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Mike Lewis on the War Against the Bots


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#1 Khalija

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:51 PM

Posted Image


Mike Lewis, security coordinator for ArenaNet, has just posted a new blog article on combating the bot issue in Guild Wars 2. The article states that ArenaNet has banned over 34,000 bot accounts in November alone, but they have noticed a decrease in botting reports - in October over 2,000 were reported every hour and now they receive about 20 reports per hour.

Quote

I’d like to briefly outline the steps that we have taken to shut down botting.

Collecting and analyzing data is very important to us at ArenaNet. Data is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal against bots. We’ve gathered massive amounts of information about the habits of both normal players and automated bot players. We contracted a team of data specialists to help us build comprehensive tools that comb through this data and find effective ways to single out and terminate bot accounts. Automating this process has been a major focus of the ArenaNet security team, and we’re now seeing the considerable fruits of this labor.

Another way we identify and combat bots is through manual observation. Our GM staff is equipped to monitor the game around the clock and detect bots from within the game itself. We have a considerable task force assigned to patrolling the world and eliminating bots, as well as helping us continue to improve and refine our automatic detection tools.

Last but not least, we’re in a good position to monitor and investigate bot reports as they arrive from players. Aided by our analysis tools and strengthened by manual investigation as necessary, GMs are able to react quickly and efficiently to bot reports and terminate offending accounts in short order.
Not only does Mike outline the process of removing bots in the game, but he also thanks the community for helping out by reporting suspicious activity in-game. You can read the full article here.

Posted Image  Posted Image



#2 FoxBat

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:56 PM

Love the ranger clone screenshots.

Also funny to trumpet the drop in bot reporting. As if hiding in the water or teleporting faster than anyone can report has nothing to do with that statistic.

#3 Alex Dimitri

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:30 PM

In other words he`s saying thank you for doing our job !
Interesting he doesn`t mention who do those 34k accounts belong (or did belong) i can`t imagine gold farmers bought all that accounts.
Also, even if their bot fighting team works, what`s up with that so called "economy" team that should oversee TP and prices in general (they are on paid leave?) !
It`s not so hard to observe that economy "with bots" in GW2 was way better than this new one without them, maybe things could get bit better but since Anet is so cheap on drops, i`m not reporting a single bot ever again !

#4 Lordkrall

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:39 PM

Great job I would say. 30k + in a month is a rather impressive number, and seeing as both the number of reports and prices of the TP have changed quite much it is rather clearly that they actually have killed of a huge majority of the bots.

Edited by Xuphor, 12 December 2012 - 08:56 PM.
Complaining about people complaining. Don't troll.


#5 Strawberry Nubcake

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:11 PM

Yeeeeah... I think FoxBat has a point.  I found a pack running around last night but I could only report a couple before they teleported away.  I rolled my eyes and went back to what I was doing since I wasn't in the mood to chase them down and risk dying because I was in an area a few levels higher than my character.  It's hard to report something that moves out of range before you can even target it.  This isn't a new problem, but I'm kinda over chasing bots.

I think the population in general probably dropped a bit as well.  Fewer people playing = fewer people sending reports.  I'm logging in less than I used to and went on vacation last week.  It's kinda hard to report several bots a day when I'm not playing!

There do seem to be fewer bots... for now... but the fact there are a few running around in game right now means the numbers will multiply if Anet doesn't act fast.  Hopefully they will do something about the speed hacks and stuff one day.  I want to play the game instead of chase down bots all day.  (Is chasing bots fun?  NOPE!)  Occasionally stopping to report a couple of bots is fine.  Constantly having to stop and chase down huge packs of teleporting bots is not.  One feels like I'm helping out and the other feels more like a job I'm not getting paid for.

#6 Nerel

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:21 PM

Well, it's good news that they are making some effort on the bot front, hopefully more than just a feel good PR puff piece.

As for the fall in bot reports, that is truly an amazing number... but obviously mitigated by a number of factors.

Player apathy has started to set in, perhaps?

Teleporting node farming bots are becoming so very common across a wide range of areas and they appear and disappear so fast that they are much harder to click on and report, simply put, by the time you know it's a bot it is already gone.

More intelligent bot zergs... mixed groups of professions, real seeming character names, guild tags... farming away in small corners of the map and avoiding the attention of casual passers-by.

The number of obvious bots took a huge a huge blow when Anet did their big bot sweep... but the number of bots is on the rise again, and I'm seeing just as many bots now as I did then, only they aren't all rangers with random character names, wearing the same armor with the same unnamed bears.

Anet really has their work cut out for them if they intend to do more than pay lip service to combating bots in GW2.

I'd imagine the Node teleporting bots would be VERY EASY to detect and combat, indeed I'm wondering why GW2 lets the client dictate the characters location to the server and not the other way round.

Anyhow, keep up the good work Anet, your efforts thus far are appreciated.

#7 Shayne Hawke

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:15 PM

[quote name='Nerel' timestamp='1355347295' post='2116080'] indeed I'm wondering why GW2 lets the client dictate the characters location to the server and not the other way round.[/quote]

Jumping puzzles.

#8 BnJ

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:16 PM

What I'd really like to know is when are they going to have the situation under control enough so they can finally remove Diminishing Returns?  I'm sick of being punished, because of a few bots.

My guess is never, because I don't think bots are the reason for DR, just a convenient excuse.

#9 Craywulf

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:21 PM

Mike Lewis never said or implied there's no more bots. There's [i]always[/i] going be bots, and getting rid of them is an ongoing process. I have to commend them for getting rid of 34,000 of them in such a short span of time. The fact that they are talking about it should show that security is a priority, even if you think this is just public relations talk. Lets keep in mind, they don't need to tell us about this...they could've easily just feed us more Winter's Day promotion.

#10 Rumstein

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:03 PM

If only their bot banning worked...
Seems they ban more than just bots.

My friend was banned during his mindless iceflow farming as a suspected bot... He was on mumble talking to me, even telling me whenever something dropped! I guess that's the new "diminishing returns".

Also, the economy is so boned right now that I'm sure 90% of the player base welcomes the return of bots... Just not the 1% or zealous "white knights".

#11 B3aT

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:04 AM

I felt the light breeze that reduced some item costs, I made some pretty good money these days, but still I want them dead.

I still don't think the GM's exists (ofc they exists but I think they are too few ...or don't do their job:)  ..I just gathered some examples from my server
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLamds2eEUo&feature=youtu.be

#12 Majic

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:14 AM

It's great to see progress, but Foxbat's point is a very good one. Reports aren't just down because there are fewer bots, they are down because the teleporting bots that remain blink in and out so fast it's usually not possible to right-click and report them.

When I stop seeing teleporting bots, smaller reporting numbers will mean more to me, because the teleporting bots are actually much, much more efficient than their non-teleporting predecessors.

Here's hoping they fix that problem soon, because a smaller number of more powerful bots teleporting all over the maps gathering resources in the blink of an eye can do a lot more damage than a bunch of old-school 1-spammers standing around on Botter's Bridge in the Kessex Hills.



#13 pumpkin pie

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:07 AM

i am very satisfy with the result, i don't see gold seller spammings on chat, i do not receive any spam mail.

keep up the good works.

#14 Symbiont

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:04 AM

my really first encounter with bots happened today. seems like they advanced their farming method by using different professions instead of just rangers. they where 5 different professions using skills in rotation and stacked on each other. they never left that certain area and in their skill rotation, they will cast their skills at nothing when mobs aren't spawned.

i wanted to grief the botter by luring "The Eye of Zhaitan" on top of them, however that elite-mob just disappeared when i was about to do it after i've cleared the path from normal mobs.

i hope to see the bot again, just so i have a chance to grief again.


starting at 1 minute into this video is exactly what i saw at the exact same location.
the eye of zhaitan is spawned next to them. next time the eye will surely wipe them out, mwhahaha.

[quote name='B3aT' timestamp='1355357051' post='2116265']
[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLamds2eEUo&feature=youtu.be[/media]
[/quote]

Edited by Symbiont, 13 December 2012 - 04:17 AM.


#15 Tenicord

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:54 AM

but without the bots their population would drop by 90% aw, oh well.

#16 Lordkrall

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:55 AM

[quote name='Shroomhead Fred' timestamp='1355350579' post='2116140']
What I'd really like to know is when are they going to have the situation under control enough so they can finally remove Diminishing Returns?  I'm sick of being punished, because of a few bots.

My guess is never, because I don't think bots are the reason for DR, just a convenient excuse.
[/quote]

They have however never stated that the only reason for DR are the bots.
Nor will they ever state that.
Bots and exploits is a PART of the reason, but not the only reason.

They have no reason to remove it.

#17 Valkaire

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:12 AM

Another factor of the reduced reports is that people finally realize what happens to the economy when you remove bots. Nobody likes spending more money when they have to and now that they know that their "QQ too many bots!" led to a drastic rise in materials/dyes I doubt there's many people who are still willing to report...

#18 Lordkrall

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:22 AM

[quote name='Valkaire' timestamp='1355386360' post='2116572']
Another factor of the reduced reports is that people finally realize what happens to the economy when you remove bots. Nobody likes spending more money when they have to and now that they know that their "QQ too many bots!" led to a drastic rise in materials/dyes I doubt there's many people who are still willing to report...
[/quote]

I would say that is bullshit.

The vast majority of players would most likely rather have a bot-free game than having stupidly cheap items on the TP.

I sure wonder why people can't just accept the fact that ArenaNet has actually done a good job with bots. But then again, it is the same people as those that complains about every single thing ArenaNet ever does so I suppose it is more or less impossible.

#19 Nerel

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:48 AM

[quote name='Lordkrall' timestamp='1355386967' post='2116578']
I would say that is bullshit.

The vast majority of players would most likely rather have a bot-free game than having stupidly cheap items on the TP.

[/quote]

I hate to say this, but I agree with you entirely (the first and possibly last time I'll ever say that to one of your posts).
Bots don't just make things cheaper to buy on the TP, they make all the loot or crafting materials we farm worth LESS too... so everything is cheaper to buy, but we're making far less money at the same time. I for one don't want to be competing with bots that can run 24/7.

#20 Illein

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:51 AM

I fully support botting.

And I can't believe I'd ever state that, but it's really simple - they do a job that is part of the game that I'd NEVER like to do, they fulfil the ridiculously mind-numbing farming that I'd be required to do in order to get my legendary but can't be arsed to for its sheer stupidity.

So if bots mean, I don't have to waste my time doing repetitive nonsense, I reported my last bot ~October and that's it. Bring them in! MORE BOTS please! I am quite happy with cheap T6 mats and hopefully Lodestones will go down as well - because these articles are the bane of Guild Wars 2's "no grinding" argument and bots tremendously help with that, making MY game better than Arena Net would at that point.

I WELCOME THEE, CHINESE BOTTING OVERLORDS! MY BODY IS READY!

#21 Zhahz

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:16 AM

They most definitely cut down on the number of bots drastically and in some areas you could go without even seeing any bots.

But.

The bots are starting to appear again, more and more all the time.

And as before, you report them.  You see them the next day.  And the next.  And the next week.  And it's just like before where it feels like nothing is being done.

#22 Trei

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:42 AM

Dhuum it or it didn't happen!

Bring the Ban Scythe back into the mortal realms, Anet.

#23 Symbiont

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

View PostIllein, on 13 December 2012 - 08:51 AM, said:

I fully support botting.

And I can't believe I'd ever state that, but it's really simple - they do a job that is part of the game that I'd NEVER like to do, they fulfil the ridiculously mind-numbing farming that I'd be required to do in order to get my legendary but can't be arsed to for its sheer stupidity.

So if bots mean, I don't have to waste my time doing repetitive nonsense, I reported my last bot ~October and that's it. Bring them in! MORE BOTS please! I am quite happy with cheap T6 mats and hopefully Lodestones will go down as well - because these articles are the bane of Guild Wars 2's "no grinding" argument and bots tremendously help with that, making MY game better than Arena Net would at that point.

I WELCOME THEE, CHINESE BOTTING OVERLORDS! MY BODY IS READY!

there is no stopping in them anyway, i guess we should embrace them. legendary here i come!

#24 Eon Lilu

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:32 AM

Go to Southsun map and look in underwater areas near the northern waypoints and to the middle top of the map, you will see alot of players with normal names, in normal guilds, different professions, all botting with teleport hacks underwater. Where hardly anyone actually goes to look and unless you actually saw them use the teleport hack between kills, you would just swim past them thinking nothing about it. If they die, they just teleport back in seconds and continue botting at the same location.

The botters are getting smarter. :P

Edited by Eon Lilu, 13 December 2012 - 11:33 AM.


#25 chullster

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:32 PM

View PostIllein, on 13 December 2012 - 08:51 AM, said:

I fully support botting.

And I can't believe I'd ever state that, but it's really simple - they do a job that is part of the game that I'd NEVER like to do, they fulfil the ridiculously mind-numbing farming that I'd be required to do in order to get my legendary but can't be arsed to for its sheer stupidity.

So if bots mean, I don't have to waste my time doing repetitive nonsense, I reported my last bot ~October and that's it. Bring them in! MORE BOTS please! I am quite happy with cheap T6 mats and hopefully Lodestones will go down as well - because these articles are the bane of Guild Wars 2's "no grinding" argument and bots tremendously help with that, making MY game better than Arena Net would at that point.

I WELCOME THEE, CHINESE BOTTING OVERLORDS! MY BODY IS READY!

This right here.

The game is a lot better when farming is removed, by bots doing it for you indirectly. Low prices on the TP means I can do a lot more with less money, and by do, I mean experiment with the mystic forge, keep changing weapon/armour stats by making new sets, all sorts of things I find fun.

Removing the constant need to think about money all the time is a good thing. After the recent bot ban and prices skyrocketing the game was becoming more like J**-wars2, and increasingly tedious.

To those who say but you're reducing incomes with prices falling, I ask this: how? most drops are merch. junk, so the price doesn't change there. Ectos, t5/6 mats, lodestones are all required for stuff, so I don't sell them ever.

For cash I run dungeons, fractals, clear maps or just generally roam an area doing events. Non of which have their incomes reduced by TP prices dropping.

TL;DR gj bots

#26 escada_assassin

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:12 PM

Actually I would like bots to come back too. I was against bots before the massive ban, but right now, after seeing prices going up and up and up on TP, I don't know anymore...I wish prices would remain the same before the bot ban, but since it obviously can't remain the same, then bring back the bots. Prices for t6 materials went up, while rewards for DE's or even drops didn't get better.

#27 Lordkrall

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:13 PM

ArenaNet does not ban bots: "ArenaNet sucks and don't care about the game and just let bots run wild!"
ArenaNet ban bots: "OMG ArenaNet sucks, why did they ban all those bots!??!"

Clearly they can't win here.

But then again, the vast majority of the players most likely prefer less bots in the game.

#28 escada_assassin

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:31 PM

View PostLordkrall, on 13 December 2012 - 01:13 PM, said:

ArenaNet does not ban bots: "ArenaNet sucks and don't care about the game and just let bots run wild!"
ArenaNet ban bots: "OMG ArenaNet sucks, why did they ban all those bots!??!"

Clearly they can't win here.

But then again, the vast majority of the players most likely prefer less bots in the game.

Yeah, I'd prefer a bot free game, but...it would be nice if ANet could ban those bots without such high repercursions on the T6 materials' prices. As I said before, they banned bots, which lead to high prices for T6 materials on TP, but in the same time they didn't make DE's rewards better of drops any better. So at least I'm getting the same gold amounts, but paying more for materials. That is the only thing that I don't like. If they coud ban bots and do something about those prices it would be al fine by me. But they obviously can't. Or won't.

#29 Silent The Legend

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:48 PM

Its kinda sad that the community is in mutual agreement with the bots, but thats it. But I'd say rightfully.

Its impressive that the only thing Anet is doing right is actually bad for us. All in all, this is just the result of their crap economy/grind/loot/gold/whatever system. And to be honest, I hope they(chinese botters) will bring us more bots in the future. Not to mention that they ban bots just because they hurt their earnings, not because they want to polish the game. The moneygrabbing attitude of Anet at its finest right now.

#30 Keaghan

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:02 PM

I honestly thought this was going to be an event to kill bots or something :(

"Bots Genocide! KILL THEM ALL"

:( I still dream ;-;




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