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Blizzard v. In Game Dollar CaptionBlizzard’s lawsuit against virtual item and power-leveling company In Game Dollar (doing business as Peons4Hire) has settled, resulting in a permanent injunction (.pdf) that essentially shuts down In Game Dollar’s entire World of Warcraft operation. Though no monetary damages are specified, the injunction represents a complete victory for Blizzard. The news is likely to be well received by the World of Warcraft player community, which voiced widespread support for Blizzard’s move when the lawsuit was filed.

Blizzard brought the lawsuit against In Game Dollar in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California last May. The Complaint (.pdf) alleged that In Game Dollar violated World of Warcraft’s Terms of Use and End User License Agreement by spamming chat in World of Warcraft with advertising. This, Blizzard alleged, diminished players’ game experience and cost Blizzard subscribers, bandwidth, employee time, and ultimately, revenue.

Blizzard claimed six causes of action, including violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, interference with contract, and trespass to chattels.

Peons4Hire was not the largest virtual property dealer in World of Warcraft, but it was well known for aggressive in-game marketing via chat spam. The lawsuit could be seen as a shot across the bow of larger sellers.

The key provision of the injunction specifically prohibits In Game Dollar from “engaging in the sale of World of Warcraft® virtual assets or power leveling services.” In Game Dollar is also permanently enjoined from:

Bag of LootMaking any use of the World of Warcraft® in-game communication or chat system to advertise any website, business, or commercial endeavor, including any business associated with In Game Dollar, LLC or

Sending messages to the World of Warcraft® servers, the World of Warcraft® in-game communication or chat system or any other computer used by Blizzard in connection with the World of Warcraft® game, if such messages mention or advertise the website, In Game Dollar LLC or any other commercial endeavor.

Making any unauthorized use, or obtaining any unauthorized access to Blizzard’s computer systems or network.

The injunction also prohibits In Game Dollar from investing in a new operation doing any of the enjoined acts, and authorizes the court to award damages in the event that the company violates any of the terms. Essentially, the injunction puts In game Dollar out of the World of Warcraft virtual item and power-leveling business. The Peons4Hire website is down.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard has taken what is arguably the most aggressive legal stance in the industry against gold farmers, chat spammers, third-party bot providers, and others who violate World of Warcraft’s Terms of Use and End User License Agreement. The company’s actions have been widely praised both by players and by commentators who follow legal issues in games and virtual worlds. Blizzard was represented in this lawsuit by Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP.

The injunction is part of a settlement, so it does not carry the precedential weight that a decision on the merits would carry. However, it joins last year’s default and consent judgments resulting from intellectual property claims in Second Life as yet another example of a court entering a judgment regarding virtual property (here, “virtual assets”) without comment or apparent concern regarding the subject matter of the agreement. For those watching this space, it represents another small step toward recognition of virtual property.

The Court retains jurisdiction for the purposes of enforcing the injunction, but the case is otherwise concluded.

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50 Responses to “Blizzard v. In Game Dollar Update: Injunction Entered, Peons Not 4Hire in World of Warcraft Anymore”

  1. on 01 Feb 2008 at 3:27 pm^^


    I’ve never played WoW, but I hope their shot across the bow is heard around the world.

    Unfortunately the Asian mmorpgs I tend to play may ignore this because they are pursuing a different business model from WoW (free-to-play, charge for add-ons).

  2. on 01 Feb 2008 at 3:53 pmMitch at Money News

    Thanks Ben for the article, I was wondering why the prices of Wow gold has been increasing lately for US servers. Whenever someone gets banned like a big company it usually drives the prices up in the market. Either from taking supply out of the loop or other farmers suddenly tightening up their players to avoid getting caught as well.

  3. on 01 Feb 2008 at 4:50 pmAshcroft Burnham

    I cannot see how this is a step towards the recognition of “virtual property” (by which I can only assume that you mean recognition of virtual property as having exactly the same legal incidents as non-virtual property despite its being only virtual). Even if it were an injunction made following a judgment on the merits, according to your report, the principal cause of action was breach of contract: the defendant entered into a contact with the service provider in return for access to the service, breached the contract (by spamming chat, etc.), and thereby caused damages to the provider.

    None of the causes of action listed in the article are remotely proprietary, and it does not seem that virtual property per se even featured in the claim. It is simply an example of the existing law, completely unaltered, being applied quite effectively to the newly economically significant arena of virtual worlds/massively multiplayer online games.

    Recognising virtual property as being legally identical to non-virtual property would be an extremely radical departure from the law as it stands (the numerus clausus principle is quite strict as to what is regarded as capable of being proprietary in nature), and would involve a radical change in the law relating to physical property, since “virtual property” has to have some physical manifestation (usually, a computer server), which physicality will inevitably involve somebody else’s physical property. It is one thing for one to have an obligation in personam to use whatever resources that one has to provide a service the nature of which involves the simulation of physical items which, if they were real, would be capable of being subject to proprietary rights, but it is quite another to grant people rights in rem over an abstract use to which physical hardware is put, and/or the data stored on it. It is, at the very least, arguable that such a right would be at best impractical and at worst incoherent: a right to use a feature of something, or data in the abstract, cannot, conceptually, be a property right. (For a good exposition on the conceptual nature of property rights, see “Property and Justice”, J. Harris, Oxford University Press).

    One must be very careful to distinguish, on the one hand, the inevitable application of the existing law of contract and tort to virtual worlds and multiplayer games as they acquire economic significance, and even the subtle evolution of the law to take account of novel issues that arise in such a context, and, on the other, the sort of fundamental, radical change in the structure of the law of property and the law of obligations that would be required to recognise “virtual property” as having identical or near-identical legal incidents to physical property.

  4. on 01 Feb 2008 at 5:02 pmBenjamin Duranske

    Well, they’re not allowed to sell something now, and the injunction refers to that something as “virtual assets.”

    I think that Ashcroft and I are talking different languages here. I’m not really addressing a big picture virtual property question (though Ashcroft raises good points) but rather just saying that it’s interesting that courts aren’t rejecting, modifying, or even raising eyebrows about these negotiated agreements (the way a court likely would if, for example, the court was asked to put itself in a position to enforce an agreement where the parties were talking about a “haunted house” or a “jar of sunshine.”) Baby steps, but they are accumulating, and somebody is going to eventually point to all of this when a case actually gets to summary judgment and the defense is “but it’s just a game!” I’d much rather have a judgment on the merits, but this is a tiny start.

  5. [...] is probably the best news I’ve heard so far all year: Blizzard has won an injunction against Peons4Hire (we’ll say their name now), which means that the one-time constant chat [...]

  6. on 01 Feb 2008 at 5:53 pmLazarhat

    Funny this, especially when I came here to view it from WoWInsider and what is prominently displayed on the virtuallyblind page? An ad for a WoW gold farming and power leveling service. Shame on YOU for helping these scumbags stay in business by doing their advertising on YOUR page.


  7. on 01 Feb 2008 at 6:46 pmBenjamin Duranske

    Good point, Lazarhat. I’m not running ads for these guys on purpose though. Those ads are Google context ads. Right now, only the top spot is a negotiated ad. I actually hate how whenever I write about these issues I get ads for gold farmers in the sidebar. I add them to the block list periodically, but I can’t keep up. Anybody know of a good solution? While I’m not getting rich, context ads cover my hosting fees, so I don’t want to scrap them completely. For now, I’ve added that one to the block list — should take effect in an hour or two.

  8. on 01 Feb 2008 at 9:41 pmLenny Valentin

    Unfortunately this will probably only affect Blizzard’s servers in the United States, leaving the 2-ish million Euro players still plagued by goldspam from this scumbag company.

    Not to mention the drove of other gold-for-money enterprises that regularly do drive-by spam of the major cities and zones of the game.

    A victory perhaps, but at the moment a pointless one. If anything this could actually increase profitability for the remaining goldsellers for the immediate future now that one major player has been (at least partially) barred…

  9. on 02 Feb 2008 at 5:12 amAshcroft Burnham


    ahh, perhaps we are slightly at cross-purposes. Recognising virtual assets as real assets is a world apart from recognising virtual property as property. “Asset” does not have any legal term-of-art meaning, and simply refers to something which, in practice, has a value. Many things that are not property can be assets: choses in action being the most prominent example.

    The significance is, then, that you think that the courts are taking virtual worlds seriously and not just pronouncing “we are not going to do anything about this because it is all just a silly game, now go away please”, rather than that they are recognising virtual *property* per se?

  10. on 02 Feb 2008 at 10:47 amBenjamin Duranske

    I’ve got a cool update on the RMT ads to share. A guy named Ryan commented at wowinsider and pointed me to this RMT blacklist for Adsense. If you run a site and want to keep these guys’ ads off, use this.

    It will take a few hours to kick in, and probably a few days to catch any it misses, but with any luck this will completely solve the problem.

  11. on 03 Feb 2008 at 9:36 ammmm

    i like the fact that even tho thsi article seems to shun gold selling and power levelers all of the adverts are for gold sellers and power leveling services

    i spose this irony will be lost on most mainly americans but meh

  12. on 03 Feb 2008 at 9:46 amDevils Advocate

    While I’ll be glad to see one of the most offensive chat spammers gone, its pretty hypocritical of blizzard to claim that this otherwise improves the game. The economic model in the game is broken. The presence of users who focus 100% of their time generating gold is pretty much necessary to keep the economy functioning. We call them farmers as an insult, but they provide liquidity in the game. If it were possible for the 20 hr a week player to full funding their leveling/raiding with out the AH and its inflated prices the value of the farmers would evaporate in no time.

    I’ve been playing WoW for a bit over 2 years, and for several months of that time I averaged over 60 hrs a week. I’ve never bought gold. But I have benefited from the farmers because their injection of gold into the system allows me to sell items at the AH for prices that support the in game costs of leveling. repairs, and skill development while playing 12-20 hrs a week. Blizzard has improved the situation somewhat by the creation of the “daily” quests available at level 70, but those still require on average 7 hours a week, of repetitive play, devoted to generating funds, and the overall game benefit is reduced to trickle down through hard core players spending the gold they earn in outlands on their twinks and alts. This is no more than a band aid on systemic problem.

    If blizzard really wants to put the farmers out of business the solution is simple and immediate. Significantly reduce the gap between what merchants pay for items vs what they charge for items (trade goods as well as drops), and allow merchants to resell previously soul bound items at a reasonable price. If blizzard is concerned about flooding the game with high end gear, don’t allow purples and highly desirable blues, to be resold, this would retain the inducement for hard core play.

    In a sense blizzard owes the success of WoW to the farmers, without whom, the entire game economy would have simply collapsed.

  13. [...] hat Blizzard den Rechtsstreit gegen Peons4hire gewonnen. Peons4hire war bekanntlich eine der [...]

  14. on 03 Feb 2008 at 2:00 pmEilisper

    Actually a few of us who play WoW were discussing the broken nature of the economic system. In some ways farming is a necessity. A few conclusions we came to would at least normalize some of the problems:

    Reduce the repair rate. This immediately reduces the amount of gold needed to raid by a very real amount. Across the server, even a 50% reduction in repair costs will increase the available gold for the economy by a huge amount.

    Increase the vendor prices that they pay to buy items. there is a large difference between buying an item and selling an item percentage wise. Bringing this closer will increase the gold flow, and will have a trickle down effect through all the levels and players.

    Slowly increase high demand drop rates. I’m not saying to go crazy about it, but when an item becomes disportionately over priced, it is a very easy thing to slightly adjust the drop rate for that item.

    The primary problem is that while these all seem to have immediate effects, each has it’s own problems associated, if you reduce the cot of repairs, the AH prices etc will rise because of the increased amount of gold available. The same occurs if you increase the vendor value of items. The last would require someone to watch the values of items and make a judgement which would be based on perspective, which is almost always a flawed system.

    All in all, there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix.


  15. [...] Teljes győzelmet aratott a Blizzard az egyik legagresszívebb goldseller cég, az In Game Dollar ellenében. Peons4Hire néven űzték az ipart, spammoltak, aranyat, szintezést és minden egyéb nyalánkságot árultak, leginkább amerikai szervereken. [...]

  16. on 03 Feb 2008 at 3:38 pmGalenthor

    I find it pretty hypocritical of all games like that say that you must pay us to play, but you do not own the products of your own efforts. I have played several of these types of games over the years, and there have been times where I decided to sell off a few items to make some money to get a better item, through means such as wow’s ah or eq’s bazaar. I don’t care what they put into the eula, as I see it, the only one who owns what I have paid the time for to build is me. I am not saying that I agree with the gold sellers, and I have reported alot of em that spam me, but with the height that prices tend to reach, do you truly expect ppl not to buy gold to finally get that item they have spent months trying to raise the gold/platinum they need to get when the prices keep getting stupid?

    I gave up on diablo 2 because I was finding it becoming impossible to advance without having to resort to buying items/money through a seller. I Should not have to do that in any of the games I play now just because someone sitting in a corporate office thinks they own what I have taken the time to build, just because they own the company that created the game and runs the servers. I am not trying to tell them how to run the game, but I am saying that can stop being stupid about it. EQ has driven alot of players away with how they have done some things; and I will fully admit I wish that they would follow wow’s lead in a few as well, such as being able to check your acct status online without having to buy a yet another subscription to another site.

    The one thing that I see first and foremost that the game companies need to remember is that if you tick off the players, your player base is going to go elsewhere. Trying to force down my throat that you own my efforts is one sure fire way to do it.

  17. [...] These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web [...]

  18. on 04 Feb 2008 at 11:20 amKenneth

    I don’t see the terms as endorsing virtual assets as anything other than a handy catchphrase for the transactions being prohibited. The court may not bat an eye because there’s no other way to describe Peons4hire’s activities. The fact is that they “exist” insofar as people ascribed some value to them within the context of the environment the company was seeking to protect, and that some third party was seeking to trade for value outside it in contravention of Blizzard’s policies.

    There is an older case, the cite escapes me, which has strong parallels — a company was setup to trade in frequent flier miles for an airline carrier, the carrier sued, and the company tried to raise a defense about the property rights of the miles. The court said, in essence, that no such rights adhered and settled it along contract/tortious interference with contract law. The injunction more or less parrots the peons4hire case, and I have no reason to believe that the usage of “virtual goods” has any more weight than “frequent flier miles” has in property law today.

  19. on 04 Feb 2008 at 12:07 pmBenjamin Duranske

    @18 – Maybe so. If there’s no way to describe the gold, swords, and other stuff as anything other than “virtual assets” though, shouldn’t that give the “there’s no such thing as virtual assets, property, or items” advocates some pause?

    If this had gone to trial, Blizzard would have had to dance a little bit, because it wouldn’t have wanted to go on the record saying that the virtual stuff has value, but you almost have to say that in order to make your case.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens when somebody actually gets a property theory in relation to virtual assets or property in front of a judge via a motion for summary judgment. I’d very much prefer it see that arise from a dispute in a world with an acknowledged real cash economy rather than one where it’s all just black market trading.

  20. on 04 Feb 2008 at 1:05 pmAshcroft Burnham

    Galenthor, strictly, it’s not hypocritical, since Blizzard are not claiming that other people ought to do or not to do something, and then ignoring their own injunction to others in their own actions. It might represent poor value for money that one is getting little or nothing in the way of enforceable rights in return for one’s money, but hypocrisy is something quite specific.

    I do agree with Kenneth, and that old case to which he refers is of considerable interest. As to Ben’s reply, does anyone seriously claim that there are no such things as virtual assets or items? Any such claim is obviously absurd: virtual items have existed as long as computer simulations of any kind have existed (there are virtual bats and balls in pong), and virtual assets (meaning, virtual items that have a tradable value) also, as a matter of fact, obviously exist. It does not need a court judgment (or endorsement of settlement) to tell one that virtual assets exist any more than it needs a court judgment (etc.) to tell one that apples exist.

    Whatever the merits (or otherwise) of virtual property arguments, this case does not take the matter forward one way or the other.

  21. on 04 Feb 2008 at 1:34 pmBenjamin Duranske

    People do seriously claim that there’s no such thing as virtual property all the time — both providers and users, depending on who is being accused of what. That’s the crux of the “it’s just a game” argument.

    Linden Lab claimed it when Bragg sued them. Every EULA claims it in one form or another. The language differs — while some EULAs say “everything your character appears to own belongs to us,” others (the majority) say “you don’t own anything, nothing is created here at all.”

    So in a case where a user is suspended and sues (like the Bragg case) the providers will defend themselves by saying that the contract specifies that there is no such thing as virtual property. Same argument with users too. You saw it all over the forums when Eros et. al. sued that guy in NY. Virtual world users and game players generally understood what was at stake, but overwhelmingly people who weren’t active in games and virtual worlds responded in comments on mainstream articles, “WTF? These are just pixels! It’s just a game!” That’s basically what the defendant told the NY Post too, if I recall correctly.

    This is one of the points that Joshua Fairfield often makes — EULAs and Terms of Service contracts are trying to address a property law concept via contract law, and what we really need is either legislation or, more likely, a decision that says property law overrides contract law here (as it does in other situations). (Apologies to Joshua for the gross oversimplification, but this is my take home from one of his papers.)

    So when the EULA says “you don’t own anything, nothing is created here,” that is essentially an argument that in a game like World of Warcraft, the “gold” is just part of the game set (like monopoly money) and not a virtual asset at all.

    And that brings us to this — this dichotomy is why the language here is interesting to me. It highlights the tension between the position Blizzard wants to take against gold farmers and the position it is going to have to take if it is sued over the forfeiture of virtual assets. It is going to point to its contracts, like Kenneth said, and it is in a stronger position to do that than anybody (because it has consistently done everything possible to keep WoW inside the “magic circle”) but what about Station Exchange and EQII, or SL’s Lindex and auctions?

  22. on 04 Feb 2008 at 2:40 pmAshcroft Burnham

    Ahh, Ben, you wrote about the “there’s no such thing as virtual assets, property, or items” advocates, not just the “there’s no such thing as virtual property” advocates. The whole point that I was making was that recognising virtual assets is a world away from recognising virtual property. It is absurd to claim that there are no such things as virtual assets, but perfectly plausible to claim, “there is no such thing as virtual property”, if one uses that as shorthand for claiming that virtualisations of things which, if real, would be capable of being owned are not, by the mere fact of being such virtualisations, themselves capable of being owned in exactly the same way as the things of which they are virtualisations are. Indeed, to point out this difference was the crux of my original reply to this topic.

    By recognising “virtual assets”, the court is doing no more than acknowledging an obviously true factual position, and does not seem capable of having any precedential significance at all (and would not, even if it were a judgment on the merits).

    There is no contradiction between claiming, on the one hand, that virtual items can be assets (that is, as a matter of practical reality, have an exchange value), and, on the other hand, that they do not (and cannot, conceptually) have exactly the same legal status as they would if they were physical items owned by the person or people to whom they are assets. There are many things that are capable of being assets, but not capable of being owned (in a legal sense): choses in action, as stated above, being the most relevant example. To use Kenneth’s example, do you suppose that people “own” air miles, or just that they own the tokens, which gives them a contractual right to discounted air fares (in accordance with the full set of terms and conditions by which they are issued)? Are air miles not virtual in just the same way as virtual clothes, etc., are virtual, albeit in a rather lower-tech manifestation?

    I am aware of Prof. Fairfield’s arguments, and disagree with them, because, in summary, they do not give sufficient weight to the numerus clausus principle, nor do they have adequate regard for the consequences to coherence of virtual property rights with the property rights of those who own the physical means by which the virtual items are realised.

  23. on 04 Feb 2008 at 2:53 pmBenjamin Duranske

    I hear you, Ashcroft. I am much closer to Fairfield’s camp than I was even six months ago, but I do see where you’re coming from. It’ll be interesting to see if that argument makes it into briefing when we finally get one of these to go to a decision on the merits.

  24. on 04 Feb 2008 at 3:51 pmMarc Bissonnette

    I find the “There is no such thing as virtual assets/property” argument highly amusing.

    We’ve all heard the expression “One man’s garbage is another man’s gold” or along similar lines: Something has value if someone *percieves* it to have value.

    To use a perfectly silly example: The lint in my pocket has no value to me. Some guy collecting pocket lint to make the world’s largest pocket lint ball on the other hand, might be willing to pay five bucks for it.

    To use a real-world example: There was an eBay auction about a year ago from a guy selling cigarette ashes inside a coke bottle. Guess what ? It sold. *I’ve* ashed my smokes in cigarette bottles and thrown them out – they have no value to me – To the guy that bought it from eBay, though, it had value – ergo, it was an asset.

    It’s not that one owns the pixels or the intellectual property behind a sword +45 of Ogre Disintegration: It’s the value of the *time* and *effort* that went into getting that sword (Or castle, or shield, ad infinitum). Blizzard may well own the IP behind the sword itself: They may well own the code that generated the pixels to display it: They also own the servers that store all that information in order to display it. What they don’t own, though, is the time and effort that went into acquiring it.

    After all, Blizzard (for example) could, at the touch of a few keys, put a Sword +45 of Ogre Disintegration into *everyones* account. The kicker, of course, is that it would then have no value – After all, *everyone* has one, right ? (Supply and demand, right ?)

    It’s the time and effort that is really being sold in games: 100 million influence in City of Heroes won’t buy me a cup of Coffee at Tim Horton’s, but that *does* represent about 20 hours of my time playing the game. Now, personally, I would enjoy that 20 hours; To the guy who can only play 2 hours a week, though, that 20 hours of my time is a precious commodity that he’s willing to trade a few bucks for.

    For the record, I’ve never farmed gold, nor bought nor sold anything for real cash. I’m just saying that video game items most certainly do have a real world value, no matter what an EULA may or may not say.

    Spamming the living daylights out of the game, though, is most certainly not the way to do it (And I read this story with a sincere sense of satisfaction to know the spammers got nailed)


  25. on 04 Feb 2008 at 4:04 pmDan

    nice.. go Blizzard :D

  26. on 04 Feb 2008 at 4:21 pmRyan

    Its nice to see something has been done about the spammers with obviouslly fake names such as slkndtrpoehw and neotheopspdkal. Whenever I see them in Org I right-click, mark as spam.
    Grats Blizz

  27. on 04 Feb 2008 at 6:30 pmIn Related News… « Keine Ordnung

    [...] Blizzard wins permanent injunction against In Game Dollar (Peons4Hire) [...]

  28. on 04 Feb 2008 at 6:51 pmRealUnimportant

    You know what would go a long way towards helping kill off the gold farming and item selling businesses?

    If websites like this one didn’t carry GREAT BIG ADVERTS for goldsellers! I realise that you don’t source all advertisers yourself, but instead you rely on Google to sort it out for you. Perhaps you could enjoin them to help assist in fighting this practice by (at the very least) preventing those kinds of adverts from appearing on this site if nothing else?

  29. on 04 Feb 2008 at 8:02 pmBenjamin Duranske

    @28 – check the earlier comments, particularly #10. I’ve been blacklisting them like mad. I’m not seeing any when I visit now, but some may be localized, so if you see any, please email the address to me I will add them to the blacklist.

  30. on 05 Feb 2008 at 9:29 amKaelidin

    I think the main push of the lawsuit could have been more of a harassment restraining order affair.

    No big company minds farmers, the game is designed to let people farm for money if they wish. The problem arises when those farmers start advertising making your players angry at being bothered, players get bothered they get less inclined to continue playing.

    Their aggressive actions against their rule abiding players is likely what the lawsuit was about, as that costs them money and resources either in subscriptions or in man hours dealing with the gold sellers.

    Ultimately you are only leasing an account, all the stuff on it and in game is owned by the hosting company. You are paying for access to an item on an account. Virtual goods aren’t even close to real world goods, to say that you put the time an effort into acquiring it doesn’t make sense. The game generated the item, if the world needed more +20 firetongue swords of the abyss to exist to meet a quota I’m sure the hosting company could type in a command and make some. That instant ability to make the exact resource that some claim is worth something is what makes it have no value.

    I do think that this is a precedent of sorts, and I fear that eventually, like it or not, real world value will get placed on game items. This means filing taxes based on them, keeping track of how much it cost to repair gear so you can raid (that would be a business expense). And ultimately the hosting company would likely have to keep track and file it, that is an expense that no one would want. Also what happens to the supposed billions of dollars that all that elite gear that players “own”, when a game shuts down or crashes/rollbacked? Could a company get fined by the government like a company can be for negligence when it comes to the stock market?

    Basically I hate gold sellers, what they do to ruin the game environment through the advertising, and super aggressive/hostile actions in maintaining their farming is what the cease and desists should be about.

  31. on 05 Feb 2008 at 1:47 pm^^

    Is there a legal angle on attention? I just read an overview of mmorpg business models that described acquisition throught grinding as “attention” (as opposed to “labor”). A couple years ago there were a couple groups agitating for a person’s rights in their attention: offering mechanisms for tracking it and perhaps ultimately for individuals to negotiate deals for allocation of attention.

    I still think hunting, grinding, questing, etc. are forms of physical labor accomplished through a keyboard. Ten years from now I’ll have the carpal tunnel to prove it! Didn’t Locke say that labor mixed with land (media? virtual territory?) = property?

    Is attention labor?

  32. on 05 Feb 2008 at 2:27 pmSamureyeD

    To say that gold farming is necessary for WoW’s economy is ignorant of the fact the Blizzard has spent countless hours and money creating a working economy without farmers.

    Farming significantly raises the supply of mats, which in turn decreases the cost. This is all fine and dandy until one of those farmers places multiple stacks of a low supply mat at a 500% price increase. The only people able to purchase these stacks are people that buy gold. I have seen it happen multiple times and refuse to price this way. Many shards have because overrun with outrageous mat prices for this reason alone.

    e.g. – Stacks of rugged leather were selling for 50 – 80g on my server for multiple weeks at a time. They are finally down to about 10g a stack, but it took almost two months to adjust. Only because players like me refused to follow the crowd and priced a normal rate did prices eventually drop. Every time the supply dwindles on particular mats I notice farmers placing multiple stacks at outrageous prices.. and they sell!… people that buy gold only benefit themselves and hurt the average player.

  33. [...] The whole article can be found here. [...]

  34. on 06 Feb 2008 at 8:12 pmTinno


    Though i wanna play innocent, i can hardly do it. Yes i have for a long time thought about buying gold (i didn’t do it but thought about it), but that was before they added all the new daylies which is just such a great comfort to have in your back as an easy way to get money.

  35. on 06 Feb 2008 at 9:49 pmyondergod22

    this is cool, I don’t play wow, so I don’t know anything about the market or anything. but Jagex should have done this to runescape, instead of the updates they made.

  36. [...] litigation against you; and lawyers aren’t usually on the cheap. The full article can be found here. February 06th, 2008 | Blizzard [...]

  37. on 07 Feb 2008 at 1:21 pmStephen

    You could compare this to a feature film. When you purchase a movie- you do NOT own it, you own the right to view it. Now if somebody was to purchase a movie, then makes duplicate copies of it then sells them off.

    Somebody cannot tell me that when you subscribe to WoW that you own the account, it’s in the agreement. Instead you own the right to use the account. So any virtual item in which is on that particular account, still remains to be the property of Blizzard.

    Now I used to play a game call RuneScape which I gave up on over a but up until December I was off on on. Then they made a terrible error, in removing Trades with items of value to other players for less of that which the item was worth. This was their bid to stop real world item traders. Sadly it has turned on them and many of them quit.

    The version of reality which we compromise for reality is that you can not stop this. You can not have a world free of criminal activities, injustice and other breaches of the law, but if we try to completely stop it you will just be further away from the never ending of it.

    So let them sell WoW gold, just stop the buyers!!!

  38. [...] You can read more on the situation at Virtually Blind. [...]

  39. [...] for some more substantive Blizzard news. Via a great article at VirtuallyBlind, the big B won the first lawsuit of its kind against In Game Dollar (DBA Peons4Hire) for [...]

  40. on 10 Feb 2008 at 2:31 pmBrad C

    I think this is awesome. Many other games could and should learn from this. I know runescape is really suffering from bot and auto-companies doing the same thing. recently, Jagex had to completely remove major aspects of the entire runescape game, and in doing so have lost a huge number of their players as well.

  41. on 11 Feb 2008 at 10:13 pmSeth C

    Never thought I’d say it but Blizzard should follow Jagex’s footsteps and take ingame actions against goldfarmers but without as much tyranny. As for tons of people quitting runescape, you’re wrong. Not many played in the first place >.<

  42. on 12 Feb 2008 at 3:13 amBrian

    Let me start off by saying that I’m an avid player with recreational playtime. I play on RP realms and I rarely PVP. I have been playing since beta and I remember when prices were reasonable and location based.

    Wow, people’s grasp on Economical trending and the “Ripple Effect” is way off.

    1) Ellisper suggested reducing repair costs. The Value of Gold is what makes people go to the auction house; reducing the value of gold does nothing to the farmers. Not buying their stuff, as SamureyeD states, is the best way to reduce the cost of materials; which in turn strengthens the value of the gold. The ripple effect of a strong gold piece is that people aren’t willing to pay 10g for a stack of Copper Ore. Gold farming (and selling) injects massive amounts of gold into an economy which weakens the value (and the amount of work it takes to earn it properly).

    2) Increased drop rate does lower costs in the AH, but rarely does it drop the farming of the item. A Depleted Badge (Blue Item) has a drop rate of about 2% on a mob of 70+ (on the plateaus of the Blades Edge Mountian). An Bind on Equip (BoE) item that has that has a low drop rate has a higher cost on the AH because Low Supply and High demand equate to a high price. This is intentional as if it were easy to get (and thus not Uncommon), they would have made it a quest reward and everybody would have an equally easy chance to get it.

    3) Liquidity in a virtual setting has no effect because there is no limit to the amount of gold availiable. Liquidity only effects closed market systems.

    4)Open Market vs. Fair Price: Open Marketing dictates that there is no cap to the price of a good and it is only valued at the price somebody is willing to pay for it. Fair Pricing dictates that any good at a competative price will sell. The AH works exactly as it was designed to do. the AH is not broken, our perception of what it should be used for has.

    There is no “Quick fix” to the economic catastrophe that capitalism brings. It requires certain “honest” people to ensure that the value of money remains strong (A weak valued coin has no useful economic value). A Strong valued coin will regulate inflationary pressures.

    As for the annoying spam, the easy solution is to enforce the naming policies….but that will never happen. so we click and report (for all the good it does).

    Legally, I hope this sets a precedence to combat the annoying adds I see.

    Just my two cents. Love and peace!


  43. on 12 Feb 2008 at 2:42 pmMitch

    Brian’s comment is akin to a whole blog post. This topic has gotten quite a bit of attention since I’ve come here last. Anyways I’ll have to agree with the auction house statement of people not willing to pay more than what they think an item is worth.

    While I’ll probly be labeled as one of the bad people for selling gold, I’m not a gold farmer. I make my gold off the Auction house buying/selling items daily. So I know about the limits people want to pay for a certain item etc.

    For example if I buy out the whole auction house of Adamantite Ore @ a price of say 25g/stack, and try to resell them at 40g/stack people would still buy them all, however even if control the whole market, and try to sell them at 100g/stack no ones going to buy it. Rather people will mine it them selves, and I’ll be undercut unless I buy out all competition.

    If people want to study gold markets, and its effects on the WoW economy, they should study the US vs EU markets. Price for gold on EU servers are cheap since they don’t do accounts bans as often as they do in the US.

    China is similar to Europe in which the market is fairly flooded in the market as well. I wrote a post not too long ago about a rare epic mount that was paid for in gold for the amount of 190,000 gold.

  44. on 24 Feb 2008 at 12:27 pmHercalis

    Good. I am very happy to see that some of these annoying spammers will be gone. I like to mess around on some days and make a new character to lvl 10 or so and cannot stand getting constantly invited to groups just to be asked if i want to hit 60 tonight and if I do visit

    Hopfully more of this will happen.

    Grats Blizz!

  45. [...] bereits letztes Jahr gerichtlich gegen Goldverkäufer vorgegangen ist (Meldung im Forum, Berichterstattung auf, gehen sie jetzt auch gegen die Hersteller von Bot-Software vor. Die genaueren Hintergründe, [...]

  46. [...] reported that Blizzard has secured an injunction against an in-game gold spamming group. Citing an article at Virtually Blind, Mike states the injunction is permanent, and prohibits the defendants from using WoW in-game [...]

  47. [...] can fit 8 gnomes in this can (Virtually Blind) – Blizzard’s lawsuit against virtual item and power-leveling company In Game Dollar (doing [...]

  48. [...] 2008 Blizzard wins lawsuit against Peons4hire. I remember being sooo happy about this, because those Peons4hire spammers were incredibly [...]

  49. [...] “spamming” user’s in-game with their wares. Peons4Hire settled with the publisher, resulting in a permanent injunction that barred it from advertising or “engaging in the sale of World of Warcraft virtual assets [...]

  50. [...] Blizzard vs In Game Dollar [...]

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