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Botting in Runescape


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#301
gda_scooby
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The biggest difference we could make to the community is to force the limit of one account logged in per pc, which is circumvented by botting scripts.

If this could be extended to block all accounts playing from a VPS (Virtual Private Server?) then we would see a huge reduction in casual to medium level gold farming accounts, where even one individual sitting at home can have 6 bots or more running simultaneously per pc.

I dont mind so much one account botting for their own exp/cash, its the huge numbers of slave accounts playing to fund one main account thats a problem.

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#302
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Thirdly, charging people more that use the service more is not 'punishing' them. Trust me, make a cab wait for 10 minutes and make another wait for 30 minutes. You'll find making a cab wait longer (ie utilize it's service) will give you a higher charge. Anyway, YES, 3 hours a day is easily doable. So is 6 hours and 10 hours and 16 hours and even 24 hours in a day. However, if you want to use more of the service then be prepared to pay more. As pointed out above, people do this all the time with cell phones and internet providers.

Erm... no. Don't twist my words. The idea that you pay disproportionately more for using a service more (which is what you're recommending) is something I argued strongly against in that post. I argued if anything, it should be disproportionately less, which would be counterintuitive to your aim.

You look one way, you're punishing customers. You look the other, you're not disincentivising botters. Either way, this doesn't make sense.

#303
Sona
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Runescape is one of those odd games where certain demographics (pures) are seen as somehow viable in the game. I never understood it either, but I assume that the population is substantial enough to make it an ill-advised idea to even suggest it on the official forums.

What is economically disastrous is simply a player's alternatives. Runescape's biggest grab right now, other than it's free, is that the game content is substantial with a very low price tag associated with it. Can people shell out an extra 6 bucks for 100 hours? Sure. Are they really that willing? That is really debatable, especially looking at numerous alternatives out there.

The attractiveness of a subscription is just that - you can play as much as you want or as little as you want. It's a psychological sensation, and one that works because people want to get their "money's worth" out of a game, which in turn makes them more likely to renew a subscription. Companies understand this, which is why there are various incentives for them to make you continue your subscription. What's suggested here would be the first instance in which playing MORE of your game is punished, and that makes very little sense, as Ginger Warrior pointed out.

No matter what the situation may be, bots can simply generate more accounts, bot the allotted hour, and then switch to a different account. If anything, I'd think profit margins for gold companies will now increase, as reduced supply + unchanged demand = higher profit margin for gold sellers.

#304
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Both ideas in the last few posts are absolutely ridiculous.

Having skill total requirements for certain activities wouldn't work, lots of people create accounts for specific activities such as pures for PvP or various skillers that are limited in combat level. QP requirements is also ridiculous due to the fact that to get any significant amount of quest points you need to do combat thus making level 3 skillers unable to access things. Although areas are already fenced off by quest requirements making random areas require a quest point (or item or whatever) is stupid.

For the limited number of hours per month is also a ludicrous idea. It's unfairly punishing those who have a lot of time to play for various reasons. 100 hours isn't THAT much in a month, that's just over 3 hours a day which is easily doable even with working full time. Punishing legit players is NOT the way to combat bots, especially when it comes to charging extra to certain people or limiting what some people can do in game.

So you call the idea ridiculous, but offer no valid reasons why that is so? Seems odd, but let's take what you said on its merits.

First, this would be on certain servers, not on all of them so actually every argument is moot.

Second, people that choose to have low or no combat levels (pures and skillers) are not being catered to in this game, nor have been for years. Trotting them out do not help your argument. They could still play, but are limited at the high end of things to do is all.

Thirdly, charging people more that use the service more is not 'punishing' them. Trust me, make a cab wait for 10 minutes and make another wait for 30 minutes. You'll find making a cab wait longer (ie utilize it's service) will give you a higher charge. Anyway, YES, 3 hours a day is easily doable. So is 6 hours and 10 hours and 16 hours and even 24 hours in a day. However, if you want to use more of the service then be prepared to pay more. As pointed out above, people do this all the time with cell phones and internet providers.

Now will this cost customers? Yes. Will it cost so much as to be economically disastrous? No. Jagex can easily tell what percentage of its accounts play 100+ or 200+ hours per month. It can also tell when accounts that are indicative of bots and gauge their hours per month. For that, it's easy to tell if there's immediate benefits to either or both ideas.


Having it only on certain servers doesn't reduce botting at all, so why are you offering it in a topic about botting? There'll still be the same amount of botters on other servers and you'll probably still have botters in several places on the servers anyway.
Just because Skillers and pures aren't catered too doesn't mean they should just be ignored. It's a perfectly valid way of playing, if someone wants to max out their non-combat skills at level 3 and get past the challenge of doing so then great, they should be allowed to and not stopped doing something entirely non-combat related just because. Jagex have numerous times "celebrated" such players who do unique things. Players have a choice of how to play the game, they shouldn't be punished for choosing something that's not standard.

Access to Runescape and phone contracts are entirely different. There is a cost in phone calls and text messages whereas there is almost no cost for continued access to Runescape. The amount of bandwidth used per hour is low which is proved by the fact you can play the game on dial-up. For Spotify you're streaming music hence there's a bandwidth cost for them which is why they charge extra. For Taxis you're paying for their time along with fuel used, so of course you're going to be charged more. All you're paying for is Runescape is access to the members world, you're still able to play just as much on f2p servers which would have the exact same cost associated with them. You can't compare two completely different business models to say it works elsewhere. There's no such examples within gaming (except for a few Asian countries but that's due to other reasons) and there's a reason for that. It wouldn't work.

Jagex would lose a significant amount of money if membership gave people a 100 hour play-time per top up which rolled over. There are A LOT of people who don't play for 100 hours a month yet still pay for membership so when the second month rolled around they'd not pay money and that'd repeat for months. I imagine there's a lot of people with membership who play for 10 hours a month, so Jagex would be getting 1/10th of the membership fee that month. There would be a lot more people who pay money less frequently with this method than people who'd pay extra for going over 100 hours. Punishing your more hardcore players is not good in any way.

#305
NukeMarine
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Having it only on certain servers doesn't reduce botting at all, so why are you offering it in a topic about botting? There'll still be the same amount of botters on other servers and you'll probably still have botters in several places on the servers anyway.
Just because Skillers and pures aren't catered too doesn't mean they should just be ignored. It's a perfectly valid way of playing, if someone wants to max out their non-combat skills at level 3 and get past the challenge of doing so then great, they should be allowed to and not stopped doing something entirely non-combat related just because. Jagex have numerous times "celebrated" such players who do unique things. Players have a choice of how to play the game, they shouldn't be punished for choosing something that's not standard.

If it reduced botting on the servers changed, then it does reduce botting. If the "Beta phase" passes and it turns out such servers are viable it could be expanded to more or even all the servers. What you're saying though is "Hey Jagex, we know that botters are ruining the game and there's a statistically proven method that drastically reduces the common bot, but don't do that cause it'll affect the way a small subset of users play the game".

Access to Runescape and phone contracts are entirely different. There is a cost in phone calls and text messages whereas there is almost no cost for continued access to Runescape. The amount of bandwidth used per hour is low which is proved by the fact you can play the game on dial-up. For Spotify you're streaming music hence there's a bandwidth cost for them which is why they charge extra. For Taxis you're paying for their time along with fuel used, so of course you're going to be charged more. All you're paying for is Runescape is access to the members world, you're still able to play just as much on f2p servers which would have the exact same cost associated with them. You can't compare two completely different business models to say it works elsewhere. There's no such examples within gaming (except for a few Asian countries but that's due to other reasons) and there's a reason for that. It wouldn't work.

You just said it works. You don't like it cause the increase rental price is not related to an increase in cost of operation. But, you do agree that Jagex spends time and resources "combatting" bots, right? Well, here's something that works against how bots play. Does a small subset of real players get affected? Yes, but read above. If you're a guy that can afford 300 a month on a game, I think it's safe to say you can afford $24 a month. That's assuming such players don't pay money in RWT, which oddly has not been brought up. There are many, many players paying EXTRA MONEY for RS item, yet something tells me they'll yell the loudest on price rises on RS.

Jagex would lose a significant amount of money if membership gave people a 100 hour play-time per top up which rolled over. There are A LOT of people who don't play for 100 hours a month yet still pay for membership so when the second month rolled around they'd not pay money and that'd repeat for months. I imagine there's a lot of people with membership who play for 10 hours a month, so Jagex would be getting 1/10th of the membership fee that month. There would be a lot more people who pay money less frequently with this method than people who'd pay extra for going over 100 hours. Punishing your more hardcore players is not good in any way.

Here you're right. Group mentality is weird. Anyone that's read the book Freakonomics can see all the examples where the perceived is much different than the reality. Kind of like how a restaurant buffet can save money if they used smaller plates and cups. Yes, people could still eat all they want, but the mentality is just get a plateful which in turn meant less food is used.

As for your breakdown of rollovers, players still have to pay membership that month to use it. Granted, it could be there are no rollovers. I just threw that out there as it's a way to stop the "gotta use it all or lose it" mentality people have.

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#306
DarkDude
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If it reduced botting on the servers changed, then it does reduce botting. If the "Beta phase" passes and it turns out such servers are viable it could be expanded to more or even all the servers. What you're saying though is "Hey Jagex, we know that botters are ruining the game and there's a statistically proven method that drastically reduces the common bot, but don't do that cause it'll affect the way a small subset of users play the game".


Or they could actual ban the bots and combat them in ways which DON'T have an impact on players. Instead of taking these drastic and stupid methods.

You just said it works. You don't like it cause the increase rental price is not related to an increase in cost of operation. But, you do agree that Jagex spends time and resources "combatting" bots, right? Well, here's something that works against how bots play. Does a small subset of real players get affected? Yes, but read above. If you're a guy that can afford 300 a month on a game, I think it's safe to say you can afford $24 a month. That's assuming such players don't pay money in RWT, which oddly has not been brought up. There are many, many players paying EXTRA MONEY for RS item, yet something tells me they'll yell the loudest on price rises on RS.


Where did I say it works? I didn't. It has never been done in gaming and there's a good reason for that (the reasons in a few countries is due to laws limiting play time and such, they're also entirely different markets). I imagine the people that RWT and those that play a lot are entirely different sections of the community. People normally pay for things in games because they don't have time to earn them themselves. If you could give me an example where a company has successfully charged for time played I'd love to see it. All the examples you've given so far have been involving a RESOURCE which for Runescape does not exist (the bandwidth costs as I said are effectively non-existent on a player to player level).

Assuming people who play for a long time have the money to pay for it is an assumption based on absolutely nothing. I personally can play 100 hours even while working full time and I would NOT pay more for membership and many many people would do the exact same thing. And I imagine a lot of people who can play that time are unable to afford it and only play RuneScape due to its price compared to other MMOs.

As for your breakdown of rollovers, players still have to pay membership that month to use it. Granted, it could be there are no rollovers. I just threw that out there as it's a way to stop the "gotta use it all or lose it" mentality people have.


Paying for access and then usage on top of that is even more ridiculous suggestion. So to play the game I have to pay for access to the members servers and pay for time on top of that? What about F2P? Do they have to pay for time too? Makes no sense and once again would not work as a business model.

If paying for 100 hours a month and you have a month to use it in could arguably provide health concerns from people who force themselves to use all their play time that month otherwise they'll lose it, which I'm sure is something Jagex doesn't want to deal with.

While having a limit on play time would do something to stop botting somewhat it would again punish pretty much all players in some way or another. As I said in this post already, there's other things they can do other than ruining the gaming experience and punishing the player base.

#307
NukeMarine
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Dark Dude,

Great idea, ban the bots. We don't need anymore discussion after that. Except there's one problem, we've got 16 pages of discussion talking about all the problems associated not just with finding bots to ban, but also keeping them off.

Bot detection - gets harder with every passing day
IP Ban - useless
Proprietary client - ruins the very thing that makes RS successful
CAPTCHA - By passed using a group of people that solve remotely for bots
Random Events - Actually easier for bots to solve (requires frequent updates to be really effective)
Game altering - Requires frequent reboots, usually patched within hours.

Now let's talk about the ideas of altering player habits. What's the difference with bot activity between F2P and P2P? I assume it's worse on F2P. What is the bot activity like on 1000+ and 1500+ servers? I assume there's less bots than on other servers. How about bot activity in areas that have higher skill total, quest or activity requirements. I assume these areas are less botted. What is bot activity like with changes to account creation? I assume more bots are created now. None of these things STOP BOTS in and of themselves. I agree that even in a skill total 2000 world you'd have somebody botting. However, it reduces or removes the really annoying Gold Farming bots leaving us just with players that leveled a high character and now doesn't want to grind his time away. I'd rather have the later cause at least there you have a player that cares about his or her account.

So yes, please, give an idea that won't be shredded to hell and back that's guarenteed to reduce bots without affecting normal players. By reduced, we're talking as much if not more than a mixture of: Lengthy account creation process, limited time per account on f2p, structured time use per account per month for p2p, more extensive activity/skill total/qp prerequisites on all actions.

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#308
DarkDude
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Simple. Improve the detection system. How to do that? I have no idea, I don't know how their system works but clearly it works to some extent and it wouldn't surprise me if it's actually great at telling if someone's a bot but there's a lack of autodetection in the system so it's relied on player reports. Numerous people have been reporting (especially lately) that they've randomly gained 30k ranks in skills like fishing without gaining any experience so it's clear something's going on and that it's working however it's currently unable to cope with the volume of botters.

So simply improving their system to cope with a larger number of bots and to turn over bans quicker would be a great solution. They could also use more stat tracking themselves to see "Ok, this guy has gained a lot of ranged xp recently so lets track what he's actually doing" and such as well as tracking players who are logged in for a long period of time and investigating from there. None of these things change the game at all and are simple to do as I imagine that information is already being logged in some fashion it just needs to be improved upon.

#309
tomtiger11
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Bots, A Pain in the Arse

tbh anyone who bots, obviously doesnt want to play the game... :shame:


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#310
h3art
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Alternately, doesn't want to play what they consider to be tedious aspects of the game (referring to casual bot users rather than professional Gold Farmers).

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#311
pal2002
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I have always thought that jagex would at least put forward a good faith effort in anti botting..but definitely not anymore.

They really could do a lot of what everyone has mentioned...but instead they choose to stop perm bans, do multiple temp bans and rollbacks, sell banned accounts back, all at the same time qhene they bring back free trade and the huge bot explosion. In short, they no longer give a crap. No matter what mmg or the jagex propaganda wants to claim, jagex profit off bots. And profit is thef number one word of the day for jagex now.
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#312
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#313
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Deal or no deal?

Dear Runescape Adventurer,

You are obviously aware of the botting issues which currently plague the game. We here at Jagex are wholly committed to the removal of illegal and immoral ways to 'cheat' the game as are its many loyal and honest players.

The re-introduction of the wildy and free trade update not only frustrated our attempts to appease the authorities but upset a great many players who feel that the economy and the spirit of the game went rapidly into decline from that moment.

We have therefore taken the decision to reverse our update regarding free trade including the wildy, duel arena and other advantages which can be manipulated by 'botters' and cheaters. With this in mind we ask you to be patient and cooperative.

At some point in the future we will reinstall the wilderness and other PVP elements of the game which you enjoy so much, but because we do not have a solution to combat the bot-programs and after reading the comments on the many expert forums, neither do you, this appears to be the most preferable solution at this time.

Yours in desperation.... Jagex...
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#314
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Simple. Improve the detection system. How to do that? I have no idea, I don't know how their system works but clearly it works to some extent and it wouldn't surprise me if it's actually great at telling if someone's a bot but there's a lack of autodetection in the system so it's relied on player reports. Numerous people have been reporting (especially lately) that they've randomly gained 30k ranks in skills like fishing without gaining any experience so it's clear something's going on and that it's working however it's currently unable to cope with the volume of botters.

So simply improving their system to cope with a larger number of bots and to turn over bans quicker would be a great solution. They could also use more stat tracking themselves to see "Ok, this guy has gained a lot of ranged xp recently so lets track what he's actually doing" and such as well as tracking players who are logged in for a long period of time and investigating from there. None of these things change the game at all and are simple to do as I imagine that information is already being logged in some fashion it just needs to be improved upon.


This guy could be president. "How to solve all wars? keep people from wanting war!" No duh sherlock. Its pure drivel. I mean, c'mon. Saying the IRS should make the tax system harder to cheat and work better is one think. It having any bearing on anything REMOTELY effective or workable is another. duh.

I mean, for [bleep]s sake. How many employes to you think jflex has to track all xp over all characters and compare it to any type of workable detection model? What about people who AFK/semi afk, or those effective who ignore others, or those who play 15+ hours a day? Its a simply idiotic idea to even suggest. Would it work if the game had 10k, 50k, 100k players only? Maybe. But think of it even this way. If it takes one person 30 seconds per character per month...thats a crap ton of time. And a hell of a lot of margin of error.

And to the above: Normal wildy+free trade > bot problem. I'd rather have RS as it is with the bots now then RS as it was with bots still there just SLIGHTLY less common.

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#315
DarkDude
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Simple. Improve the detection system. How to do that? I have no idea, I don't know how their system works but clearly it works to some extent and it wouldn't surprise me if it's actually great at telling if someone's a bot but there's a lack of autodetection in the system so it's relied on player reports. Numerous people have been reporting (especially lately) that they've randomly gained 30k ranks in skills like fishing without gaining any experience so it's clear something's going on and that it's working however it's currently unable to cope with the volume of botters.

So simply improving their system to cope with a larger number of bots and to turn over bans quicker would be a great solution. They could also use more stat tracking themselves to see "Ok, this guy has gained a lot of ranged xp recently so lets track what he's actually doing" and such as well as tracking players who are logged in for a long period of time and investigating from there. None of these things change the game at all and are simple to do as I imagine that information is already being logged in some fashion it just needs to be improved upon.


This guy could be president. "How to solve all wars? keep people from wanting war!" No duh sherlock. Its pure drivel. I mean, c'mon. Saying the IRS should make the tax system harder to cheat and work better is one think. It having any bearing on anything REMOTELY effective or workable is another. duh.

I mean, for [bleep]s sake. How many employes to you think jflex has to track all xp over all characters and compare it to any type of workable detection model? What about people who AFK/semi afk, or those effective who ignore others, or those who play 15+ hours a day? Its a simply idiotic idea to even suggest. Would it work if the game had 10k, 50k, 100k players only? Maybe. But think of it even this way. If it takes one person 30 seconds per character per month...thats a crap ton of time. And a hell of a lot of margin of error.


Automatic systems, ever heard of them? They probably already track XP in some form and would just need adjusting to look for suspicious behaviour. Then you look into it further, either put the characters into the same system they currently use for telling if someone is botting or not (which clearly works to some extent due to the fact I've never heard of a single person ever being punished for Macroing who was innocent) or have some other way to distinguish between normal players and bots before putting them in the current system. I believe the problem in their system currently is actually them investigating the bots, so having a better detection system would work great towards that. Players who AFK, ignore others and play 15+ hours a day are safe at the moment, how would that make them any less safe? It's simply idiotic to even suggest.

#316
Assume Nothing
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Considering that both parties don't really understand JaGex's systems - purely speculative 'solutions' will be pointless as we cannot be sure if it's even possible for JaGex to use them. The update on account creation is a step in the right direction - but it's a matter of time before they start using workarounds for that too.

I shall reiterate - If you want to kill the bots, you have to kill the demand. Try preventing a gunshot, instead of indefinitely patching it with low grade plasters.

#317
gda_scooby
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What about slightly limiting the number or value of 'free' trades per week? So new players can only receive a gift of say 1mill per week, either in cash or trade value difference?

Its up for discussion how you would raise these limts, either on total xp, QP etc, and the values allowed.

Realistically, how often do 90% of players give friends large value unbalanced trades? Would you be prepared to go back to restrictive player to player trade (GE can still be free?) in order to make it difficult for farmer bots to trade out there stock?

I enjoyed the game a lot more when we were in the period of restrictive trade, and fewer bots.

If we agree that its very difficult to detect bots, then we have to either take away the reason to bot (so no exp or GP) or make it as difficult as possible for any transfers to be done.
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#318
SwreeTak
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SwreeTak

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Simple. Improve the detection system. How to do that? I have no idea, I don't know how their system works but clearly it works to some extent and it wouldn't surprise me if it's actually great at telling if someone's a bot but there's a lack of autodetection in the system so it's relied on player reports. Numerous people have been reporting (especially lately) that they've randomly gained 30k ranks in skills like fishing without gaining any experience so it's clear something's going on and that it's working however it's currently unable to cope with the volume of botters.

So simply improving their system to cope with a larger number of bots and to turn over bans quicker would be a great solution. They could also use more stat tracking themselves to see "Ok, this guy has gained a lot of ranged xp recently so lets track what he's actually doing" and such as well as tracking players who are logged in for a long period of time and investigating from there. None of these things change the game at all and are simple to do as I imagine that information is already being logged in some fashion it just needs to be improved upon.


Two great ideas put forward here. To track different players with some kind of automatic system and then check up those who have behaved suspiciously like a bot recently will then get extra attention. This would probably be quite hard, but it is still a good idea of what Jagex could do.

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#319
stonewall337
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Considering that both parties don't really understand JaGex's systems - purely speculative 'solutions' will be pointless as we cannot be sure if it's even possible for JaGex to use them. The update on account creation is a step in the right direction - but it's a matter of time before they start using workarounds for that too.

I shall reiterate - If you want to kill the bots, you have to kill the demand. Try preventing a gunshot, instead of indefinitely patching it with low grade plasters.

But you can't. People are lazy, and people want gratification now.

And to those 2 above: Quite often. Also, there are the "get quickly rich" to consider, dicing and dueling. As well thinks like giving claws/torva/divine is still common among good friends.

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#320
Noxx
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I think D&D's like "The Pit" could potentially be a great way of stopping bots, if you take it one step further. "Force" players to participate in the D&D, and if the player does not, the player get's auto-logged. Upon being auto-logged you will be required to reload/refresh your page and re-log. This would stop the bot from working until it is logged back in. As i understand it, most bot's (if not all) stop with system updates because that can't reload the page and log back in until it is manually done. This will basically function as a system update, which would log out the bot until manually logged back in.
Although the biggest problem is not players botting skills for the sake of gaining levels but rather botting an NPS for gaining GP, i'm sure that with some thinking you could come up with a D&D at bot-hotspots (such as Frosts and Aviansies). After killing a random amount of X-NPC you will be required to do a small random for a small exp reward (similar Exp reward as that of Shattered Hearts or The Pit). It does not have to be an Exp reward though. It could be any type of small reward. The idea here is not to reward the player, but rather break the routine and distract the player.
The Pit is a great example of what could be used. It's not an automatic random, but rather something that requires you to walk to an NCP, click through a conversation and do a random mini-game. It can easily be skipped if you want to, but with an update such as i suggest you will be faced with the option of either doing the D&D or having to reload your page.

I know nothing about coding, so i have no idea if this is even possible or if it could be easily fixed by bot-makers.




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