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#1 LordVader

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 10:26 PM

Well, it's been a long time now and botting has been with use since beta testing. I know they can be troublesome to deal with to say the least. But is the fight completely over now? I just get the feeling the GM's have waved the white flag in hopes that some day a magic solution will come along and rid us all of this plague. But I don't think that's likely.

I could just not be well informed of any future intentions to deter botters, but if there are plans I would simply LOVE to be informed that some effort is in the works. As things currently stand, it's the burden of the gaming community to report bots. That wouldn't be so terrible if the Valkyrie server wasn't completely overrun with bots, but it is.

Now the question becomes, why should I even have to report bots? There are KNOWN bot filled maps. I can go to geffen tower any time/day of the week and 1st floor is full to the brim with them. It's not hard to find the bots at all, so reports are unnecessary and time consuming inconveniences on the gamers. Cleaning these maps should be a twice daily occurrence. Clock in, make the bot rounds on known maps, begin normal GM chores, eat lunch, more GM chores, bot sweep again, clock out. I don't see a huge problem with something like this on the daily to do list.

It's kind of easy to say, "hey we still ban bots!" but without any kind of ban list there really is no proof to this with the constant bot farms everywhere. I mean there should be SOME time frame where people just say "wow where are all the bots?" But there isn't. If you wipe the slate clean atleast for 2 hours a map should be bot free, but I have not seen this happen.

Bring back the ban list, renew the faith in the gamers that botting is still illegal. The only reasons I could see to remove it in the first place were 1) Didn't want to hear complaints about the obviously dwindling bans being done 2)Noone could say you aren't banning if they have no idea what's going on.

But keeping the community in the dark only makes us loose faith that anything is being done. I know the GM's have a lot on their plates but botting isn't really something that can be put on the back burner indefinitely while other things are done.
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#2 Ralis

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 10:57 PM

The ban list takes more time than it's worth. In the end, even if they were banning two hundred bots a day, that's a bunch of "dagua6qergj"s that no one's really going to care about. =/ Now REAL bans for players infringing rules would be nice. Call me old fashioned, but I'm all for public punishment. =P

Unfortunately I do have to point out that bots are keeping items people don't want to farm rather cheap. While this is good for veteran players, it's also bad for the newer players as no one wants to buy the measly 100 Fabrics they've farmed when they could easily buy thousands from a bot shop. However, the GMs have shown that they're trying to combat this with things like the Treasure Box -> WSS Converter and Ben the Recycler. More of these for other commonly needed / botted goods would be nice. In the end it's really the people buying zeny from the botters that keep them afloat. If the game wasn't profitable for them they'd move somewhere else. Their prices have been going down farther and farther though, which is showing that they're hurting.

I'm really just hoping the idea of "It's darkest before the dawn" is in play here. Things have been VERY bad with the bot situation lately. I've seen more than one giant KSing bot party. =/

I want to move down to California and offer to come into Gravity HQ and spend a day a week exterminating them. D: No pay required, it's just rather sad to hear all the new players asking about all the bots. @@
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#3 MeisterKirisaki

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:26 AM

They ban bots on Ymir.
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#4 jax5

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:54 AM

The fight of bots vs GMs, to me, seems uncanny in similarity to bacteria vs neosporin.
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#5 Shunchan

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:02 AM

I've witnessed the procedure on how a GM bans bots when I saw one do it outside Clock Tower when the entrance was congested and nobody could enter.

It took the GM more than one hour trying to confirm that each of the ~10 characters were bots when it was clear as day that they were.

Some of the spectators, including me, tried to point out to the GM that the tool shop was also infested with bots but the GM suddenly just left after dealing with the ones outside the tower.

If what I saw during that time is the standard procedure in banning bots, then it would take a GM hours just to clear one zone of any bots
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#6 Savvi

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:08 AM

We need a system that players can help out. Say any character that gets "ignore" by 50 different players get 3-day suspension. Of course, there has to be special cases and exceptions to prevent griefing. But until players are involved, fighting bot is a losing battle.

Edited by Savvi, 16 August 2011 - 05:08 AM.

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#7 Oda

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:53 AM

It's relatively easy to remove obvious rogue bot rings, the problem with those is that they are also relatively easy for the botters to re-create. The ones that require a full tests are the "normal" bot accounts, which we have to run our checks on, see if they are just dummy accounts trading to a benefit account, if there are other bots on the same IP, etc.

What would you all think of a NPC that sells commonly botted items at lower prices? I realize this would be a problem for newer players/lower level characters, but in general those newer accounts are also the ones we catch buying zeny most commonly anyway.
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#8 JeremiahLoh

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 06:00 AM

I was wondering... if these were Botters or actual Players. Around Al De Baran in the map with Grand Peco's anf Goats I spotted some group of 3rd Jobbers. I saw all of them in these same maps for a couple or more days. They didn't respond to my whispers and they attack my targets.

Mind you this was a Level 70-ish map. And as far as I know... a level 70 Monster isn't going to net much at all or anything to a 3rd Jobber, more so if they're in the 100+ Level range?

Also... would the Spamming Bots also be responsible for the constant lag/ d/c's in Towns?
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#9 Karusan

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 06:01 AM

If you're going to do that, then new players have no legitimate way to earn money outside of super rare card drops, making it even harder for them to break in. It's a good option for higher leveled people who don't want to invest all that time into farming consumables, but it will also have a big impact on WoE with completely infinite supplies on a server like Ymir with less bots.
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#10 Hrothmund

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 06:06 AM

Its a misconception that you can remove bots completely. The most accurate RL example I could compare to is "the war on drugs". There is no winning scenario where the bad guy is wiped out, but you do lose if you stop trying.

Knowing the iRO playerbase, any sort of player action that could result in another player getting banned without GM intervention would get HEAVILY abused. It's a "OH HELL NO!" type of suggestion. Players are *already* heavily involved in banning bots. See a bot? report it. simple as that.
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#11 LordVader

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:36 AM

It's relatively easy to remove obvious rogue bot rings, the problem with those is that they are also relatively easy for the botters to re-create. The ones that require a full tests are the "normal" bot accounts, which we have to run our checks on, see if they are just dummy accounts trading to a benefit account, if there are other bots on the same IP, etc.

What would you all think of a NPC that sells commonly botted items at lower prices? I realize this would be a problem for newer players/lower level characters, but in general those newer accounts are also the ones we catch buying zeny most commonly anyway.


Then please just continuously remove the rogue bot rings atleast. The bot farmers have one thing that we just don't see from the GM team, commitment. If you consistently are removing their source for z, the obvious rogue bot rings. Then it's just that harder for them to make their zeny. But please don't stand back and say it's too easy for them to remake so let them be. From your post it suggests that the level of ease is the same across the board for you both, but they continue to do it whereas we (iro staff) does not.

I'm not asking for an overnight solution on this problem as I know that isn't likely to happen. I'm just asking for more of a concerted effort to continuously remove these nuisances from the game.

If bots get the idea that, "hey we can't farm item x on map a because the GM's show up daily and ban us, they might just move to a different map. Opening up the good leveling and zeny gathering spots for real players. Awhile ago I used to farm clips from dragonfly when I first started on Valkyrie server to make zeny they were selling 3m ea at the time. In a matter of days as a new player to the server I was able to make over a 100mil. This is the kind of zeny making and leveling new characters need available to them. Not having the items that they CAN get their hands on put in an item shop.

Those newer accounts that are buying zeny don't need more of a reason to buy zeny from the GM team when all of the stuff they can hunt is in a shop. Give some alternate ways for new players to make zeny like eden quests that change weekly.

@ Ralis The WSS conversion is a plus for guilds that attempt to keep their supplies in check but from my understanding OCA's are dropping more often than the treasure boxes now. That's not good. Suggestion: add OCA's to the WSS conversion list. At a slight loss ofcourse to the average price of OCA's. Most guilds sell their OCA's anyway to fund more supplies and struggle to maintain rankings while WSS prices are on a continual rise.

There are communities all over the country (USA) where gang activity, drugs, and violence are not so much of a problem due to increased police activity in those areas. But when the police give up and just stop making the rounds those communities go to hell and quickly. The people that want to have nice things get run out of the community to find a better place. The same concept is happening to Valkyrie. It's becoming the bot ghetto of iRO.

@Hrothmund "See a bot? report it. simple as that."- That just simply cannot be the solution. For literally hundreds and hundreds of bots running around a single player would have to make a full time job of reporting bots with all of their playing time. Why play a game if you spend more time reporting bots than playing the game? I login with the intention of relaxing and having a good time with friends. Not filling out forms as though I'm at the office trying to achieve a task that quite honestly is blatantly obvious to anyone that logs in the server. Bot reporting wasn't that big of an issue when botting was in it's infancy. But now its a full blown epidemic where everyone feels they can bot freely and even thenso new players are finding it almost impossible to carve their way into making zeny. You can pin it all on the community but honestly that only drives more people away from the game. If I were new to RO and my options were 1) Take a stand and try to cleanup a game plagued with bots by time consuming reports and screenshots 2) Pay to play on their VIP (botless) servers or 3) Quit and go play Game X. I'm most likely to pick 3. New players have nothing invested, nothing to lose, and look for a fun and entertaining way to spend their time. Not continued frustrations and responsibilities just so they can even have a CHANCE at making some zeny and enjoying RO.

Edited by LordVader, 16 August 2011 - 07:38 AM.

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#12 Ralis

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 08:46 AM

It's relatively easy to remove obvious rogue bot rings, the problem with those is that they are also relatively easy for the botters to re-create. The ones that require a full tests are the "normal" bot accounts, which we have to run our checks on, see if they are just dummy accounts trading to a benefit account, if there are other bots on the same IP, etc.

What would you all think of a NPC that sells commonly botted items at lower prices? I realize this would be a problem for newer players/lower level characters, but in general those newer accounts are also the ones we catch buying zeny most commonly anyway.


No at selling them for zeny, but yes to more conversions of items to supplies.
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#13 Seiken7

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 08:57 AM

If they continually could make another account why don't just banned them from the Novice Training ground right away? Would be much more easier for the GMs to catch them because they are just secluded in just one map anyway its so easy to determine a bot from a real player. Most bot are configured not to kill steal, they don't respond to your messages and they just kill and kill endlessly so why not prevent it from Novice training ground? That is just my idea, also Warpportal/Gravity should make an anti 3rd party program like a firewall from those kind of program/software. For me the way I see it there is always a way you can prevent something if really wanted to you know, just saying. Thank you.
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#14 Oda

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 11:28 AM

Vader, I really like your idea of being able to make zeny through quests instead of hunting, which truth be told most players probably aren't all that crazy about. In many other games, the money doesn't come just from farming items, and there are more quests that give equipment or consumable rewards.

If we can find ways to give better rewards and prevent them from being abused by players or bots, I am all for this. I believe that the Eden Group medals that people are starting to get are going to be somewhere along these lines.

And I don't like the idea of valkyrie being the neglected inner-city full of bots, either. An "Escape From New York" strategy is probably not the best idea in this case.

To your point of wanting more concrete information out of Gravity showing what we are doing re: bots, I can confirm 470+ bots suspended from this morning's sweeps.
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#15 Ralis

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 11:41 AM

Most of the quests I do because of the item rewards. xD Adding some Treasure Boxes or just straight WSS or some other high-demand item would be nice for some of those quests that have rather meager rewards in Renewal.

It seems like stopping bots at the source would be the most efficient method... Could you change the first NPC in the Novice Training Grounds to ask some really easy question (could even keep the typing in name part, but just make the first chat "Would you tell me your name?" and have options like "No way, nah, okay, don't feel like it". Have a script run every day that jumbles the answers to stop the bots there for easy sweeping later.

Or, since they are usually piloted by real people for awhile, make it even more annoying for them and make all the 1st class change NPCs like that. :3 Shouldn't really deter normal players at all but would be a good net for bots, just like the storage / save changes.
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#16 bitbucket

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 12:24 PM

Bot reporting wasn't that big of an issue when botting was in it's infancy. But now its a full blown epidemic where everyone feels they can bot freely and even thenso new players are finding it almost impossible to carve their way into making zeny. You can pin it all on the community but honestly that only drives more people away from the game. If I were new to RO and my options were 1) Take a stand and try to cleanup a game plagued with bots by time consuming reports and screenshots 2) Pay to play on their VIP (botless) servers or 3) Quit and go play Game X. I'm most likely to pick 3. New players have nothing invested, nothing to lose, and look for a fun and entertaining way to spend their time. Not continued frustrations and responsibilities just so they can even have a CHANCE at making some zeny and enjoying RO.


This.

I'm in my 140s and still leveling with +4/+5 gear since I never hit it big and was fool enough to play a class I liked rather than a sura or genetic. I'm on a limited budget in real-life with bills and rent to pay, so I can't just throw money at the game to get ahead like most people seem to do these days. Most of the things I've found along the way were worth jack because bots made it worthless.

It's rather discouraging when you report bots in your leveling spots multiple times and they're never dealt with, and when they've botted to 150 the human behind it finally shows up and brags about having gotten away with it. It makes you feel like a chump for trying to work for that aura.

When the game went free-to-play I came back to give it a fair chance again with a fresh start, just to see what renewal changed. However, now I've got half a mind to go back to playing Minecraft once I 150/50 my main, just so I can say I stuck it out to the bitter end and can walk away with no regrets. It's disappointing how bad things have gone since I was last seriously playing RO 3-4 years ago.

Edited by bitbucket, 16 August 2011 - 12:27 PM.

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#17 Mayhem

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:07 PM

I dont know how we stay calm about this.

THIS IS MY SOLUTION.
I would like to see someone say this isnt economical and this could an entry lvl position and even a digital position into the world of gaming.

Hours: 40hours spread out randomly during a weeks time.
Payrate: Minimum wage
(this means it costs 320$ a week for them, I know for some of you that may seem like a lot, but I know people that spend 1200 on just the first day of a lucky box event)

their job is sort through the botting tickets in a timely manner. And in their spare time just hit up the botting fields and high lvl botting fields just to destroy the bot population. This alone would demolish a lot of botters quickly.

what would be the reason of not doing this. Hell im going to college for the next two years. Give me the job and access and I will wipe out all bots and ymir would be clear of them because I run across them all the time anyways. If I had the op to do this and had to quit the game. I would even quit ro just to destroy the bots and make it better for everyone else.
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#18 Ralis

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:18 PM

I remember finding my first card, thinking it was going to make me a millionaire... And I sold it for like 40k because of the bots. =(

Oda, I don't think it gets said enough, but thank you for leading the assault on the bots. You really do a lot for us and it's good to see it in game. I do have a question about the process of banning bot farms... You said it really doesn't take that much time. What kind of tests do you have to do? Just PM and wait for a response (or lack thereof), or are you able to just see a Rogue named "sdfguwe68" and ban it right away?
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#19 gabie

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:24 PM

repeatable quest that give the commonly botted items would be best. make it so you can pick items or exp as reward then it can motivate people to party even after max lvl.
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#20 TheSquishy

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:31 PM

So do you guys want a random captcha thingy like eternal eden?
It randomly pops up while you playing and if you don't enter after like 2 minutes or
sumthing you get disconnected. Of course, there would be no more AFKing in kawaii headgear, or vending overnight, or alt-tabbing for 20 minutes trying to figure out a quest.

The root problem of botting is the community.
Don't buy from merchant botters and don't buy their zeny and other services.
Then something magical will happen...they will go away.


@Lord Vader-So stop QQing and make an effort on your end to make your server a better place to play. Start an initiative to identify legit players and buy from them. Oh noes..i don't wanna pay a reasonable price for blue herbs for my guild...well get over it. All the GM's can do is ban bots (and they are doing just that). It's up to players to make sure botters don't want to come back.
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#21 Oda

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:35 PM

I remember finding my first card, thinking it was going to make me a millionaire... And I sold it for like 40k because of the bots. =(

Oda, I don't think it gets said enough, but thank you for leading the assault on the bots. You really do a lot for us and it's good to see it in game. I do have a question about the process of banning bot farms... You said it really doesn't take that much time. What kind of tests do you have to do? Just PM and wait for a response (or lack thereof), or are you able to just see a Rogue named "sdfguwe68" and ban it right away?

I run a log check of maps where the bot farmers usually go to and search for characters with suspect names. I check to see if they look like seny farmers, normal people or player run bot accounts, by looking at what their activity has been over the course of say, 24 hours, what class and level. I usually try to test one or two of the characters on the suspect IP, if they're dirty then I put all accounts on that IP onto the list. Player run bot rings are a little more time consuming, as these are the most likely to write in. For these, all accounts have to be searched up and tested, or at least to determine whether or not they are acting independently of one another.
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#22 bitbucket

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:45 PM

The root problem of botting is the community.
Don't buy from merchant botters and don't buy their zeny and other services.
Then something magical will happen...they will go away.


Most bots on Yggdrasil are just lazy players botting for levels. Of course there's a fair share of farming rings, too, but the bot-to-150 types don't care if you're not buying their stuff, they're not going to stop.
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#23 Ralis

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:49 PM

Thanks Oda. So it seems like it's really not that difficult of a practice... How many GMs ban bots? It seems like it would be more effective to have a group specifically dedicated to support tickets and another to banning bots... But you're the only one I've even seen in game actively doing it. =/
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#24 schia

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:05 PM

It's relatively easy to remove obvious rogue bot rings, the problem with those is that they are also relatively easy for the botters to re-create. The ones that require a full tests are the "normal" bot accounts, which we have to run our checks on, see if they are just dummy accounts trading to a benefit account, if there are other bots on the same IP, etc.

What would you all think of a NPC that sells commonly botted items at lower prices? I realize this would be a problem for newer players/lower level characters, but in general those newer accounts are also the ones we catch buying zeny most commonly anyway.



*yawn* so much grunt work you guys make your selves go through. Here's a suggestion i posted back in 03 that resulted in christy banning me for some unexplained reason.

Anyways, the normal player has to go through the patcher and the game client to play the game. Therefore, the patcher will update anything necessary for the client to play the game. This includes all the packet information for login details and commands in game.

I proposed a rolling change to all the packet infos specifically tailored to disrupt how the currently main stream bot program is used.

Anyways, lets say for example: currently with this week's patch, the client is using packet set A, which is the default one that everyone is using and all the bots are also currently using as well.

with the next week's patch, have the patcher load packet set B, and set the game server to only accept packet set B, and have the log-in server record all the accounts that attempt to use packet set A.

For the average player, they wont notice a thing because everything is done for them server and client side. For the bots using the current bot programs that i know of, would result in them spamming the log-in server and game server with out of date packets that would do absolutely nothing. This would easily allow one of the server admins to just go through the log-in server logs and mass ban any account that is flagged.

This would extremely interfere with the botting community because majority of them only knows how to run the bot programs and doesnt know how to record the packet info from the client and relay it to the bot program. After looking through one of the botting communities forums, i can pretty much assure you that this would probably slow them down by at least a week or two every packet swap due to majority of their talent having long since quitted RO.

The only problem this would cause is this: some players leave their game client running overnight and possibly through the maintenance phase of the weekly server shutdown. Occasionally some players forgot that it is maintenance day, and will immediately log in without going through the patcher due to their client still running. The easiest solution to this while taking account of the limitation of the game client is this: you would have to make the game crash to desktop for the weekly maintenance or else you would have a lot of angry legit vending accounts mass spamming your report function weekly. This can easily be done by server wide packets as well to utilize the client's limitation, which the current botting programs that i know of lacks.

One of the easiest methods to utilize is with the missing sprite/graphics trick. Just remove the fix back in 03 with the gender=2 trick that allowed bots to mass disconnect/ctd every legit client in the area, and set it so that anyone displaying the gender=2 info or variations of it(ie bots) to become auto-disconnected and banned.

By doing a server wide display gender=2 or whatever to CTD every afker/vendor still logged in prior to server shutdown would result in majority of the legit players being CTD and therefore would have to restart the client through the patcher to update the packet set. Only other problem remaining is the players that are disconnected via fail internet while they're afk immediately before the server wide broadcast, but that would be a minority of a minority so going through their reports weekly shouldnt be much of a hassle.

With this method, i estimate you would essentially remove about at least 60~70% of the botting community until they can acquire more talent to adjust for the rolling packet swap. They would have to pretty much rewrite the entire botting program and it would be such a major change that they might as well just write a new one up from scratch to integrate the new changes.

The main group of people that this would target would be the major bot rings that farm stuff for rmt. If you catch them offguard with this, you would probably eliminate the entire current stash of zeny and stuff for their rmt. Also, i suggest relooking at the mailing system and probably have the servers log the mailing info since thats the main method the bot rings would use to transfer goods in mass quantities since they're not stupid enough to fall for that "omg lets log in the real account with the same IP as the bots so the GMs can IP ban it!" its called proxys and i'm pretty sure they use it. Real player that bot probably wont be caught with this since they generally are more involved in the game and probably arnt stupid enough to run their outdated botting programs to get them ip-banned.

Anyways, just some food for thought that seems easily do-able on your guy's end with your limited capability since all of this would revolve around server side settings and not actually really modifying anything for the game wise.

as always, keep in mind that the server population is no longer enough to sustain the supplies needed to maintain the current style of gameplay without the bots. so an alternative method would be required to obtain supplies easily. the current method of mass grind for supplies was the main reason botting became popular in the first place. a zeny sink npc as you proposed would be an easy solution, however you would constantly have to update the prices for it to remain high enough for people to want to buy from it out of convenience for mass quantities and high enough for normal players to still make a decent profit when they under cut the npc.

however, a GM vendor seeding in supplies at over prices rates would be much easier to maintain imo since this would allow easy management on both price and quantity to ensure the market doesnt become over saturated with goods like that wss raffle reward lol. This would still allow market fluctuations and real players to undercut the GM vendor(s). of course, the gm vendor would act as a zeny sink as well.

anyways, enjoy your game maybe i'll see yall in game again someday.
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#25 Tokio

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:07 PM

I think it would be nice if they could hire players part time to help with bots. Don't even have to be regular employees, they could just hire players as independent contractors, like other online companies do. Players could deal with their own taxes and whatnot.

Even better if they didn't require bot checkers to be in-house. If they allowed people to do it remotely then they could just hire a few people in different time zones to just sweep bots every now and then. Give them a special account for work, and if the person wants to go on vacation they can just put their account 'away' or something like that. Some type of systems that wouldn't require Gravity to babysit anyone.

I would love it if I could mute all the spammers for everyone as I walked by, or kick/ban them. I would totally apply for that job for min. wage. -hint hint I'm looking at you, GMs-

Edited by Tokio, 16 August 2011 - 02:08 PM.

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