Bots; Frustrated long-term player.

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90 Night Elf Rogue
7660
Blizzard,

I'm not going to rage, I understand the community of Bot developers is large for any game, especially an MMO and one of considerable size as WoW. But after playing in the morning the past couple of days, as I get a simple grind in for an hour or two before I work, as I wake up, I have been consistently seeing 4-6 bots per Battleground in each Battleground. This causes frustration, as each time, we get 3, 4, 5 capped considerably fast. I'm sure the Horde feel the pain to, as we are probably coincidentally running into Battlegrounds where they have all players, and I'm sure they see the same fate as we do regularly, too. My first reaction was "This is ridiculous." - followed by a Forum visit leading to a search to see if anything has been said about an increased number of Bots. To much surprise, it seemed like there was an unlimited amount of posts created by other frustrated players as myself, with the same response from Customer Service; "We are aware, and dedicated to working on it.".

If that's true, and for as far back as this frustration seems to go, tell your team to do a simple Google search for the paid Bots (I was actually close to posting the link). It's not hard, invest the $30 into buying the Bots, and counter it's engineering. The $15/month you make from your subscribers should easily handle this kind of funding - because I can imagine the amount of subscriptions you have lost to this increased botting is far beyond what you would have lost in time and money to reverse engineer their bots.

At the same time, with the rate of Bots being reported and viewed consistently, I would imagine a large percentage (maybe 15-20%? - maybe even more) are probably botting and it would be against your profitability as a company to ban so many accounts. If that's the truth, let's put together something more intuitive into our Client to prevent this, where accounts don't need to be banned, but the Client can't be controlled/automated, or at least is disconnected upon consistent repeat of the same path/follow scheme. A human will not follow the exact path in loop when farming as a Bot does, a human will deviate from its path slightly - nor will it consistently take resurrection sickness when killed while farming.

I'm not going to sit here and put my hands up and threaten to cancel my account today. I've been playing casually since 2 weeks before Burning Crusade launched, and have a lot of time and money invested into this account. But, if Bots are going to continue to patrol Pandaria and miscellaneous Battlegrounds, then I'm going to be forced to move on regardless, and I'd imagine a lot of other players feel the same.
89 Undead Mage
0
03/28/2013 06:56 AMPosted by Swìzz
I would imagine a large percentage (maybe 15-20%? - maybe even more) are probably botting and it would be against your profitability as a company to ban so many accounts.


I can imagine alot of things that are not based in fact nor reality.

But, if Bots are going to continue to patrol Pandaria and miscellaneous Battlegrounds, then I'm going to be forced to move on regardless, and I'd imagine a lot of other players feel the same.


Unfortuantly your lack of understanding of what the bot situation really is is leading to you feeling this way.

If you want to try other online games that dont have cheats/bots in them your welcome to do so.
43 Pandaren Monk
11875
Blizzard fights this battle every day. They are very much aware of how frustrating it can be for us the players. Blizzard hates it every much as we do. They have a department dedicated to detection and banning of bot programs and players. They have filed many lawsuits, even in different countries. They have been successful in a lot of those efforts.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8480518576#6
We do on a constant basis. We have an entire department dedicated to investigating this type of exploitation and look for solutions to break, block or otherwise detect the illicit activities and in turn action those accounts that are found to be participating in such actions.

It isn't a simple or quick process though, nor are the results of such an investigations always lasting.

The goal for those that create these programs are to remain undetected for as long as they can, and while we take steps to find those using them and take appropriate actions, as soon as action is taken they in turn take steps to adjust their method to continue.

It is a constant struggle and one we are dedicated to continuing, but it takes time. If you see someone you believe to be botting or using some method of exploitation please right click on their character portrait and use Report For: Cheating.

That will generate a report that can be used in the overall investigation.

If they are in a Battleground it is best to use the right click report option and report them for non-participation using the report /afk option.


03/28/2013 06:56 AMPosted by Swìzz
At the same time, with the rate of Bots being reported and viewed consistently, I would imagine a large percentage (maybe 15-20%? - maybe even more) are probably botting and it would be against your profitability as a company to ban so many accounts.

Blizzard bans accounts all the time for cheating, hacking or otherwise violating the terms of use. It is a huge misnomer to say that they keep botted accounts in the game for profit or to pad subs. Your figures are not even close to factual. The truth is that most bot accounts are paid with stolen credit cards. Then ends up in charge backs and bank fees that cost blizzard more then having the account subscription.

But, if Bots are going to continue to patrol Pandaria and miscellaneous Battlegrounds, then I'm going to be forced to move on regardless, and I'd imagine a lot of other players feel the same.

Blizzard doesn't respond to threats. The bots will continue. Once blizzard breaks a program and gets rid of it, a new program gets made. It is a never ending process.

For future reference discussion about battleground issues should go in the battlegrounds forum.
Edited by Tinkrashi on 3/28/2013 7:09 AM PDT
90 Human Death Knight
10320
and counter it's engineering


That is an assumption that it is not already being done. It is not a matter of knowing how the software works to do what it does, it is a matter of being able to document its detection that can withstand an appeal. Keep in mind that Blizzard cannot become overly intrusive on a user's computer, and in some countries it may actually be illegal to snoop around a computer to detect software being used. If a botter lives in one of those countries, it becomes even more difficult.

03/28/2013 06:56 AMPosted by Swìzz
At the same time, with the rate of Bots being reported and viewed consistently, I would imagine a large percentage (maybe 15-20%? - maybe even more) are probably botting and it would be against your profitability as a company to ban so many accounts.


Blizzard has banned hundreds of thousands of accounts at a time without batting an eye. And in most cases, letting bots run is actually a financial liability. It increases Customer Support contact, which is not cheap, and causes some legitimate players to just stop playing altogether out of frustration.

If that's the truth, let's put together something more intuitive into our Client to prevent this, where accounts don't need to be banned, but the Client can't be controlled/automated, or at least is disconnected upon consistent repeat of the same path/follow scheme. A human will not follow the exact path in loop when farming as a Bot does, a human will deviate from its path slightly - nor will it consistently take resurrection sickness when killed while farming.


Blizzard is very secretive of exactly how they detect and document an account that is botting. Who is to say such things are not already done. The problem arises when bot programmers switch things up when they notice enough of their "clients" start to get caught. Bot programmers are sometimes very well educated (college degrees). It is a cat-n-mouse game.

But, if Bots are going to continue to patrol Pandaria and miscellaneous Battlegrounds, then I'm going to be forced to move on regardless, and I'd imagine a lot of other players feel the same.


Many do. And while some may not think so, Blizzard does as well. Blizzard is a company interested in making games that are fun to play and enjoy, and anything that detracts from that experience is not something they want around, even if they are getting money from the behavior.

I personally do not know what the solution is, but since online automation in games has been prevalent for a very long time, and will continue to be long after WoW is done, and the fact that technology advances (emulating human behavior only gets better), it is not something that has an easy solution.
Edited by Maul on 3/28/2013 7:24 AM PDT
90 Gnome Mage
14315
Part of the problem with bot detection/banning is that players think/feel it's a one-time solution. Boom! The bots are all gone. They need to think of bots like viruses. As one is being detected and countered, another comes along that can sneak through. Overall it looks like nothing is gained. The bots that are currently being used are not the exact same ones that were being used in vanilla, tbc, wrath, cata. Like the game, they too have evolved.
Support Forum Agent
I can't improve a lot on the answers already given.

I will just touch on one point. The whole premise that somehow we'd lose money from banning bots is SO far off-base, it's not even in the same county - much less ballpark.

The vast majority of 'bots' are stolen accounts being pressed into service by gold-sellers. They don't CARE that the account gets banned, it's a tool. A tool breaks, you just pick up another.

MOST players care more about their accounts than to get them perma-banned. Botting is an extreme offense that CAN (and quite often does) result in an instant perma ban, no warning, no second chances. If you've ever been tempted, think carefully on what it would mean to say goodbye to an account to which you may have years of attachment.

As to the stolen variety - the very best defense against those is DON'T BUY GOLD. Don't let your friends or your family buy gold, don't condone guildmates buying gold with silence. It is NOT what the cool kids do - and you can rest assured there is NO 'good' bought gold, it's all connected to a stolen account and/or cheating in some shape or form.

We have an excellent page on this that you are encouraged to share with anyone that needs more information - or that tries to convince you goldbuying is a 'victimless' crime.

The Consequences of Buying Gold
MVP - Customer Support
100 Tauren Druid
13570
04/05/2013 09:21 PMPosted by Nihboo
Right after combat the i.e. warrior is back at %100 health instantly after the fight and runs off and in no time was there a healer or anyone by that could have healed him for that amount of HP. Also no emote of eating food or a potion.


Victory Rush. Best to learn what abilities a class has before accusing them of cheating.
________________________________________________
Customer Support Forum MVP
HDL - http://hdl-the-guild.com/~nodrama/
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"As with other situations, the key seems to be giving Jayne a heavy stick and standing back." -- Inara
100 Tauren Druid
8165
04/05/2013 09:23 PMPosted by Pahanda
Right after combat the i.e. warrior is back at %100 health instantly after the fight and runs off and in no time was there a healer or anyone by that could have healed him for that amount of HP. Also no emote of eating food or a potion.


Victory Rush. Best to learn what abilities a class has before accusing them of cheating.


Victory Rush requires you hit somebody in order to get that heal.
100 Night Elf Rogue
13385
Victory Rush requires you hit somebody in order to get that heal.


Many times I have seen a blizzard bot kill 6-7 players and be down to %10 health. Right after combat...


Sounds like they were doing a lot of hitting.

Aside from that, there is no client-side exploit that can provide what was being described. A botting program is still limited only to the actions that are handled on the client side.
89 Undead Mage
0
Blizzard is running most the bots.

Why would they do that?

To make players mad and get them to pay for faction change.


You've made your tinfoil hat wrong. The shiny side faces outside if you put the shiny side facing inside your bizarre baseless thoughts will be contained inside your hat.
43 Pandaren Monk
11875
Blizzard is a regular company. They want every dime you got at whatever the cost.
I mean look at Blizcon. $175 to listen and talk to the devs?
You bought the game, pay a monthly fee and now big bucks to talk to the devs? HAHAHAHA

A lot more goes on at blizzcon then just Developer panels. Please read the entire thread before trolling it and making false accusations against blizzard. You really have no clue how this issue works at all. Otherwise you would know this is NOT something blizzard wants in their game.

Seriously read it again. This is correct. Blizzard doesn't have a conspiracy to lie to us and just make us think different.

I can't improve a lot on the answers already given.

I will just touch on one point. The whole premise that somehow we'd lose money from banning bots is SO far off-base, it's not even in the same county - much less ballpark.

The vast majority of 'bots' are stolen accounts being pressed into service by gold-sellers. They don't CARE that the account gets banned, it's a tool. A tool breaks, you just pick up another.

MOST players care more about their accounts than to get them perma-banned. Botting is an extreme offense that CAN (and quite often does) result in an instant perma ban, no warning, no second chances. If you've ever been tempted, think carefully on what it would mean to say goodbye to an account to which you may have years of attachment.

As to the stolen variety - the very best defense against those is DON'T BUY GOLD. Don't let your friends or your family buy gold, don't condone guildmates buying gold with silence. It is NOT what the cool kids do - and you can rest assured there is NO 'good' bought gold, it's all connected to a stolen account and/or cheating in some shape or form.
Edited by Tinkrashi on 4/6/2013 6:32 AM PDT
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