Tobold's Blog
Monday, March 23, 2009
 
Addons and rights

Anyone remember the mazzlegasm? Two years ago there was an addon for World of Warcraft called MazzleUI which to advertise itself had your character /yelling "I've had an intense Mazzlegasm" across the entire zone, and many of the users of that addon didn't find that funny. WoW addons can do nearly anything you can do, including things your personal code of honor or decency wouldn't let you do. For example it would be easy enough to have an addon send a whisper advertising some gold-seller to everyone on your friend list and in your guild. So obviously there are acceptable and inacceptable uses of the power of addons, and somebody has to make rules where the line between those is. Blizzard posted the rules last Friday, and not everyone is happy. Because besides the obvious prohibition of offensive content and gold spam, the rules also make it harder for the addon authors to make money. Addons must be free of charge, may not contain hidden code, may not advertise themselves in game, or ask for donations in game. Authors are still allowed to ask for donations on their website, but they say that isn't enough.

The author of Outfitter has gone on strike and withdrawn his addon, and action which would have had more significance if upcoming patch 3.1 wouldn't make Outfitter obsolete anyway. The author of Questhelper says he currently making a full income from donations, and might not be able to keep that up if his addon doesn't ask for donations in game any more. And of course there is Carbonite, an addon you need to pay for to use, which recently developed a "Free2Play with advertising" version, which is rumored to have sparked Blizzard's new rules.

I think the Outfitter example shows well that addon authors never had many rights. Like so many addons before it, Blizzard is simply introducing the addon functionality in the standard UI in patch 3.1, making the addon obsolete. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if some future patch introduced functionality to WoW similar to Questhelper's one, other MMORPGs like WAR are already marking quest locations on the map. So relying on income from an addon was never a really good idea. But Questhelper was downloaded over 20 million times from Curse in its various versions, and the author rightfully claims that his addon has more users than many MMORPGs. Shouldn't that give him any rights? No, legally it doesn't. Because his addon piggybacks on World of Warcraft, and would be completely worthless without WoW, Blizzard is the sole holder of any rights. Blizzard can change the LUA addon language at any time, or even disable it.

As some readers noticed, the problem is that few people play without addons, and addons have become increasingly complex. Even the players who constantly complain that WoW isn't challenging enough have their addon directory loaded full of little programs that make raiding much easier, from threat meters, to addons warning of boss abilities, to healbots. Players have become too dependant on these addons, and now authors threatening to withhold them pose a real threat. But us having become addicted to addons doesn't really give the addon authors any rights, only some power to inconvenience us.

I don't think addons were supposed to get this complex, or to make their authors rich. Blizzard was allowing fans to add to the game, and not people to make a living with unauthorized secondary WoW products. So I find the rules they did set up quite reasonable. If those rules decrease the income of the addon authors, thereby preventing them from working on addon full time, and thus limiting addons to smaller, less complex things, that could ultimately be better for the game anyway. The "convenience" of addons might already have gone too far, removing some vital game elements and making WoW too trivial. I wonder if people would still find Naxxramas "too easy" if they would run it without any addons.
Comments:
Yup, that seems pretty sensible. I think I too am just a little uncomfortable with professional modding. Maybe some of these people who want to make a living out of coding will go write us some alternative games instead of things like Carbonite.
 
I don't think I'd do nearly as well in Naxx if I didn't pop up Recount after every boss-fight was over. Statistics are fun.
 
This is a shame for people who are losing out on money because of this, but it was bound to happen as soon as people started putting ingame add into someone else's product. If I were the Questhelper guy, I'd hurry up and start making some software of my own or turn this success into another new job while the iron is still hot.

Blizzard is in control of what information is exposed to the client, so it's a conscious decision on their part to allow things like threat to be hooked into by addons.

The big problem that addons cause in my mind is not that they give people too much information, but that they create too large of a disparity between the informed and the uninformed. How can the game be balanced to be interesting to people that have a threat meter, without being way too hard for people that don't have one.

Blizzard just needs to decide that having a threat meter is part of the game and incorporate a bare-bones version of one into their default UI. In general they're very good about integrating popular aspects of mods into their vanilla UI, such as scrolling combat text and itemcompare. They just need to be more aggressive about this and get all their players on the same page so the game is easier to tune.

In the case of questhelper, what they should really do is put in map highlights for quests in a player's quest log.

Mike
mikedarga.blogspot.com
 
I think Blizzard have overstepped the mark here.

Donations aside, if it wasnt for addon devs we would have not in-game SCT, threat meter, outfitter (in next patch).. How many other addons have Blizzard ripped off and implemented?

Every one that gets added to the client makes their game better and leads to more revenue as the game improves. So where is the compensation to the addon devs for their work in the first place? Blizz devs will have been paid for the time it took them to implement a threat meter into the client but without Omen and its equivs, would we have an in-game threat meter?

Blizzard have gone too far when you look at it that way. Their game client would not be the way it is today if it wasnt for unpaid addon devs that rely on donations to give incentive to support addons. Blizz just made it that much harder for them to be compensated while at the same time unashamedly incorporating free addons into a subscription based game.

Something to think about.
 
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It seems like this is a lose-lose. I don't really see what either Blizzard, the players, or the addon developers would have to gain from complex and extremely useful addons like QuestHelper shutting their doors. It seems like biting off their nose to spite their face.

Personally, I'd prefer that addon creators were able at least to solicit donations, if that results in more choices and a better gameplay experience for us
 
First, let met say that MazzleUI was a great addon packet. Used it for quite some time and loved it. Mazzlegasms included.

These addons are filling in gaps in the default UI. I couldn't imagine playing without my itemrack addon. It makes switching gear sets (tank/dps/resistance/...) a ton easier. And it allows me to just hover over e.g. weapon and see all the weapons that fit in that slot. A lot easier then searching my entire inventory for the item. So yes, an addon like this is essential to my gameplay. But the only reason it's useful is because Blizzard didn't implement it in the first place. Addons are there to fill in those gaps!

There are two views on this:
-> Blizzard should give a full blown UI. Threat meters, equipment, bars, bags, boss addons, full maps,...
-> Blizzard should give a minimal UI. Let the community do the rest.
I'm with the second camp and so is Blizzard. If Blizzard sees some addons become unmissable, they'll implement them theirselves just like they are now doing with itemrack or have done with Anti Spam addons. Although they'll implement it *worse*. I'm still using SCT because the one Blizzard included isn't nearly as good. And the new itemrack will without doubt be worse then what we have now. They should just stay off these addons and let the community handle it, they do a better job.

As for making money with writing addons. Nothing wrong with that. I think most of you underestimate the amount of work that goes into developping an addon. And nothing is reliable: your whole addon might stop working or become obsolete next patch because Blizzard changed something. Really frustrating and takes a lot of time to just keep an addon working. In fact, I think Blizzard should support addons more. Hold competitions for the best addon and reward their authors. Even go as far as sponsoring the best authors, they are improving your game after all.
 
Maybe Blizzard got the idea that modding got out of hand. The tiny mods became megabyte-sized mod packages, complete ui replacements and some mods even have the -"bot" in name, despite not being proper bots, they are very close.

Blizzard incorporated a lot of mods in their UI. Basically, they let fans develop their UI for them. The "Outfitter" programmer can go on strike as much as he wants, his mod is done, Blizzard put a similar function it in their default UI by now.

IMO: Fuck Mods! Abolish them completely. Give people lots of options for customization, and be done with it. Furthermore mod authors should not waste their creativity to improve the UI for Blizzard for free, or charge money for their mods. Just let it be.

WoW has a macro-function ingame by default, and I think even that was a bad idea. If the game is bad enough that we have to use macros to get over repetitive chores, they should focus on making a better game, not better mods/macros to take away the burden to play this game for the player...
 
P.S.: Maybe raids would be more fun and take more skill without a boss mod...? Food for thought. :)
 
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This game would be more challenging without mods, but then again some parts of the game were built around the idea that most people used some mods. Chromaggus in BWL was basically built around the concept that raiders used decursive 1.0 He would have been a stupidly irritating fight back in the day without that mod. I could live without mods, but some things in the default UI really do suck. I'm talking simple things like the ability to focus and watch timers on your debuffs. I use a mod tell me when, that allows me to have large icons with timers for my feral-cat debuffs. Why does the standard UI debuff timers have to be micro-sized and right under the bosses nameplate?

At any rate, mods will still continue to exist. Some will drop out, others will take their place. We survived loosing decurse, we can survive a few others dropping off the radar.
 
All Blizzard is saying is that mod authors cannot charge for the mods and cannot run in-game ads for the mods or in the mods. I don't see any problem with any of that. Blizzard is not preventing any mod author from asking for cash donations for mods on their websites. I really don't see any problem with Blizzard's stance on any of this. It's sensible and, frankly, is even generous. They are still allowing modders to solicit for donations.
 
"Players have become too dependant on these addons, and now authors threatening to withhold them pose a real threat."

A real threat? Pfffft - if an asshat add-on developer takes his toys and goes home, someone will just step in and take over whatever void was left in his wake.
 
Why Blizzard would cripple the biggest source of 'improvement' to their game is beyond me. Everyone always clamors how 'polished' the Blizzard UI is, and it's nothing more than Blizzard doing a copy/paste of the best work modders put in. If the most talented ones pack up and leave, what little change Blizzard already puts into WoW will diminish even further, not to mention piss off the same talent pool when StarCraft World needs UI help. God forbid someone making money fixing the oversights of Blizzard design...
 
"In fact, I think Blizzard should support addons more. Hold competitions for the best addon and reward their authors. Even go as far as sponsoring the best authors, they are improving your game after all."

I do agree with you on that Carra. I think Blizzard should reward developers with money or prizes, and also renown. Maybe sparing a little of the Arena Tournament shows/money/prizes for them?

Or doing something like Google Summer of Code (http://code.google.com/soc/). The guy that developed EP/GP (http://code.google.com/p/epgp/) probably earned a fair amount of money and a certificate by programming under Googles program. Maybe Blizzard could recognize and incentivate the work of those who improve their game by doing similarly. And that will also probably create a stronger link between the two parts.
 
Is letting somebody get a wee bit of revenue off of their add on really too far? I mean really, how much do you think those Chrome guys were making? I would guarantee their annual revenue is a rounding error to Blizzard. Trying to quash the aftermarket and reserve all profits to the main company is a fantastic way to make sure your product stagnates.
 
Maybe Blizzard could change their addon system into something like the iPhone app store from Apple.
You'll have one (safe) system to get your (free, or priced) addons.
The addons which require you to pay for them, would let Blizzard take some of the profit too, just like Apple does on the iPhone apps.
And on top of that, Blizzard will get to review and approve every single addon, before anyone is able to use it (legally).
 
Your most interesting comments are in the closing lines: That we’re better off without complex addons, because they are making the game to easy.

Now that’s fundamentally at odds with everything “El” taught me. I instinctively don’t write guides to aspects of the game I think are to easy. And then I write that content, and it becomes more popular than everything else. For example, I did not have a detailed “fishing leveling” guide until last year. From my perspective, it’s not hard. But those leveling guides are now some of the most popular individual pages on the site.

That’s just one example of how “make it easier” appears to equate directly to more, happier customers. The best addon developers and content providers are responding directly to this logic. And MMOG history appears to reflect it: Hardcore games don’t sell in volume, while ultra-casual (flash-like) games can enjoy huge audiences.

Which leaves us with a interesting design dilemma. Do you attempt to define and limit game difficulty, and then strive to prevent everyone optimizing (the fun out of) it? Or do you respond to the demand for easier games, by making easier games?

(On the core topic, my analysis is here - http://timhowgego.com/de-analysing-blizzards-add-on-policy.html )
 
"is even generous. They are still allowing modders to solicit for donations."

I cannot understand this sentence.
WoW Original UI is totally inadequate for doing anything else than simple questing (and i do stress simple).
If you want to Raid and PvP at all, you need the addons. You cannot have boss fights that rely on the boss saying something to the chat window and think that it's enough. For the "challenge" argument, i just reply "alt+Z" would provide a HUGE increase in the challenge, eh?

The point here is that Blizzard opened their UI and they were clever, they been using the inovations in MMORPG UI's created by many hobbyist programers and game designers without paying a cent to any of those. Of course everybody knew what they were getting into, but why this now?

Maybe they are just protecting themselves, before one of those addon startups gets enough money and a good enough case should Blizzard decides to "thank you for the free code and design, we'll now do it ourselves as per the ToS you agreed on." Even with ToS, addons are such a new thing in courts and the legislation is not in place that it will be very much what the judge decides. Imagine if that judged decided in favour of the addon company? Blizzard/Vivendi could very well start writing checks for many would do the very same.

Nevertheless this seems to me a "eat the cake and have it too" situation and that is one of the reasons I dislike BLizzard more and more. They are The Man now and true to the cliché, they are more and more comfortable in that role. This policy is also brilliant for it allows amateur modders to still contribute with the ideas Blizzard likes to steal without the danger of those modders ever becoming a threat.
 
I'm thinking of the backlash should enough popular modders quit updating. Some people may come to take up the mantle, but others may not. If one modder quits, what's to stop the next guy from quitting due to lack of donations?

Can players have an enjoyable WoW experience without mods like Auctioneer, Baggins, Fubar, Boss Mods, Cooldown Timers, or the guilds that happen to use DKP trackers? Can you tolerate using Blizzard's version of SCT, or Outfitter? Can you tolerate the inability to customize your unit frames and action bars because Perl and Bartender no longer update? We already know the SCT mod is superior to the default and I personally think the new default Outfitter UI doesn't compare to the modded versions.

This will be an interesting topic I'd like to see some Blue posts on. I expect some imminent clarification.
 
I don't think one line of text, asking for donations was to much, its not like people chose to either donate or play wow. QH is a great mod, and i used it a lot, till i found http://www.wow-pro.com/leveling_guides/james_alliance_leveling_guide_addon

I think if Bliz put in arrows, and dots on the map, what QH is really useful for would be gone, at least what I used it for.
 
As a Software Engineer I always found it interesting how many people are willing to give away hundereds of hours of development on WoW addons for free. I then find it interesting that the general public that does not know how to write code at all comes to expect this type of software for free.
 
Zorba, the QuestHelper dev, isn't "withdrawing" his mod or anything so silly. What it comes down to is that with the in-game donation request, he makes five times as much money as he did without it. That has, for quite some time, paid for his entire livelihood, and he's treated it as a job, working eight hours a day, five days a week at it. As it stands, if he can no longer make a living making QuestHelper, he's going to finish up the big overhaul he has scheduled for a couple of weeks from now, and then he's going to quit updating it, spending his time on something more enjoyable and/or more profitable. Man's got to eat.
 
You whiners do realize that large numbers of superb mods are maintained for free by hobbyists? And that lots of mods have been abandoned over the years only to be picked up by a new maintainer or replaced by a different mod? Lots of great UI mods will continue to exist in absence of paid mods and in-game begging for money. I can't actually think of any of the dozens of mods I use which even have money begging included so it seems like my UI mod experience will be quite unaffected by this change.

Blizzard has hundreds of thousands of noob players who probably blame Blizzard every time one of their mods breaks. Notice how every patch day they tell us to delete our WTF and turn off our mods? I bet UI mods are responsible for a huge portion of their customer service burden even though those aren't even theirs. Wanting to save money there could easily be a large part of the motivation for this.

P.S. to Pendan: ever heard of Open Source or Linux? I hear that maybe that involves some software engineers giving away a little bit of work...
 
Outfitter is more sophisticated than the ingame proposed "gear switcher." I'm sad to have lost Outfitter, and am trying to get ItemRack to work, but it's slow going. It will be interesting to see if a "player supported" version appears or if Bliz allows ingame, unobtrusive, donation buttons.

QH is more than highlighting where the mob you need is - it has a sophisticated route planner to make your journey more efficient, based on your current quest log. TourGuide has a preset list of quests so the route is static, very different from QH's sophisticated, on-the-fly algorithm.
 
"Everyone always clamors how 'polished' the Blizzard UI is, and it's nothing more than Blizzard doing a copy/paste of the best work modders put in."

That's not even close to being true. Look at the UI updates lately that supposedly came from addons. Are GroupCalendar and the Blizzard calendar really even a little bit similar, aside from the fact that they're both calendars? Are Omen and the Blizzard threat meter separated at birth? Does the new equipment manager look and act like Outfitter to you?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you're blind. In the first two cases, the third-party addon is far superior to the Blizzard product. I am reserving judgment on the equipment manager until I've seen it first hand.

---

This idea that Blizzard is ripping off ideas and code is rather simplistic. Blizzard wrote an entire MMO from scratch (not to mention all their other games). Don't you think they're capable of coming up with their own ideas and generating their own code? I'm far from a Blizz apologist, but in this case, I just don't see fire where you see smoke.

---

Last point. This is something Blizz's legal team assuredly forced Blizzard to do. The instant Carbonite pulled that stunt was the instant Blizzard lost some control of their game. If someone can charge for something that couldn't exist without Blizzard's intellectual property, Blizzard loses. Keep in mind here that as much as we all love our addons, WoW will still function without them. The addons, however, cannot continue to function without WoW. An addon author who refuses to acknowledge this does so at their own peril.
 
This idea that Blizzard is ripping off ideas and code is rather simplistic. Blizzard wrote an entire MMO from scratch (not to mention all their other games). Don't you think they're capable of coming up with their own ideas and generating their own code? I'm far from a Blizz apologist, but in this case, I just don't see fire where you see smoke.

Actually, a lot of what you see in the current UI started life as third-party mods that Blizzard saw, said "Hey, that's a great idea!", and implemented.
 
Why is everyone against someone making a buck these days? What about the concept of "derivative work"? People can code for the love of coding, or they can code for profit, so why take that away? A douche move by Blizzard.

One of the things that I missed the most when I played Warhammer was addons (and a real macro language, and fun...) --it just makes the game more "mine".

The app store for mods is a great idea, and would allow Blizz to take their pound of flesh as well. As a player, I would have some assurances that the mods I install have at least been minimally vetted somehow... everyone wins.

I actually hope that mod authors collectively go on strike and withdraw their mods from all of the major game sites, even if they don't charge for them now.
 
[i]This idea that Blizzard is ripping off ideas and code is rather simplistic. Blizzard wrote an entire MMO from scratch (not to mention all their other games). Don't you think they're capable of coming up with their own ideas and generating their own code? I'm far from a Blizz apologist, but in this case, I just don't see fire where you see smoke.[/i]

Obviously you never noticed that Blizzard took many ideas and best practices from former MMOs. I don't want to devalue their effort to combine it to a better game, I've been playing it for too long to do this, but it's far from "from scratch" - there are so many features directly taken from other games. Most of the time improved, but still far from original.
 
Look at the UI WoW launched with in 2004, look at it now, and make a list of how many UI improvements Blizzard added AFTER a modder already made it and got it popular. Now consider how many MORE players Blizzard has gained since that time, in part based on having such a 'polished' UI. This move makes little sense, considering how much Blizzard has profited off the free work done by modders.

Did we not already go through this in the FPS genre, the whole accepting of the community? Maybe Valve should have banned Counter Strike because of website banner adds or some such...
 
Here's a thought....

One of the best ways to get Blizzards attention is to write mods and or addons to various games, not just WoW, but probably especially WoW. Now, I agree that it is a sad day for the AddOn community, and as a programmer I feel for them. Were I in their shoes, I would consider:

1) Blizzard will likely want/need a program like QuestHelper/Carbonite in the future. The reference to WAR is apt there.
2) Blizzard is still hiring like crazy. Just go to their website and take a look at the huge number of job postings. Hell, if I didn't hate Irvine, I'd consider applying myself.
3) Blizzard MIGHT be amendable to contracting the work out to a well organized group. Carbonite comes to mind, despite them likely causing this backlash or at least being the straw that broke the camel's back, as they say. Turn this loss into a win guys. They may not deal with contractors...so..
4) If I were the Carbonite devs, I'd go apply at Blizzard and put that on your resume boys and girls. Even if you don't end up writing the official WoW version of the UI piece that is the spiritual successor of you baby, you might end up writing one for their new super top secret MMO. Wouldn't THAT be cool. ;-)
5) In the spirit of the above remember this addon devs: You may not make enough money off of an addon to be a full time job....BUT you CAN use your addon for your resume and to help you GET A NEW JOB doing something you love from a legit company. Pad that resume. One of the devs that designed Blackrock Depths used a Quake3 map as part of his portfolio/resume to land the job at Blizz. Remember that.

Remember...when life gives you lemons... ;-) ;-)
 
I suspect that Blizzard may have missed a trick here. Why not open a WOW addon store with automatic updating, where third party writers can sell their software for whatever fee they want. Many people would happily pay $1 for Omen, for example. Blizzard could then skim off 25% in return for the server space and managing the transactions. Everybody's happy then.

The App Store for the iPhone is a good model here.
 
Mod aggregators like wowmatrix and curse client will really feel the heat now from mod authors.
 
Ever consider that maybe charging for addons gives players who can buy them an unfair advantage over those who can't. When they're free, not using an addon that provides an advantage then becomes the player's choice. Donations are fine, but asking in-game is the equivalent to selling utensils in a restaurant: sure the restaurant may provide their own, and some diners may want the better utensils, but selling them in the restaurant is just tacky.

But an additional problem becomes clear: not every player knows about every addon, so many players are using addons that make the game easier against players who don't know the addon exists. Addons really shouldn't affect combat at all. Addons like Recount are fine, as combat statistics are just interesting to know, but are entirely useless. But addons which tell you exactly how to do quests or when buffs/debuffs are about to expire or tell you exactly when phases in boss battles change give a player a major, unfair advantage over everyone else.

And a message to all addon authors who think their addon is all that: please PLEASE make it look like it fits. The Blizzard UI is called "polished" because it IS. Knowing the Blizzard UI means that you instantly know how any new UI element works. Settings are found exactly where you'd think they would be. I can't count how many so-called "necessary" addons which are just floating windows which get in the way. Even most that try to blend in blend in poorly, severely breaking UI guidelines for things like spacing and text sizes. There are addons that I otherwise would use if they didn't operate so horrible. Adding a new addon most often causes the intrusive window to appear in front of everything else and scouring a poorly-written readme file for all the various slash commands to configure it. Maybe the reason why Blizzard doesn't want people to charge for addons is because the vast majority just aren't worth paying for.
 
Your comment that addons might make some parts of the game too easy is a little off, though- raid content is and always has been balanced around the assumption that you're using mods like boss timers, threat meters, advanced raid frames, and (back in vanilla, before they broke it) decursive, so to use those sorts of addons isn't making the content too easy, it's bringing it down to the intended difficulty level.
 
Good move on Bliz and fair (you can't come in my building and put up your ads. Whoever said let everyone make little cash out of it. yeah wait until people come into your business and start making money off of your hardwork) though.. I'd love to have all mods removed as well.
 
@Vndead

This isn't a building, or your business. The are mods to an open source system. The internet and most "soft" products are not treated the same as your brick and mortar buildings. When Blizzard created their UI with open source in mind they created an enviroment for outside programmers to create content for their game. I'm not going to try and come up with a simple analogy, it is what it is. If you can't see the difference comparing a rabbit to an orange isn't going to make it any clearer.
 
nope Nobs, if you read the rules, Bliz said they don't want the ADS to be INSIDE the game. You can advertise all you want outside the game. They drew the line where Carbonite tried to make money by clutter the game with adware.
 
You are incorrect in your assumption that Questhelper has no inherent rights because it deals purely with World of Warcraft. You may be able to argue that certain elements and types of copyright remedies may not be available. There are at least two books out that deal with coding for WoW addons. They are piggybacking on WoW - but that doesn't mean that the authors have no rights. There is a custom keyboard made specifically for WoW, with limited to no usefulness without the game - this doesn't mean the creator's have no legal rights to it. Blizzard themselves made two expansion packs that are useless without the original. This doesn't mean that Blizzard lacks any rights in the Burning Crusade software that they had in original WoW. The fact that something is designed to interact only with something else doesn't preclude rights. Otherwise people who make pencil sharpeners are going to wake up very upset that they don't have rights to their productions.
 
I'm happy Blizz did this. I could see a future where some of the more popular addon authors would look at Carbonite or QuestHelper and think "hey, that guy's making a living off of this! Maybe I could too!" What if all of the raid frames worth using were only available if you paid them a fee? What about the boss mods many people use while raiding? People who are able to pay those extra costs would have an advantage over those who don't. It's a slippery slope I was worried about ever since I found out about Carbonite. Things like this have happened to other games in the past, I didn't want to see it happen to WoW.

Though I do wish Addon authors got more official recognition from Blizzard. With all the contests Blizz likes to have for comics and fan art and (recently) writing stories, it surprises me a little that they haven't started up a website section for a "Best Addon" contest with prizes and such. I think that would be really cool.
 
"I suspect that Blizzard may have missed a trick here. Why not open a WOW addon store with automatic updating, where third party writers can sell their software for whatever fee they want. Many people would happily pay $1 for Omen, for example. Blizzard could then skim off 25% in return for the server space and managing the transactions. Everybody's happy then."

Couple of problems with this: First, it makes the game more expensive. I don't know anything about iPhone apps, but I doubt there are any that you feel like you need to have to use an iPhone like a telephone or to access the internet. They are games and utilities. If players feel like they can't really play WoW unless they also start to buy UI addons, it raises the cost of playing WoW. I doubt Blizzard sees that as a good thing.

Second, suppose they did this? Now they are required to devote time and manpower to testing these UI addons. They can't very well put something up for sale unless they know it works and are willing to stand behind it. I doubt they want to spend time QAing third party addons.

Third, and possibly most important, if Blizzard starts selling UI addons, it's an admission that their game is deficient. It's saying, "Our UI isn't good enough. We recommend you use these products."
 
if Blizzard starts selling UI addons, it's an admission that their game is deficient.

Nope. It's an admission that one UI cannot please all of the people all of the time and that flexibility and the ability to customize matter more than just about any other consideration when it comes to the UI.

In fact Blizzard have already de-facto "admitted" this when they released WoW with an in-game modding language and programming hooks for people to utilize. It's an admission that as large as Blizzard is, they don't have infinite resources and sometimes people - programmers - outside of Blizzard can come up with ideas that raise the value of the game for both players and Blizzard.

I'm with the "this is a stupid move by Blizzard" camp.

Any way you look at it, addons have helped the game tremendously. They have helped people enjoy the game more and achieve more in-game. Addons make the UI easier to use, prettier and more fun. This is for the simple reason that almost no two (or ten or one-hundred) people want the exact same look and behavior. Addons allow everybody to customize the game to their own personal ideal of "good looking/acting UI). This helps keep people happy with the game instead of frustrated with small UI "features" which annoy the heck out of you but which some dev thought were a good idea. Happy customers are paying customers who stick around instead of growing so frustrated they leave.

Addons are pure win, for both Blizzard and the WoW players.
 
"nope Nobs, if you read the rules, Bliz said they don't want the ADS to be INSIDE the game. You can advertise all you want outside the game. They drew the line where Carbonite tried to make money by clutter the game with adware."
Except no one's forcing you to use that addon software. This isn't like spyware/adware where people can't get rid of the crap on your machine without some crazy fix. Just delete the addon and it's gone. Hell, just disable it and it's gone.

As it is, with the lua code being openly available for addons, it's not like any addon provides what another dozen can't already do.
 
All the people complaining about Blizzard's move here would probably scream bloody murder if the Carbonite model became popular with add-on developers, and you started having to pay for every little add-on you tried out (let alone bought). How many mods do you use? How much are they worth to you?

Blizzard cut this nasty trend off before it got out of control - nobody wants 3rd party microtransactions to become a part of this game.
 
"All the people complaining about Blizzard's move here would probably scream bloody murder if the Carbonite model became popular with add-on developers, and you started having to pay for every little add-on you tried out (let alone bought). How many mods do you use? How much are they worth to you?"

This.

I have easily 250+ folders in my addons folder. Some are libraries, some are addons. Even if, say, 100 of those folders are either libraries or multiple folders for one addon, who in their right mind would drop $100 just to enhance their UI? (I say that fully knowing that there would be enough people to do it to make me cry real tears for people's misplaced priorities.) Why should people who would be willing to drop that kind of dough on addons get such a huge advantage over those who won't or, worse yet, can't?

Before anyone says anything about this game being run from a capitalist country where people with more money generally have lots of advantages anyway, remember that this is a game and we presumably log in to get away from all that crap.

Anyway, I have enough addon spam when I log in as it is. If they all started advertising in the game for donations, or if they all turned into "you must pay for me in 15 days or I'll stop working" nagware, I'd probably quit the game, and I doubt I'd be the only one.
 
Adware is adware.. it doesn't matter if you can remove it or not. It is what it is.

If you created WoW, would you want someone to come in and try to mess it up with all ads? that's why i related this situation to the workplace, WoW server is like their store or amusement park, they don't want anyone to just come in and post ads everywhere. Try to do that to Disney land and see how fast they kick you out or even behind bars.

If you think the game is "jsut a game, not real" oh... yah?? this is multi-billion dollars business.
 
I think a lot of people are missing the part where Blizzard has stated that the developer can solicit donations on their website. See below.

5) Add-ons may not solicit donations.
Add-ons may not include requests for donations. We recognize the immense amount of effort and resources that go into developing an add-on; however, such requests should be limited to the add-on website or distribution site and should not appear in the game.
 
good riddance!
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
Not that you were replying to me, but a simple, "Sorry, but that's not correct," would have sufficed, don't you think?
 
Probably... But you should see how viciously people are defending this incorrect viewpoint on the forums. People who have absolutely no respect for the kind of work addon authors do. I'll delete it and post something more constructive.
 
"Shouldn't that give him any rights? No, legally it doesn't. Because his addon piggybacks on World of Warcraft, and would be completely worthless without WoW, Blizzard is the sole holder of any rights."

Sorry, but that's absolutely incorrect in the eyes of copyright law. The only way Blizzard would have ANY rights over the distribution of independently created programming works would be if they actually derived content from WoW. This means actually including pieces of copyrighted code, artwork, or other media. The vast majority of addons do not fall under this description. Even if they use the WoW API, it's *still* not considered a derivative work; APIs (the function names, argument orders, etc., NOT the code that implements them) have been consistently held not creative enough to warrant copyright protection.

Addon authors own their code outright. Whether Blizzard has the power to prevent the addons from functioning in their game is an entirely separate matter.

And for the record, addons are not inherently worthless without WoW. Some have already been ported to WAR, and others are useable unmodified by the Lua community as a whole.

Oh and one other thing: Blizzard does NOT own the Lua language. http://lua.org
 
"if Blizzard starts selling UI addons, it's an admission that their game is deficient.

Nope. It's an admission that one UI cannot please all of the people all of the time and that flexibility and the ability to customize matter more than just about any other consideration when it comes to the UI."

A lot of these addons go WAY beyond simple UI changes. Omen, for instance. Simple UI addons could be available via Blizzard without them "admitting" to anything, but to sell them would go against the philosophy that you pay for a box and then 15$ a month gives you access to all the content. To be asking players to spend MORE money on the game would probably be met with righteous outrage. For the addons that change the game, like Omen, players just create those to be used as tools (crutches) to make instances/raids easier because they want to maximize their efficiency. Everyone can decide for themselves whether thats a good thing or not, but the developers have every right to make the game they want to- and if players are angry because they can't play the different game (the game as played with gameplay-altering addons) then maybe they shouldn't be playing WoW. If addon developers are angry because they can't make a living by altering the gameplay of WoW then perhaps they should take up a new profession.

WoW is Blizzard's. They own it. They have the right to do anything to it they want. None of us have any right to change anything about the game, all we can do is ask them to appease us. We pay them for the privalege of playing their game. When we start EXPECTING them to give us freedoms with regard to their game we are thinking above our station.

"But you should see how viciously people are defending this incorrect viewpoint on the forums." You are responsible for what you say and do- the actions of others does not in any way validate your behavior. It's my understanding that the WoW forums are full of trolls and whiny brats anyways- so why would you even try to defend your actions by citing theirs? :X
 
Mom, buy me this Warcraft Game, it's only $40 and then another $40 for the BC Expansion and then another $40 for the WotLK expansion and then $15/month forever. Oh, mom, also, I will need $50 for my leveling guide, $50 for my gold guide and $50 for my Raid Addons that will need to be repurchased after every expansion or major content upgrade.

Mom says "It's enough to pay $50 for the game, the expansions and the $15 monthly fees. Now we have to buy addons as well to make the game playable?"

Kid says "You see Mom, without the leveling Addon, I will fall way behind all my friends, without the gold guide, I will be broke all the time and without the Raid Addons I can't raid because all the raiding guilds require them."

Mom says "This game just got too expensive. Pick another game. How about something for your Xbox or PS2? Something that costs just $50, not hundreds."

Paid Addons = Higher price point to enter the game = Fewer new subscribers
 
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