The Daily Grind: How do you feel about bots in MMOs?

    
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Well, you are a bit weak for MMOs on the Switch.

Let me be up-front with my own feelings: Bots are bad. Not robots, of course; we all know how I feel about robots. No, I’m talking about bots designed to automate playing an MMO in some way. Fishing bots in Final Fantasy XI? Bad. Skill-up bots in Ultima Online? Bad. If someone programmed a bot for World of Warcraft that just sat in the middle of a city and waved at players? That is still bad. Bots are bad.

And yet… yeah, I can see the alternate side of the argument. For one thing, any time you have a game that allows you some notable AFK system, that’s functionally the game giving you a bot to do certain things to begin with. There are a lot of bots in games where you’re potentially not gaining an advantage so much as catching up to existing playerbases. Heck, I’ll still give leeway to players who respond to everything with “Dude” and trade me melons. So how do you feel about bots in MMOs, dear readers?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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EmberStar

If it’s a cheaty, against-the-rules third party hackbot? Yeah, nuke ’em all. I’d be okay with certain types of bots in games which allow player scripting, especially if “spend fifteen hours picking elfroot” is something the game seriously expects players to do for any reason.

If devs absolutely don’t want it to happen, then their scripting shouldn’t include commands for “pick elfroot,” and their game design shouldn’t be built with the assumption that gathering crafting materials is usually in any way fun or engaging. I don’t think I’ve ever found a game where crafting is anything but a “okay, I can do this while I rewatch all five seasons of Babylon 5 and all the movies, in order. Without missing anything, because all I’m doing in game is picking *elfroot.*”

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I am very simple in these regards. I am all for the rules of the game you are playing. If a game allows bots, they are fine to use. If a game doesn’t allow bots, you are cheating the system and should not use them.

There is no grey area, if you are breaking the rules you shouldn’t be there playing. You agree to certain rules of the game. If they don’t allow bots and you think it’s too much to play without them, you need to find a different game to play.

There are people I’m sure that the studios would make allowances for to use certain bots, one handed people, people with certain disabilities, etc. They simply need to contact the studios, explain their situation and see if it is okay.

To me it’s very black and white. If a game allows them they’re fine, if they don’t they are not.

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Schmidt.Capela

I’m only against bots that through their actions have a direct, negative impact on other player’s experience. Meaning I don’t mind bots that only affect parts of the game where there is no competition for in-game resources and that have no influence on player-to-player transactions.

I don’t use bots myself when that is against the TOS, mind. Though if the game is tuned in such a way that I dearly wish I was using a bot instead of playing it myself, there’s a good chance I will soon leave the game out of boredom or frustration.

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Toy Clown

I’m not fond of bots because I know what they represent. They’re in every game, in some form or another, although BDO seems to have a good handle on dealing with them.

Back when I played ArcheAge and first started seeing bots, I had a grand time helping them kill themselves for awhile. I got so irritated they were parked in questing areas and I couldn’t get the mobs I needed to finish the quests, so I rounded up a bunch of mobs in the area and dragged them over until I found their breaking point of dying. Then I’d happily finish the quests before they made it back.

Also had a bit of fun with one of those bots that sat and advertised gold services in populated areas. I drove my farmer cart over, picked them up and dumped them in the sea.

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Al_Bundy

I used to play an asia grinder MMORPG called “Silkroad Online” several years ago.

It was the only game I ever botted in, but it was kind of fun because literally everyone was botting. The game was rediculously (!) grindy. Barely any quests and you had to kill millions and millions of mobs to gain a level (even when botting 24/7 it took like months to get to the top level). I’m pretty sure the developers wanted people to bot because that game was so grindy I honestly can’t imagine someone would attempt to play it by hand.

Now it was a real challenge to set up your bots (people used to bot several accounts at the same time) in the most efficient way possible. I actually learend a lot about programming, packet sniffing and so on from that game. At first it was only scripting but I think that game made me learn C++. It wasn’t about the game any longer but about different programmers and bot developers trying to be “the best one”. I doubt it really hurt anyone, because again, I doubt that game had any legit players at all (there were free and pay2use bot for those without programming skills, too). So in the worst case I think I might have hurt other botters.

It was pretty fun tho. Programming a bot and watching it be efficient and automate things can be extremly relaxing. It’s a feeling quite similar to playing idle games such as Cookie Clicker or Clicker Heroes. You’re barely doing anything but still enjoying “stuff” happening…

So in the end I guess I think botting isn’t necessarily bad as long as it doesn’t happen in a context where bots are competing against “real” players.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

Automation is my gig. I love making ‘bots. Always have.

That said, I don’t use blatant cheats like farmbots or aimbots or anything related to scoring a competitive ‘win’. I tend to dabble in the gray area of scripting out the obnoxious — fishing and crafting in EQ1 were poorly designed (The latter being a real wrist-killer) and I unapologetically used automated scripts to eliminate the click-and-drag work at the crafting station.

I’m of the opinion that there’s a thin line between optimizing UI workflow and outright cheating. Much of the progress made in MMOs came about because some clever person found a better way of doing something that the devs had not considered.

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Kickstarter Donor
squid

Bots have driven me away from more games than developers have.

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Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Dislike them intensely. The reason I stopped playing FFXIV was bots. I am a fairly heavy crafter, being an alt-o-holic I like to be self sufficient but there was a time with that game where gathering was nigh impossible as invisible bots under the map would port from one deposit to the next preventing you from getting any matterials in some areas altogether.

Bots are a pox and the people who use them are usually either cheaters or Gold sellers and are all a massive inconvenience and disruption to the fun of the people actually PLAYING the games.

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Michael McDoge

When was this? I’ve been playing since launch day and never even heard of that before now.

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Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

About a month into launch on EU servers

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Michael McDoge

Must have gotten fixed fairly quickly, because as long as I can remember gathering nodes didnt go away when someone else used them

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Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Wouldn’t know how long it lasted for sure, but I was subbed for almost three months and it ruined my enjoyment. It persisted that entire time I was playing and that was more than enough for me at the end of the third month i let my sub lapse.

But to clarify at no point did I say the nodes went away, only that they were unsueable because the bots were always working them.

They would literally instantly teleport from one node to the next in area over and over as they respawned and became workable again meaning unles you beat them by a fraction of a second to a node by luck you literally could not get to work a node befor ethey did.

You could hear them working them and see some random made up name under the map, under the node moments before it teleported to the next in a cycle of all nodes in the area it was total BS..

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Anstalt

Assuming that the bot is being run by a program outside of the game, then I dislike it, view it as cheating and think the players using them should be banned.

If the bots are using tools provided by the game itself and nothing external then it’s simply a part of the game and is not cheating. Then, it just comes down to the implementation.

For example, writing your own macros in SWG so that you could turn yourself into a bot was fine. I didn’t really like it, but it was built into the game and there for use if you wanted to. It wasn’t cheating, we all had access to the exact same options, I just didn’t like it personally.

I suppose the core of the issue is that if you are using a bot, you aren’t actually playing the game. To me, that seems to be missing the entire point of video games!

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Roger Edwards

Logged into ESO last night, for the first time in ages. Found myself Alik’r Desert Dolmen Farming. After the first Dolmen battle, the ground was littered with the corpses of dead Bots.