Well-thought suggestions to battle bots with minimum effort

Hey people. I’ve been monitoring current bot/rmt situation for over a month now and decided to bring some suggestions for discussion that i believe could be helpful. This will be a long post due to complexity of said issue, therefore in case you want me to cut to the deal, scroll down to “suggestions”.

First of, i’d like to make a quick intro/rant. I am not that great at English so i’ll try to keep it simple, constructive, without condescending and calling names. I reached 1385, enjoyed mindless grind(which was all i expected from this game and needed atm). Now I am an ex-player from blocked region that used VPN service to play the game in EUC with some friends of mine. It is against ToS and is quite common policy in online gaming but also rarely enforced upon. But I kinda expected this yet for different reasons. You know, that country.
Both region&VPN block happened deep at the night (20~of march and end of april) without any announcements which i’d find ironic if not the timezones. However if you search through forums you can find four-hourish late responses from CMs for each of those. With first stating that blocked countries were displaying huge bot activities, and second - that bots massively use VPNs to obscure their IPs. I myself find these to measures counterproductive. (or the region(ISP) block - obsoleted)

While i agree, VPN might be used for shady stuff, but what about lifting region block? I’d like to address this question to community and AGS(hopefully a response?). As you can see, i am capable of communicating via international language, a nice, positive person, even when people turn to foxladies at Yoho i am not raging and calling them out, i welcome them to inspect foxlady model closer while they are at it(those are… richier than your average character). I am just unlucky to reside in different country. You might say i have russian publisher and servers to play at. But their launcher is spyware which is able to record your desktop since last time i checked, i’m not fond of supporting that company, i don’t like their community and tbh i just wanted a fresh start within EU community. Nonetheless a healthy player with ability(may be a crippled ability, since those are not prosperous countries) to support game financially is always better than none.

Regarding already taken actions
So far, I saw very few big measures against the whole bot/RMT plague, however these are quite bold, that shows that you are allowed to implement such changes.
0. (the reduced early gold… honestly, i’ll comment on it later)

  1. Trusted status
  2. Region&VPN block
  3. Chaos dungeon shop bound
    I already pointed out how 2 is a double edged sword which didn’t quite hit the target needed (as you can see from charts, forum posts and queues). 1 is an interesting decision, which shows you’re able to change/remove access to multiple systems in the game, while on its own this achieved close to nothing. You can transfer your gold with Auction House with the same fee as if you traded or mailed it, by listing any t1 item. At the same time it also made me unable to give my extra adv. tome collectibles to my friends.
    The controversal 3 is honestly a much better change. I would also suggest to limit purchases from 99 to 10 at max. While still hurting minmax players like i was(i learned about it 2 weeks prior “soft ban”, farmed for about 2k gold a week and took better deals at mari’s, BC were 370g back then). And it’s not much different for ingame economy in comparsion to bot activity, I influxed AH with mats and dumped in non-existense(mari) while straining BC prices(rmt has similar effect by injecting gold of no RC exchange means) (hopefully everyone understands how BC-RC conversion works). The only change I support, since it’s finally not a half-measure and it eliminates abusable system.
    huh, i just realised, mari is the way for company to control prices. Well, no wonder.

A step back( why 3 is good, and why market should be destroyed)
It’s not a secret, anything not gated behind “hard” content is within bot’s reach. Any material or raw gold should be considered obtained_already, regardless if it’s on daily basis or one-time get and go after 30-60days(rapport gold and engravings). I must also confess, i am a flithy flipper on AH with an excuse of being fair flipper. Basically, I use power of analytics and flaws of market. It’s a hunt in a sense, with benefits. These are usually cosmetics that you will spend much more time trying to acquire by reasonable ingame means. Of all markets THIS one almost tempted me to farm gold mindlessly with how good it is. Laughable 5% fee, daily statistics for prices, sold items, limited sales of skins, rotating timed activities and therefore needs. And its also quite volatile with neverending demand.
This market is something else, with all these useful features it doesn’t even have a simple lockdown for spamrefresh. I’ve seen underpriced items come and go between 2 clicks(miliseconds long). And to think you risk nothing by spamming undercut buy requests manually or by any AHK means is inconceivable(although i didn’t try the latter). Clearly there was no such tremendous demand on RMT gold in previous regions. Thats why current market systems need adaptions.

I’d like to sum up before we go to suggestions.
AGS (I am sorry) is currently incompetent. The way they handle situation is slow, unresponsive and most importantly they clearly lack people who are deep in the game to understand not just basic and core mechanics and demands. Which was clearly shown by “trusted” changes and their infamous half-measures.
Most of these changes are supposed to increase expenses for any bad actors,
while trying to decrease collateral damage to both legitimate players
and AGS resourses.
Well, you have to take damage, since it’s not a battle, it’s a war.
I’ll start from “small blood” and escalate

Make collectibles for adv. tome non tradable(recommended). When i flipped those, 999stacks were gone after 15 minutes sometimes(and these were 3-4+ gold ones). I don’t have statistics on hands, for sure, but. Its an easy income for bots, understimated in volumes. Moreso being able to buy your whole tome takes away from ignea challenge. Harder version of this would be making them bound as time passed (like its in diablo 3 with party drops), although it doesn’t seem worth the effort. This is supposed to be a good change overall, cutting botters income, adding more horizontal grind content to the game contributing to longevity.
Market tariffs/deposit/fee/mailing/trading 5->20+%. (this would compliment your “trusted” change a lot, since traders most likely use trusted hubs to funnel gold, being forced to transfer gold twice with higher tariffs could cut income by third and more. Would also discourage flippers). Nothing really to add, taxes are always good. Also increases efficiency of RC to gold exchange as a sub effect.
Make everything t1 and t2 related non-tradeable(or at least gear which is usually used to avoid your “trusted” change). (further improvement on previous point. I believe this will make bots unable to transfer gold between them for free completely, till they reach t3. Forcing them to commit more resourses, allowing for more time between banwaves. Also t1 and t2 trade seems obsolete, people bought a lot of my stuff from alts, sure that nets some stable income, but lets be honest, you can easily reach t3 as f2p without opening AH once. So if you decide to go further than just t1 and t2 gear that are used as RMT tokens cheers to you. A bloody solution, but it puts heavy expenses on botters(hi t3 pheons, hi time to level up), or gives you(AGS) larger windows to react effectively cutting your expenses. Like how much time does it take for bot to reach said 50lvl(8h?) and 1302ilvl(would probably be 150++ish hours without any huge events like express mission)
Rapport and quest gold and tradable engravings from those, especially legendary ones… yeah, remove those totally or make non-tradeable. Should probably also remove gold costs on honing pre t3 to avoid softlocking. Not to mention those make bots profitable from the start. That would leave trade skills and Una tasks only, which are pretty tame pre t3 and could probably be left untouched. Although… yeah having access to gold or AH pre t3 seems questionable. thats why i’d like to push other suggestions as these look excessive from realisation and restriction perspectives. Although some of them could be cancelled after said 1302 ilvl

Use one of those “restricted f2p” models. Anything that makes botters commit harder or spend money is good. I see, you are able to block access to some in-game functions behind trusted status, but what about ingame means
SHOP PASS. Like in PSO. To sell(or buy, or both if you like) on AH you need a pass. I’d suggest to tie being able to use AH and market to beatrice’s blessing. Imagine each bot being forced to spend 2k gold which would cut their profits even further, or 5$, which is totally okay for legitimate player, would also make this blessing worthwhile. Could also tie your “trusted” changes here, just don’t forget to not give away BC, gold and any tradable stuff.
If that doesn’t suit you, you can also try some of the SWTOR methods ;D hell, i loved racking millions with 300k credit cap. I’d like to see something like market listings cap or daily playtime cap of 6 hours which can be upgraded to 24 by purchasing passes. Too far, I know, jk.

Also you should get creative, really. I see you can make gold of RMT enjoyers go negative. How about instead of banning compromised gold farming bots, make their gold go “phantom”. Let me explain. I’ve noticed on failed transaction on AH you receive 2 messages, x gold used, x gold gained, so there’s some sort of protection. If it’s possible to tweak for phantoms that their gold is all time 0, but it’s displayed like it’s still here. And when someone will try to buy gold from such account, they will not face an INSTANT DELIVERY HUGE STOCK. They will face prolonged deals if even successful. That would be a massive blow to shop’s reputation, especially if you do it in “phantom-waves”. Could even go much much further in that direction.
And… are you really not permaing RMTers? Giving them second chance? Expecting, since they have money, they would turn to light? Or just trying to sit on both chairs, like you did with 500k concurrent players. 1mil soon. I’d like to see how many RMTers had paid their debts through RC. Because as i can see, it’s cheaper to buy new character and gear it up.(reason to limit in chaos d shop should be decreased) Sorry, I condescended and called out. Also a tinfoil hat moment. But does anyone have an insight of what percentage from ingame shop is their cut? If it’s something less than 25, I could see why actions taken against bots are so weird…
Be more transparent^. And people will like you.
Or just gate trading behind paywall, in case you don’t want small blood measures. % of their trades will be yours now, but most players would choose measures above.
** Other general suggestions.** That left us with Una(60+g a day? for t1) which i found tame pre t3 considering other sources, rare golden portals from chaos dungeons which are, yeah, rare, trade skills which is like 50g a day(diminishing), now that i think of it, should also probably restrict from trading wood_and_stuff&exchanging_una_tokens until insert something here. And to not so easily botted abyss or timed content. Should probably also reconsider free stuff such as ark passes with tradable gems, express events, that lets bot armies teleport to t3. Gate everything trade related behind t3 to buy yourself time before bots grow into moneymakers, while making botters invest for no immediate profits… and at this point its just war of attrition. Surely billion dollar company will emerge victorious, right? Yeah, and implement those at once, not one by one. Most of them compliment each other pretty much.

Thats it, I believe I covered most of it. And I feel I forgot something important…
Feel free to discuss, leave your suggestions on how to improve or make those changes easier to implement without gutting you general f2p player, and if you find these fair, feel free to push them, so they will reach cms-ags team-smilegate or whoever there is to fight bots. I won’t comment there further as i expect many toxic people, but happy living to all of you regardless :wink:

P.s. and again consider lifting region block, please? :slight_smile: look, you threw me away, and I lended you my immense brain power for free. Jokes aside, things like that make you sober. I stopped watching your twitch platform 20h a day, and without voices in my head it’s much easier to change my life and improve. You have my gratitude. But that was dirty. They " …hope you understand… ". No. But it’s never too late to change unless you refuse to accept your mistakes. Nvm, I see they blocked some more regions … Yeah. I just want the game not to be dead when I will finally move to Germany in foreseeable future. Also my country does god’s work to block VPNs too, thanks for helping!

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Minimum Effort = Lock down all servers in the game to prevent new bot accounts from being made forever. Then ban purge all remaining active and sleeping bot accounts. Then redevelop their registration process to that of how alpha/close beta games lets/selects new players.