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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Botting is a Weird Word

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Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16001

OP  7/04/13 9:28:50 PM#1

Botting is one of the dirty words in MMOs today. In our latest Devil's Advocate, botting is the subject du jour. See why we think "botting" is a weird word and then tell us what you think of the subject in the comments.

For those of you who don’t know what botting is, it’s the practice of using a third-party program or some assemblage of commands or code to repeatedly automate gameplay actions. By “repeatedly,” we’re talking about the “running around a predetermined path killing things and looting them and selling the goods for gold for hours on end” sort of automated gameplay. 

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Devil's Advocate: Botting is a Weird Word.

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Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom



Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 8334

7/05/13 12:30:05 PM#2

I've never used a bot, and never will. It's just not my thing, on a number of levels. I particularly hate battle ground botters. Every single mmorpg ever made has had botters though. From WoW, to GW2, to Age of Wushu, they all have bots.


Bots can be damaging to in game economies to varying degrees. In WoW I believe the battle grounds were far more disruptive than mining bots. On the other end, I believe mining/farming bots destroyed GW2 economy. When Vendoring mob drops nets more than placing on the market there, are serious issues.


Now, in Wushu there are farming bots, as in mining, wood cutting etc. Strangely I'm kinda glad they're there. It takes a lot of material to craft what you want in Wushu. The botters along with normal player competition keeps raw material prices relatively low. I know what some are thinking, "what about the people mining." I know, they make less. The first manufacturing tier that uses those materials makes roughly 60% profit  though, and that tier is open to everyone one within the first hour of the game. It's about as close to a win/win as it gets. 


As far as the botter risk reward mindset, the concept is new to me. As scary as i am when it comes to that type of thing, the risk is too high. I can see some feel differently though, especially those in it to make real money. 


I still against botting. In a perfect world there would be no cash shops, bots, hackers, or team practice breakers. Sadly that world has not been built. I'm still holding on to the dream though.
J.O.B. Daggerfalls BEST Gank Crew


Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/29/10
Posts: 6

7/05/13 12:42:38 PM#3
Anyone remember Ultima Online's way of handling unattended game play? The player would be sent to jail and he would have to interact with a live GM. You would be stuck in jail until explained what you were doing and why. It was up to the GM to release you from jail.

Novice Member

Joined: 5/25/04
Posts: 104

7/05/13 12:53:47 PM#4

yes Botting is just thieving form a different point of view. Like a shoplifter once said to me when we caught him red handed. "It's not hearting any one". Shure and where does the store get the money to buy what you stole, not from a money tree for sure.  

Botting hurts the game, the players who are not botting, the whole community by direct and in direct ways it is a form of cheating if you will.  


Novice Member

Joined: 7/18/10
Posts: 3213

Veni, Vidi, Converti

7/05/13 1:48:12 PM#5
Very interesting article. You've shared your findings on the mindset of the botter and how it's a sort of gamification gamble activity  itself, what sort of "best practices" or textbook egs did you dig up??

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/30/11
Posts: 239

Wookiee. Jetpack. Lifeday moomoo. Flying into the SWG sunset on Lok.

7/05/13 1:49:17 PM#6

SWG had a fairly detailed macro scripting language, allowing you to automate a lot of the more tedious tasks fairly easily. It also allowed people to bot fairly easily, and it was a fairly lucrative business at times. For example using a Doctor, you could load him up with medic packs, charge people an entrance fee to your house, then sit there unattended while the doc buffed people. It was a great money earner, my Doc was sitting by the Mining Outpost on Dantooine which used to be a big grinding spot back long ago. So yes people hate bots, but they also hate having to wait for buffs and many other inconveniences that lead to botting in the first place....

Moreover why is botting 'bad', but setting up harvestors instead of mining by hand is not? And why is botting for items / resources bad, but using pets / sidekicks / henchmen to auto-attack and auto-heal you is not bad? It's a bit blurry at times....


Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/18/11
Posts: 1199

7/05/13 1:49:25 PM#7

Weird exactly. Semantics.

1 persons bot is another's "game-breaking-theft".

FFA PvP deals with bots BTW. Kills them dead.

Also this: I could site several actions that many many many players do on a everyday basis, that are just as damaging.

For one: Freakshow farming in CoX. (Loved that btw)



Novice Member

Joined: 10/13/04
Posts: 148

7/05/13 2:59:53 PM#8
Originally posted by Four0Six

Weird exactly. Semantics.

1 persons bot is another's "game-breaking-theft".

FFA PvP deals with bots BTW. Kills them dead.

Also this: I could site several actions that many many many players do on a everyday basis, that are just as damaging.

For one: Freakshow farming in CoX. (Loved that btw)


This is the elephant in the room for this discussion. If farming 24/7 in some way presents a danger to the environment. Then the hardcore 80+ hour gamers also present the same danger. While they may not go 24 hours straight they are far more efficent in gathering resources than a bot.  The impact on an individual basis would be the same.

The practical problem with that thinking is that no reasonable person would ever engage in such behavior for that long a period of time (clearly I under estimate the will and tolerance for monotony of our hardcore gamers though). Because of this the amount who do this should be rare enough for the economy to absorb their aborations of normal expected play. Bots cause problems not because of what they do, but because they raise the occurance of this over-consumption of resources. They make what is normally rare a common occurance esspecially if the bot can be easilly setup by everyone that plays. 

It's this communistic like equalising that breaks the economy. Either you bot or you are left behind economically. But if that is the case, then why is powergaming any more acceptable. Either you Powergame and invest 80+ hours a week or you are left behind economically.

Now clearly the developers have set rules where they authorize powergaming and not botting. One way of "breaking the economy" is considered correct while the other is "cheating" but that distinction is subjective. It's all simply because the developers declared it so, not inherant to the rules or mechanics of game itself. Accordingly, this style of design is completely dependent on the concept that everyone can't "powergame" only a small percentage can. If large percentage of the playerbase could powergame wouldn't that also ruin the economy in the same way a huge percentage of bots would?



Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 581

7/05/13 9:24:20 PM#9

The thing is, 99.99% of the playerbase does not ppowergame. It's never a large percentage. And even the most arduous powergamer can not farm as much as a boat. You can farm for 24 hours straight, maybe 48. But 80 not. In a week yes, but thats over 50% of the time "wasted". Also don't forget that you can have more then one bot running, and that nothing keeps powergamers from using bots. If you say powergaming is okay, botting is okay, why would powergaming and botting not be okay? Now people have to do both to keep up.

It's just that botting is far easier to regulate then powergaming. Either you are moving your character, or nobody does. This also does apply to people sharing accounts. You or nobody.

Whereas powergaming..where does it start? 4 hours a day? 6? 8? 10? 20? What if i play 10 hours one day, but only 1 the next? What if i play 4 hours the next day?

Like in the real world, the arms race will not end if you start it. You will not create balance by allowing botting, it will only limit the amount of people being able to enjoy the game to even less people, as you have to play a lot and use bots, which means you have to have multiple accounts, multiple computers probably, all have to run 24/7, which means noise, lots of heat, often light, and of course the power..which costs, too. So you managed to start another arms race, that of who has more money for computers and power etc. You happy? ;)

I'll wait to the day's end when the moon is high
And then I'll rise with the tide with a lust for life, I'll
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And then we'll limp across the land until we stand at the shore


Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/13
Posts: 259

"You are mine, I'm yours, and if we die, we die. But first we'll live." Ygritte

7/05/13 9:45:15 PM#10


Mmm botting is bad.....mkay?

Jokes aside.

Under any circumstance I feel botting is a terrible practice.

Its basically cheating. I stopped cheating at board games when I was like 7.

Ya know why? Cause it was stupid. Now making money and cheating?

Kudos....but still really really frakked up.

MMORPG Gamers/Developers need a reality check!


Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/17/10
Posts: 11

7/06/13 4:23:51 AM#11
Botting makes for a fantastic secondary income irl as well. I've been automating and selling Eve Online accounts for years. The nice part is the way CCP "polices" the game is it is extremely secure for the buyer. All they do is ban the account that sold the character (was extensively tested by informing them of transactions after they were done and reviewing the results)

Sure people cry about it breaking stuff and being unfair, but it isn't the case if you don't even play the game. The only "edge" it gives me over another player is that I turn a real life profit off of a $0 investment. People who buy accounts and resources from me never complain, in fact they are grateful someone has been doing the work for them for years.

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/01/10
Posts: 259

7/06/13 4:44:25 AM#12


Why are bots at the stock market ok but when it comes to games they destroy the economy?


Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 2969

The Critical Hit Pretzel!

7/06/13 4:47:39 AM#13
I prefer the term 'Using a script'. Longer but botting or hacking just gives people false credit like the people doing them actually have the smarts to do things themselves. Don't want to give false credit now. :)

Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 6557

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver". - Niccolo Machiavelli

7/06/13 5:02:56 AM#14

when talking about bots the first game to come to my mind is Silkroad online. A bunch of server with 24/7 full population.... more than half are bots. According to their own forums (i read it a couple years ago) you had to pay real money to be granted priority log in and if the servers were full they would force log out a free player to give you the spot.


Silkbot Online.... a bot nest.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

7/06/13 7:00:04 AM#15
Originally posted by Alumicard

Why are bots at the stock market ok but when it comes to games they destroy the economy?

They do destroy the economy.  Most of the population of the world eeks out an existance of being constantly being pushed from one career to another escaping waves of automation and machinery, trying to find roles in society which are difficult to script.  It is only the ever-increasing complexity of our technology creating new roles servicing the bots that prevents the entire game of reality from collapsing.


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/13/10
Posts: 181

7/06/13 7:12:48 AM#16
Originally posted by maplestone
Originally posted by Alumicard

Why are bots at the stock market ok but when it comes to games they destroy the economy?

They do destroy the economy.  Most of the population of the world eeks out an existance of being constantly being pushed from one career to another escaping waves of automation and machinery, trying to find roles in society which are difficult to script.  It is only the ever-increasing complexity of our technology creating new roles servicing the bots that prevents the entire game of reality from collapsing.


Well said. Maplestone! Note also that bots cannot compensate for human idiocies like lying, so stock market disasters can happen if you always let automated process override human thinking. 


Case in point: I wrote an article in April about a potential stocks disaster that was caused by a tweet that bots thought was legit, but that humans could see was a fabrication. Quick checking averted a potential issue in the US stock exchange:

A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

Can also be found on


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/18/04
Posts: 840

Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done. -Lao Tzu

7/06/13 7:33:12 AM#17

That's funny; in my game of choice, we use the word 'Botting' to mean 'Killing bots' (NPCs).  Game mechanics are such that botting (as the term implies in this article) for gain is practically impossible.  I say 'practically' because someone could potentially run a script to set up a virtual vendor selling goods.  Collecting loot?  Not so much.

The comment about the stock market made me smile.

"To be what you are not, experience what you are not." -Saint John of the Cross
Authored 110 missions in Vendetta Online
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Novice Member

Joined: 6/15/12
Posts: 38

7/06/13 9:09:35 AM#18

I remember full on botting to supply my guild with potions and food in WoW as well as the personal goodies one can bot for.

Funny thing is as much as i bottted, (usually several hours a day) I was never able to amass as much wealth or impact the servers Eco as much as our guilds AH camper.  He had over 500k in gold just from sitting at the AH buying low and selling high, and that was only from a few days of work.  Me I would bot for over a  week and only manage around 200k.


I really do question this whole "it damages the economy" line.

1 has anyone proven that it does in fact damage a servers Eco?

2 if so, is its impact and damage comparable to other "game breaking" tactics?

3 Money is built into these games as a grind mechanic so, those who choose to automate the most boring "time sink" aspects of the game would obviously piss off the devs. If only because they have circumvented a built in time sink that would normally only benefit the devs pocket books.
Remember every minute,hour,day you spend grinding is a day the devs get payed for. “If you ant grinding, we ant getting payed”


By botting one is effectively cutting out the fat of the game, the pointless crap that is designed purely for the purpose of eating away at time one could spend...i dunno actually playing the game.

After a while with botting in WoW I realized that WoW had almost nothing to it that was not just a mind numbing grind anyway.  In the case of games like wow, (IMHO) they really are designed for bots more than for humans anyway.


I could have automated my entire "WoW life" if i had wanted to, and never logged back into the game. What does that say for the depth and complexity of the game in general?


Novice Member

Joined: 4/06/12
Posts: 603

7/06/13 9:18:51 AM#19

I used to bot in EQ2. Problem with holy trinity games is that sometimes it's very hard to find groups that have the right composotion. I had my main/tank which I controled manualy and a healer and dps which were controled by the bot program. Actually programming the bots was quite fun and a good intro into basic scripting.

A friend of mine also ran a 3 man bot team and we would team up to do group content such as dungeons. We weren't trying to make loads of money and we never used the bots offline. We just wanted to experiance the game's content. Another guy in our guild had a 6 bot team and we would team up with him to do easy raid content, 3 from me, 3 from friend one and 6 from the last guy which made a 12 man raid team made up of just 3 people!

We did't make a nuisance of ourselves and camp contested mobs. Like I said before it was due to wanting to play the content of the gam but the game mechincs of grouping made that difficult.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/26/12
Posts: 90

7/06/13 9:40:56 AM#20
Don't confuse botting with multi boxing. Multi boxing requires that the account holder control every action of all the characters he plays. Follow nad assist are normally transmitted - but they are wheter one person is playing several accounts or several people are.
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