-world money to spend.

Love it or hate it, I think all players of Diablo III benefited from the Auction House (both types). For example, I’ve never used the Auction House. Several of my friends have, though, and they used it to buy some really awesome items. When they “outgrew” those items, they shared them with other players, including me. The removal of the Auction House is an “end to an era” in Diablo III, and it comes shortly before the Reaper of Souls expansion is released. Good times are ahead!