Guild Wars 2: Botters and Hackers
Today marks one month since the official release of Guild Wars 2. There are still several bugs — broken dynamic events, renown hearts, and skill points being the primary ones — but each patch fixes more of them. As they should.
On top of the bugs, there are also “hacked” accounts. No, there hasn’t (to my knowledge) been a security breach. People using repeat account information, falling for phishing attempts, or buying gold and/or power-leveling services comprise most, if not all, of these “hacking” cases.
These accounts turn into botters, for either power-leveling or gold-selling purposes. Just like with anti-virus, as soon as ANet tightens their watch on botters and spammers, the violators will find new ways around it. However! This is not as widespread and apocalyptic as some players would have you believe. Certain zones will have numerous bots, but most days, I get by without seeing a single one.
Though I do not doubt, given time, ANet will get a good handle on the situation, to truly eliminate bots requires the work of both sides, the company AND the players. This means no macros, no buying gold, no caving into power-leveling services, and giving due diligence to protecting your account. If the botters make no sales in the game, or presumably few enough, they will leave — GW won’t be profitable for them anymore.
The lack of an endgame and the ability to trade in-game gold for cash shop currency (and vice-versa) theoretically should shut down most botting activity. If the journey TO the end is the entire point of the game, why would you pay someone else to do it for you? And if you can buy gold legitimately through the company itself, why would you go through a questionable 3rd party to do it instead?
Sadly, however, people still buy from these vendors and whine when their accounts are locked down due to suspicious activity. “I was hacked!” they’ll say to ANet Support.
Someone on Guild Wars 2 forums suggested permanently banning these accounts, even if the player claims to have been hacked. This is a harsh methodology to take, and would upset quite a few players, but might make people stop and think. A perma-ban would waste not just the $60 of the base game, but also the money they spent on the service. The most obvious downside here is for those who are innocent and just lost access to their favorite game.
Another player suggested unlocking these “hacked” accounts, but with level 1 characters, no money, and no items. Also harsh, but the player would still be able to play, the illicit goods and levels would be out of the system, and the player would have only wasted the money spent on the service, not the game. Then again, wouldn’t having to start anew in every respect encourage buying gold and levels?
In the end, no matter how well the punishment suits the crime, people will still buy these services. The best solution to these problems remains unknown, save for forcing people to stop being stupid. And if we could do that, we could solve world hunger and generate world peace while we’re at it.
So what do you think? Perma-ban botters, spammers, gold-sellers and gold-buyers? Or let them go with a slap on the wrist to save the hassle of punishing the innocents?