Gold Farming Bots on WoW
I've heard of bots - script controlled characters, where the actual player isn't present - on other games, but hadn't seen them in World of Warcraft until recently. Of late, however, even on Argent Dawn, there's been a plague of them.
The realm forums have even popped up a thread in which a number of guilds are preparing to ask Blizzard to do something. And elsewhere, it's been observed that posts concerning bots on the official forums have an alarming propensity to disappear.
I've seen at least six bots in the last two weeks, three in the Burning Steppes area, and three more in the Western Plaguelands. One at Felstone Field has been there pretty much 24-7 for about three months now.
How can you identify them? Well, first, they never do anything but work on whatever they're farming. One of the Burning Steppes ones is a night elf hunter. She runs back and forth across the area where the black dragonkin are, until she comes into range of a mob. She then sets the pet on it, and begins to shoot from a distance while the pet tanks. Once it's dead, she loots and skins it, and repeats. Nothing else. No emotes, no conversation, no jumping. All mobs are attacked equally. Sometimes this will result in her standing in a bonfire, and she'll continue to stand there, taking damage, until she dies.
All that's a damn nuisance, but she'll also try to skin your kills, assuming you're quick enough to tag one before she reaches it. That's really annoying, particularly when what we were there for was black dragonscales - gained by skinning.
The economics of it, unfortunately, stand up very well. Three hours work in a given area, with a certain amount of market savvy thrown in, can net you up to 50g without really encountering anything threatening. That's a fair amount of utility in the game, but it's also worth about €2.70 in RMT markets. €0.90 an hour is not a good wage here, but it's perfectly fine in some other parts of the world - and of course, if you can have ten machines going at once, all running bots, actually stepping in to run the characters only when there's a problem - you can rack up €9.00 an hour, which is far more respectable - again, especially in low-income parts of the world.
I'm not as opposed to RMT as some of my guildmates - I'm of the opinion that you can't isolate any economy - but the fact that the bots are getting in my way, and there's nothing I can do about it, is annoying. I'm not entirely sure what can be done about them, either - if there's an operator sitting by his ten machines to answer any GM messages that arrive in, it's very hard to prove that a given character is a bot. Repetitive behaviour, due to the very nature of the game, is a useful strategy for anyone.
Posted by Drew Shiel at August 25, 2006 7:38 AM