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Posts with tag farmers

Bot Spotting 101

Doc Robot has a short but sweet guide to how to spot a botter (or, sometimes, a farmer) wandering around the World of Warcraft. Warning signs: they behave erratically, don't answer tells, use repeated attack patterns, and so on and so forth. Chances are that if, like me, you play on one of the higher population servers, you've seen this stuff happening, even if you didn't know at the time exactly what you were dealing with.

My own bot story is pretty funny-- I was leveling my rogue through Stranglethorn Vale, killing and skinning panthers to grind and make some money. Along comes a paladin-- she walks right up to a panther near me, and proceeds to kill it. I play on a PVE server, but I've got no love for the alliance, so I did what I thought was an appropriately undead rogue-y thing to do and I ninja'ed the skin from her on that kill. She tried to skin, failed, and... moved onto the next mob. I got no reaction out of her at all. So I let her kill the next mob, beat her to the skin again, and still nothing. I did this three or four times, and I didn't get so much an emote out of her-- not even an angry look.

I couldn't believe that someone would let me get away with this, so even despite the fact that she was a few levels ahead of me, I went ahead and flipped my PVP flag on, and threw down a few /taunts. Still nothing-- she just keep rolling on in her pattern without even acknowledging I was there. By then, of course, I knew I was dealing with a bot, and so for an hour or so, I tagged her panthers, let her kill them and gain experience for me, and then ninja'ed the skin out every time. Wonder if that botter was surprised that his paladin wasn't very productive that hour.

Unfortunately, I never did report her, which is what you're supposed to do when you find a character botting or farming (as the article says, it's usually a hunter, so my guess is that my paladin was simply being powerleveled). Blizzard is doing everything they can to battle this stuff, but my guess is that it's much more rampant than even they will admit. Have you seen a bot? What did you do when you discovered it?

Filed under: Tricks, Cheats, How-tos, Economy

To /afk or not to /afk...

Right now, at least, I'd recommend not.

It's hard to walk into a battleground these days without noticing at least one player who's not doing anything but sitting quietly near the battleground entrance gaining honor and reputation. Perhaps they're using a bot or perhaps they're watching a movie and occasionally pressing the space bar -- either way, they're a nuisance at best. And when this post showed up on the customer service forums, I couldn't help but be surprised. Because while Blizzard would previously take action against players using bots or hacks to prevent them from going AFK during a battleground, now they seem to be prepared to act against any players "who are not actively participating" in a battleground. The wording is still very vague, but this could mean a crackdown on AFK players -- regardless of method.

Filed under: PvP

Breakfast Topic: Dealing with Bots

Last week we saw a couple of entertaining ways to deal with bots. However, the entertaining is not always the practical - and if you don't play a priest on a PvP server, the methodology contained in those videos isn't going to help you much. For my part, if I encounter an obvious bot I'll tend to look for somewhere else to grind - it's not always easy to beat the speed of an automated hunterbot, and trying to tends to just be frustrating. But how do you deal with bots? And do you, perhaps, have advice for the rest of us?

Filed under: Tips, Tricks, Breakfast Topics

MMOs and the Secondary Market

The Escapist has a good article discussing the secondary market of various MMOs. It doesn't focus on World of Warcraft, but gives an interesting broader picture on the practice of buying and selling currency in virtual worlds. The question of whether players can remain competitive at this point without the aid of additional financial is a curious one. In Azeroth, additional gold, BOE items, or power-leveling can certainly be of help, but are they necessary to keep up with the rest of the players? For PvP, I'm tempted to answer "yes" - as the bar to reach the upper ranks of the honor system is so high as to make it neigh impossible for many players to reach - unless they do nothing but take short breaks for sleeping and eating between play sessions for weeks on end.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy

On the topic of farmers...

My priest has been, for some time now, looking for a pattern for the Truefaith Vestments - the epic crafted priest robes. While I would occasionally see a Robe of the Archmage or a Robe of the Void pattern, I've not seen any of my own. However, over the past couple of weeks, I've seen more and more Robe of the Archmage patterns - as seen above. The cost has dropped dramatically, as well - what once sold for a hundred gold and up is now, as you see, more often selling for 30 to 40, when they sell at all.

This has started to puzzle me, as the pattern drops off of Pyromancers in lower Blackrock Spire, of which there are few, and difficult to get to. I've gone with a number of groups that refuses to attempt the pull with the Pyromancers, simply because it's large and difficult. So where then, do these patterns come from? Several commenters on Thottbot claim that you can solo your way to the right area with the use of stealth or invisibility potions, and one poster goes into some detail about two rogues taking the group down with timely use of sap, vanish, and evasion.

But even if the pattern can be acquired with the efforts of one or two players, this doesn't explain the sudden appearance of so many in the marketplace. It's possible that the drop rate has been increased, but it seems unlikely that the drop rate of one of the epic robe patterns would go up while the other two remain the same. In my past experience with the game, a sudden flood of rare items on the market has been an indication of a new farming technique or hack, allowing farmers to now easily acquire something that was usually difficult. (For an example of similar circumstances in the past, see this old Dire Maul hack.) However, at present, there's no evidence one way or the other - so this remains simply an oddity...

Filed under: Items, Odds and ends, Economy

Breakfast Topic: Fewer Farmers?

I wrote a while back about an odd lack of farmers on my own realm at the time. And, with yesterday's additional account closures, I wonder if other realms are starting to see similar relief. Will Blizzard's continued efforts against the gold selling community really have a long term impact on the game's economy? Or will the farmers simply continue finding new methods to avoid Blizzard's watchful eye?

I personally think it will be a constant battle on Blizzard's part - but if they stick to this sort of approach, they can make farming sufficiently difficult that it may become a less lucrative business. But that's a long-term view - the important thing for current players is how are conditions today? Does your realm seem to be lacking in farmers since all of these account closures?

Filed under: Economy, Breakfast Topics

59,000 More Accounts Closed

In their continued effort to rid Azeroth of hackers and gold farmers, Eyonix announced this evening that 59,000 accounts were closed during the month of June for terms of use violations. Have you seen anyone behaving suspiciously on your server? An account that's being controlled by a bot isn't too difficult to spot if you spend a bit of time paying attention - and Blizzard investigates all reports. So if you suspect such behavior, report it to a GM, and help the community be rid of the annoyance of hackers and bot farmers.

Filed under: Cheats, News items, Economy

Missing in Action: Bot Farmers

Complaints on the forums suggest that they aren't really gone, but I've noticed an astonishing lack of them on my own server in recent weeks.  All of the obvious bots - the ones who followed a specific pattern through the same area day after day - seem to be missing lately, making farming Timbermaw reputation a nearly pleasant affair, having only to compete with the human reflexes of other players.

While I'm thrilled to see this lack of farmers on my own server, I have to wonder if any of it will last. At the end of last week, I pointed my web browser in the direction of a major gold-selling site to see to see what I could find out.  I checked the stock on gold for US servers, and for nearly all servers saw the text "NOT IN STOCK! PRE-ORDER THIS ITEM NOW AND RECEIVE CURRENCY AS SOON AS WE RESTOCK."  Another check today yielded much the same results. The servers that do have gold available for order only had it in smaller quantities (if you can consider 200 gold a small quantity).  Does this imply that Blizzard's continued efforts to weed out gold-sellers starting to have a notable impact, or is this just a temporary setback on the part of the gold-farming professionals?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Economy

Blizzard Closes Another Round of Accounts

In their never-ending war against the evil gold farmers of the planet, Blizzard has announced that during the month of May, over 30,000 accounts have been suspended, removing over 30 million in gold from the economy across all servers. Now, just look at those numbers for a moment: 30 thousand accounts closed. That's a number of subscribers that many small game companies would love to claim as their entire playerbase, and those are not only just the cheaters in WoW, but only the ones who got caught! And 30 million gold out of the economy...that's...well, I'm actually not sure what the hell that means, because I'm not an economist. i'm sure Ben Stien could tell you.

In any case, the bottom line is, don't cheat, or Blizzard will get you. If they're lucky. You can read the full announcement at the official homepage right here.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

In-Depth Article on Gold Farming

One of my favorite new WoW sites, Metroblogging Azeroth, has a great article today that goes deep into the controversial world of gold-farming. Author Jonas Luster details the many ways that buying gold outside of the game impacts players, developers, and the gameworld itself, with a knowledge of the game that makes his observations all the more relevant.

There are plenty of things that the average gold buyer (who is almost certainly not some intrinsically evil person) probably never takes into account when they purchase gold from a farmer, aside from what shiny new armor it will buy them; they could care less what it does to the economy of the game. Then, there are those who actually believe the practice of gold farming is healthy for a virtual economy, and for people coming from that school of thought, Luster makes a convincing case why, in the end, everyone suffers from the actions of those few. Not to mention the connection he makes between the largest network of online gold-selling sites, and a trio of convicted child molesters.

It's good readin'. Check it out here. Thanks to Sean for the link.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Odds and ends, News items

Gold Farmers Sending Out Press Releases?

As you might imagine, part of my job (aside from crime-fighting) involves poring through the latest WoW-related news items on the web & deciding which are worth pointing out. Sometimes there are some questionable items out there, but today I came across a story on PRWEB, apparently out of Halifax, Nova Scotia (Trailer Park Boys rule!), that is essentially nothing more than a big PR release for a gold farming/powerleveling site, no doubt trying to further bleed our beloved virtual economy dry.

I won't mention the actual site in question, as I don't want them to recieve any traffic thanks to us, but I do think that this is A: a pretty ballsy move by the company in question (although they claim not to sell gold or powerleveling, only to rate other sites that do), and B: a pretty telling comment on the state of the virtual goods market; if these businesses are making enough money to have their own community of peer-reviewed sites, then it's obviously getting to be a bigger issue than anybody intended...most of all Blizzard.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Economy

Breakfast Topic: Fun with campers

The humble camper is a life-form frequently encountered amongst the many zones -- often found in great numbers throughout high-level areas in particular. By sticking to one particular spot based on a number of factors -- primarily aiming to harvest particular drops for fun and profit -- campers cause high-level questers a lot of trouble.

I've had numerous encounters with level 60 campers who decide that pulling every mob in the area, all at once, is a good tactic to maximise drops -- indeed it is, but when there are other players there waiting to complete a quest, it's not a particularly nice tactic. Of course, on PvP servers you can add ganking into the equation, making it often more fun for the would-be quester to give up rather than waste several hours on one quest.

Have you had bad camping experiences? Any tips to deal with those who just refuse to budge? Or are you a camper, and willing to defend your stance?

Asking politely is one way to deal with campers, but it only gets you so far -- nowhere, when it comes to the opposite faction. Irritating them so that they'll give up is another tactic that I've seen employed, but can't bring myself to try. Ultimately, there isn't much you can do to stop people camping, especially when they ignore you -- but don't dismiss them all as gold farmers without a second glance. Some may be questers just like you.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Breakfast Topics

Hacking Dire Maul

On my server, aces for the Darkmoon Faire decks tend to sell on the auction house for between 150 and 200 gold.  That is, except for the ace of warlords, which seems to have bottomed out at 4 gold or so - and there tend to be ten of them on the auction house at any given time.  The drop rate of the ace isn't high enough to make getting these quantities easily, which does make one wonder where they're coming from.  The usual answer - farmers with teleport hacks, which allow them to jump directly to King Gordok in Dire Maul, kill him, and collect their loot.  This video, which recently showed up on Google Video, shows us what might actually be happening here.

Filed under: Items, Cheats, Bugs, Economy, Instances

Fun with farmers

No, not that sort of farmer. Nick Yee over at the Daedalus Project is collecting "interesting social phenomena", and this tale of pitchforks and violence is among the exhibits. Members of the "Farmers Unite" raid regularly hang out in Redridge, dressed in overalls and straw hats, bashing lowbies with an assortment of weaponry from brooms to fishing poles.

If you've been on the wrong end of a shovel with fiery enchant, you may have little sympathy for these players, but it sounds like a hilarious way to spend an afternoon.

Got a guild that does something even stranger? You can always let us know via our tips form.

[via Wonderland]

Filed under: Odds and ends

Snowballs vs. Farmers

Few WoW players like the professional gold and item farmers in the game. The rise of the underground economy for selling gold and rare items outside the Auction House has lead to farmers--most of whom hail from Asia and don't speak English well--repeatedly spamming the general chat channel with WTS messages.

Some players have resorted to using snowballs, which were added last week as part of WoW's holiday content, as a way to manage an annoying gold farmer/spammer. Witnesses have seen one spammer get pelted with hundreds of snowballs in Ironforge, enough to cause her to flee the city.

This is a great example of the community finding a solution to a problem instead of relying on a technical solution. Technical solutions can usually be overcome easily by the system exploiters (gold farmers), but solutions like this not so much. The truth of the problem is that it's as simple as Economics 101. As long as there are people willing to buy illicit gold instead of earning it, there will be people willing to farm the gold to sell to them...where there are buyers, there will be sellers. Until Blizzard can figure out a way (if they can figure out a way) to effectively block goldfarming and selling, I think I'll enjoy the snowballs while we have them.

Filed under: Economy

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