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Bot Prevention? More Like Player Prevention!

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May 12, 2014 - 6:58am -- Lee B.
By Bear's Butt! Of Bots and Men

In the early months of Guild Wars 2 we all saw those hundreds of bots that roamed the country side while they farmed in huge groups. There was a countless amount of spam mail we got and the nearly endless barrage of ads from these bots flooded our screens. Some even suspected that the Trading Post was being affected by these bots and that they were moving around huge amounts of gold and gear through mail.

Then ArenaNet put out a series of fixes into the game that changed the way bots were detected. A necessary hard cap was put into the mail system and how often one could say something in map chat. We even had the ability to report people we suspected as being a bot. It wasn’t long after these fixes that we saw a rolling sweep of bans against suspected bots and our gaming quality of life improved.

Hunting Those Bots!

Oh, Will Smith. Show me what it means to be human!

While farming bots appear to have been addressed (or have gotten incredibly more sophisticated), the issue of bots communicating with players appears to have only gotten worse. Having players be constantly reminded of these scams is an issue comparable to exploit sharing.  I think another update to bot prevention that addresses new issues and revisits older issues needs to be on ArenaNet’s work schedule.

I don’t know if any of you have tried to send consumables to your party members during a dungeon or WvW but before you even get three mails out you get hit with spam prevention. This prevention requires you to wait a period of time, or zone through to another area, before you can send your next mail. Neither are things you want to do in either of those scenarios. “You can just send your item stack on and that person sends the stack on to the next person and so on!” Is what you are likely saying right now but that is just a workaround to a larger issue.

Think about it like this: A player is trapped in a dungeon and is just trying to help his friends out. All that coordinating just to see who gets the four item stack next is time out of just running along and hitting things in the face. Now that bot, who is likely standing right next to a zone to load into, will just send out a few mails then zone into the next area. More mail is sent out, then zones back into the previous area. All of that is happening again and again, with only a few seconds load time, to skip that spam prevention.

Ultimately it is the player who is suffering for this the most as it just prevents enjoyable play time. Some guild leaders have to make use of the load-and-mail method just so they can get important messages to all their members. Could we have a captcha put in place that players can put in to just reset the timer? Is it possible to get more allowance for mailing to our party members, friends and guilds? Just anything a little more sophisticated to prove we aren’t bots.

Trading Post Error

Then there is the Trading Post “listing cap” that exists. I couldn’t find evidence that this is a feature put in place to prevent bot listings. It just really feels like one. After about ten or so listings a player is hit with a sudden inability to list more items on the trading post for a short time. This can, oddly enough, be skipped by zoning into a different area. I must ask again why we can’t have a better system in place to help the system continually identify us as players?

Now there is the possibility that I could just be chasing imaginary links and that the issue with the Trading Post is purely to do with a system that hasn’t been addressed since launch. In this case it just an issue of some disagreements with codes rather than intentionally inhibiting us. In either case something could be done to address this issue on the post.

All my frustrations come down to the feel that the bot prevention systems need a retouching. We have the ability to report bots now and can point out these text-based crimes much more easily than we can with the actual farming bots. Allow us to be the way to find these digital villains and give us the freedom of sending mail and using the Trading Post more freely. I know I’ve reported every bot to come my way so far.

Agree with Lee on this “By Bear’s Butt”? Think he just doesn’t get bot prevention and needs a lesson on why these are the way they are? Send Lee a message at his twitter at @CanadasMathlete or let us know at @TenTonHammer.