After finding out that bots do indeed break the TOS:

You agree that you will not, under any circumstances:
A. use cheats, automation software (bots), hacks, mods or any other unauthorized third-party software designed to modify the World of Warcraft experience;

This has me wondering about the difference in using addons from the likes of Curse, ElvUI, etc...

These are third party software designed to modify the WoW experience, yet somehow come these are authorized while the likes of something like, say, a simple mining bot is deemed "a glitch in the matrix".

Granted not everyone wants the default UI but why is it one rule for one and one rule for the other? The likes of DBM makes EVERY fight in the game so easy with it's timed mechanics on raids so this itself is making the user less prone to the full game experience by telling them what's coming up.

I don't feel that automation software and addons are all that different. Using my DBM example it automates the way in which the fight mechanics happen by giving times etc.

So, from that my question is: What is the main difference between bots and addons in regards to breaking the ToS?

  • 4
    I think the key here is: Who makes your character jump?
    – Steinin
    Feb 20, 2014 at 10:00
  • keyword I think is "unauthorized" Feb 20, 2014 at 12:33
  • Well, we all know you want to use bots. Just don't or risk getting banned.
    – Sir Ksilem
    Feb 20, 2014 at 14:42

4 Answers 4


Bots will typically be external programs, they run in their own process and affect the client in ways not intended.

Add-Ons use the APIs that Blizzard have presented, in the Lua scripting language. They run inside of the client. What they can actually achieve is limited by Blizzard so that it doesn't, in their mind, affect the game experience in a detrimental way.

The majority of add-ons will be focused on providing the user more information as opposed to automation of 'bots'.


Bots completely automate a given process without user input beyond installing it. Bots play the game for you.

Addons do not automatically take action on your behalf, while they may provide hints and helpers they perform no action unless you tell them to do so.

In your example of Deadly Boss Mods - DBM only tells you that something is about to happen, it doesn't move you out of the way.

There is still a line beyond which an addon becomes unacceptable in the eyes of Blizzard. This was tested by Vision Boss Mods - which drew movement instructions in the form of lines on the screen to provide you with directions to move and locations to reposition yourself to. This addon was banned during Wrath of the Lich King and using addons like this provides a level of automation that will get you banned.


Addons are highly restricted in their ability to perform world actions without user input - if they try, the action is blocked by the client.

A bot, on the other hand, runs outside the sandbox provided by the game, meaning it can play the entire game without user input. Blizzard cannot control these things.

That is the key difference between bots and addons, and that is why one is allowed while another isn't - human interaction is required in order to make anything useful happen with addons.

DBM may give you timers, but you, the human player, is still responsible for using that information correctly, and that is why it is allowed.


From a technical standpoint, there isn't much of a difference between bots and add-ons. You could, indeed, consider a bot to be a kind of add-on: that is fair. But that's not the key difference. There isn't a different set of rules for bots and add-ons: there's a different set of rules for players and add-ons.

One of the add-on rules could be stated as "don't take in-game actions." This is the rule that bots break. There are lots of add-ons that provide a player with additional information, but that doesn't actually do anything within the context of the game world, so it stays legal (unless the add-on does something else to break other add-on rules, but those other rules are out of scope for this question). A bot, meanwhile, actually fights or mines or does other things that a player could do, and even though this isn't cheating for a player, it is cheating for an add-on. Why? Because that's the rule for add-ons: don't change the game state.

There's a rule for players which closes the loop: "Don't use add-ons which break the add-on rules." As I stated above, the simple act of mining is not cheating for a player, but it is cheating for an add-on. For a player, using an add-on that cheats is its own kind of cheating, and that is why it violates the TOS.

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