the rantings and ravings of a not quite sane cow

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A More Serious Cow Post: WoW Add-On Policy

As you may (or may not) know, Blizzard has released a new add-on development policy for World of Warcraft. I thought since I make a couple of mods (however small), I should comment.
Not buying it? I felt like ranting. Better?

I don't see the real problem here. Some mod developers have ragequit, and while I don't agree with every single part of the policy, for the most part I do. Let's have a look at the policy, piece by piece.
1) Add-ons must be free of charge.
No objections here... we pay enough to play the game. I'm not sure who'd pay for a mod, either, considering there are generally free alternatives available. It is very rare to actually force a user to pay for a mod, but I have no problem seeing that going.
I'd like to point out that if my code is ever hard to understand, that's because it's the way I program, not because I don't want you reading it.
2) Add-on code must be completely visible.
Again, no problem. While I can understand some people might not want the mod copied (or its functionality replicated), I'm a great believer in open standards and competition.
3) Add-ons must not negatively impact World of Warcraft realms or other players.
This is actually a fairly fine line. Obviously this means no spamming or doing things to deliberately bog down realms (I don't know how, but I'm sure it's possible). On the other hand, I've seen plenty of mods that can be annoying in several other ways (like ones that yell a random message when you mount), but I'm not sure whether that counts (probably not, as long as there's not too much of it).
4) Add-ons may not include advertisements.
No, really?
5) Add-ons may not solicit donations.
This is the one that has many people annoyed. It specifically allows you to request donations on a web site, but not in-game. Personally I have no problem with mods asking for donations, as long as it's once, when you log in (preferably in the chat log), or in the options pane... but I don't want it popping up during gameply. The problem with only allowing you to ask for donations on a website is that many people (myself included), use an mod manager which updates without us ever needing to visit a website. I would change the policy to severely restrict asking for donations, not removing it entirely.
6) Add-ons must not contain offensive or objectionable material.
I get more than enough of both from Blix's Eyesight Enhancing Romance Goggles, thanks.
7) Add-ons must abide by World of Warcraft ToU and EULA.
Wouldn't expect more from the mods than from the players, would we now? The only people who'd have problems with this would be the ones violating either, and they're not the people I want playing the game.
8) Blizzard Entertainment has the right to disable add-on functionality as it sees fit.
While you may not agree with some (most) of their methods, Blizzard only wants the best for you, whether you realise it or not. This part is pretty standard for basically any closed system, though, and it's basically to stop developers exploiting the system and getting away with it for any length of time.

And that's my rant.

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