Monday, 31 October 2011

Exclusive interview with Hawker (source MMOwned)

Special thanks to MMOnwed and Aphel

Originally Posted by Aphel & Hawker

Aphel: So, let’s start with some basic questions. Just to clear everything up, what is your official job title and position at Bossland GmbH?

Hawker: Development Director. If technical stuff fails, it’s my fault. If it works, the team of devs, Apoc, Nesox, Raphus and Main are all getting the credit. Most of my time now is spent on Rift, as that is proving to be a very hard game to get a safe, stable bot in. Gatherbuddy was my first product and Honorbuddy is our pride and joy really. It quests, PvPs, raids, and it’s like having a person to play for you while you sleep. Glider with Ppather was aiming to get there when they were closed down under the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and I feel lucky we’ve had the chance to get it all working.

Aphel: It really is a great piece of work. I’ve had the chance to use both Honorbuddy and Gatherbuddy, and I was absolutely impressed with how well it was able to get me through levels 1-80 on one of my alt accounts. Phenomenal program.
Hawker: Thanks.

Aphel: Absolutely! So, our readers are really interested to hear about the initial announcement. What were the logistics behind it? Did you guys get an email, a phone call, or so on? And better yet, how was the rest of the team notified? How was the general feeling of the entire announcement afterwards?

Hawker: About a month ago, Blizzard’s legal guy, Rod Rigole, came to our office in Germany and had some papers he wanted Bossland to sign. The papers were in English and referred to California law. So Bossland said, “Wait a second. Let’s meet my lawyer and see what he says.” and the lawyer said, “This is Germany and these documents are not appropriate.”

Hawker: [Rod Rigole] left, saying [he] would be back, and we heard no more until last Friday when a mutual contact said, “You have been sued by Blizzard.” Then we phoned the court and found something has been filed in Hamburg. It’s like someone coming to see you in Florida and then suing you in Michigan. Very strange that they didn’t write to us first, but we’ve had the lawyer ready since 2009.

Aphel: It’s always good to have one around.

Hawker: It helps that none of this is a shock and that we have our stuff all done legally and documented clearly. We needed to stop selling the Buddy Lifetime product, as that could be considered misleading or unfair [to our customers]. So we organized a meeting on Skype, told the guys what was happening, and then we changed our website.

Aphel: It sounds like you’ve already built a powerful defense against Blizzard.

Hawker: It’s a very strong defense in that it is common sense. We are doing something legal and paying our taxes. Why would someone have the right to come along and tell us to stop?

Aphel: Absolutely. It does seem to be a reflection of the times and of corporate power in the United States when Blizzard can start up these international suits on a whim.

Hawker: Yes. Blizzard is a great company and makes superb products. We like that, but it’s a pain that they have such deep pockets for legal action. Thankfully, litigation in Germany is less expensive than the US or UK where a rich enemy can bankrupt you with legal fees.

Aphel: Just to clear everything up with current Honorbuddy customers, will Buddy Lifetime customers still keep their current account with no need to renew it?

Hawker: Absolutely.

Aphel: Excellent. I’m sure you notified them and so on, but we just like to let everyone know.

Hawker: The process will take years, but we’re hoping to be selling Lifetime again after it's done. It’s just that until we see what they are throwing at us and see how seriously the courts take them, we have to be fair and only sell a fixed term.

Aphel: That’s the best thing to do. Do you have any idea how the developers will be involved in the case, or who Blizzard is suing in specific?
Hawker: It is limited to action against the company and against Bossland personally.

Aphel: Do you think the suit will have negative consequences regarding the speed of Honorbuddy/Gatherbuddy development and updates?

Hawker: No. The product is essentially done now, and we are working on small bug fixes. There are many moving parts to Honorboddy as lots of people make their own combat routines or even their own bots using Honorbuddy interface to WoW. It is often hard to tell where an error has arisen, so we want to make that a lot easier to debug for outside developers. There are intermittent bugs in the base that come up, and we try to fix these as well.

Aphel: User customization seems to contribute to the fact that Honorbuddy still remains undetected by Blzzard’s proprietary warden anti-***** software. We’ve seen the rise and fall of many bots over time, and it seems like Blizzard turns to the courts when they cannot counter a well-coded hack or bot. Do you think that they’re doing this only because they cannot crush your company’s program like they’ve done with so many other professional teams?

Hawker: No, that’s not the case. They have not tried to detect us. Our Tripwire has been idle apart from the week it was installed and then found Blizzard had already stumbled upon us while looking for a LUA hack.

Hawker: My opinion is that Blizzard prefers the legal approach, as it allows them to keep their subscribers yet it also allows them to erase the things that they don’t approve of.

Aphel: That’s a great observation. It wouldn’t really be in their best interest to cut out hundreds of thousands of customers. They’d rather eliminate the source.

Hawker: Of course, it is harder for them to detect us compared to some badly-coded bots. We do have a very nice way to connect the program to WoW without ever troubling Warden.

Aphel: Absolutely. Some people complain that bots ruin the game for other players, but I like to think of it as a way for casual to compete with players who don’t have families of jobs to distract them from the game. In addition, they argue that the items gained from farming bots like Gatherbuddy can ruin the server economy, but it also brings in items that players wouldn’t otherwise be farming. When the item is in greater supply, the overall price should theoretically drop because it is in lesser demand.

Aphel: I think Honorbuddy and Gatherbuddy add a whole new dynamic to WoW, and it’s been interesting to see how they interact with the game.

Aphel: As for one final question, are any of the employees’ personal lives taking a toll from the lawsuit?

Hawker: I think it is fair to say we know this was coming, and we have chosen Germany as our base, as it is a good legal environment for us. Some of the team may be worried, but this is the game we chose to play. It’s not like bot-making is ever a boring way to make a living. Our lawyer says not to worry, and that’s good enough for us.

Aphel: That’s great to hear! We look forward to seeing the outcome of this monumental case. Thanks for giving us some great answers.

Aphel: One more thing. Do you have any final statements to the MMOwned community and to our readers?

Hawker: The MMOwned community has been a great source of moral support—thanks—we do appreciate it.

No comments:

Post a Comment