The gorilla named Winston, from Overwatch.

The gorilla named Winston, from Overwatch.

Deleware-based Blizzard Entertainment filed suit in United States Center District Court on July 1, 2016 against Bossland GMBH, a foreign corporation based in Zwikau, Germany, for producing commercial game cheats that give players unfair advantage in Blizzard games World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, and the newly released smash hit game Overwatch. 

The hacking systems are called HonorBuddy, DemonBuddy, StormBuddy, and Hearthbuddy (collectively referred to as the “Buddy Bots”). The fifth program is called Watchover Tyrant, which is the Overwatch cheat. This cheat was released mere days after the initial release of Overwatch on May 24. Blizzard is suing Bossland via a provision in the DMCA which specifically prohibits the decryption of encoded traffic between applications for the purposes of perversion of, or profit from, the original work.

Bossland is potentially liable for damages, according to Blizzard’s attorneys, because they actively advertise and sell their work in the State of California (via the Internet), and have established a commercial presence there by opening bank accounts and performing other general business functions in the state (if they had not done this, Blizzard would have a much harder time prosecuting their complaint against Bossland).

Blizzard, with its main offices in Orange County, California,  isn’t completely defenseless. They do have an anti-hack system called Warden, which is programmed to detect operational signatures of various known hacks. The Bossland hacks are something Blizzard claims has been engineered specifically to avoid detection by Warden. Bossland charges for the hacks, too, about $15 a month on average, and even offers annual subscriptions.  By contrast, Blizzard spends prodigious amounts of money countering these hacks and sanctioning the players who use them. There is real money being lost here. The exact amount Blizzard spends annually on problems like this isn’t covered in the law suit. You can read the entire filing here.

We are not lawyers, but it looks an awful lot like Blizzard has Bossland dead to rights on this one.



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