We don’t serve their kind
According to several articles spread across mainstream news sites, Blizzard last week banned over 100,000 players for cheating.
I find this remarkable for a couple of reasons:
- 100,000 cheaters! DDO would love to have 100,000 active players of any kind!
- I love it when MMO gaming events hit the mainstream news
It seems that quite a few World of Warcraft players were using Bots to automate some sort of PvP grinding progression, until it reached a point where the Bots outnumbered the actual players, essentially defeating the idea behind any sort of player-vs-player combat: you need both “P”s to have PvP.
I’m not going to compete with the Washington Post in terms of writing up the details. If you are curious, here is Blizzard’s statement. And here is a screenshot of a conversation between a player and a GM that seems to set the number banned over 100K.
Turbine has an odd policy about Bots. I cannot find the reference quote, I searched to no avail (perhaps an astute reader will be able to provide the link in the comments), but I am pretty sure that Cordovan has articulated the Turbine policy as “it’s okay to use a Bot if you are actually at the keyboard while it is operating”.
Note I put quotes around that as if it were something that Cordovan actually said, rather than something I just made up, but I am confident that he really did say something like that. Which is odd too, in that if one is going to be at the keyboard, why would one need a Bot? And it becomes odder when one stops to think about how Turbine would go about detecting this. First they have to detect that a bot is operating … somehow … and then they have to determine whether or not a player is sitting nearby on a chair watching the bot.
Perhaps Update 26 will include a Human Proximity Detector? In the absence of such a device, I think this policy just means that Turbine is unlikely to ban anyone for botting in any sort of predictable and reproducible manner. They could still do so arbitrarily and capriciously, but then that is essentially their entire player discipline doctrine.
There have been bots in DDO, especially in terms of earning XP. In the past, there was a way to use the Korthos Island experience to earn 1000 XP per instance, which added up when you automated the process and let it run for a day or two. Some people earned bans for that particular episode. Of course many (most?) were not banned; then as now, discipline is applied arbitrarily and capriciously.
More recently, someone realized that one could earn XP just for talking to NPCs at the beginning of the Crucible, without fighting anything. Automation appeared, and once again it became more XP-per-minute effective to not play than it was to play. I am not aware of anyone getting banned for this exploit (maybe they were at their computers while the Bots operated?). Instead, once Turbine became aware of the exploit, they simply changed the Crucible. No longer can one earn XP just for talking.
I have personally never used a Bot in DDO. I don’t care about the XP grind enough, and nothing else about the game is readily automate-able. Maybe I am insufficiently creative. I might be willing to Bot if the right opportunity arose; I have done so in other games. Right now I am playing a lot of Landmark (watch this space for an upcoming review), and in that game you need to mine dirt. Yes, dirt. There have been few times where I carefully positioned my cursor near my feet, taped my mouse button down, and put a weight on my “A” key to cause my character to dig in a tight circle. Eventually she digs all the way to the bottom of the world, and I get a pile of dirt.
A tape Bot.
It isn’t particularly effective, in that she digs all the way to the bottom in about 40 minutes and I have to manually intervene if I want her to dig again. Also, the camera in the game is kind of weird and sometimes she digs wrong, screwing up the sequence and requiring more manual intervention. So maybe this is really an example of Turbine-approved “botting while at the keyboard”? Probably. Regardless, it is hard to feel too bad about it, the game makes you dig and accumulate dirt. Anything one can do to lessen the essential stupidity of such a thing is as understandable as it is worthwhile.
Nevertheless. In DDO, one may not call someone else names, nor duplicate items, nor cheat quests, nor discuss exploits on the forum. But one can build a Bot to earn free experience, if one is clever enough to find a good place to do so.
Happy botting, everyone!
🙂 😀 🙂