Bots: A Love-Hate Relationship
MMORPGs continue to be some of the most popular games on the planet, but there is one gigantic ugly “elephant in the room” that people refused to address that is destroying the fabric of these games – bots.
Bots have quickly become one of the more prevalent problems that MMORPGs (and other game genres as well) have to contend with, and it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere anytime soon.
Important that you understand what bots are, why they are used in MMORPGs, how they are used, and the impact that they are having on the digital ecosystems that all of us spend hours and hours inside of. Until you know just about everything there is to know about bots, and decide for yourself whether or not you ever want to use them, you’ll always be at the mercy of someone that is using bots – and that is never an enviable position to find yourself in!
Pay close attention to the “inside information” below and you should have no trouble whatsoever understanding the role bots play in popular MMORPGs, the future of bots, and whether you should even consider installing or operating some on your own.
What are bots?
Bots are fundamentally no different than simple little applications you run inside of an MMORPG, though they can certainly be more advanced than that – and today they usually are.
Most frequently used in most of the most popular RPGs today to act as “gold farmers”, these bots are you’ll type characters that you will have established for the sole reason of doing your mindless bidding and taking the grinding actions off of your shoulders and automating them completely.
The right bots can quickly and effortlessly stripped and entire area of resources, convert those resources into usable goods, and then unload those resources on other characters or in a digital marketplace – all without you ever having to lift a single finger of your own.
On top of that, a “bot army” can be created out of thin air – with each and every one of the bots operated by a single individual from a single game account, resulting in a ridiculous amount of bot activity – and a flood of resources for the person controlling them.
Sometimes bots come in the form of outside applications and third-party tools that need to be “injected” into an MMORPG, whereas other times they are simplified in streamlined macros that do similar work – though it takes a bit longer.
Almost all bots need to be downloaded from an outside resource, which opens up a tremendous amount of potential for downloading malicious software or hacker tools without even knowing you’ve done it.
Dangerous exploit or necessary evil?
There are two real sides of the coin as far as bots are concerned, and most people fall distinctly in one camp or another.
On the one hand, you have those that believe that grinding has absolutely no place whatsoever in the world of modern gaming – and that it should be eliminated completely if at all possible. And if it cannot be eliminated, then bots should be used less and right by just about everyone, if a lead to eliminate the boring parts of MMORPGs and allowing people to collect massive amounts of resources in a hurry.
On the other hand, you have a group of people that believe bots are a dangerous exploit that destroys a digital economy from the inside out – often times doing irreparable damage that can completely tank a game’s popularity in a hurry. In fact, most people believe that’s what happened to Ultima Online.
It wasn’t so much that the graphics moved beyond that videogame (though they certainly did), and had much more to do with the collapse of the digital economy because of all of the bots in use.
How safe is gold farming with a bot?
Because they are usually crafted using an alternate character, most people find that a bot set up for gold farming are pretty simple, straightforward, and safe to use – but you always run the risk of getting caught by moderators, game masters, or other players and then getting turned in. This will usually result in the termination of that character, and in some cases the complete termination of the entire account its self.
Obviously, playing with bots is playing with fire, and usually isn’t exactly the wisest use of time or energy.
The future of botting
Bots continue to get more and more advanced with each passing day. Designers and developers (as well as those that just like to pull things apart and put them back together) have been having a field day with bots, creating tools and technologies that go undetected for weeks on end.
However, game companies and moderators are focused on paying close attention to new bot developments and do everything they can to patch games as soon as an exploit is discovered. Bots will only continue to get more advanced, the patches will become more frequent, and the cat and mouse game between those that bot and those that do not will go on forever.
“Crime” rarely pays
If you take away anything from this quick guide, it’s critical that you understand using bots to exploit different aspects of your favorite MMORPG – and especially to garner a tremendous amount of resources only to flood them back into the market artificially – is not something that you’re going to want to fool around with.
Sure, it can be a lot of fun to turn your grinding on autopilot and know that when you wake up you are going to be a “digital millionaire”, but at what cost? Not only you’ll compromise the game economy, gamers who sells virtual items at marketplace will be affected too.
If you end up crippling your games economy from the inside out and then the game ends up going under, who will you have to blame other than yourself? This is not the kind of tool or exploit that you are going to work through spend too much time focusing on or fooling around with, and instead something that you’re going to want to avoid at all costs.
See also: Multiboxing: Gold farming like a boss