1. #1

    The problem with botting

    I found a very interesting article in a blog about botting and I liked it very much. I thought to put it here for discussion .I will not mention the aurthor because I don't want to be seen like I advertise any blog or such...but I wanted to be honest and not present this article as if it is mine. The article is not only for wow but for MMO in general.

    The Nosy Gamer has a list of recent botting and exploiting issues of various MMORPGs(http://nosygamer.blogspot.gr/2013/01...t-and-bot.html). He hope we can all agree that botting and exploiting are bad things for MMORPGs. I fully support appropriate bans for players doing this. But the very fact that bots exist is telling me something about MMORPGs in general, and the frequency of their use about some MMORPGs in particular:
    At least some players are more interested in the rewards for certain activities than they are interested in actually performing that activity.
    The game activities that are botted are mindless enough to be bottable.
    I consider both of these points to be rather serious problems of the MMORPG genre, especially for certain games in which botting is most frequent. Ideally a MMORPG should be fun to play, the activities in the game should be fun by itself, with any rewards just being the cherry on top. But over the years that somehow has degraded in certain cases to the gameplay becoming the obstacle in front of the reward. Which is even more curious if you consider that the reward is an in-game reward, which only serves to unlock more of the game. If you don't like to play the game, what interest do you have in a rewards that enables you to reach more of the game?

    Apart from players *wanting* to bot a game activity, which shows that the activity isn't all that interesting, the second problem is bots being so perfectly able at performing those activities, showing how repetitive and simple the things we are supposed to do in a MMORPG are in the first place. Douglas Adams' book "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" contains a paragraph about the electric monk, "a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself". Bots play tedious games for you, thus saving you the bother of playing the games yourself. What does it say about our games if we need labour-saving devices to do those tedious, repetitive, and trivial game activities for us?

    Bots can be seen as "proof" that MMORPGs more and more resemble a Skinner Box: Push button, get cookie. Pushing the button is neither fun, nor is it challenging. You only do it for the cookie. And the game is usually set up in a way that you need to push the same button in the same way repeatedly, which is even more boring. So if you can have a bot pushing the button for you and still get the cookie, that is a clear advantage for the player. But at that point the MMORPG has stopped being a game, which is defined as structured play undertaken for enjoyment or education. The decade-old Progress Quest(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressquest) was supposed to be a parody of the MMORPG genre, not a model for future development.

    Banning the botters is a first step, but it only treats the symptom, and not the underlying cause. Where we want to arrive at is games that are A) so interesting that we want to play them ourselves instead of letting the bots do it, and that are B) complex and challenging enough that they can't be performed by a simple script anyway. Unfortunately it appears we are rather moving away from that ideal, thus the increase in problems with botting and exploiting.
    I partialy agree with this. There are some activities which may be boring for some people but fun for others...does the people who don't like this activities have an excuse to bot and make the activity worse for people that actualy have some fun about?Maybe MMOs must provide lot of different ways of gameplay/progression with equal rewards so people find something that have fun?
    One thing I agree for sure is:

    the second problem is bots being so perfectly able at performing those activities, showing how repetitive and simple the things we are supposed to do in a MMORPG are in the first place
    .

    First thing came into my mind was the dailies. They are super easy to do and also you need to do them lot of times, the same super easy task that I think is very boring. But the "cookie" at the end is delicious...
    Last edited by papajohn4; 2013-01-12 at 12:47 AM.
    The trick of selling a PvP-MMO is creating the illusion among gankers that they are respectable fighters while protecting them from respectable fights, as their less skilled half would be massacred and quit instead of “HTFU” as they claim.

  2. #2
    Interesting article. I never used a Bot and very likely never will. But if a game was designed in such a way that Botting sorta becomes mandatory (and not illegal in that game), I would either just not bother with that game or indeed use a Bot.

    WoW has a few things which could require botting. These dailies could be done by Bots - perhaps not all but most of them yes and run the farm aswell.
    But is it mandatory? No it is not, I can live perfectly fine without a Bot playing these features for me. Mostly I detest these dailies, a select few are very well designed for my taste. Perhaps Bots could also do LFR. They would blend right in with people who don't say anything or don't walk back when there is a wipe. Anyone (the Bot) kicked, could later on requeue and hope for the best.

    Farming ores/herbs/skins might be jobs Bots can do. But really are people that obsessed with gold that they need a Bot? Sure I wouldn't mind having a lot of gold. It makes it easier. But at the moment I am fine with just (at times) doing dailies to get me stuff that I would like. Sure I cannot afford the crafted gear or special mounts off AH, but I can still buy the epics mounts when exalted with a faction. It takes time but I still feel like I am progressing and having rewards. When I had a lot of gold before, I didn't have that feeling much. I just bought stuff and got powerful really quick. Now that I work for my hard earned gear and vanity stuff, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

    Then again I must say that before, I had a lot of things to do in WoW and outside of it. Was a GM of a decent guild (ultimately rank 275 as 25man) and thus had a lot of things to organise instead of grinding anything. I could have used a Bot then. Then again the guildbank provided the gold for the repairs + flasks/food. And every coin that I received went towards vanity items or crafted gear (if that couldn't be provided by the guild).

    So did I need it then? No I didn't.

    The state WoW is in currently shouldn't be a place for botters. I am not saying that people love every aspect of the game. Hell I don't, but the need for botters isn't there. Thats just pure greed without any sense of accomplishment.

  3. #3
    That's an interesting topic, and I'd like this conversation to be focused more on the point of making the game experience better, and not so much on removing botting, although that would be greatly decreased too if these underlying problems in the game could be fixed.

    I've always seen as a major problem in MMO's that while some of the content may be fun, at the same time there is a lot of content that's very boring and repeating, yet you're forced to do them. Ok someone likes one thing and someone another. And for many people the end-game(raiding) is the most(or the only) interesting part of the game, but to get there you have to level from 1 to 90 and possibly grind some gold/mats to get enough high item level. And if you want to try it with another class you have to do it all over again.

    I would like a fresh approach to MMO's where the leveling/grinding content is somehow more separated from the end-game content. For example make the leveling process much faster, but after you reach the highest level, there would be still plenty of additional quests which would give you stuff like "quest-XP" or -levels, achievement points, vanity items or etc. things which are not needed to play the end-game content. Or another idea is to make it possible to enter raids at level 20, but HP scaled to level 90 char and keeping raiding gear separated from questing gear, and while in raids you can use all talents/abilities no matter what level you are.

    Well there's always people who would feel that allowing faster access to end-game content would somehow make their leveling process feel less valuable. But a different POV to look at it is that MMO's are kind of just 2 different games put together, where you're forced to finish game 1 to be able to play game 2. By having less "forced" content and allowing more freedom to play the content that you really want to, would surely make botting less popular and also bring in some new players who quit because of too much forced content.

    Now someone might say that leveling from 1 to 90 doesn't really take that much time. Ok let's say you can do it in 100 hours, but if you feel like you're doing it only because you have to, it could be related to real life work (except it's even worse, because IRL work usually have some meaning). And time is money, if you could earn like 20$ in an hour, then 100 hours equals to 2000$, how many would really pay 2000$ (or €) just to start playing the game they want?

  4. #4
    Legendary! Ryme's Avatar
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    Makes a clear logical jump:

    It assumes that people physically could keep up with a bot. Just because some people bot, does not imply they don't enjoy the task - it only implies that at some point, at some time, it made more sense to leave the work up to a computer.

    This is why you see a hell of a lot of bots at night, people don't want to play 24/7.
    I am the lucid dream
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  5. #5
    You think levling is boring, the next one thinks gearing for raid is boring. Maby even one think progress on raidbosses is boring? should we just give them all the gear + titels becouse they think its a "job" and just want all the items and titels and show of in town or whatever? there is and always will be boring parts about games for everyone, if you dont enjoy the game for what it is you dont have to cheat and destroy stuff for others :].

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by impending doom View Post

    I would like a fresh approach to MMO's where the leveling/grinding content is somehow more separated from the end-game content. For example make the leveling process much faster, but after you reach the highest level, there would be still plenty of additional quests which would give you stuff like "quest-XP" or -levels, achievement points, vanity items or etc. things which are not needed to play the end-game content. Or another idea is to make it possible to enter raids at level 20, but HP scaled to level 90 char and keeping raiding gear separated from questing gear, and while in raids you can use all talents/abilities no matter what level you are.

    Well there's always people who would feel that allowing faster access to end-game content would somehow make their leveling process feel less valuable. But a different POV to look at it is that MMO's are kind of just 2 different games put together, where you're forced to finish game 1 to be able to play game 2. By having less "forced" content and allowing more freedom to play the content that you really want to, would surely make botting less popular and also bring in some new players who quit because of too much forced content.
    [/B]
    Guild Wars 2 does this. You can create a endgame character for pvp instantly and you can create normal pve character which normally level. High level chars are allways scaled down to the area they adventure in to keep it challenging

  7. #7
    I quit wow a few months ago, and I've botted since vanilla until I quit playing a month or so after reaching lvl 90.
    Even I as someone who botted quite often found the amount of obvious bots pestering battleground a nuisance.
    Although these are the most obvious bots in this game they certainly aren't the only ones.

    People who never botted do not understand what bots these days are capable of. Bots in vanilla used to be rather obvious (I think most players can remember the hunters farming dragons in blasted lands), and even then a paladin bot was hard to spot from a real player grinding mobs.
    In WotLK I used a paladin bot to assist my warrior in arena (2v2). from studying high rated holy paladins I created a behavior for my paladin and within 4 weeks I managed to reach an arena rating of 2200+. If I lost this was most often my own fault and not that of the bot. The most advanced bots these days can easily be compared with advanced AI's in other games. A computer can react to change much faster than any human can.

    There are a lot of "high-end" bots like this used for any activity you can think of in WoW. The bots you notice are those of "lazy" people; people who put little effort into their bots. They use the programs, profiles and behavior other people created for their bots. Or companies farming gold, leveling characters or whatever for profit. And these are most often only noticeable in battlegrounds or when they're farming ore 15 hours straight. If they are used in moderation even these are practially undetectable.

    When people say banning bots is the first step they forget how hard it can be to actually detect the bots. And to make a game more challenging isn't going to help either. Since bots will just get more complicated. Where at a point where bots are better than players at most things in this game already.

    PS: The reason I botted is simple, at first I wanted to play high end without having to farm potions and materials in my free time later I expanded. And because I enjoy programming.

    Just my two cents.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by baver View Post
    You think levling is boring, the next one thinks gearing for raid is boring. Maby even one think progress on raidbosses is boring? should we just give them all the gear + titels becouse they think its a "job" and just want all the items and titels and show of in town or whatever? there is and always will be boring parts about games for everyone, if you dont enjoy the game for what it is you dont have to cheat and destroy stuff for others :].
    Personally I just care about getting through the actual content that I want to play, I don't care much about titles or showing off my gear or who else have the same, although I don't think anyone wants to play the game just to show off on things that doesn't indicate any kind of real accomplisment. Of course you can't allow free instant access to ALL content and gear for everyone, but it could be made just a little less tedious if you get the point. There is always room for suggestions and trying to make the game better, and the existence of bots are just reflecting some of the flaws in the system.
    Last edited by impending doom; 2013-01-11 at 04:33 PM.

  9. #9
    High Overlord kennyisnotdead's Avatar
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    Outside of the people who bot to make gold to sell for real $$. You have to wonder why people do it. Why does someone pay monthly to play a game then not play it but have automated program do the playing? I would imagine people enjoy one aspect of the game and only want to do that. Leveling is tedious process once you have done it a few times. PVP is an easy solution for bot levelers who want to cap their points.

    IMO I think after you have leveled a few times through the latest xpack you should have an option to pay for instant levels through account services. I have 5 90s and 2 85, but cannot bring myself to level or do any quests, especially daily's.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by kennyisnotdead View Post
    Outside of the people who bot to make gold to sell for real $$. You have to wonder why people do it. Why does someone pay monthly to play a game then not play it but have automated program do the playing? I would imagine people enjoy one aspect of the game and only want to do that. Leveling is tedious process once you have done it a few times. PVP is an easy solution for bot levelers who want to cap their points.

    IMO I think after you have leveled a few times through the latest xpack you should have an option to pay for instant levels through account services. I have 5 90s and 2 85, but cannot bring myself to level or do any quests, especially daily's.
    as the article say and as Papidipoopi people just seem to skip the boring stuff of the game or what they find boring. For example the boring stuff for Papidipoopi was to prepare for his raid, making potions, flasks, food buffs e.t.c. while the actual raiding experience was fun for him I suppose. And that is another proof for this article that people use the bot to skip tedius and boring activities that feel more like a job than fun.

    I have a friend that bot in pandaria for pvp. The reason he told me is that he do it for conquest points and to get the epic pvp gear to use it in pve. He is a pve player that don't like dailies and also don't like pvp. He like dungeons and raids. Since dungeons in pandaria have minimal rewards, boting in pvp allow him to skip the boring dailies and get epic gear with high ilvl to proceed to raids faster or gear his alts. The funny thing is that he didn't feel the need to do this in cataclysm as he was running dungeons and LFR with all his alts and he got the gear with an activity he finds fun. Not that this is an excuse for him, but the truth is he cannot play the game the way he wants, the way he have fun (Dungeons -> epic gear).

    Although I disagree with Papidipoopi I can easily spot bots either they gathering herbs/mines or they grind in specific areas. I don't need to see them stay there for hours, I can understand from the way they turn around and fight. So no, they are not so advanced yet...
    The trick of selling a PvP-MMO is creating the illusion among gankers that they are respectable fighters while protecting them from respectable fights, as their less skilled half would be massacred and quit instead of “HTFU” as they claim.

  11. #11
    Very interesting article.

    I don't bot but i understand those ho do it. In wow there are too many boring and repetitive grinds.

  12. #12
    Leveling bots bother me a lot less. They don't really impact others to a great degree. It could even be argued that farming bots lower prices of some goods.

    PvP bots though, have ruined the game for me to the point I'm thinking of canceling. I've been trying to farm gear and more to the point, I actually ENJOY pvp and it's shocking that I routinely get in a game that goes terrible quickly and I see the mass of players moving around in their bot grouping. I open tickets on these people every time I see it.

    I'm the guy that reports botters all the time.

  13. #13
    Over 9000! Kaleredar's Avatar
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    As far as I'm concerned, botters should be hunted down and banned with all prejudice.

    All bots serve to illegitimize whatever aspect of the game they attempt to coast through; Auction House bots sink prices for people trying to sell, battle ground bots hinder random battlegrounds, and leveling bots pad over a key facet of WoW.

    If you don't enjoy some part of some experience, don't do it. One might as well be saying "I like making money, but I just hate having to work for it."

    As for "remove the tedious parts of the game," well, one could pad those over, but... you forget that a small, though annoyingly vocal, minority of the playerbase wants everything to take as long as possible to do. Are they no-lifers? Masochists? Want to make sure everything is difficult for everyone but them? Who knows. But they're there, and serve as blocks to expediting content progression.
    "Do not look down, my friend. Even in the darkest of times, there is always hope... Hope for a better day, hope for a new dawn... Or just hope for a good breakfast. You start small, then see what you can get." ~ Covetous Shen
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    Kaleredar is right...
    Words to live by.

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