It seems NCsoft has taken it’s bot problem in Aion seriously. An unscheduled server-wide reboot of Aion was performed on November 23rd. When the servers came back online, nearly 16,000 accounts found themselves banned from NCsofts latest MMORPG.
For what reason exactly, does NCsoft wieild the ban-hammer so boldly?
According to NCsoft, they have been collecting evidence over several weeks regarding botting, gold-farming, and ad-spamming accounts, and compiled a list. These accounts now find themselves banned. NCsoft explains that “any action that modifies the game client or automates in the same way a bot does could flag a potential account as a violator”. They (NCsoft), defend themselves by stating that they count many violations first before they arrive at their decision.
While the banning of 16,000 potential players may seem like a radical and perhaps even excessive choice of action, it is still only a small step in rectifying what is a major problem, as Aion is having serious and unfortunate bot issues.
Online worlds have a relatively stable economy because there is always a limited amount of resources at any given time. The more players gather, collect and/or consume these resources, the harder it becomes for others to acquire them.
Bots are essentially designed to take as many resources (gold, experience, item drops, etc.), as quickly possible. Because there is no human input, the bots will do their set task, and they will do it very, very well. The player’s bot will run around the zone, gathering more resources than other players faster, and without the human effort behind it, make it virtually impossible for a legitimate player to compete with them.
Auctioning takes a blow too, as bot-players can under-cut legitimate players in both pricing and quantity, ruining any sort of profit a real player might be able to make otherwise.
The atmosphere of the game suffers too, as bots are… bots. Players can’t very well interact with them, as they are off doing what they were designed to do. Botting certainly is convenient, but at the cost of short-changing legitimate players and ruining the MMORPG experience, it becomes less of a luxury and more of a major nuisance.