Runescape Bot Maker Loses Big In Lawsuit

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Runescape Bot Maker Loses Big In Lawsuit

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The makers of the Runescape-hacking iBot are about to eat a seriously expensive knuckle sandwich of litigation.

A lawsuit between Runescape studio Jagex and Impulse Software, the maker of the "iBot" software that allows players to level up even when they're not actually playing the game, is about to end in a big victory for Jagex in the form of an award "in excess of six figures." While the judge in the case has not yet signed off on it, a Boston court ruled last week that Impulse is guilty of copyright infringement, circumvention of technological protection measures and even computer fraud.

Along with having to fork over an unspecified but inevitably hefty amount of money, Impulse is also forbidden from providing information on how to hack Runescape, its employees are permanently banned from any and all Jagex games and it must transfer ownership of its websites to Jagex and destroy all bot code. It's even legally barred from commenting on the case, although it did issue an apology to Jagex and acknowledge that it was in the wrong.

"Throughout the course of this lawsuit, we've come to understand the harm that botting does to Runescape and Jagex.
 We'd like to apologize to Jagex and to all legitimate Runescape players for the damage and harm iBot has done," Impulse said in a statement.

"In the next few weeks our websites, domains, code and customer details will be passed over to Jagex along with details of all those people who we know have developed scripts for iBot and sold or re-sold those scripts," it continued. "Shortly, all references to iBot and Impulse Software will disappear from the internet. We'd encourage all of you who have scripts or iBot to delete them and certainty not to try and use or develop them."

It's not a conclusion that most people would have expected back in 2010. In September of that year, a court denied Jagex's request for a preliminary injunction against Impulse and iBot, saying that it did not believe the studio would "suffer irreparable harm" without the injunction and furthermore, that the company was "unlikely to succeed" with its claims.

Sources: Develop, Gamasutra

Permalink

Andy Chalk:

Along with having to fork over an unspecified but inevitably hefty amount of money, Impulse is also forbidden from providing information on how to hack Runescape, its employees are permanently banned from any and all Jagex games and it must transfer ownership of its websites to Jagex and destroy all bot code. It's even legally barred from commenting on the case, although it did issue an apology to Jagex and acknowledge that it was in the wrong.

Ouch. Still, I do hope this sets some kind of precedent. People who use bots/trainers are terrible people and should feel terrible. (Yes, Escapees. I made a blanket statement. COME AT ME, BRO!)

Andy Chalk:

"In the next few weeks our websites, domains, code and customer details will be passed over to Jagex along with details of all those people who we know have developed scripts for iBot and sold or re-sold those scripts,"

It hasn't ended yet, those that have purchased these programmes are just about to be subject to Jagex's continued wrath - there isn't any way I wouldn't make an example of all of those taking advantage of the iBot and hit them with at least lifetime bans also.

If you circumvent rules of a game once, you'll certainly look to do it again, and if one cares about something enough to pursue illegitimate means to progress themselves, they shall definitely care when their accounts are destroyed.

Kopikatsu:

Andy Chalk:

Along with having to fork over an unspecified but inevitably hefty amount of money, Impulse is also forbidden from providing information on how to hack Runescape, its employees are permanently banned from any and all Jagex games and it must transfer ownership of its websites to Jagex and destroy all bot code. It's even legally barred from commenting on the case, although it did issue an apology to Jagex and acknowledge that it was in the wrong.

Ouch. Still, I do hope this sets some kind of precedent. People who use bots/trainers are terrible people and should feel terrible. (Yes, Escapees. I made a blanket statement. COME AT ME, BRO!)

rune scape is a terrible game that should be renamed to grindscape. considering how long it takes to get one skill to 99 let alone 5 or 6. wanna make money go fish farming for 20 hours and rake in the money. wanna get the best armor? well go fish farm or enemy farm till you get enough supplies or money to buy or make the damn thing.

if runescape wasn't so tedious and boring to level up skills there wouldnt be much bot use. and how do bots hurt the company anyways? you still gotta be a member if you want to access all the skills/weapons/armor/world anyways.

keiskay:

Kopikatsu:

Andy Chalk:

Along with having to fork over an unspecified but inevitably hefty amount of money, Impulse is also forbidden from providing information on how to hack Runescape, its employees are permanently banned from any and all Jagex games and it must transfer ownership of its websites to Jagex and destroy all bot code. It's even legally barred from commenting on the case, although it did issue an apology to Jagex and acknowledge that it was in the wrong.

Ouch. Still, I do hope this sets some kind of precedent. People who use bots/trainers are terrible people and should feel terrible. (Yes, Escapees. I made a blanket statement. COME AT ME, BRO!)

rune scape is a terrible game that should be renamed to grindscape. considering how long it takes to get one skill to 99 let alone 5 or 6. wanna make money go fish farming for 20 hours and rake in the money. wanna get the best armor? well go fish farm or enemy farm till you get enough supplies or money to buy or make the damn thing.

if runescape wasn't so tedious and boring to level up skills there wouldnt be much bot use. and how do bots hurt the company anyways? you still gotta be a member if you want to access all the skills/weapons/armor/world anyways.

As a former Runescape player, bots harm the community and they wreck the ingame economy.
Yes the bots still pay membership, but thousands of legitimate players get fed up and stop playing because whats the point when half the people on a server are botting.

Wonder how many accounts they'll lose now that all the bots are gone. I remember Aion's subscription numbers dropped by about 75% once they started banning bots.

keiskay:

Kopikatsu:

Andy Chalk:

Along with having to fork over an unspecified but inevitably hefty amount of money, Impulse is also forbidden from providing information on how to hack Runescape, its employees are permanently banned from any and all Jagex games and it must transfer ownership of its websites to Jagex and destroy all bot code. It's even legally barred from commenting on the case, although it did issue an apology to Jagex and acknowledge that it was in the wrong.

Ouch. Still, I do hope this sets some kind of precedent. People who use bots/trainers are terrible people and should feel terrible. (Yes, Escapees. I made a blanket statement. COME AT ME, BRO!)

rune scape is a terrible game that should be renamed to grindscape. considering how long it takes to get one skill to 99 let alone 5 or 6. wanna make money go fish farming for 20 hours and rake in the money. wanna get the best armor? well go fish farm or enemy farm till you get enough supplies or money to buy or make the damn thing.

if runescape wasn't so tedious and boring to level up skills there wouldnt be much bot use. and how do bots hurt the company anyways? you still gotta be a member if you want to access all the skills/weapons/armor/world anyways.

It doesn't really hurt the company (at least not that much), it hurts the other players. It allows for a bot using player to out compete all the other players in the game. This is why I hate the people who made these bot and those that use them. Fucking piss me off. I am pretty happy to see bot programmers getting what they deserve.

keiskay:
and how do bots hurt the company anyways? you still gotta be a member if you want to access all the skills/weapons/armor/world anyways.

According to Jagex, almost all bot users were gold farmers and thier bots were paid for with stolen credit cards, meaning that they ended up having to pay that back.

It may sound like its not much, but 2 months ago over 60% of the active playerbase was banned for bot-related offences.

Plus Runescape has a player-driven economy, so with bots doing all the tedious labor almost no one could make a decent earning with gathering raw materials.

gigastar:

keiskay:
and how do bots hurt the company anyways? you still gotta be a member if you want to access all the skills/weapons/armor/world anyways.

According to Jagex, almost all bot users were gold farmers and thier bots were paid for with stolen credit cards, meaning that they ended up having to pay that back.

It may sound like its not much, but 2 months ago over 60% of the active playerbase was banned for bot-related offences.

Plus Runescape has a player-driven economy, so with bots doing all the tedious labor almost no one could make a decent earning with gathering raw materials.

Hey, they're only doing the work that Americans players don't want to do.

OT: Don't play runescape, but I found this to make me happy.

God damn, this game still exists?

The botters were such a problem that I quit SIX YEARS AGO. I mean, fuck.

Funny that I see this here first, not on the Runescape official site (former player, but still follow the news and community).

For those asking, 50-60% of the player base disappeared when the bots were banned (the "Bot Nuke", they called it, which was a large change to the underlying code that, amazingly, didn't affect how real people played the game but, if I understand the programming properly, completely changed the object and class structure that the bots took advantage of), so it was large, but not catastrophic.

Botting has always been a big deal with Runescape -- they completely changed the way the game operated in December 2007 to make botting not worth it, then changed it back last year -- so it's good to see them making so much headway towards getting that under control.

And to the people I've heard talking about the real problem being grinding -- they know, and it's something they've been working on -- not just a change you can make to the game overnight.

Despite playing it for a period of over two years, I despised this game with a vengeance. However, I always thought that Jagex were fantastic in what they did do to the game and the community - adding random events that both served to break the mundanity and to further their own attempts to stop bot, thus managing to to not affect normal players in any way.

Rubbish, mind-numbing game. But it's nice to see Jagex get a win that they thoroughly deserve.

Maybe it wouldn't be so easy to make such bots, if the gameplay consisted of something else than clicking on a spot and waiting. But still, using (or making) bots is pointless and evil.

Is ANYONE else concerned that Jagex is actually getting customer details from them too? That just reeks of "WTF".

I like the fact that bots got banned. I don't like exactly how it happened: "copyright infringement, circumvention of technological protection measures and even computer fraud."
The second is just DMCA, just ugly but legal. The third one is odd while the first one is WAT. I fear for the future.

People who bot aren't half as terrible as the people who put huge amounts of grind into their game. Grind is anti-game. It isn't fun. It doesn't add anything to the experience. It doesn't even balance gameplay.

Knowing that, I see botting as a purely reactionary response to a bad gameplay mechanic. Does it suck for everyone else who isn't botting? Depends: (PvP or PvE.)
But even then, you're trying to defend a poorly-designed game when you defend grind.

(hacking that changes the parameters of the gameplay on the other hand, I don't agree with at all. Botting will enable someone to reach an established threshold quicker; it doesn't actually increase the threshold. Bots that replace a players' skill like aimbots, obviously don't count here, as they effectively change the rules by eliminating skill from skill-centric games)

Atmos Duality:
snip

Well, honestly, if you* don't like the grind, don't play the game. If that truly is the main focus of the game (I don't know, last time I played runescape was about 8(?) years ago) then you know what you're getting in for when you start playing. If grinding isn't your style then you shouldn't be anywhere near it.

Botting is just cheating, it goes against the point of the game. To me its no different from buying a top level character in an MMO cause you can't be bothered to level it up.

* You as in people in general, not specifically you.

I think the only game I ever botted in was ROSE Online. It wasn't very popular and it took, if I recall correctly 1.5 years for the first person to hit max level. And this dude was a korean super gamer who played 16 hours a day.

It was the biggest grind i've ever seen.

Ilikemilkshake:

As a former Runescape player, bots harm the community and they wreck the ingame economy.
Yes the bots still pay membership, but thousands of legitimate players get fed up and stop playing because whats the point when half the people on a server are botting.

The fucked up economy boat has long since sailed. I haven't played the game in about decade and I remember the 100 million gold items people sold quite well. The Runescape economy envies Zimbabwe's economic prowess.

Electric Alpaca:

Andy Chalk:

"In the next few weeks our websites, domains, code and customer details will be passed over to Jagex along with details of all those people who we know have developed scripts for iBot and sold or re-sold those scripts,"

It hasn't ended yet, those that have purchased these programmes are just about to be subject to Jagex's continued wrath - there isn't any way I wouldn't make an example of all of those taking advantage of the iBot and hit them with at least lifetime bans also.

If you circumvent rules of a game once, you'll certainly look to do it again, and if one cares about something enough to pursue illegitimate means to progress themselves, they shall definitely care when their accounts are destroyed.

Actually, depending on what kind of person we're talking about here, bots are usually throwaway accounts gathering for either black market profit, or personal gain without as much risk depending on how your IP addresses are handled. The largest offenders haven't had any personal risk...up until now.

As for the WTF about getting customer details, it was kind of their risk when they decided to give them to an entity operating under shady means...

Although the main details are omitted, the settlement was "in excess of six figures" and the losers had to pony up the house they got with their botter money.

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This is not the house of an honest person.

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you know it is funny
the second i read this i immediately downloaded the ibot program, and i dont even play runscape.

weirdguy:

This is not the house of an honest person.

Coincidentally, that house isn't half as nice as Kim Dotcom's 30 million NZ mansion.

Freyar:
Is ANYONE else concerned that Jagex is actually getting customer details from them too? That just reeks of "WTF".

...Pretty much every company ever collects and hands out your details. Why do you think you get so much junk mail all the time?

must transfer ownership of its websites

Ouch... Impulse is a good game developer and they are dealt this heavy of a blow? Holy god-diggty monkeys. That's practically saying "Hey guys, Zygax now owns Impulse due to a bot program."

That is a freaking harsh sentence and I don't think the judge knows it.

So much fear. Will it ever change?

And.... unleash the hate for Runescape!!

Seriously, I have some good memories of that game. I loved it, and still do. I don't play it much anymore, but I started playing it about 7 or 8 years ago. It got too tedious to level up (most of my skills were in the 80s or 90s) so I eventually stopped playing regularly. I still pop on for a bit. I think I've still got membership running on my card.

Sovvolf:

Well, honestly, if you* don't like the grind, don't play the game. If that truly is the main focus of the game (I don't know, last time I played runescape was about 8(?) years ago) then you know what you're getting in for when you start playing. If grinding isn't your style then you shouldn't be anywhere near it.

Grind isn't a "style". It isn't even a legitimate gameplay concept or mechanic.
Grind is this and nothing else: A mechanic that deliberately wastes the player's time.

Prepare yourself: This is about to get long, and for that I apologize.

Botting is just cheating, it goes against the point of the game. To me its no different from buying a top level character in an MMO cause you can't be bothered to level it up.

1) "Botting is just cheating, it goes against the point of the game."
Actually, botting does not go against the point of the game.
Think about it: The point of most MMOs is to "level up" so that you can overcome greater obstacles. Botting accelerates that process; it doesn't replace it.

If the sole metric of challenge is a player's ability to withstand hours upon hours of boredom, IT ISN'T A LEGITIMATE GAME.

2) "...because you can't be bothered to level it up."

Stop and think for a moment. Why does this bother you? It isn't your character, it isn't your gameplay experience that is being altered*
(*assume for a moment it doesn't. Don't worry, I'm addressing where it actually does later)

The only difference between you and that botted character, is that they spent much less time grinding than you.
So what? So they spent less time playing. They didn't suddenly make the game worse for you.
You (ultimately) get access to the same quests, the same items, the same bloody *EVERYTHING*.

So by that logic, the only reason you would care is if you are jealous. And the only reason you would be jealous is that you didn't enjoy playing the game that long to get to that level.

You had to GRIND to get to where you are, and they didn't. Therefore, the GRIND is to blame.
It didn't add anything to your experience, it just artificially lengthened it.
Now for those caveats I mentioned earlier.

Caveats and rebuttals for thus:

i) "Botters ruin the player-driven-economy"
So they do. But you know what gives real-life value to those items the botters and gold-farmers sell?
Grind. The value of an item is based largely on two things: Its availability and its usefulness.

"Usefulness" is a function of the metagame, and doesn't tie into grind at all on its own (beyond the trend that developers place the most useful/powerful items at the highest rarities, but this is an arbitrary decision on their part).

"Availability" however, is a function of economics...Ahh.

So...
If everything were readily available, but not necessarily useful, then it becomes a game based purely on execution (after some trial-and-error to eliminate the weakest metagame choices of course).
But...
If everything were not readily available, then the value of any given item would increase by simple Supply and Demand; AMPLIFIED by usefulness.

So when an item is only valuable because you have to waste your time doing lots of mechanically-easy, but boring busywork to find it, it's hard to justify an entire economy comprised of those items.

ii) "Botters ruin PvP because they have better/twinked characters"
First, I need to make this clear: In order to be fun and balanced, PvP games MUST be based on planning and execution. You are matching your wits and skills against another player. That is the primary motivator for "friendly"(no-stakes) competition, no?

FACT: When you deny players an even playing field to start with, it isn't balanced.

"But earlier, you said that everyone ultimately ends up with the same stuff, which means everyone has the same options. Therefore, it is balanced"

I did, but this assumes two conditions:
1) That every player is given an unlimited amount of time to attain everything/access to everything.
2) And that the metagame conditions do not change (patches that introduce a new tier of gear, for example. Muck with existing skills, etc).

In practice, that isn't the case, and it is here that Grind has profoundly NEGATIVE effects.

In a game based purely on strategy/execution, grind isn't needed. At all.
That player with the ultra-rare gear? Why is it ultra-rare? Because the drop rates are low.
In this, again, time = power (or value, in connecting it to the economy).

For a normal person to acquire that gear (and thus the edge in PvP), they need to be exceedingly lucky, or have a lot of time to waste doing the same damn thing over and over again.
Even in the best case scenario, you have turned PvP at least in part, INTO A GAME OF CHANCE, NOT SKILL (execution/strategy).

That is NOT legitimate gameplay design; not for PvP.
Even Professional Gamblers play games of numbers with which they know the bounds and the odds.

Playing PvP in which the entire game hinges on you getting a trinket that drops 5% of the time at the end of an hour long dungeon, is akin to playing a slot machine that (on average) pays out once every 20 HOURS.

And that's assuming you play SOLO. Add more people into the mix, more people who all wanted that item? You've now added a denominator to that 5%. With 10 people for a party/raid, that rate becomes 1 every 200 HOURS.

It's gambling: Only instead of directly betting money, you bid your free time.
You think the botter's cheating is bad? The House is worse.

* You as in people in general, not specifically you.

No offense taken in any case.

I love how most people here act like they've never played an MMORPG before. I agree, Runscape is 90-99% grinding, which is completely aweful, but then so are most MMORPGs. The thing is though, it's big and it's multiplayer.
But, more importantly, it's free to play, which is something people have to rely on if they can't afford to buy a better game, for which I can't begrudge them. The people I will begrudge, however, are those who ruin the experience for other players by hacking into the game.

1. The status quo means that Jagex won't change their game until the players actually want it to change. The players who did want something else left.

2. In order to preserve the status quo, Jagex has to waste their time chasing these people down to enforce their rules.

If they change, they lose their remaining customers. If they don't go after the bots, they lose their remaining customers.

Easy choice, right?

gigastar:

keiskay:
and how do bots hurt the company anyways? you still gotta be a member if you want to access all the skills/weapons/armor/world anyways.

According to Jagex, almost all bot users were gold farmers and thier bots were paid for with stolen credit cards, meaning that they ended up having to pay that back.

It may sound like its not much, but 2 months ago over 60% of the active playerbase was banned for bot-related offences.

Plus Runescape has a player-driven economy, so with bots doing all the tedious labor almost no one could make a decent earning with gathering raw materials.

About 60% of the users still cant make a decent earning due to the whole gambling phase that happened around the time of the bot nuke. long story short, poor players are unable to catch up due to the cost of leveling specific skills to match others but also need those skills to rake in the dough. And so the spiral of FUCK continues.

Actually for noobs, there are many things that do make decent money that you wouldn't think about and allow you to get a leg up (iron ore prices in particular are too high to make sense), but the struggle continues anyway.

I see a lot more opportunity for them now than before, however it would require them to know more than they usually would.

Atmos Duality:

--snip--

Well, you made some interesting points there. But what I don't get is why you seem to hate this game with such a passion. I get your point that grinding is a bad thing; I agree, but I also get the point Sovvolf is making that if you don't like it, you don't have to play it.
After all, speaking from my own perspective there are a lot of things that I don't like and I have my opinions about those, but that doesn't mean that I have a problem with people playing certain games that I personally don't enjoy.
Do I think Runscape's a bad game? Yes, I would say that the grinding is dispicable. But that doesn't mean that I think it shouldn't have the right to exist, if not as a vent for the developers' creative minds, then for all the people who do enjoy it.

ares556600:
People play runescape still? And wait the verdict was that it's better for people to click trees for hours than get a life and have it done automatically? And how do this negatively affect Jagex don't tell me they're doing micro transactions now.

*sigh* Yes, people play RuneScape, the number of members since the bot nuke has consistently been increasing. It has a huge and (since said bot nuke) healthy community that is full some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet.

There is grinding, but there is far less than there used to be, and there is easily enough variety that can make the entire experience extremely enjoyable. Players should be getting a life and joining friends chats, clans, teams, social groups and so on to do alongside the grinding. If you can't be sociable, then it's no wonder the world is so boring.

And Jagex have explicitly said they would never do micro-transactions in RuneScape. To this day, they've kept their word.

Fawxy:
God damn, this game still exists?

The botters were such a problem that I quit SIX YEARS AGO. I mean, fuck.

When something like this happens, you know something's gone wrong somewhere.

Ziadaine:

gigastar:

keiskay:
and how do bots hurt the company anyways? you still gotta be a member if you want to access all the skills/weapons/armor/world anyways.

According to Jagex, almost all bot users were gold farmers and thier bots were paid for with stolen credit cards, meaning that they ended up having to pay that back.

It may sound like its not much, but 2 months ago over 60% of the active playerbase was banned for bot-related offences.

Plus Runescape has a player-driven economy, so with bots doing all the tedious labor almost no one could make a decent earning with gathering raw materials.

About 60% of the users still cant make a decent earning due to the whole gambling phase that happened around the time of the bot nuke. long story short, poor players are unable to catch up due to the cost of leveling specific skills to match others but also need those skills to rake in the dough. And so the spiral of FUCK continues.

Well, im not sure what you mean by that. There are various gathering skills you can do at almost no cost assuming you dont have the tools to raise money to train the other skills.

Also you dont need to use Soul Split on slayer assignments, its simply the best self-healing method to use and so people reccomend that first. Research your alternatives, basically.

And as far as i can see with the gambling phase, if people were stupid enough to break the games very clearly defined rules to do it, then they deserve to fail.

Did you just try and justify things like BOTing? Guess what it's their game and if they don't want BOTs, a 3rd party can't infringe upon their code (copright violation as stated) and create one. And it's like you never played an MMOPRG before. Half the people only play to show off their new shiney toy they worked so hard to get. If everyone has one, the effort isn't worth it. Thus they may not play, thus people leave and the studio is harmed. I don't see how this suit is a bad thing.

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