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PSA: Bans and Bots

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So, it's come to notice that Blizzard laid down the law on some people using bots, namely a bot that automatically plays your character.  There have been many players confessing that they used this bot to play in heroic raiding.  Even more reports came from players who lost guildies to this ban and testify that they were their top DPS. 

 

Please, for the love of all that is holy, do NOT use bots to play your character.  It's a pretty ridiculous bunch of excuses people will come up with to use the bot, but they're all absurd and against the terms of service.  They are against the terms of service for lots of reasons, but most of all because it provides an unfair advantage over your peers who are playing legit. 

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Why would you use a bot for raiding anyway????? It takes all the fun out of the raid. Using a bot for mat grinding I can understand, but for raids? No.

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The irritating thing to me is a lot of Heroic raiders were using this and parsing high.  It's basically a live version of Simcraft.  I'm not sure why you'd bother playing, either.  It really hurts the community because not passing a trial because someone else trialing got the spot only because of this addon...it's just terrible.  I'm reading a lot of stories of heroic raiders admitting them using it and it's why they were so good.  It's out of this world.

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Indeed... What's the point to using it for raids? My favorite thing in this game is to see myself improve. I'm happy when I do more and more DPS/heal every time on an encounter. Would be so lame to just sit and watch my character doing 350k DPS while I'm eating a sandwitch...

 

Edit: Did that thing avoid bad stuff and everything? Or just stood still spamming your abilities?

Edited by Enzyte
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I never even heard of it until today, but users admitting using it claim they didn't have to press any buttons.  It auto-interrupted, performed rotation perfectly, and reacted to cooldowns and boss abilities.  The only thing they had to do was move out of environmental things or move to certain points. 

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It's like saying "I'm going to get really good at football" and then going and making a robot which can run and kick and whatever. Then watching from the sidelines as the robot plays for you.

 

o.0

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have you ever played ogrebattle 64 or battleheart for ios? those games are actually pretty fun, but you control all the bots. i'd imagine just controlling one would be pretty boring. the legioning in ogrebattle was actually quite interesting, and battleheart makes entertaining use of touchscreen input, especially for the healer mechanics.

 

it would be cool if blizz made a tablet game that was pretty much single player wow, but you got to herd the bots about. Battleheart is practically it, but I bet a blizz version could have a little more depth and all the classes we know and love.

 

ooooooo if they had pets instead of races it would be adorable lol. Son of Animus Ele Shaman and a Murkalot Prot Pal and a Macabre Marionette priest.

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This one is a little bit more obviously against the rules than other things that have been banned in the past, mostly because it's a third party program running completely outside of wow and then reading/writing its code through the wow memory space. which is why Blizzard is outright banning people that are using it.

 

However there have been a lot of instances in the past where "grey areas" have been used to get an advantage and were later made against the rules by blizzard. When decursive was first created it used to automatically decurse for you without clicking on anything. Blizzard then made it against the rules and the program was changed to what it is today.

 

Deus Vox used to draw on the game window through DirectX to show exactly where abilities were going to hit on the ground, or show you where you had to run to stack/get out of something.It was amazing for Proffessor putricide to see exactly where the slimes were going to bounce, or to know where bone storm was going to end up before the boss even started moving. Once again, it was a little bit too powerful (even though it was done completely through the addon LUA) and blizzard made it against the rules to draw on the game window through DirectX.

 

I'm not condoning the use of PQR bot, I've known about it for years and could have told anyone years ago that it would be bannable if caught. My point is just that in WoW, as well as in life there are always people who will seek out every edge they can get. Sometimes the edge is blatantly against the rules, sometimes rules need to be changed to address grey areas. It's just part of the way the world works.

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My only argument is this isn't 'any edge'...it's been clearly stated by those who used it that it is SOLELY the only reason they are heroic raiding.  I give you the following quotes from people who have been busted:

 

"I have used pqr since release and my account only received a 72 hour ban. I used it in pvp, pve, pet battles and even crafting. I have three other accounts that I just referred a friend and they all have been active for 1 to 5 weeks and I used pqr on all three since level 1. None of the the three raf accounts got hit with any ban, so I don't know if that gives some type of time table as to when they stopped checking and already pre determined what accounts was getting banned. I could have just got lucky on the last three, but I don't really know."

 

"I started botting only because everyone else does. Every location is full of bots as well as every arena. Banning users who has 4-6 years subs not really smart imo."

 

"I played the piss out of PQR since release... and PQI. From PvE to PvP, there isn't a profile on these forums that I didn't mess around with; even made my own. I raided with it, pvp'd, quested... I couldn't go from the bank to the AH without it. When I wasn't actively using it, I was inactively using it... letting it faceroll on target dummies so I could compare scripts or parses whatever.... the point is, I played the piss out of it.  I even brought it to the attention of my guild, got others involved. Some more heavily than others. But I swear to you, in almost every incident of their being a perm ban.... it wasn't the over-users. Me? No. 72 hours. Slap on the wrists. Blizz took our casuals out of play, our 'eh, I'll download it and take a look at it" players. They even perm banned a girl who had it for 2 weeks, had one script and could never figure out how to use it. She played since release, one of those 'I have every mount' types. Of course, I look like a c*nt now, but it still doesn't explain what the triggers were.. what constituted a suspension and not a perm ban. I almost want to put in a ticket and inquire why I didn't receive a perm ban, self proclaim how much more I used it than the others and act offended that Blizzard was implying I simply didn't use it enough.... *shrugs* .... but I am a c*nt, so I won't. Either way, lack of continuity ya know?"

 

"I agree with you 100%, however, how would we even bring the attention to the GMs about how we, as players, know that others are getting a slap on the wrist and some, like myself, are getting perma'd, if we're all playing dumb in our appeals?"

 

"I have been botting and using PQR/PE for several years, with over 40+ characters leveled to level cap, 1.5m+ gold, 250K HKs and countless raids ran. I have only lost 2 accounts in the process. I managed to elude this banwave but I will continue to bot as long as I play this game. The same people who got banned this time around will continue to bot with new accounts. Blizzard is not scaring anyone with a banwave everyone knew the risk when I used the program. Botting at this point is the only thing that keeps me playing this game, I am not going to waste countless hours playing by hand. Point being banwaves do nothing in terms of reducing the number of players who "cheat". It will only encourage players to play more elusively."

 

"I've only used PQR for PvE and I've been using PQR since the beginning of MoP with no problems then blam! hit with a ban on both my accounts. I guess I'm lucky and only got a slap on the wrist because I'd be pissed off if my main account, that I've had active since BC, got permabanned. Also, my girlfriend also got 72 hour ban as well but she only uses PQR occasionally, and has not used it in about 2 months. So I'm not sure how it was detected.  What a sad, sad, day for me. Cause PQR helped out immensely as a raid leader."

 

There are a ton more of them crying saying it's not fair.  Some are admitting it's fair and saying it's time to quit the game.  There are a few saying that they used it to get to 14/14H, Gladiator, and other stuff without knowing how to do anything.  One dude claims he has one hand and it was the only way he could see end game content.  Another guy claimed that it was unfair that Blizzard bans the only way for him to see end-game content because playing WoW is too hard. 

 

You can't make this stuff up.  The sad part is a lot of them made it through the initial wave and will keep on doing it.  Kinda crazy to look to your left or right in a raid group and wonder who isn't actually playing.  I always thought it was weird to talk to someone doing good DPS and wondering how they didn't know their class/spec better than I did...

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I agree completely.  I'm on these forums for hours a day, I read all ya'lls threads, I memorize the data, I KNOW warlock, and yet I still ain't that good, because I have a lot of human error.  I don't use the best addons, I don't have macros, and I certainly don't bot, so I'm restrained by my player skill and my item level because of that player skill.  It infuriates me, an individual who tries their BEST to be as good as they possibly can within their limitations, the people would cheat like this.  I mean, what purpose does it serve?  There certainly is no sense of "accomplishment," you didn't DO anything.  You just gotta wag your virtual junk at people because you computer is better than me?

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We had a rogue earlier on in our progression that was accused to have been using that exact bot that you speak of. We dismissed the claims at first, but then we started realizing how well he'd parse yet he'd always be horrible at mechanics. When we brought it up to him and asked him about it he suddenly said he had a schedule change and would have to find another guild. Ironically enough, the guild he went to had the same raiding schedule as us.... A few weeks ago we recruited a monk that mysteriously got his last account banned for a "farming bot". He had geared up a new monk since then, and when he raided with us we noticed his parses were quite a bit lower than what he had done with his last monk. Gear was definitely different, but not as drastic as the numbers would seem. Regardless, he's gone now and not an issue but I wouldn't be surprised if this "farming" bot was actually the PQR bot instead and that's why his numbers dropped so significantly. 

 

I guess I don't see the point of it, I raid to progress and to get better at what I do. At the end of the week, I look at what I did wrong and try to get better at it next time. If I just had a bot doing all of that for me... then I'm just moving my character around the room and collecting loot occasionally. Why play at that point?

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but then we started realizing how well he'd parse yet he'd always be horrible at mechanics.

 

Akraen, 2000g if you can list every raider we've had with this problem in MoP!

 

But seriously, I'm honestly surprised how big of an issue this is, since I never heard of the addon before. I'm sorta impressed by the programmer for making something that intricate, but at the same time ashamed they would release it to the public.

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It's one of those things that you wouldn't tell your friends about it because if it got out, you'd be screwed.  It was kept in secrecy because of its success.  I'm willing to bet a pretty significant number of 'elite' raiders have used this tool.  Keep your eyes on guilds actively recruiting for members leaving now. 

 

If you really want to weed out the botters, ask the high DPS to tell you about their class.  If anyone asked me about my Warlock, I could break everything down to a VERY detailed level.  I once asked an elite Hunter how he was pulling such great numbers.  He said he read Noxxic.  Yeah, sure, buddy. 

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PQR bot honestly seems rather simple compared to some of the stuff I've seen bots do. I started fish botting in early WotLK after I found out a guildy was botting and he directed me to pirox, eventually I got banned around the start of Cata for a poorly thought out Archeology bot that was added to pirox, and I took a year and a half off from wow to play other games. but during my time as a botter I tried out a lot of different programs, and wrote profiles for pirox, glider, and later shadowbot. (all sued out of existence).

 

Once you bot you can easily see another bot, especially when you see someone running a profile you run, or especially one you wrote. but the best profile writers could easily write stuff that a normal player would never figure out is a bot. I watched my bot get top dps and KB's in Arathi basin once, and this wasn't me playing with a rotation bot like PQR, it was fully automated pathing, player detection, rotation and everything.

 

PQR bot is different though in the regard that it is used to augment the players ability to turn a normal player into a top notch player. The stuff we used to do was all about automating trivial tasks mostly. We cared about leveling alts, grinding honor, or farming mats.

 

I never really exploited the AH through all my years of botting, most of my mats stayed inside my guild, and all the level 80, and then later 85's I made weren't hurting anyone. I suppose pvp bots could negatively effect the players experience, but other than occasionally looking like pvper that's somewhere between passable and decent, there weren't really bot profiles that would be pro caliber every time. The goal was just to blend in and be a part of the team to farm honor while you were sleeping.

 

I certainly wasn't at all surprised when the banwave finally caught up with me. It's amazing and silly that people think they can make up stories to sway public opinion when things like this pop up. It doesn't matter if some guy only has 1 arm and this is the only way he can play wow. While in rare circumstances I may sympathize with some of them, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be banned when you got caught. If you bot you know you're risking your account, so don't complain when it catches up to you.

 

I literally had dreams on and off for a year where I'd be standing in Dalaran because "holy crap I'm on my rogue . . . but I'm banned? blizzard must have forgotten to ban this character!" Those are really depressing dreams to wake up from. Don't bot.

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Kids will be kids, bads will be bads. The addon doesn't make me mad, the tossers that use it don't make me mad, Blizz makes me mad. Two and a half years this has been around? What was Blizz doing for this time, jerking off in the corner? It stuns and angers me that this has been allowed to go on for so long.

 

I've wished for years that Blizz, and all of the MMOs, would step up their game in the anti-hacks department. But it seems my wishes are hopeless. 

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It's an economics equation for Blizzard.

 

How many players will be involved in the banwave?

What % of the players will likely resub?

How many players will quit out of frustration if they don't ban this particular bot?

 

Typically blizzard focuses on gathering bots because they are primarily used by gold farmers, or people who at least at this point have been warned they should do it from a second account. Every time blizzard bans one of those accounts there is a much higher rate of resubbing which means they make $50 from the battle chest and pandaria again.

 

When you start banning main accounts then you run into a situation where a higher percentage of them will never come back. That's why I've been hearing about a lot of people getting 72hour bans instead of permabans for using this bot. That's unheard of. In my past life in the botting/hacking/exploiting community I also was involved in many discussions about Warden, Account Admins, Blizzards banning/unbanning policies and a lot of stuff of that sort. If blizzard detects that you're using 3rd party software it is almost always a 1st offense account closure (permaban). The fact that they're issuing a lot of 72hour bans means they're actually concerned with the number of people they're losing to this banwave, and with the low % that is expected to resub if they are permabanned.

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Kids will be kids, bads will be bads. The addon doesn't make me mad, the tossers that use it don't make me mad, Blizz makes me mad. Two and a half years this has been around? What was Blizz doing for this time, jerking off in the corner? It stuns and angers me that this has been allowed to go on for so long.

 

I've wished for years that Blizz, and all of the MMOs, would step up their game in the anti-hacks department. But it seems my wishes are hopeless. 

 

As someone who does data mining and recognition as my research, it's not like it's "easy".  Sure, if the bot writers are inexperienced you can see "huh, these clicks are coming in at exactly 1.48s intervals every time", and even with the most likely ways a bot writer will handle that sort of check you can get a pretty good detector.  Especially since you can bet that Blizzard has the source for a lot of these bots (even if it's a black box of .exe gibberish) and can use that to find ways to detect them.

 

Unfortunately, "pretty good" is not enough.  This is what's called an asymmetric classification problem, where it's more important to classify one minority behavior (here, botting) than the default.  Unlike most such problems, here we have a very unforgiving constraint; they cannot accidentally permaban someone who wasn't botting.  Being able to determine a bot with 99% confidence is simply not good enough when you're looking at this many people.

 

What I find most likely is that they permabanned the accounts they were absolutely sure were using bots, and gave temp bans to the ones they were only -mostly- sure about, even if "mostly sure" means "99% confidence".  If they give a 72 hour ban to a botter, there's a decent chance he'll stop botting, but continue playing (especially since I'm sure they keep those accounts flagged for tighter scrutiny).  Blizz is probably quite okay with that outcome, and if they bot again they'll just nail them again.  If they permaban someone who wasn't botting, they'll probably never come back even if blizz unbans them on further investigation.

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Loving some of those quotes - more fool the people who decided to "try it" and got banned as well.

 

No excuses from any of them really.  Getting ready for work but will add more later :D

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It can be difficult to distinguish between those that bot and those that do not. The more you bot, the better you get at it and the less likely it is that you will get banned. Let me tell you a story.

 

Years ago, I played an online game called Darkthrone. It was a simple browser-based game where you were receiving gold (and points that you could use to attack other players) every 30 minutes. Whenever you would be away, gold would start piling up on your account and people would attack you for it. Obviously, no one liked being attacked, so many people would cheat and find ways to automatically spend their gold. Being a programmer, I started writing simple scripts to spend my gold at regular intervals. The devs of the game kept making it harder and harder to cheat and I kept making my scripts more and more elaborate. To me, the game became more about maintaining these scripts than actually playing it.

 

At the time, the game was in beta mode. A year or so later, they released a new test version called omega. I came back and started cheating again, improving my scripts to bypass all their anti-cheat protections and I stopped playing once my account was among the best. During these two test versions of the game, thousands of accounts were banned, but not mine.

 

A few years later, the released the final version of the game and I came back. This time, I decided not to cheat anymore and I played normally. I still did not like to be attacked, so I built a very strong defense, but I still had to log in every 2 hours and a half, in order to spend my gold and not tempt attackers. Night time was a problem, obviously, so I had my laptop right next to my side of the bed and every 2 hours and a half, I would wake up and spend my gold. I did that for like 2 or 3 weeks and then I got banned for botting.

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As Krazyito can attest.  We had a run in with botters in our guild during Heroic Lei Shen progression.  They went quite a while before someone figured it out.

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Dat damage but can't move from anima font.

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Things like that kills something inside me.. I think it is an issue if you wanna feel good yourself rather than enjoying the game. Why would i care pulling big numbers if i'm not enjoying it ?

 

I don't know but this sounds so sophisticated - i mean is it technically possible to create such a programme that works like this?

If yes then it should be possible to develop a counter programme for blizzard ?

 

Only thing i can think of is to sell an account after gearing up - you may want heroic progression

Edited by song

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Dat damage but can't move from anima font.

I see your anima font and raise you "five stacks of Sha of Fear shadow crash debuff".  Also Jin'rokh lightning balls.  And getting killed (consistently) on the belt on blackfuse.  As a warlock who had all the brawler's guild achievements.  By the lasers, not jump failures.

 

Very glad to be rid of these people.

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I see your anima font and raise you "five stacks of Sha of Fear shadow crash debuff".  Also Jin'rokh lightning balls.  And getting killed (consistently) on the belt on blackfuse.  As a warlock who had all the brawler's guild achievements.  By the lasers, not jump failures.

 

Very glad to be rid of these people.

 

Hah... I was more referring to a shaman we had that would use a DPS bot on dark animus.  It just blows my mind

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