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Back in October, Blizzard Entertainment filed a lawsuit against Alyson Reeves and her company Scapegaming, for violating the end user license agreement of World of Warcraft by setting up a private server for her own profit. On Thursday, the California Central District Court ruled in favor of the game maker and ordered Scapegaming to pay back "$3,053,339 of inappropriate profits, $63,600 of attorney's fees, and $85,478,600 of statutory damages." What, you ask, is a private server, how do you make a profit off of it, and why is it against the EULA? Allow me to explain.
Over the past few days, there have been a number of World of Warcraft news items that our official Azerothian correspondent has skipped lightly over, in a effort to keep from seeing spoilers. Only recently did she realize why there had been such an influx of information, and of what kind. This wasn't just a few rogue screenshots, or leaked zone maps. Turns out, someone in the NDA protected Blizzard Friends and Family Alpha allowed the entire alpha client to reach the wild world wide web. Every file of Blizzard's incomplete Cataclysm expansion to MMO juggernaut World of Warcraft, is available for anyone on the web to download, install, and begin to mine for data. This includes every bit of the game's new visuals, detailed information on changes to game mechanics like class talents and new achievements, and story spoilers. WoW.com (an unofficial World of Warcraft news blog) is calling it "one of the largest and most complete game leaks ever."