Hey all. With the recent much needed ban waves, and S6 right around the corner, I wonder if we will still see the same level of botting despite the threat of bans?
I wonder if there is a way to make botting less attractive through means other than threat of bans? Lets consider what a botter aims to achieve through their activities:
Farming mats and deaths breath (DB)
Farming bounty mats? (not sure if this is true)
Farming GR keys
All achieved through persistent in-game time while afk
In the subject of Operant Conditioning (used in animal training), you can influence behavior by 1) giving/removing something that is desired, or 2) giving/removing something that is unwanted. Is there a way to design a game system which makes playing fairly more rewarding/efficient, and botting least rewarding/efficient? We know that botters are looking for maximum efficiency in a sense. The behavior we want to change, is an account staying active for upwards of 24 hours a day.
At the same time, the system should not punish legitimate players who want to grind for a long weekend or on a day off from work.
Considering a system based on Positive Reinforcement, I was thinking about a global boost similar to what we see on PTR for legendary drop rates. But instead of extreme drop rates, it would be a scaling boost for xp and gold, chance for extra mats, DB, and bounty mats. While offline, the boost would "charge" up to some maximum amount. Then while a player is logged in and making use of the boost, its effects would slowly diminish, until the player logs back out allowing it to recharge. The drawbacks I could see with this system is that it could possibly still be more efficient to be always online, even with the boost diminished. Or botters could possibly automate log-in / log-out cycles to maximize the boost effect. Also, it would provide a higher reward to legitimate players who log in occasionally, than those who play legitimately for long duration.
A Negative Reinforcement system would be similar to above, except the boost would be changed to a scaling de-buff, drastically reducing xp, gold, and mat drops over long periods of log in time. While offline, the de-buff would diminish. From a game design perspective this would be much less desirable. You never want to punish the player for playing the game. A possible remedy would be a player activity confirmation system, but that would get extremely annoying for legitimate players, and could only be implemented in town where it is safe. Plus, botters could possibly find a way to automate responses to such a system. The last thing we want is Captcha while playing Diablo.
Are there perhaps activities that legitimate players routinely perform that botters wouldn't necessarily because it slows their efficiency? Maybe using Kadala, or salvaging gear, etc? Just speculating on different metrics for estimating legit player versus bot.
Do you guys have any other ideas for game systems which would make botting worthless while not impacting legit players who play for long duration?
When I go for split bounties in pub games, after one act completed I ask of others to respond or be kicked. Few times some ppl or bots didnt write back anything so they were removed. I rarely do normal rift with other ppl and in grifts with others there is always enough communication to shun any possibility of someone botting atm.
As for EXP and mats. Botters bot for both. EXP problem can easily be fixed = if you farm low level content you gain NO EXP.
So high level botters would gain no exp from gr70.
The whole Torment system and drops must scale with level somehow, or must completely be moved to GRIFTS.
I personally would like to have NEPHALEM RIFTS removed completely.
this is nothing personal and not an attack, but i cant find the words to describe how much i disagree with those points you made. making the game worse to combat botting? thats not the right approach. end game is torment farming, bounties, GRs farming. so by removing nephalem rifts you just removed 1/3 of the game's end game content.
and before you say nephalem rifts is basically GR with loot along the way, some people would disagree as opening chests and finding goblins is part of the diablo fantasy and the fun aspect of nephalem rifts. opening a white chest and get 2 legendaries from it always makes me smile. and when i hear thousands of goblins mumbling gets my heart pumping. thats the main difference between nephalem and Greater rifts.
and i cant see how scaling with level is a viable solution. so what? because someone devoted so much of his time to get to para 2000+ LEGIT, he now gets half the mats or no mats in nephalem rifts, and doing some 70s for fun or with a friend to help him rewards with with no exp? all that because of botters?
Don't worry. I fully agree with your post.
But there is ONE major problem that i believe you don't fully understand: farming low-level content is rewarding in this game.
That's what botters do: farm low level content for everything. This must be fixed to become INEFFECTIVE absolutely, like in POE.
It's ok if you want to boost your friend. But if you are paragon 2000 and he is paragon 1 you both can't benefit equally from LOW LEVEL content.
I would also implement huge XP death penalty, like in POE.
Short of weekly ban waves, there's no way to disincentive botting in an ARPG without harming your legit players.
In an ARPG you hunt loot. Loot drops from mobs. If something can kill mobs for you while you're sleeping/at work/whatever, then it's desired.
Pretty much anything else you can think of will also harm legit players. If botters simply had to buy an item from Kadala every hour (something I'm sure they probably do anyway as running rifts nonstop over night will fill up their bloodshards fairly quickly) then the bot can be made to do so. The bot can be told to break down any and all yellows and store legendaries for processing in the morning when the user gets back on, etc. etc.
Nobody wants a bloody captcha.
Making the game worse (XP penalty for death, no xp from content deemed trivial to you, etc.) harms legit players. Sure, the xp may not be super, but plenty of people speed farm lower level GRs for the purpose of leveling their legendary gems. They deserve their XP while doing so.
The best thing they can do is audit players who have an average of more than some threshold of play time per day (lets say 18+ hours a day) and also are in the top xx% of paragon levels. If you see Gabynator playing an average of 23 hours a day, for example, and is in the top 1% of players with highest paragon - you have a likely target.
First of all, people bot for two completely distinct reasons:
(Unfair) competition on leaderboards
Non-competitive botting for fun.
These two cases might need separate addressing. Here are my thoughts about case #2 (to which I belong):
the content in this game does not scale along with the power creep (well, apart from GRs); I remember bounties being interesting and challenging (going for higher and higher difficulty) for the first, like, 200 paragons after I've started playing RoS; after that, there's nothing, absolutely nothing interesting in doing them;
I think that stuff that can be so easily automated simply doesn't deserve to be played; seriously, if a bot can farm TX rifts non-stop and gain the same profit as human of it, why would you make a game around that?? That game would be boring!
So yeah, that supports the idea mentioned here to make low-level content absolutely non-rewarding, and by low-level I mean anything that can be done effectively by a bot at current player's state. With most builds, bot can comfortably play around 5 GR levels below human (so if you farm on GR70, bot with exactly the same gear would generally farm GR65). So any content 5 GR levels below "current" player's progress shouldn't give any reasonable reward, while the "current" level should give substantial reward (here come rested XP pools, which are absolutely needed to address the problem of paragon disparity).
People are usually talking about how infinite paragons are problem and suggest simply limiting them. But the problem is how *linearly* you grind paragons (meaning that a person playing 12 hrs/day gets twice as much XP as a person playing 6 hrs/day in the same manner) and how huge the disparity between solo/group play is (why does this incentivise botting? because if I'm anti-social and want to play solo, that basically leaves me waaaaay behind in XP from others; ok, they're trying to address at least this in S6).