EQWatcher Evolution > Is This Safe? > EULA
Before you read on, let me make something very clear. And that is this... Do Sony Online Entertainment (which includes what was previously Verant) employees visit the EQWatcher web site? Yes, of course they do. They have hit the web site over 50 times in the last year, and that's just the ones visiting while at work. Have any accounts been reported banned or suspended for using EQWatcher? No, of course not. You don't need to take my word for it, it would show up on EQ news sites. Hundreds of people discuss EQWatcher on the forums here and sometimes even on the official EQ boards, clearly indicating their character names and servers. Some of the people on the forums here have previously (maybe currently, who knows or really cares) been involved in the guide program. And it really wouldn't surprise me in the least if any Sony employees themselves used EQWatcher. Now on to the myths...
The first question that comes to any EQ player's mind is this: Does this violate the EQ End User License Agreement (EULA)?
The most common misconception (please notice the bold red word) is this "You may not use third party programs"
However, this is not what the rule says nor is it what the rule is intended to say. The EULA can be read at the following URL http://eqlive.station.sony.com/support/customer_service/cs_EULA.jsp, but because the EULA is long and boring and it is a common practice to skip most of it and just look for key words, rumors get started such as "You may not use third party programs". Again, this is very common but definitely not what the EULA says.
What the rule actually states is this: "You may not use any third party software to modify the Software to change Game play." (again, please notice the bold red words)
Keeping this in mind, any rumor such as "You may not use any third party programs" should now be dispelled.
Quickly going over some phrases... "third party software" refers to any program that is not published by Verant or Sony. Some examples include MS Windows, DirectX, virus scanners, ICQ, WinAMP, AOL, but obviously not limited to these examples as ANYTHING is third party software. One reason they note "third party software" is because their own software modifies their own software (every time you download a patch, etc).
Now, a list of what the EULA and Rules of Conduct are intending to say, in words that most of the population should understand, cross-referenced with the corresponding rule numbers (just in case you don't believe me, read it for yourself):
- You may not view, alter, or interfere with the actual transmissions from the EverQuest game to or from the EverQuest servers. (rules of conduct #11)
- You may not "HEX EDIT", HACK, OR CRACK (i.e. MODIFY) the EverQuest software to change game play. (rules of conduct #5, EULA #9)
- You may not run a sever emulator, nor play on one (rules of conduct #13 & 14, EULA #9)
- You may not look at the EverQuest software to see "exactly what it does" (i.e. REVERSE ENGINEER) (EULA #7)
You want to know what they're banning? ShowEQ and all of the little 10 year
olds on those message boards sharing their information on how to make your
character run at maximum speed, or make every class have mend. That's what is
banned. Not log parsers.
EQWatcher does not, and will not, modify EverQuest. Nor will it act as a macro program for you. EQWatcher is designed specifically to NOT violate any of the rules, while providing some excellent features. EQWatcher's only method of input is reading from the EQ log file (which contains EXACTLY what you see in the chat window while playing, with the exception of a time/date stamp for each line), and reading from the EQ notes file (which contains notes that you yourself type while inside EQ by typing /note and then whatever you're noting).
Verant applies the same rules to EQWatcher as any other third party software. Other examples of EQ-related software include EQParse, Everlogs, EQCaster, EQ interface designers, mapping programs, any eqclient.ini editors, etc.
Sony Online Entertainment has been aware of EQWatcher since August, 2001, the same month of the original release. They are aware of what the EULA says as it is explained above. Some employees of Verant/SOE will tell you that they "feel all third party utilities change game play and are therefore a violation and you may be banned for using them", which is actually not true. EverQuest players are banned all the time for using things that actually DO violate the agreements (ShowEQ, hacking to run at maximum speed, hacking to make every class have mend, etc). There has yet to be one single case of a user being banned for using a simple log parser.
If you do not wish to use EQWatcher I do not care, it is your choice and I will provide it for you should you choose to use it. A quick note to those who want to proclaim to the world about their holy quest to tell everyone that using EQWatcher will get you banned: This is not a new topic. This is an old topic. Over and done with. Until a single person gets banned, there is no reason to spread rumors like the ones dispelled above. There IS a possibility that a GM may believe this is against the rules, and there IS a possibility that someone may be banned by that GM. GM's generally have better things to do than worry about what the EULA really says, and make the same mistake as many players do. GM's do not actively seek out people using log parsers, and unless you make a fuss about it and shout it out they will never even think to send you a tell or ban you. If you are in a conversation with a GM about the topic of log parsing, kindly ask them if they have read the EULA and if they can tell you word for word what it says (if they have a copy of it handy) -- it's quite obvious to most educated folks what EULA term #9 says, and even your precious GM will lose this argument.
Should someone be wrongly reprimanded (such as being suspended or banned) for something not prohibited by the EULA, there is contact information at the bottom of the EULA for complaints (copied here): The Complaint Assistance Unit of the Division of Consumer Services of the Department of Consumer Affairs may be contacted in writing at 400 R Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, or by telephone at (800) 952-5210. This is the State of California department, not a part of SOE.