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#26 Anchors

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:10 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.


The problems you listed for the captcha thing are pretty significant... A lot of players already object to that system for exactly those reasons.

As for the community, part of the problem is, as stated by Oda earlier, I think, that a lot of these zeny seller customers are newer players. New players have no commitment to the community and stand to lose the least from breaking the rules, and bot-farming makes it difficult to get any kind of financial base going, so it'd take quite a big push to stop this kind of self-perpetuating behavior. Rather than avoiding shops that appear to be bot-run (as I'm sure there is at least some crossover of bots and regular players between shops that do and do not appear to be farms), it might even be more effective to, say, implement a mentoring system to connect low level players with players who have some experience at the game. This would also be a good way to take emphasis off of the guides that are out there (I know the iRO wiki ones are quite good for the most part) and put more emphasis on player-to-player interaction, which, sadly, seems to be slowly evaporating from the game over the past decade or so.
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#27 Ralis

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:23 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-


I'm sure there's a lot of us that would do it for free.

However, Gravity then becomes responsible for the actions of that person. If they are not in their office, there's really not a whole lot Gravity can do if someone suddenly decides to abuse their power.

Even if it's not intentional, the possibility remains of these players banning legitimate players that might not speak English, take too long to respond, whatever.

The only thing this would really be possible for is in-game "flagging" of bots by players or muting spam bots... And even then it's still a risk.
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#28 Anchors

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:54 PM

What if the flags were simply a notice for the GM to take a look at the flagged player? I don't know the procedures to divine whether a player is actually a bot, but if players themselves can only call attention to it, a flag would be an automated replacement for the bot report ticket submissions.
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#29 Tokio

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:01 PM

Well, yeah, but even with regular GMs they have to trust them. For bot-killers they could just give those players really limited powers along with some type of banning guide. Maybe not allow them to ban, but allow them to mute/warp bots and put together a list that a regular GM will then use to ban, or whatever. Muting/Warping to prison will at least get them out of the players' way while waiting for regular GM action.

I'm sure the GMs have some type of guide or method for dealing with bots, they can just pass on the same guides to bot-killers.

And I assume there would be a log of actions, so a GM could review logs every now and then to make sure bot-killers are doing well. And if a legit player gets banned then GMs can look through logs to see what happened.

Don't players moderate the forum? I don't see why it would be so bad to have like.. 5 players moderate the game for bots. I don't think they would need very many people.

I walked through southern Pront. last night and it was soooo bad with spammers. Worse than I remember it being in the past. Item bots don't bother me so much but spammers have got to go.
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#30 Ralis

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:14 PM

I don't disagree with you, I'm just saying I understand why they wouldn't do it.

Even the moderators on the forums are very limited in what they can and can't do.
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#31 Anchors

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:19 PM

Well, yeah, but even with regular GMs they have to trust them. For bot-killers they could just give those players really limited powers along with some type of banning guide. Maybe not allow them to ban, but allow them to mute/warp bots and put together a list that a regular GM will then use to ban, or whatever. Muting/Warping to prison will at least get them out of the players' way while waiting for regular GM action.

I'm sure the GMs have some type of guide or method for dealing with bots, they can just pass on the same guides to bot-killers.

And I assume there would be a log of actions, so a GM could review logs every now and then to make sure bot-killers are doing well. And if a legit player gets banned then GMs can look through logs to see what happened.

Don't players moderate the forum? I don't see why it would be so bad to have like.. 5 players moderate the game for bots. I don't think they would need very many people.

I walked through southern Pront. last night and it was soooo bad with spammers. Worse than I remember it being in the past. Item bots don't bother me so much but spammers have got to go.


Can you ensure that a person you've never actually met will follow protocol for even just warping or muting fellow players (both of which have high potential for abuse)? At least a regular GM can be fired, demoted, given a paycut, easily micromanaged or supervised, or even slapped silly (depending on CA state laws anyhow) if need be. The fact that an actual employee at the office is physically and literally at the office makes a big difference; when you lose any possibility of person-to-person interaction by going solely through a computer, you lose out on a lot of ways to read a person.

It's also probably not a good idea to wait until "a legit player gets banned" to take action, particularly when real money is involved. The investigation must take place beforehand and a high degree of certainty reached before an actual ban can be given out, if I'm not mistaken. If it were that easy to rectify a mistake, I'm sure the GMs would have (auto-)banned certain ranges of names long ago as a preventative measure and then fished out all of the mistakes.

The forums are an entirely different type of environment. Actions that can be taken here are limited and irrelevant to cash flow. All the content/actions are nicely, neatly displayed.

The zeny spammers exist because of the botfarmers... Putting a stop to them means putting a stop to the "merchandise" the zeny spammers are advertising. On top of that, the spammers are even easier to re-create than the farmers if banned...
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#32 Oda

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:27 PM

Can you ensure that a person you've never actually met will follow protocol for even just warping or muting fellow players (both of which have high potential for abuse)? At least a regular GM can be fired, demoted, given a paycut, easily micromanaged or supervised, or even slapped silly (depending on CA state laws anyhow) if need be. The fact that an actual employee at the office is physically and literally at the office makes a big difference; when you lose any possibility of person-to-person interaction by going solely through a computer, you lose out on a lot of ways to read a person.

It's also probably not a good idea to wait until "a legit player gets banned" to take action, particularly when real money is involved. The investigation must take place beforehand and a high degree of certainty reached before an actual ban can be given out, if I'm not mistaken. If it were that easy to rectify a mistake, I'm sure the GMs would have (auto-)banned certain ranges of names long ago as a preventative measure and then fished out all of the mistakes.

The forums are an entirely different type of environment. Actions that can be taken here are limited and irrelevant to cash flow. All the content/actions are nicely, neatly displayed.

The zeny spammers exist because of the botfarmers... Putting a stop to them means putting a stop to the "merchandise" the zeny spammers are advertising. On top of that, the spammers are even easier to re-create than the farmers if banned...

Pretty much this. We also have access to tools and databases that it would not be possible to allow access to non-employees (payment, real player information) that is necessary for the process. We're doing this for a wage, not because of personal investment in the removal of certain characters. That's why we can't log onto GM accounts if we see a bot on our day off.
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#33 Mayhem

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:07 PM

Pretty much this. We also have access to tools and databases that it would not be possible to allow access to non-employees (payment, real player information) that is necessary for the process. We're doing this for a wage, not because of personal investment in the removal of certain characters. That's why we can't log onto GM accounts if we see a bot on our day off.


Well thats why I said we should have another gm to just manage bots.

The game needs it. Its pretty obvious of that.
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#34 Inubashiri

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:28 PM

Well thats why I said we should have another gm to just manage bots.

The game needs it. Its pretty obvious of that.


Its just a theory and it might not be true but the US economy is headed for a double dip recession and as such companies are not in the spending mood for obvious reasons, I'm sure Gravity is no exception. But thats an administrative decision, pretty sure opinions from the peons inside the building towards to head honchos have said the same thing. It is what it is I guess Posted Image
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#35 Mayhem

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:33 PM

Its just a theory and it might not be true but the US economy is headed for a double dip recession and as such companies are not in the spending mood for obvious reasons, I'm sure Gravity is no exception. But thats an administrative decision, pretty sure opinions from the peons inside the building towards to head honchos have said the same thing. It is what it is I guess Posted Image


I wouldnt say that really. I am not going to do the math for you but if you think of these people vending 200 bmx3, even taking into account if half of them werent for this even you know they spent a lot of money in wp. And this happens every event. I know people that drop 1000s a month into events. And you know you see it to. Yea but if we all said. I dont know when in my lifetime America went from "lets say something" to "Thats what the higher ups say, nothing we can do"
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#36 chasko

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:38 PM

wall of text


This is what was essentially done when Renewal hit. New client = new packets, new server info, new login info. Not that it was their intention, but they knew that all the bots would be caught by this. However, it also wrongly caught legit players (supposedly, but I doubt it). So all bans were reversed.

You don't need to swap out the packets for the entire game. All that needs to be done is having a customized login. It would appear as if nothing has changed to the normal, legit players. But the underlying packets and login info would be noticeably different to the bots. As long as its constantly changed (perhaps randomizing it somehow), the bots would probably give up eventually. This is what some private servers have done to keep bots out.
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#37 Tokio

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:40 PM

I dunno, just seems like excuses to me. Google has complete strangers working from home and rating websites, marking spam, and so on. And yet, U.S Gravity can't find 2-5 people to train to sweep bots part time?

You would have training and have them sign a contract, just like you do with a regular employee. You would check up on them, just like you do with regular employees. You could fire them just like you do with regular employees. You would have them follow banning procedures, just like regular GMs. And fire them if they don't.

Or just hire 1 full time, in-house GM who only deals with bots and nothing else. Or 2, part time bot GMs, one day, one night.

Or put in some in-game report system and have it so if 50 unique accounts report that person, he/she gets muted or temp-banned.

As for money being involved..you're right, there is money involved. People are paying for things. So do something about the bots, please.

Edited by Tokio, 16 August 2011 - 04:42 PM.

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#38 Anchors

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:44 PM

I dunno if the presence of individual big spenders is indicative of any kind of overall company success, though. Just having three forty-hours-a-week employees at 10 USD/hour already eats up the revenue from that one guy who spend 1200 USD on lucky boxes, and that's not even counting the company's contribution towards, say, employee benefits for those three employees, or any other associated bills that can be attributed in some way to those employees.

... But anyway! The cheapest long-run option would be to have something automated like the captcha system, but that particular system has been shot down several times just since when I rejoined in May...

Rather than getting disconnected from the game for failure to input the captcha properly after a given amount of time, why not just have it stop all movement and action? It wouldn't interfere with A-_-/vendors that way, and it'd occupy the bots without logging them, meaning no auto-log-on afterwards. If you also just disable such a system during WoE hours, you could avoid complaints on that end, as well...

<edit>I know why it censors a.f.k, but really...

To respond to Tokio:

It's hardly an excuse to hire trustworthy personnel. Would you hire "complete strangers" to work in your pharmacy, for instance? Or your hospital? I know that RO isn't exactly serving in any kind of lifesaving capacity, but, when it comes to getting people to manage the people you're taking care of, at least, you have to get employees you know you can count on.

It's the people who are paying for things that they can't risk a false ban on. I don't know the official company policy here, but, with all the steps taken to prevent false bans, this seems to be a real consideration for the company... regardless of whether any of us think it reasonable for the rest of us who simply are never false-banned.

Edited by Anchors, 16 August 2011 - 04:53 PM.

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#39 sukidayo

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:00 PM

Its a misconception that you can remove bots completely.

yes you can remove bots, jRO is a good example. even some private servers are 100% bot free.

iro wants to remove bot for sure, but only to the extent that it will not cost them any money. its cheaper to ask the staff to remove bots as part of their job, than to pay for third-party (or develop inhouse) anti-bot software.

Edited by sukidayo, 16 August 2011 - 05:08 PM.

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#40 Tokio

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:08 PM

If I had an online company and had a serious issue, then yes I would look to hire more people. Even if those people lived elsewhere. Everyone is a complete stranger until you get to know them. And if someone is monitoring them then there shouldn't be issues. It's not like you hire them and then leave them on their own.

There are many companies in the world that have remote workers. You hire and fire them just like any other employee.

If they're not going to hire more people then they need to put in some system. Sitting around is not going to make the bots go away. Doing bot sweep every now and then isn't good enough because they come back too fast. They need some full time person or system to help with bots.

Maybe more new members would be willing to join - and stay, and pay - if when they logged on they weren't playing with a bunch of bots. Also would be nice if we could walk through cities without slamming into a tornado of text.
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#41 Anchors

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:28 PM

If I had an online company and had a serious issue, then yes I would look to hire more people. Even if those people lived elsewhere. Everyone is a complete stranger until you get to know them. And if someone is monitoring them then there shouldn't be issues. It's not like you hire them and then leave them on their own.

There are many companies in the world that have remote workers. You hire and fire them just like any other employee.

If they're not going to hire more people then they need to put in some system. Sitting around is not going to make the bots go away. Doing bot sweep every now and then isn't good enough because they come back too fast. They need some full time person or system to help with bots.

Maybe more new members would be willing to join - and stay, and pay - if when they logged on they weren't playing with a bunch of bots. Also would be nice if we could walk through cities without slamming into a tornado of text.


I agree with you, but do we even know whether the company considers bots "a serious issue"? Serious enough to give permission to hire despite whatever they may perceive their own present and future financial situations may be? Moreover, hire a person none of the staff will ever meet?

I must say, though, that I don't know what it takes (or doesn't take) to monitor remote employees. Is there a good way to supervise them in an MMO except after the fact by looking at their commands/actions log without just following every action they do in-game yourself? Although mistakes or abuses could be taken care of immediately in such a situation, the company is still liable for every single mistake from a customer standpoint (e.g. lawsuits), and a lot of corporations are mortally afraid of these kinds of things.

You, I, and many others all agree that the RO experience is significantly diminished by the presence of all types of bots. You and I, at least, agree that if we were in charge, we would do something about it. But I get the feeling that corporate doesn't agree with us on at least one of those points - or at least does not agree with us to a point that they would invest in finding a (publicly visible) solution to the problem.... yet. *sigh*
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#42 Heimdallr

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:43 PM

There is no white flag.. the amount of bots we ban weekly is on the rise and is listed as a 4 digit number every week.

I do consider bots a serious issue because it not only impacts game balance but also player perception. For some of the ideas for automated removal of bots.. any idea has to pass the test of "does it inconvenience real players" if the answer is to that is yes real players are inconvenienced then it is a no on the implementation. Changing a value to make all real players crash, while bots stay in would not be a course of action we would do. Captcha is a middle ground thing, and really hasn't proven too effective either.

Currently I have a bigger problem with the shouters than I do the actual robopeople. Shouters greatly detract from the games fun, and they come back extremely fast. Bots at least take a few hours to start being useful to the rings, so there is more time to sweep them up. A flagging system where players can "vote to silence" wouldn't be bad, but getting it implemented quickly or at all resides entirely overseas.
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#43 Inubashiri

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:47 PM

Who would have ever thought freedom to type messages would be such a inconvenient problem Posted Image
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#44 Anchors

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:49 PM

A flagging system where players can "vote to silence" wouldn't be bad, but getting it implemented quickly or at all resides entirely overseas.


Can you tell us the exact criteria that determine whether an idea can be implemented locally or overseas?
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#45 schia

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 05:55 PM

wall of text



except that theres 2 different types of botting programs. One that you run as a completely separate program, the other, the client and the program is integrated. Swapping login packets would only prevent the first botting program i mentioned from logging in, it wouldnt prevent the 2nd type where you login manually and then you load in the botting profile and start botting. the 2nd type would only require a few of the ingame packets to be swapped to prevent them from moving and such.

outside of that, yes thank you for recapping my entire post. however, if you had read through it fully you would see the workaround i posted to prevent normal players from getting accidentally banned.

but if everyone wants to attempt to remove bots by hiring more staff or attempting to crash their business, i can guarantee you that as long as they still have the tools they'll keep on botting again. it may take oda a single morning to ban 450 bots, but keep in mind that it only takes about 20 mins of typing in the recaptcha to remake all those accounts. and with the botter's macros and tools available, those bots would be running through the novice playground as fast as the owner types the recaptchas.

tl:dr version bluh bluh bluh i'm a huge witch.
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#46 Maka

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 06:13 PM

Who would have ever thought freedom to type messages would be such a inconvenient problem Posted Image


Freedom of speech has always been a problem. :handshake:
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#47 Inubashiri

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 06:16 PM

Freedom of speech has always been a problem. :handshake:


People confuse freedom with entitlement unfortunately
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#48 CheddarJack

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:57 PM

I would love NPC karvos or other rare, but bulk needed items
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