I have been getting sick of how the economy on my server has been going to crap and the AH is flooded with ore and herbs from Chinese farmers gather botting 24/7. Real players cannot make a living or play the game properly.
So I decided to go out on a venture and help Blizzard track down these botters and report them to hopefully have them removed from the game and improve things on ATLEAST my server. So I did some research online and started camping mineral deposits and seeing who I'd spot. You wouldn't believe what I found...
First of all, if there wasn't 3 people hitting the node at once (all flying the same path, dismounting the exact same way "just above the node a few inches in the air very botlike") it would be someone just warping straight to the node, appearing out of no where, grabbing the node and then instantly disappearing as fast as he had appeared.
So I starting making a list of all of the obvious people that were hacking / botting. When I got enough names that I was sure were bots (following them around, monitoring robot like pathing, ect, watching them take the same route over and over) I reported that list via in game ticket. Typically within a few hours I had a reply back from a GM saying thank you, blah blah blah, we'll take care of it.
Well, guess what, to this day, not one of the people I've reported have been banned. Not even the guys warping around from node to node. They're still on, gather botting 24 hours a day and exploiting this game to crap.
Why is this? I am outraged... Why won't Blizzard do anything to these game hackers and cheaters? I can't believe Blizzard is just ignoring this major issue. I spend my time helping to solve this problem and my efforts are simply brushed off and ingored. All I get for my hours of work is a crappy canned response that is complete bull.
When is Blizzard going to stand up and do something about this? What does Warden do exactly? It doesn't seem as if this game is protected at all from hacking right now with what I've seen recently.
I dare a blue response to this.... I can't imagine any explanation that would sufficiently excuse this...
There is so, so, so much confused perception in this thread. I'll do my best to clarify, but this situation is one where I can't go into too much detail about the things we do - doing so only benefits those who would take advantage of it.
Why won't Blizzard do anything to these game hackers and cheaters?
The answer we give in response to this question is the same as it has always been - we gather information from those who would exploit the game so that we can hit them back on a much larger level.
There's many reasons for this, but the primary one is that those who abuse our systems usually aren't on their own accounts - they're often the compromised accounts of other players. Banning them does little because they'll just use another person's information. We'd be punishing those who don't deserve it, and not stopping the abusers because they just move on to their next target.
It's much more effective for us to study what they're doing so we can break the processes at a larger level, or detect them earlier. This is a constant, ever-evolving battle. We break a bot, they make a new one, we study that one, break it, they make a new one. So on and so forth. It's a bit endless, and it always will be so long as there is a market for the things that they do. Gold selling and trading is, most of the time, the direct source of these botters and exploiters.
This article sums it up much more succinctly - you may want to take a look at it:
Gold Buying & Power-Leveling
When is Blizzard going to stand up and do something about this?
We already do. Every day. We have a team dedicated to this and only this kind of work. They have some really exciting things coming down the line, but as I mentioned before, I cannot share those plans. It's an advantage we shouldn't lose in such a difficult war.
What does Warden do exactly?
This is because it's automated! Blizzard doesn't have the man power to look into these things on a case by case basis.
While we have some automated systems, they are overseen by the dedicated team I mentioned above. Their job is to make sure that those systems are as accurate and effective as possible - and that does involve a lot of individual comb through s of data and results, among other tasks.
When Blizzard cuts back on combating farmers and hackers it shows and the game starts going to hell in a hand basket very quickly.
These preconceived misconceptions come from not being able to see what it is that we do in these situations. It's unfortunately a byproduct of having to keep our actions veiled in mystery, to be as well armed as possible when combating these things. I'm unable to provide you hard facts about what we do - I wish I could, because it's all really cool and I'm in constant awe of the work we have going on behind the scenes. You will have to take my word for it - I can offer little more.
They also have similar automated systems to hand out random bans to people with names that are flagged as offensive, no matter how inoffensive they might actually be. I know it's automated because I was flagged by one once. Once, just randomly out of the blue I was dc'd from the game when I was finally able to log in I had to change my name, I of course changed my name to almost the same thing with slightly different spelling and alt characters and immediately it was flagged again, this repeated several times until the system finally forced a random name on my character.
No, we don't. That was a Game Master responding to a report about your name. Our Game Masters don't always move right on to the next ticket - sometimes they hang around and make sure you abide by our rules if you're found breaking them. In all honesty, that was a kindness on their part. It prevented you from being action-ed a second time for the same offense in the future.
I kindly request that players do not make presumptions about systems that we intentionally keep secret - it doesn't help anyone to make allegations that cannot be fully supported, and is not conducive to productive conversation.
So the take away is that as long as you're willing to download a new bot every once in a while, you're golden?
No, most of them do get caught. But on the forums especially, players tend to focus on the negative more than the positive. And those who bot support that ideal, because they want people to think they're winning. They like the community to think that we do don't do anything, because it discourages your player reports. And those reports help us immensely in our work.
Not reporting is helping the botters get their way. It doesn't look like, on the surface, it does much. But it runs a lot deeper than we're able to share.
In short... who cares HOW you are fixing the problem. We want to see MUCH faster results.
How we fix the problem matters because it's a lengthy process. We don't want to hastily put out a system that runs a 90% false positive return. Who is that helping at that point?
It's a lot like bug fixing. We have to make sure that stuff works as perfectly as possible when we implement it. We're dealing with whether or not people can access their accounts - I'm willing to bet that's a pretty important factor to you guys, and that you wouldn't much appreciate being suspended for something you didn't do because a 0 was where a 1 should have been. Stuff like that does inevitably slip through... but we work to minimize that effect as much as possible.
They stopped making any of these details public exactly because the botters were using them to their advantage. :/