ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Ceros » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:13 am

fate wrote:Ceros,

yes, for bots that are `smart' enough to walk across several maps and interact with a simple NPC, this isn't good enough. But at the end of the day, anything we can do can be automated with enough effort, so there is nothing we can do with game mechanics that can't be subverted with clever enough mechanisms.

Your point about nonaggressive monsters is a good one, though. At this point, aggressive monsters are considerably more rewarding, XP wise, so my hopes are that the slower XP progression for bots will make them less appealing and give GMs more time to identify them before they `pay off.'

Can you elaborate on how this mechanism would be annoying for players, though? The way I see it, casual players wouldn't be affected much at all, and only heavy grinders would `suffer' (which I personally consider a bonus, since motivating people to not spend all day standing in a virtual cave, holding one button pressed, seems to be a good thing in the grand scheme of things. ;-)

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As was stated previously, bots have no concept of time so botting that works consistently (ie, hitting low level monsters that are non-aggressive and allow for an easy and small automation process to 'harvest') is more desirable then a bot that gets more experience through 'riskier' botting - those scenarios in which the bot has a chance to fail and must be reset by the human running it, because the bot gets no experience when it is offline.

For example, a bot that kills bats with relatively no risk or crashing vs a bot that kills red slimes, snakes and spiders but has a much better chance of dieing due to being overwhelmed, etc.

I think your attitude towards grinding and 'hard core grinding' is disturbing. While not everyone is going to poopsock the hours away grinding to level 99, at the core of the game you have grinding. There is about a week's worth of quest content (much of that is grinding, by the way - 'Bring me 50 Grass Snake Tounges", 'Bring Me 50 Bug Legs' etc) and after that you are left with pretty much just grinding for items you need with extremely small drop rates (or buying it from someone who has).

For example, Jean Chaps. The drop rate is extremely low for the effort required to kill the creature that drops it and for a player to collect the 10 skins required through combat takes hours and hours. It actually probably takes days of playing (there have been posts bitching about the snake skin drop rate previously). The reason I can sell Snake Skins for 10k a piece is because of the extreme amount of grinding required to get them. Even when players elect to go to the bat caves to earn the money to buy the item or components instead of killing the creature that drops them, they are still grinding for it. It is just easier, safer, and quicker grinding.

But the point is, after your week's worth of quests, your core game mechanic is grinding, followed by a lot of socialization. Someone once said that they considered TMW to be 'IRC with hets" [IRC with hats] - I would propose it is "IRC with hets (and grinding)".

Secondly, while casual players are nice, the heart of any gaming community are the hard core grinders. Those people who show up every day and put in the effort. The people that log on every other day for 20 minutes and then go outside for a walk aren't your target audience here. No one knows their name, if you know what I mean. People like Sugar, freya, wayne etc who are constantly on and are constantly grinding are your core audience.

Lastly, the point of proposing this 'anti-botting combat system' is to remove the human element (e.g. GMs) so saying that safer botting will "give GMs more time to identify them" is a moot point. If we keep GMs then there really isn't any reason to create a system of combat to foil botting because the GMs would be able to identify botting based on reports from another player and by talking to them.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by fate » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:48 am

Ceros,

Some interesting points here.
Ceros wrote: As was stated previously, bots have no concept of time so botting that works consistently (ie, hitting low level monsters that are non-aggressive and allow for an easy and small automation process to 'harvest') is more desirable then a bot that gets more experience through 'riskier' botting - those scenarios in which the bot has a chance to fail and must be reset by the human running it, because the bot gets no experience when it is offline.
That depends on additional factors. If you get, say, 200 XP per minute for less-risky grinding, you still can't compete with the 5000 XP that a snake grinder can make in the same amount of time, even if you play all day long.
Ceros wrote: Lastly, the point of proposing this 'anti-botting combat system' is to remove the human element (e.g. GMs)
Only as far as the point of proposing a health care reform is about stopping people from dying. ;-)
Ceros wrote: so saying that safer botting will "give GMs more time to identify them" is a moot point. If we keep GMs then there really isn't any reason to create a system of combat to foil botting because the GMs would be able to identify botting based on reports from another player and by talking to them.
Do I understand your point correctly as stating that `as we know, you can't stop botting without a human element, so there is no point in changing the game mechanics to deal with botting'? If so, it's a wise and valid point. My hopes with the fatigue system were that it would eliminate the need for GMs in most cases; you have convinced me that it will work in fewer cases than I had hoped and that more GM action will be required unless we can find a way to refine (or replace) it.

-- fate
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Jurgi » Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:56 pm

Longer dungeons might have `rest areas', though.

Another suggestion, what may make "fatique" less annoying, while not breaking it as anti-botting feature.

Energiser drink (caffeine, or sth similar).
It would remove fatique for limited period of time, of course, in cost of drasticly bigger fatique, when energiser stops working. Another drink instead of rest would be less effective exponentially.

It would just allow tired player to finish current battle or to get out of dangerous area. It would not give botters any favour. And it would add some extra element to tactical thinking… Luckily someone just drew nice coffe cup icon. ;)
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by t3st3r » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:15 pm

If someone proposes anti-bot system, he have to think about simlpe thing: advanced bot (for example, based on modified client) will receive same data as human player does. So, in principle, bot would be able to operate on same data. Hence idea with one char in chat booble is, uhm, stupid. Bot can send a proper answer by looking simple lookup table. And no, server can't understand if packet sent due to human's keypress or it's program looked up table (with letter displayed by monster as index) and sent same (proper) packet.

From all realistic and non-annoying things (solving captchas just to fight monsters really sucks!) I can only imagine the following (yes, it is combat system related!): add more challenge to the battles! Encourage battles to be challenging! Make them to require some strategic decisions and thinking or death should follow otherwise, as well as penalty for this death. Discourage too easy battles with guaranteed results at all.

Simple. There should be NO guaranteed victories which are anyhow useful to gain XP in desirable quantities. So, bot should be capable of somewhat strategic thinking (like humans) and play like a human if it wants to get a good XP in good time frame. There should be no "guaranteed victory" scenarios with anyhow large XP gains worth of it.

For example, killing maggots at level 65 is easy and guaranteed, but the "only" problem is that it will take almost "forever" to level-up this way, no matter if bot used or not :mrgreen:. And if fighting challenging monsters giving more XP, it should be possible to die fairly easily on random or stupid mistake or even require cooperation with other players (anyone willing to team-play to level someone's stupid bot?). So, bot will die too often on it's own. If there will be proper penalty for this(like XP loss, etc), botters would face a quite challenging task - they're about to create AI anyhow comparable to human rather than just some dumb and routine automation. I can imagine TMWServ can have much more flexibility in this regard than eAthena currently does.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Crush » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:01 pm

Sure, with enough effort you can create an AI which plays every game as good as a human player. See chess computers or that bot which can beat rogue (very comnplex, very dynamic text-based single player RPG).

The goal here is not to make botting completely impossible. It is about making efficient botting a bit more complex than weighting down two keys and also making the game more interesting while doing so.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by t3st3r » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:55 pm

Crush wrote:Sure, with enough effort you can create an AI which plays every game as good as a human player. See chess computers or that bot which can beat rogue (very comnplex, very dynamic text-based single player RPG).
Granted enough computing power you can just create exact model of human's brain. Should we consider shutdown as kill then? Should it have human rights? :twisted:
The goal here is not to make botting completely impossible. It is about making efficient botting a bit more complex than weighting down two keys and also making the game more interesting while doing so.
Sure. Ideally botters should just have fun writing something between a decent AI engine and human's brain model to bot in efficient ways.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by niels.ellegaard » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:49 pm

fate wrote: we're thinking of a fatigue system: players will become decreasingly effective and increasingly vulnerable the longer they fight.
That sounds like a nice idea. But how long should a player fight before he starts feeling fatigue? Here are some random thoughts.

I think that your suggestion is that a player should start feeling fatigue after fighting continously for an hours or so. In that case many players can just ignore fatigue, because they are not affected. But it might be healthy for some players if the game had a way of saying: "You have been playing too much today. You should go and have a life, or at least you should sit down and trade some hats. Come back tomorrow when the fatigue is gone". Parents will like this.

Alternatively it could also be nice to have a kind of fatigue that kicked in after five minutes of fighting, but in that case I think that fatigue should decay fairly fast. It would be nice to have a kind of "nonlethal damage" that piled up during a fight, but started to decay really fast as soon as the player had been sitting down unattacked for 60 seconds in a row.

I like Jurijs idea about potions with long time fatigue effects. It could also be fun to have monsters and weapons that dealt extra fatigue, Perhaps one could get fatigue from being hit by a club,.

BTW: I still think that it could be nice if you had to press ctrl again each time you wanted to target a new monster, This way players with nonexisting computer skills would no longer be able to bot. But I know that devs disagree about this and I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me :D
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Crush » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:23 pm

Parents will like this.
But the power levelers will hate it.
I still think that it could be nice if you had to press ctrl again each time you wanted to target a new monster, This way players with nonexisting computer skills would no longer be able to bot. But I know that devs disagree about this and I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me
The reason that we do is that botters will just not update to the new version when the old version makes it easier to bot.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Cotillion » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:27 pm

Crush wrote:
Parents will like this.
But the power levelers will hate it.
I still think that it could be nice if you had to press ctrl again each time you wanted to target a new monster, This way players with nonexisting computer skills would no longer be able to bot. But I know that devs disagree about this and I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me
The reason that we do is that botters will just not update to the new version when the old version makes it easier to bot.

if you keep it simple like the MP system for mages. w/o some rest mages are helpless. don't make some complicated fight an hour, rest an hour kind of crap. just something simple to gradually make melee ineffective over a brief period w/o resting. You already have a system like this for Mages, it works rather nicely.

if you build it like this, power levelers won't complain. only botters.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Ceros » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:40 am

Cotillion wrote: if you keep it simple like the MP system for mages. w/o some rest mages are helpless. don't make some complicated fight an hour, rest an hour kind of crap. just something simple to gradually make melee ineffective over a brief period w/o resting. You already have a system like this for Mages, it works rather nicely.

if you build it like this, power levelers won't complain. only botters.
Then all you have to do is program the bot to stop and rest, which isn't that hard unless your idea of 'botting' is placing a heavy item on your keyboard.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Jaxad0127 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:49 am

Ceros wrote:
Cotillion wrote: if you keep it simple like the MP system for mages. w/o some rest mages are helpless. don't make some complicated fight an hour, rest an hour kind of crap. just something simple to gradually make melee ineffective over a brief period w/o resting. You already have a system like this for Mages, it works rather nicely.

if you build it like this, power levelers won't complain. only botters.
Then all you have to do is program the bot to stop and rest, which isn't that hard unless your idea of 'botting' is placing a heavy item on your keyboard.
Good programmers can get around everything.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Ceros » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:56 am

If you really want to make it autopmated, then you just give it to the people. Allow someone to send a botcheck to a person with a right click. You right click on their name, "Send Botcheck". The person stops what they are doing until the bot check is answered. To avoid abuse, you'd only be able to send a bot check to a specific person once every 8 hours. If you answered one bot check, you are immune from further bot checks for 1 hour (or 20 minutes, depending on how people wanted to try and abuse this). If you don't like the idea of people challenging you, you can manually enter a bot check on your end to push it back. The bot check would of course, be some sort of captcha like recaptcha. Require a botcheck on login and you're golden for pretty much all botting unless you want to manually come by and check it every 20 minutes - 1 hour, which defeats the purpose.


The numbers would have to be tweaked, but the idea is pretty simple. It isn't a substitute for human monitoring, though.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Rotonen » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:13 am

An arms race with the bots is the last thing we want to get into.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by salmondine » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:30 am

Advance botting is common on larger "pay to play" games, where gold is harvested to be resold on eBay, etc.
People in poorer countries are even employed to play
NPR did a very good story on this a few years back, about the value of virtual goods, highlighting game gold resellers.
The only thing that really prevents extreme botting here is a lack of real money value.
The promise of server wipe has served us well here.

*If we can auto-target bots with pop-up questions, we can get them auto-banned.

*bots don't answer a series of simple random questions well, this is what large gaming communities use to spot bots,
either with a GM staff or random player checks.

It just not needed until we at least become beta and virtual goods in-game have a perceived real value.
Once the free - open source gaming world meets eBay....then we will have a serious need.

IMHO this should be a real priority on new server.
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Re: ANTI - BOTTING IDEA ......... NEW COMBAT SYSTEM

Post by Ceros » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:40 am

salmondine wrote: Once the free - open source gaming world meets eBay....then we will have a serious need.
http://cgi.ebay.fr/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie ... :MESELX:IT
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