A court case held in Germany last week between World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment and Bossland GmbH, the makers of the controversial (yet popular) Honorbuddy automation bot, has concluded in Blizzard's favor. Bossland GmbH is no longer allowed to sell the bot in Germany. This ruling marks the end of a multi-year case between Bossland and Blizzard.
Honorbuddy allows the user to automate specific actions within World of Warcraft. Using these features, players are able to let the bot do whatever the user wants without user interference, like leveling characters, collecting crafting components like herbs and ore and it's even possible to program the bot to automatically use spell rotations during fights, making clearing the game's endgame content or the game's PvP features completely unfair for players who don't want to use the bot. The company also offers similar bots for other Blizzard games like Hearthstone and Diablo 3.
Because of this, the German Federal Court of Justice has concluded that the software is "anti-competitive" and as a result can no longer be sold to consumers in Germany. This has led creator Bossland to change how Honorbuddy's subscription service works in a blog post on the official Honorbuddy forums. Users who bought a lifetime license will now have manually repurchase the license because it will automatically expire after 2 years of usage. If a user already owns a license for over 2 years, they will need to buy a new license as well. Users who live in Germany can request a refund if they bought the lifetime subscription in the last 5 years. Users attempting to connect to the authentication servers will be blocked if the login attempt was sent from Germany.
In the post on the Honorbuddy forum, Bossland states that this "is not over yet" and that they will continue to develop the popular bot, which is still available for purchase by users in countries other than Germany. Notable was Bossland saying that this court case came with a win for them as well, saying that they believe the court decided that reverse engineering the game was allowed.
While this is definitely a win for Blizzard Entertainment and the concept of fair play in World of Warcraft but don't expect botting to be over anytime soon. The results of this case may support Blizzard in ongoing cases between them and Bossland in Wales and England.
What do you think of the Honorbuddy ban in Germany? Let us know in the comment section down below!