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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Are developers powerless to truly stop bots?

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94 posts found

Novice Member

Joined: 9/06/07
Posts: 42

10/06/12 5:00:13 AM#81
It's a fact that it would be almost impossible to weed out bots for good for any game that has some sort of success and a conventional farm/craft system or monsters dropping money. "stop buying gold" doesn't really work as well in reality as it does in a utopian parallel universe. I think the best way a game could battle bots is to  make it hard for them to get the gold in the first place, by introducing a crafting system that is different from what we're used to. If there are no nodes or monsters to farm for money, it would be hardly worth it for the bots. 

Novice Member

Joined: 2/01/12
Posts: 20

10/07/12 12:13:54 PM#82

Nope they are not powerless.  Developers are entirely capable of stopping the effective use of bots.   The exception is that some people like to make bots for the sake of making a bot.

The game systems need to be designed in such a way that the use of bots is simply ineffective.  Here are a few ideas.

  1. Allow pvp with rules for looting.  Example: PK when both combatants engage at close to equal HP/Mana % and equal number of combatants allows for a portion of gold and inventory to be looted upon death.  Can make it a rewarding sport where engaging at a disadvantage allows for greater rewards on victory.  With game rules such as this, bots will become loot pinatas.
  2. Level cap content so that the world remains dangerous at all times.  (Hard to farm content that can wipe the floor with you)
  3. Allow monsters that kill you to destroy a portion of carried gold and items.  (Couple this penalty with the previously mentioned idea)
  4. Remove grind type of gameplay entirely.  Its been stated already but its worth mentioning again.  If a player has incentive to grind then the developer is doing it wrong.
The imagination is the only real limit as to how bots can be effectively dealt with.

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/16/12
Posts: 195

10/07/12 12:19:24 PM#83
If there were zero bots everyone would start to wonder where the sellers get all the gold. Then the game makers wouldn't be cashing in on their cut as easily.

Elite Member

Joined: 4/29/10
Posts: 2951

OP  10/07/12 1:54:05 PM#84
Originally posted by midmagic


It really isn't a problem with program memory being readable. Readable program memory simply makes the task easier. A bot can be built to require two computers (or one computer running two VMs if the Warden is not pushed down into VMM or just one computer if the Warden is not in the OS). One computer runs the game client. The other computer runs the bot. The bot computer supplies mouse and keyboard input to the game computer and reads the game computer screen using a camera. It costs slightly more to do it this way. Plus, there is nothing to detect aside from the behavior of the bot which can be made human like enough that detection is too computationally intensive (via MachineLearning/AI) for the game servers.

It costs a LOT more in terms of development hours to write bots that simply read the display image and run using that.  But yes, if memory was unreadable by other apps then that's where bot development would move to.


Elite Member

Joined: 4/29/10
Posts: 2951

OP  10/07/12 1:56:19 PM#85
Originally posted by Heinz130

Lets the bots farm and the n00bs buy from em,whatever

That's minimizing the affect a bit.  In games where good lott drops from random mobs the bots can flood the market with items on the AH.  It's much worse than just gold sellers.  The gold sellers also flood the market with gold thus increasing teh prices of everything on the market.


It's downright catastrophic in a game like D3 where all items can be farmed by mobs and then sold for cash.


Elite Member

Joined: 4/29/10
Posts: 2951

OP  10/07/12 1:57:09 PM#86
Originally posted by Mawnee
If there were zero bots everyone would start to wonder where the sellers get all the gold. Then the game makers wouldn't be cashing in on their cut as easily.

Do you think George Bush caused 9/11 too?


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 6403

10/07/12 2:57:33 PM#87
Originally posted by FrodoFragins
Originally posted by Quirhid
Whats the "teleport hack" OP is referring to?

Most MMO's check player movement on the server side.  GW2 trusts the client and thus botters can write client side code that sends packets to the server saying they are now instantly in a new position where a mob spawned.  It allows bots to port all over the place.  It's an easy hack to catch but GW2 isn't even catching those.

Well you need that for the action combat everybody wanted.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/02/12
Posts: 511

10/07/12 7:00:23 PM#88
I think that the only solution (beyond the anti-bot programs) is the mmos to strive to don't have nothing simple, repetitive or "standardized" to be done in exchange for reward.

"What we are aiming in ArcheAge is to let the players feel the true fun of MMORPG by forming a community like real life by interacting with other players, whether it be conflict or cooperation." (Jake Song)


Novice Member

Joined: 8/21/07
Posts: 127

10/07/12 10:15:53 PM#89
They need to change the TOS to where they are actually able to do something to the company that has the bots and the people.

Novice Member

Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 957

10/07/12 10:25:02 PM#90
Originally posted by FrodoFragins
Originally posted by Quirhid
Whats the "teleport hack" OP is referring to?

Most MMO's check player movement on the server side.  GW2 trusts the client and thus botters can write client side code that sends packets to the server saying they are now instantly in a new position where a mob spawned.  It allows bots to port all over the place.  It's an easy hack to catch but GW2 isn't even catching those.


That is just so sloppy. I mean really no Online MP game should be working like that in this day & age....

Novice Member

Joined: 3/05/10
Posts: 1098

10/08/12 2:11:03 PM#91
Originally posted by Quizzical

For example, the first time a bot is initalized, it could roll a random number and store that number forever.  (I.e., check to see if there's a saved random number, and if not, then roll one and save it in a file where it will be found in the future.)  Each time the bot program is loaded, it rolls a random number and then stores that one for the duration of the session, but a new random number the next time the program is loaded.  And then each time the character has to move, it rolls a third random number.  And then any time the bot has to move, the distance it moves is the "ideal" distance (what it would be with no randomness) plus the sum of the three random numbers.

I don't think you understand, or else you're underestimating the power of data analysis (or overestimating the usefulness of a random number generator). Summing 3 random numbers does not make the regularity any more difficult to detect.

In the example you gave, let's say that one computer has a permanently stored value of 2709 (milliseconds). And its random number for the duration of the session is 1370. And each time it moves, it rolls a third number between 100 and 3000. The sum of these three numbers determines how many milliseconds it moves in one direction before changing directions. Over the course of the session, it moves a few thousand times. The recorded values of how far it moved each time form an almost perfectly distributed set of numbers between 4179 and 7079.

This looks nothing like the data that would be generated by a human player. In a single session, a human player might move in several different directions per seconds, then run in a straight line for over a minute, rapidly change directions again, then run for 3 minutes with only a few turns, then afk for 15 minutes. There's nothing regular, nothing robotic about the way a human being moves around.

If bot creators could collect a lot of data on how real players move, it would be possible (but still difficult)  to make a bot that couldn't easily be distinguished from a human player. But A.) they wouldn't be able to collect that data, B.) they wouldn't even know that straight-line distance was what was being tracked, and C.) there are dozens of other values that could be tracked at the same time.

To stop bots, you don't have to make it impossible to bot, you just have to make it not worth it. A high enough success rate on immediately finding and banning bots means that gold farming operations won't be able to keep accounts running. It also means that players won't be tempted to risk botting for even one quick session. It just makes so much more sense to identify and ban bots rather than getting into the arms race of preventing them from working at all.


Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 13628

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

10/08/12 2:25:42 PM#92
Originally posted by Muke

devs have some issues:

1) they lose sub money with a ban. although bot susually open up a new account.

2) how to remove illegally earned money?  trade etc

3) they have to retrieve solid case it would end up in a legal battle.

None of those are issues.

1) The money and resources lost to a banned bot account are nothing compared to what's lost by the people leaving or avoiding playing.

2) Not a problem in any MMO.

3) For most MMOs, there's no legal issue that I've ever seen, however I'm sure you can find a link some odd incident from some Asian game to back your stance on that one.

Blocking or banning botting is difficult because devs don't want to create a mechanic or banning system that inconveniences their legitimate users. There is no One Solution, as the problems and symtoms are unique to each MMO.

Also, with the mindlessly repetitive way that people play MMOs now, in some games regular player behaviour is almost indistinguishable from a bot save for the greater effectiveness of the latter in most cases.


There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein


Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/11
Posts: 1126

What is "real"? How do you define "real"?

10/08/12 2:26:55 PM#93

I don't think devs will ever get rid of bots completely and I think Anet's idea of trying to prevent botting has backfired.  That being said, I think Anet is going in the right direction with creating a live team specifically dedicated to dealing with issues like botting, gold selling, and account stealing.  That is how botting will be marginalized, by cracking down on it and having people that are able to deal with it quickly.


I think we just need a little patience with Anet to let them get their teams up and running.  If we don't see improvements in say, a month or two, then we'll know they just can't handle it.  At that point, we'd all have to decide if we wanted to keep playing or not.  That would be a tough decision for me as I love the game but the botting/gold selling is getting ridiculous, I think.

You want me to pay to play a game I already paid for???

Be afraid.....The dragons are HERE!


Elite Member

Joined: 8/27/04
Posts: 8321

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

10/08/12 5:35:05 PM#94

Well if just adressing the botting on creatures,it is most certainly doable.

Create a 5 second delay from the time the code activates a draw to the time it actually draws.Then put a check in place on every player that checks to see if players are targetting before the actual 5 second draw phase.The best deterent is to automatically remove all their gear/items and currency when this is triggered.

One more check is needed and that is to check for constant claim times.If every claim is exactly 5 seconds after the code initiates the draw 30x in a row then you have a bot.Then once again the trigger would remove all gear/items/currency.

Then players would see who is cheating.Best way to deal with cheats is to not even confront them,just continue to have them naked until they  finally give up cheating.This automation would free up GM support for other issues.

Of course it would be possible IF they knew this was the deterent to just change the claim times to random numbers.Not likely they will figure it out,most likely they will figure they are just encountering a bug.

it is really tough but would be nice if the games update say every 12 hours to change the creature code.Example Boss ORC=EE8P then 12 hours later it changes to EE4L,have all creatures change the number rotation so that the scripts can't target them.To work properly,this would have to be figured into the code from day 1,as nobody is going to manually change them every 12 hours.

If they  are targetting pixels or names then you need systems for that.I  am sure there are smart coders that can think of ideas to combat all cheats,if they really care.
Samoan Diamond

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