Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Latest in Anti-Bot Techniques

Archeage has a pretty cool anti-bot program. There's an ability you can use to report a bot. This ability costs 25 Labor. Trion checks the report and squashes the bot. If it is a bot, you get 50 Labor back, for a net profit of 25 Labor.

Since Labor is scarce for F2P players, this has encouraged a number of them to take up bot hunting as a sport for fun and profit.

This is clever because it utilizes humans for the computationally difficult task of differentiating bots from regular players. This is a task that humans are quite good at, and are especially good at continuing to identify bots as their behavior changes. Botting, as Justice Potter Stewart said of pornography, is something that "I know it when I see it".

It's also quite meta, in that it makes a mini-game out of removing bots, which is highly appropriate in a game.

Well done, Trion. Let's just hope that this doesn't go to the next stage:
Shortly before the Patrician came to power there was a terrible plague of rats. The city council countered it by offering twenty pence for every rat tail. This did, for a week or two, reduce the number of rats—and then people were suddenly queuing up with tails, the city treasury was being drained, and no one seemed to be doing much work. And there still seemed to be a lot of rats around. Lord Vetinari had listened carefully while the problem was explained, and had solved the thing with one memorable phrase which said a lot about him, about the folly of bounty offers, and about the natural instinct of Ankh-Morporkians in any situation involving money: “Tax the rat farms.”
- Terry Pratchett, Soul Music


  1. I wouldn't afraid of that. Unlike breeding rats, running bots isn't trivial and available to every Tom, Dick and Harriett. Botting needs serious preparation, including virtual machines and IP masking to protect the non-botting account from being affiliated with the captured bot.

    While it's not rocket science, it's above the skill of 90-95% of the players. Many of the rest doesn't bot for ethical or security reasons or simply for not caring enough for a video game.

  2. So they are farming out the farming detectors. Sure this isn't an episode of Pimp My Ride?

    Smart though, enabling their player base.