Blizzard has recently filed a lawsuit against German company Bossland, creators of “StormBuddy” bots that enable players to cheat in Heroes of the Storm.
Other ‘Buddy’ bots from Bossland allow players to cheat in other Blizzard games like World of Warcraft and Diablo 2.
According to TheBuddyForum, Blizzard’s legal team approached Bossland freelancer James Enbright (aka “Apoc”) and offered him a deal, the terms of which have not yet been publicized. Under the terms of this deal, Apoc handed over the source code for a Heroes of the Storm bot called Stormbuddy.
“Today Blizzard acted in a manner as shady as possible for a multibillion-dollar corporation. We were informed that the deal compelled Apoc to submit the entire source code of Stormbuddy, which is actually the intellectual property of Bossland GmbH, to Blizzard.” stated Bossland CEO Zwetan Letschew. “We understand that Apoc still had no choice but to take the deal or spend many months, probably years, personally battling a multibillion-dollar company.”
Letschew now accuses Blizzard of copyright infringement: “Blizzard now possesses the whole Stormbuddy source code. There was no permission given by Bossland GmbH, nor were we contacted by Activision Blizzard, nor had Apoc the rights to give out our intellectual property.”
Bossland will sue Blizzard in Germany next week to try to bring the source code deal and terms to light. In the meantime, Stormbuddy has been pulled and its development discontinued.
“We do not know the outcome of this, but we are sure that Stormbuddy can no longer be developed as it is, and that it can no longer be sold,” said Letschew.
Blizzard Strikes Back Against Cheats
On its part, Blizzard is taking an unsurprisingly uncompromising stance. In a statement to Kotaku, a company representative said:
“Bossland’s entire business is based in cheating, and the use of their bots negatively impacts our global player community. That’s why we do not tolerate cheating in our games, and it’s why our players overwhelmingly support that policy.
We’ve already won numerous cases against Bossland in Germany (where they’re based), and despite their tactics to delay the ongoing proceedings and the related repercussions, we’re confident that the court system will continue to validate our claims and ultimately stop the distribution of these cheating bots.”
“We’ll continue to aggressively defend our games and services, within the bounds of the law, in an effort to provide the best possible experience for our players. We want to use this as an opportunity to remind players who might not be aware—using bots, such as those distributed by Bossland, to automate gameplay in our games will result in a loss of access to those games.”
Blizzard has previously won similar cases against companies like MDY Industries , the creators of the now-defunct WoWGlider or MMOGlider , on grounds of tortious interference and copyright infringement, so the bot makers throwing a copyright infringement accusation Blizzard’s way is a brash stand to take.
What Now For Stormbuddy?
It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out and what kind of precedent it can set going forward. It’s hard to have sympathy for people who make a living selling cheating software.
Until all of the Stormbuddy lawsuits and counter lawsuits sort themselves out, cheaters will need to find other avenues if they want to have bots play the game for them.