Starcraft II was released this summer to great fanfare. The rabid fan base of the original 1998 PC real-time strategy game Starcraft had kept the game relevant for a decade, and the anticipation and eagerness of the world felt eased for a moment following the release of the sequel. However, as with any game that thrives on multiplayer competition, there are those who will do everything in their power to circumvent the walls that were put up by the developers to control gameplay. As the saying goes, “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.”
Apparently, Blizzard isn’t pulling any punches.
On September 14th, Blizzard issued a formal warning via their Battle.net webpage to anyone who dared cheat at Starcraft II, threatening that their account would be permanently banned from the game. Half of a month later, Blizzard followed through on the threats and banned over 5,000 Starcraft II players. Though, it appears that they are not finished dishing out the punishments.
Gamespot reports that Blizzard is filing a legal suit against three programmers, dubbed the creators of the Starcraft II hack system which the banned players had been using to cheat. The suit states:
“Just days after the release of Starcraft II, Defendants already had developed, marketed, and distributed to the public a variety of hacks and cheats designed to modify (and in fact destroy) the Starcraft II online game experience. In fact, on the very day that Starcraft II was released, representatives of the hacks Web site advised members of the public that ‘our staff is already planning new releases for this game.'”
Ultimately, the charge is for copyright infringement, but Blizzard is using the angle of the damaged user experience, falling just short of claiming emotional damages.
“The harm to Blizzard from Defendants’ conduct is immediate, massive and irreparable,” the suit claims. “By distributing the Hacks to the public, Defendants cause serious harm to the value of StarCraft II. Among other things, Defendants irreparably harm the ability of Blizzard’s legitimate customers (i.e. those who purchase and use unmodified games) to enjoy and participate in the competitive online experience. That, in turn, causes users to grow dissatisfied with the game, lose interest in the game, and communicate that dissatisfaction, thereby resulting in lost sales of the game or ‘add-on’ packs and expansions thereto.”