News

Update on our ongoing battle against bots

Dear RuneScape Community,

I would like to take a moment of your time to address the highly emotive issue that we face as a community – bots.

At the beginning of the year, when we brought Free Trade and the Wilderness back, we promised that we would couple that with programmes that would combat the inevitable botting that would result from that decision. Over the last few months we have initiated a number of programmes to do this, some of which we have already mentioned to you, some of which we haven’t because of legal reasons and some because we do not want to warn gold farmers and bot makers about our counter measures.

The challenge for us is that despite all of our programmes and best intentions the problem is still huge and, most annoyingly, still adversely impacting parts of our game.

We are continuing to battle bots on all fronts. In an effort to be more open and transparent we wish to share a couple of measures and initiatives we are about to release/have released recently:

  • We have recently improved our internal systems to be able to spot spam from the chat window and instantly mute the offender preventing the constant flow of communication from the gold farmers which are impacting the game experience. Your reports are very helpful to us here!
  • Continuing our ongoing legal cases against bot developers.

  • Mandatory email validation for new accounts will add extra account security and impair the mass account creation that gold farmers use.

There are several other initiatives and actions that we plan to implement over the next few months and we will share these with you as often and in much detail as we can. The most significant of these is to come soon. Also, we recognise that we have not been the best at communicating what we are doing and that changes today.

While we are winning small battles by spending significant money and resources in trying to combat this problem, the war is not going in our favour as we are struggling to keep up with companies whose only business 24 hours a day 7 days a week is to find ways to get bots into the game. As a result, one thing has become really clear to us despite our ongoing efforts.

We cannot win this battle alone. We need your help.

So how can you help? First, we would like to hear from you in a more coordinated way regarding your thoughts about how to fight the bots problem. We will be developing surveys to help us understand more about bots directly from you... we would love to hear your response.

We would like to set up a special forum where we can have targeted Q&A’s and get formal feedback from you about specific initiatives. We will let you know when this forum is set up and invite you to join us.

We hope that you will engage with and encourage your friends to use any tools that we provide to you that will help us identify and ban the bots like the Spam Filter feature.

And finally, we would ask that you refrain from using bots or supporting gold farmers. If there is not a market, then bots will not exist. As was so eloquently put in a recent post on Tip.it “Standing up to Jagex [by voicing one’s opinion on the botting issue], one might argue, requires a certain amount of courage, but much more is required to stand up to one’s friends”. The player went on to say, “The community needs to stand up for itself by following the rules and shunning those who do not. Lacking customers, the websites that set up the bots will close, and the only botter will be the isolated real player. Ultimately, following the three pillars of the code of conduct that Jagex set up-“Honour,” “Respect,” and “Security” are a responsibility of the players and the community as much as they are of Jagex.”

We are committed to ridding our game of bots. We are committed to providing a more open discussion with you about the real challenges that we face as a result of our efforts. We are committed to involving you more in this war so we can win this fight together.

Most importantly, we are committed to continuing our investment in evolving and making RuneScape a great game to play and an amazing community to be a part of.

Thanks,

Daniel Clough
Chief Operating Officer & Vice President of RuneScape