Design Notes

October 08, 2013

A Better Botting Solution

We're Taking Action Against Botters in AQWorlds!

We make AQWorlds for and with our players, and we love that so many of you love the game! That enjoyment makes a lot of you - and us - upset when we see other players using bot/cheat programs to play for them. (When you play a game with other people, giving yourself an unfair advantage directly impacts other players.)

Rage no more, Hero! We've got a plan.

We have always tried to reduce the ways that botters can exploit the game, and take action against the players who choose to use 3rd party programs (bots, shop/quest loaders, auto-kills).

What is a "Bot"?

Thousands of players are banned every week for botting, which tells us a couple things.

Many players don't know what a bot IS.

  • bot or "autoer" is a program built by someone else that plays the game for you. 
  • ALL massively multiplayer games have a problem with them, and they are, and always have been against the rules. 
  • It is easy to understand why  - it is unfair to legit players who put the time and effort into the game, it takes time away from building the game to deal with botting/cheating/hacking issues, and... these programs are dangerous! 

Many players don't know that botting is not allowed.
It absolutely is NOT allowed! It hurts the game and other players. We want all our players to enjoy AQW the way it is meant to be.

Players who bot don't know the problems it causes.
Problems caused by bots, and the fixes we've implemented because of them, have delayed, for example:

  • Development of new functionality like Guilds 
  • An overhaul of the PvP system 
  • Cause virtually ALL of the server-side lag 

H.A.L. knows the problem bots cause.

 Players who bot don't know the risks involved.
Many stolen accounts are the result of people entering their login information into these programs or the websites claiming to provide them. If you download and use these programs, they can execute malicious code that can do ANYTHING a virus or trojan can do, harming YOUR computer... including stealing your personal data.

Do not use bots. In addition to the dangers above, using them will get your account banned from AQWorlds!

What Do You Do About Botting?

Right now, we have a number of ways to detect botters - and different types of botting. These automatic bans test to see if people are hacking achievements, using combat hacks, or shop/quest loading. We also have in-game moderators who can take action against botters if players admit to botting.

Because screenshots can be edited, we do not accept emailed reports of botting with screenshot evidence. If someone is NOT botting, we do not want to ban them!

What Are You Going to Do Next?

Artix, Nythera, Zazul, and I met earlier today to put together a plan of attack. It will require a lot of new functionality, but once it's ready, it will be a great day to be a good player! Here are some of the things we are looking at: 

  • Restrict botters to certain maps and disable combat while "banned" (though they will still be able to log in)
  • Implement warning points and cooldown system to allow players to earn back goodwill
  • If players continue to bot, we will give longer and longer bans, up to permanently banning accounts. (We do not want to do this, but we need to protect our players!)
  • Remove levels, gold, non-AC items, rep, rank from serial botters

All of those are ideas right now. I'll sit down with Yorumi tomorrow to see what we CAN do and how FAST it can get implemented. But we ARE going to take action against botters. We love our players - and our game - too much to let the problem grow!

Recently, some players have illegally given themselves the BrutalCorn badge from tomorrow's release. Because we have not yet been able to implement some of the ideas listed above, those players have received a 24 hour ban. 

Artix says:

As you know, our goal is to keep our game fair, safe and fun. NOT to ban players. We are all human, we all make mistakes.

Apologetic robots are the saddest thing ever.

From this moment on, we hope and encourage EVERYONE, whether you have used bots in the past or not, to help us keep the servers fair, safe and fun. Thank you to all of the players who have always been doing this.... Battle on!

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