Author Topic: Blizzard vs Bots
Title: 0110011010
Be Nice to Me I'm a Bot

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Subject: Blizzard vs Bots
Nevalistis shared some interesting info over the holidays about how Blizzard views and handles botting:
It is a paying account, why ban them?

This is one of the biggest misconceptions we have, and I genuinely wish we could permanently clear it up. I'll provide a few hypothetical situations (mind you, these numbers are ENTIRELY made up).

Let's say 90% of botters were compromised accounts. This means that 90% of these botters aren't paying accounts; they're stolen accounts, which are generally fueled by stolen credit cards. These payments usually get disputed and taken back, which actually costs us money. If we're looking to make a purely fiscal observation, it makes no financial sense to let these continue (aside from the fact that we don't like compromised accounts to begin with - we want our players to be playing their own accounts safely and enjoyably).

Let's go on the other side of the fence and say 90% of these botters were otherwise legitimate players paying for their accounts, as you purport. When players bot, other players are inconvenienced by this behavior (and trust me, you guys outnumber the botters, even if you may feel it's the other way around). The inconveniences range from normal players having difficulty farming on their own to struggling to keep up with an economy that's being forcibly fluctuated via unfair advantage. When players are inconvenienced in this manner, they submit petitions.

Every petition submitted goes to a Game Master for review. A living, breathing person that is paid to provide customer service looks over it, does what's necessary for the situation (in botting cases, usually forwarding the info on to our exploitation/hacks team), and provides a response. Let's say 1-2 people are inconvenienced by a single botter (in all likelihood, we probably get many more petitions per botter than that). This would mean each botter is inconveniencing at least as many, and likely more, players that are positive to the community (the kinds of players we like and want to continue to play our game). For each botter we allow to continue botting, we potentially stand to lose more than we gain for a single subscription, just out of the sheer inconvenience it causes other players.

Even if you change those numbers around of legitimate players versus compromised accounts - we only stand to lose more if we don't take action on bots (which we do, regularly).

Blizzard needs to step it up. Unfortunately, the bots you see are no longer just hacked's actual players exploiting the game by using bots to farm when they sleep or are away, therefore when blizzard sends a message investigating the matter they respond as a real player and no action is least that is my assumption since two of these jerks are still regularly botting Uldum.

This has been stated many times before, but action being taken against botters takes a long time to come about. The reason why is pretty simple, and another player in this thread has stated it quite eloquently, so I'll be highlighting it here:

Blizzard investigates every single bot report. But as they are intelligent they wait until they can patch a hotfix for the bot before they do mass ban waves. This cures the infection instead of treating the symptom.

We don't generally hit bots individually as we receive the reports because it doesn't ultimately solve the issue - they just acquire another account, either legitimately or illegitimately, and get back to botting. Instead, it's much more effective to study the bots, devise the method they are abusing, and break that method. In the process, we also construct ways of detecting the behavior, and create systems in which we can catch those bots and remove them much more quickly.

It's an ever-evolving battle, however. Botters are smart too, and they figure out what it is we figured out, and develop new bots. We start the cycle over again, but it also means we've eliminated a method of exploitation and have to move on to the next. I hope that makes sense - it's a very lengthy process, and for the best intentions of that process (and preventing providing that info to those who would abuse it), I can't go into much more detail.

If they don't whisper you back its a pretty sure sign that they're botting

Not quite. I tend to get anti-social when I'm mining. It gets me in an almost hypnotic groove. >o.o
All jokes aside, not all players will respond to unsolicited whispers - after all, they know as little about your intentions (unless clearly stated) as you know about theirs. Some just feel like mining for a while, or do it while multi-tasking and reading Facebook or Reddit or something. I may or may not be speaking from experience. /coughs

How many real people, actual players do YOU KNOW personally that can fly around in the exact same pattern for 48 straight hours...and sometimes in fact weeks continuously without logging off?

And how many real people do you know who will sit at their computers and watch someone commit to these patterns for 48 hours straight? It's not an efficient manner to monitor bots, and we don't have our staff to do it any more than we expect our players to. It's also one of many factors that's considered, and unless you've been personally observing accounts for that long yourself, it's probably not quite working the way you perceive it to be. >^.~
There are other, better ways to identify bots and fight them. We have a team staffed specifically for this purpose. But it is time consuming, and it regrettably needs to be to be most effective. Bots don't get removed in small numerical batches; when we strike at them, it's usually in the hundreds, if not thousands.

Posted from WoW Vault


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Subject: Blizzard vs Bots
They are fighting a losing battle; the more sophisticated they become the harder they are going to be to detect and at the rate they are progressing it won't be long before we have fully automated gaming, they may even become necessity to compete with everyone else that runs them.

In the very near future I can easily see where in game chat requests for groups will ask for humans only, or the LFD/LFR and BG ques type features will require you to type in a random code to ensure it is actually a person queing etc...


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Subject: Blizzard vs Bots
They could buy a bot license, download the popular farm scripts and then ban players using them scripts. Once you have used a bot, it's very easy to detect them. But still, the "I got banned" forum part on bot forums is filled daily with new bans.

It's like the police fighting drug dealers. They focus on the biggest targets because as long as there's a demand. Someone will supply it,


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Title: Caveat Lector
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Subject: Blizzard vs Bots
"We don't generally hit bots individually as we receive the reports because it doesn't ultimately solve the issue - they just acquire another account, either legitimately or illegitimately, and get back to botting. Instead, it's much more effective to study the bots, devise the method they are abusing, and break that method. In the process, we also construct ways of detecting the behavior, and create systems in which we can catch those bots and remove them much more quickly."

This is stupid, while you are "studying" the bots, they are screwing up the economy the entire time you are "studying" them. Then you find a way to break the bot, they just develop a new bot and move on.

So, you study them for a month, they break the economy for a month, you break their bot and 3 days later they are back. They bot for another month, while you study them.

So basically, you are GD inept because you let them bot for a month and stop them for 3 days. Way to be retarded and stop botters for a tenth of their effectiveness because you are too stupid to do simple math.


SWTOR, Maybe in a year.
Back to WoW for now.
With a lil f2p CoH.
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Title: Iron Chef Jennifer
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Subject: Blizzard vs Bots
I am so sick of them acting like they take care of bots in any timely fashion at all. Here is what they need to know. THEIR METHOD IS NOT WORKING. With all the 'teams' they have dedicated to bots I am pretty sure they could have those same people go into BG's and ban bots manually. Yes, I KNOW how many BG's and servers there are and obviously they couldn't be in every BG at all times. I understand that. But even the threat that they could pop into your BG and ban the people (Perma. none of this 2 hour crap) would help a lot.

Sort of like the way they used to do the bus system where I live. You didn't have to show your bus pass or bother the driver at all. Some people might just jump on the bus for free. But there were random riding bus checkers that could pop onto your bus and check you. The fine for not having paid was $100. The fear of them coming to your bus randomly made it too risky to not pay. I think the same could apply here.

I used to report every single bot for years. I watched people level from 10 to 80 (at the time) all botting BG's. I would report the people at 10 (or whenever I saw them) and then watch their armory to see if they ever got banned. Nope. Never. They would be there all the way to level cap. Blizzard would say, "Ohh but you don't understand.... we are studying them... yeah, and trying to break the entire network! Yeah..."

How about actually banning the bots we report. There isn't any way to break the ones that are using OS macros. Zero ways to detect. So stop acting like you might uncover their methods someday. Just fricken go in and ban them.


I, on the other hand, prefer a command-line system 'cause i'm so hardcore
/north /north *You encounter an [Avatar of the god Set]!*
/cast sheild *sheild spell unavailable*
/csat shield *csat: unknown command*
*[Avatar of Set] beheads [Peasant]*
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Title: Ooo...bouncy!
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Subject: Blizzard vs Bots
Ya know, it seems like it would be fairly easy to flag an account for "waypoint" monitoring. For example, once flagged, it adds an extra bit of logging for that account and if the bot passes over the same waypoints within some tolerance factor more than once every few minutes for a few hours, you can ban it with pretty high confidence that it's a bot. Most of the bots I see stick to a pretty short waypoint route and are very, very easy to spot visually. You'd think with $150mil/month income, they could find some IT folks that could set up a packet filter that could monitor these things as instructed, which would take the load off the main servers and function without impacting bandwidth of the system, while easily being able to show patterns of behavior.

Hell, If you gave me a log file with a few hours of coordinate data logged once per second, I could gin up an excel chart in about 2 minutes that would show you the coordinates on a scatterplot that would show you with pretty fair certainty whether someone was a bot or not. And I'm sure one of the A team would love to whip up a graphical log analysis tool that would show you the patterns in the data.

Doing this stuff manually is tedious, unfun and error-prone. Start with automated data analysis (which takes front-end investment and then is basically free) and go from there.


WoW and DAoC - Too many alts to count
Charter Member - Altaholics Anonymous
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Title: The One and Only
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Subject: Blizzard vs Bots
I'm sure they posted this message up to make it look like they aren't bad at their job. Talk about a massive backfire...


“A painter paints his pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.
We provide the music, and you provide the silence.” ~Leopold Stokowski
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