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Ankama Trackers

[Official] Bots

By November 10, 2008, 16:33:03
Reactions 1413
Score : 2180

The bots put numbers on the end of their sentences so that they don't get the message "Too much spam!" I'm not sure if typing the same message over and over disconnects you, currently. But the main reason for the numbers is so they can get the "Sell kamas!" message out much easier.

Sophidian ^^

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Score : 2596

Oh, you mean "it's the same message as the old one and wasn't sent"? I didn't think about this one! Guess that's a mystery solved smile

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Score : 602

I'll say that I've seen a decline in bots over the last couple months. I think a big part of this was destroying kamas from the incarnam quests. Just standing around astrub the prices have really gone up, from about 10 usd per mil to as much as 20 usd over the last months. So keep up the good work.
As far as the number of mods I'm not satisfied, I'm certain the restrictions are harsh to be a mod, but payed or not, I'd be willing to bet there would be more people like me willing to dedicate an hour or two out of their day to kicking bots or thwacking scammers.

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Score : 2666

Honestly, the only way that there could ever be "enough" moderators to seriously curb the botting problem is on a server like the Heroic server, where players can literally destroy a botting character themselves. Even then, it's not an ideal solution, as players are benefiting from items and money that has been cheated out of the game by machines.

This is the problem with these botting accounts - they can be created faster than all the moderators in the world can ban them. I've seen this when spending literally more than a full work day doing nothing but banning bots. It requires a lot more than a few more people who would spend an hour or two. The only possible way for bots to be seriously hindered by moderators is by huge numbers being applied. There needs to be dozens people for each server who can be steadily banning throughout the day and night, every moment of the day, so that there is never a gap, not even for an hour or two, for more bots to be created. Basically, recreational bot banners are not what is required. In my opinion, human power is not the right tool for the job, as the more human power is applied, the greater the potential for abuse and misuse. The only thing that can keep up with the production of accounts by machines is a better and faster machine, e.g., captcha, counter botting measures, tighter packet security, legal actions (using the machine of the law), etc.

There *is* a scenario that I could envision (and this is just my humble suggestion) for "crowdsourcing" the botting issue, and it involves mods tagging IPs that bots originate from. Every account that originates from a tagged IP will then be subjected to Heroic Server rule of death - any death is a permanent death - no matter which server it is created on. Then players could aggress these accounts (if they choose to) and kill them. This way, moderators with the proper tools to investigate botting could steer the power of the crowd towards the real problem accounts, minimizing mass abuse.

There are some issues with this, of course; this idea is still a bit raw. Even so, I still believe that the only way that there will ever be enough manpower to completely stop bots without abusing the playerbase, will be something along these lines.

-Wish

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Score : 67

Is there anything we, as players, can do to help you identify bots? I have the advantage of being able to be online for a good amount of the day and can see a lot of them. Any help I can provide will be given.

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Score : 2180

I don't think you can do much beyond sending a ticket. And if you do decide to do that, I'd wait until you have the names of twenty bots and report it all at once, as not to spam Ankama Support (I think they would appreciate minimum spam tongue ).

Sophidian ^^

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Score : 521

the amount of banned bots is really impressive...

my ideas:
- Wish said she killing hunting bots, i think hit announcer bots is more crucial - no announcers, no customers... plus you dont need to kill them, mute them is better (if there is such function)
- hit their client. Bots owners obviously have some kind of commandline client, that helps them react way faster on mob respawn (as they are catching packets, not graphics), run in superfast "trains" etc. So in next regular client update should programmers prepare some traps to detect/kill/IP ban anyone, who'll try to login with other then official client.
- Use IP bans on their networks. Even if its really some kind of sick business, change IP's is really not that easy, and they'll run out of available proxies really fast.
- Track kamas. All kamasellers must have some central accounts, where they gathering kamas from hundreds of their minions before they are banned. Find out such account will hit them hard. My
- Try buy kamas from announcers websites. Well not you :-), but same Amakna employee. This will help you find out how it works, who's selling, if tracking kamas is not possible for whatever reason.

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Score : 2666

If I could make one suggestion, it would be this: account names are more useful than map locations. Obviously, these names cannot be posted on the forums, but if you want to make reports to mods that are in the game, the name of the account is much better than a location. Because of the XP and drop limitation that Ankama has added to repeated fights on the same map, the bots move around a lot, and they move quickly (as you have all seen). It's much better to have the name and be able to track the bots that way then try to jump from map to map to find them.

The best time to get a bot name is when they are in a fight. Just open up the fight list on the map, and get the name of the first character on the list. That one name will help us track the group, as they usually follow the highest level in the group around, and the groups don't often break apart or change.

-Wish

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Score : 2

I've noticed that the amount of bots are increasing in Incarnum's Solar server. There has to be something you guys at Ankama can do about these buggers. They are stealing all of the monsters on the field! It's really annoying! sad

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Score : 2180

At the moment, there is no sure fire action that can be taken to rid the bots. Ankama and the Dofus community have not yet discovered a direct way to get rid of the bots. Hopefully you can contribute some ideas instead of the usual 'I don't like them', as it's been said over and over and has no useful information or ideas contained within.

Sophidian ^^

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Score : 159

I find that the ones constantly spamming websites in Astrub to be even more annoying. It really ruins the area for me.

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Score : 11655

So far you can't do anything you might as well have to deal with it. But I'm pretty sure ankama is trying to figure out how to get rid of these bots. The spamming ones are less annoying I mean at the place where a lot are in groups and fight I try to get in but they keep stealing it. I hope they find a way to fix it but I think ankama for what they've done for us so far.

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Score : 4277

How about a blanket mute across the whole of f2p land? Legitimate players can simply Group up if they want to talk to one another - may seem harsh, but that would instantly remove the problem away from Astrub. I am not sure whether f2pers can talk outside the f2p area at present - perhaps you could forbid this as well if thats necessary.

If the people who sell kamas can't talk to 'their customers' how can they possibly get their message across? Of course this may end up moving the problem elsewhere eg. bots PMing people they see run through the screen.

The developers must also consider a Report button - hitting this captures the Dofus window, the chatbox is cropped, and /w text if visible is converted into Text and sent to ankama where it is processed into a spreadsheet containing the account name and player of both the person pming and the player who received the message along with server name and time-stamp.

Then using SQL against the message itself check for offending Text for such words as WWW.kamas.com, 3w.kamas.com etc etc etc.. if the account is flagged then automatically suspend the account no questions asked. No one should ever need to type a website address with kama selling connotations.

So in short, ban public chat throughout f2p land and add a report button so its possible for players to report offending 'announcer bots' anywhere in the game directly to the developers as and when they are received, check the reported data for offending words and auto-ban the account.

So there you go build a comprehensive black list of kama websites, then develop a new application that will run SQL commands against the spreadsheet whenever a player make a report... an application that checks for 1000 variations of www.kamas.com will help stem the problem somewhat. Without a means to advertise their kama sites there is little point in other bots going about their business.

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Score : 2596

I find the idea of putting black chat off ridiculous. Even wose: bots would PM as you already mentioned. They can already click any monster and "join", how hard would it be to change it to "players" and "private message".

And your idea of the report button seemed good at first because mods/admins would have to read the logs. Which is also a bad thing because they have other stuff to do. So there's 2 gambles here. One: players will only report bots (so no bad scam reports and stuff like that). Two: the bots won't abuse it themselves to make the logs almost unreadable.

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Score : 495

I'll just copy and paste my comments wholesale from another thread (with some additions and editing)

Hmm... let's get back to the basics based on information contributed by players in the forums.

1. The primary source of real-life income is the sale of kamas via the numerous weblinks spammed.
No matter how rigorous Moderators are kicking them and banning them, they just keep on coming back. It's a case of Humans Vs Machines and unless there's an automated way of kicking spam bots, there will never be enough Mods to keep the server spam-bot free. There is no use asking for more mods or for mods to do their job more often, a Mod needs to sleep while the computer running bot doesn't. The only logical way is to somehow for the system to identify a spam-bot and automatically kicks it. That said, you might have human players who are shouting the same thing over and over again (like selling their resources) and they will inevitably be tagged as spamming and automatically kicked... and I'm sure they will make a fuss about it soon enough.

Bottomline: Spam is plain annoying but relatively harmless on the big scale of things. It's basically advertising and that can be rectified by turning the black chat off, pretty much like switching to another tv channel instead of running out to get a can of cola whenever the cola advertisement comes on.

2. Kamas to be 'sold' are obtained via farming bots
Farming bots... might refer to hunting bots or the resources farming ones. To sell kamas, the sellers must have kamas and they are obtained via these muscles. Once again, you can ban them as and when they are discovered but just like any other bots, they make a comeback within minutes and goes back to optimal proficiency in farming within a week or so. Sure, it might slow them down somewhat but I would imagine that kama sellers have such a huge stockpile of kamas that they can afford to lay off using any bots for quite a while. The Scarecrow started off as an anti-bot measure but it has since become more like a piece of paper rather than a solid wall against farming bots, but giving credits due, it was initially a good idea, but have since proved worthless and likely taken advantaged of, since winners against the Scarescrow gains additional resources, and farming bots just loves having more to sell for kamas.

Bottomline: Anti-farming-bot measures are good....if they work. I still believe by cutting this main line of kama supplies, it's basically the end of the story for them, no kamas to sell equals to no business. That said, these bots are the hardest to fight because they keep moving around and like I mentioned, their stockpile of kamas could possibly be on par with the national treasury so it's gonna be a long long battle.

3. F2P bots and P2P bots
Most of the bots are found in F2P areas, Astrub and Incarnam and I believe that there are some P2P bots running around too. Would making a server fully P2P really eliminate the botting activities? I believe that it will cut down on the number of bots but the big repercussions are going to come from the players, especially those who can't maintain a subscription constantly. F2P allows people to try out the game before deciding if they want to subscribe and it's a good form of advertisements that Ankama are gonna stick to no matter what. I believe the reason that Heroic server is relatively bot-free is mainly because of the "intense" situation rather than the P2P factor. Kama sellers are just as likely to survive in a P2P environment, just having to give up a small part of their earning to subscriptions. Someone might need to do the accounts on behalf of the kama-sellers to see if the books balance out in the end, so that to know if a full P2P server is gonna punch a big hole in their pockets.

Bottomline: Proceeding with this route and one might be at the end of the burning wrath of F2P population. The impact of such a move on F2P has to be weighed against the likelihood of success, anything less than a significant decrease in number of bots and it's failure with big backlash.

4. Kama buyers
In some way, they are source of all the problems. Afterall, no demand, no supply right? The fact that in-game currency selling is so rampants these days is due to the players themselves. You can say they do not respect the game but at the end of the day, they are the ones paying. It's similar to people who use cheatcodes in single-player games and they have their reasons too, despite whatever principles that hardcore gamers believe in, so it will be an endless debate on the ethics of buying in-game currency. If Ankama's stand on the sale of kamas is firm, they will have to do more than putting a statement in their ToS. It will be an uphill task because if they start restricting huge transactions, it's gonna affect the economy, and if they decide to monitor such transactions, there will be a lot of data for them to sieve through and by then, the buyers would have already paid for the kamas and the sellers do not care what happens to them as long as payment is received.

Bottomline: Either you cut off the supply in 2) or you cut off the demand as mentioned here in 4). Let it be known by clear action that kama buyers are dealt with seriously and whatever they paid for in subscription or payment for the kamas will be forfeited. Of course, there is just small problem of how to track these people.

Overall summary: It's gonna take more than just ONE implementation to deal with the bots, because if such a Holy Grail exists, I'm sure one of the more established companies would have employed it and boasted about it long ago. Also, how much collateral damage are we as players willing to accept? We could be one day be at the mercy of our own suggestions because of a misunderstanding, and are we able to deal with it patiently and logically?

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Score : 4277
RollbackSuckz|2008-11-22 06:19:00
I find the idea of putting black chat off ridiculous. Even wose: bots would PM as you already mentioned. They can already click any monster and "join", how hard would it be to change it to "players" and "private message".

And your idea of the report button seemed good at first because mods/admins would have to read the logs. Which is also a bad thing because they have other stuff to do. So there's 2 gambles here. One: players will only report bots (so no bad scam reports and stuff like that). Two: the bots won't abuse it themselves to make the logs almost unreadable.


The 'log' as you call it requires very little human interaction. Its an application that reads a row of data, analyses it against a black list and suspends an account if it finds the player posted a kama website address.
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Score : 2596

Unless you come up with an incredible idea to prevent this, it will end up hurting real players. I often write links in-game, especially the wikia to beginners.

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Score : 2

This could be a idea of stopping the bots...

1: No more allowing dropping instead throw trash at nearby bank trash cans( so auto's cant drop trade for their buyers)
2:When a player offers a item the other player can give the exact price or only so much below or above(so auto bots cant trade like a piwi cape for like 1m to thier buyer.
3: No more giving 1m to a player for free(this is cause auto's give their buyers money for free)

Since the auto's cant trade thier buyers there would be no point for them to farm or hunt ect.

Also the people that use auto's to thier advantage you cant just bann their ip adress.

I think this would stop lots of auto's. biggrin

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Score : 25
[MOD]Wish|2008-11-18 18:38:00

Honestly, the only way that there could ever be "enough" moderators to seriously curb the botting problem is on a server like the Heroic server, where players can literally destroy a botting character themselves. Even then, it's not an ideal solution, as players are benefiting from items and money that has been cheated out of the game by machines.

This is the problem with these botting accounts - they can be created faster than all the moderators in the world can ban them. I've seen this when spending literally more than a full work day doing nothing but banning bots. It requires a lot more than a few more people who would spend an hour or two. The only possible way for bots to be seriously hindered by moderators is by huge numbers being applied. There needs to be dozens people for each server who can be steadily banning throughout the day and night, every moment of the day, so that there is never a gap, not even for an hour or two, for more bots to be created. Basically, recreational bot banners are not what is required. In my opinion, human power is not the right tool for the job, as the more human power is applied, the greater the potential for abuse and misuse. The only thing that can keep up with the production of accounts by machines is a better and faster machine, e.g., captcha, counter botting measures, tighter packet security, legal actions (using the machine of the law), etc.

There *is* a scenario that I could envision (and this is just my humble suggestion) for "crowdsourcing" the botting issue, and it involves mods tagging IPs that bots originate from. Every account that originates from a tagged IP will then be subjected to Heroic Server rule of death - any death is a permanent death - no matter which server it is created on. Then players could aggress these accounts (if they choose to) and kill them. This way, moderators with the proper tools to investigate botting could steer the power of the crowd towards the real problem accounts, minimizing mass abuse.

There are some issues with this, of course; this idea is still a bit raw. Even so, I still believe that the only way that there will ever be enough manpower to completely stop bots without abusing the playerbase, will be something along these lines.

-Wish


Wish, this is astoundingly insightful. From what I have seen in-game and read about the bot issues for Dofus are much like the evil early days of email spam. And the methods of abaiting the the bot systems are most likely going to be developed in the long, slow and painful process that the most successful email filtering systems now use.

I can think of about a dozen different methods (some have been suggested, some not) to curb botting, "ignore" accounting is one that would be interesting. But I know from previous experiances that it's not a single or handful of things that create a successful ID/filtering system, it's the conglomeration of dozens of different systems to produce "patterns" or "trend/types" (as opposed to "matchs")... That kind of sofistication is only recently being promoted by the largest of email concerns. I'm going to go ahead and put forth that nothing of that level will ever exist in this game.

That being said, I think you are dismissing the single greatest resource in the game itself: the player base.

Yes, it's a very easy to create an abusable system, but all systems are open to abuse of some form... it's like a law of nature (rule in the matrix?). But the 2nd greatest advancement in email filtering was the introduction of client responce databases. When you say a piece of email is spam in Google, MSN, or (especially) AOL, you are voting on it. If enough clients vote on "similar" emails as spam, that "type" of email is automatically filtered at the gate servers.

In Dofus, an example would be like "If enough differant accounts ignore a specific player; take action".

Anyway, as far as "bang for buck" on a single suggestion, I really think a system involving player contribution is a key (actually crowdsourcing is a form of contribution). Your right, there will never be enough Mods, but the players outnumber the bots (hopefully :blink: ). So, I guess I'm suggesting less of a crowdsourcing system and more of a full player empowerment system. Just one that doesn't actually involve direct power.

I leave it to you to decide how much I don't understand the term crowdsourcing huh
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Score : 25
StVier|2008-11-23 05:26:00
...
3. F2P bots and P2P bots
Most of the bots are found in F2P areas, Astrub and Incarnam and I believe that there are some P2P bots running around too. Would making a server fully P2P really eliminate the botting activities? I believe that it will cut down on the number of bots but the big repercussions are going to come from the players, especially those who can't maintain a subscription constantly. F2P allows people to try out the game before deciding if they want to subscribe and it's a good form of advertisements that Ankama are gonna stick to no matter what. I believe the reason that Heroic server is relatively bot-free is mainly because of the "intense" situation rather than the P2P factor. Kama sellers are just as likely to survive in a P2P environment, just having to give up a small part of their earning to subscriptions. Someone might need to do the accounts on behalf of the kama-sellers to see if the books balance out in the end, so that to know if a full P2P server is gonna punch a big hole in their pockets.


I think this is a good general suggest for the game. A full P2P server would promote a number of things conducive to the game experience, as well as reducing bot activity / making it more expensive to advertise / practice on.

It does make an interesting demographic target for them though.
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