lost ark has had a problem with bots for a while now, and publisher Amazon Games has been commendably outspoken so far about what it’s like and plans to deal with them. back in march over a million accounts have been banned to run bots – an unprecedented number –but they remain a big problem.
In addition to banning accounts, Amazon has tweaked quest rewards, changed the queue system (one of the biggest issues was that real players were being forced to wait a long time to get into servers with lots of bots), changes to matchmaking, and chat to target the Spam bot.
A new blog post once again addresses the issue, beginning: “We know bots are causing frustration in the community and we share that frustration.”
Amazon says, “Since the release of Lost Ark, we’ve been waging a war against the bots that infiltrate Arkesia. Dealing with bots can be especially challenging in free-to-play games because it’s so easy to create an account and log into the game. , but we are working on several fronts to combat them.”
It then lists some of the steps the editor took:
- Permanently banned several million accounts that participated in bots, hacks or gold sales.
- Closed area chat per level to prevent new accounts from spamming gold selling ads.
- We’ve actively updated the game’s automatic chat moderation with lines and phrases that we know are commonly used by gold sellers.
- Changed quest and event reward structures to add a stronger deterrent against using bots to farm gold.
- Updated and improved Easy Anti Cheat detection features to better identify and take action against bots.
- It enabled a native detection system to help quickly identify bad actors and take action against them.
- Improved in-game reporting tools to help our players report bots and our support team to act faster on reports.
- IP blocked from regions where we do not have publishing rights that have shown large amounts of bot activity.
- Blocked VPNs to prevent malicious actors from bypassing IP bans.
While Amazon considers all these measures to have achieved some degree of success, “our work is far from over.” He says he can’t be open about some of the things he’s currently working on to not allow bot users to adapt more easily, but he’s improving the game’s “native bot detection system” and will make more changes to events and rewards for “Removing Paths to Bot Abuse”. It’s looking further into how it can “fight bots natively at scale” and if it cracks that nut, every MMO developer in the world will want to know how.
The publisher also fulfills community requests for Captcha tools or two-factor authentication, which in theory would help with the bot’s problem. Amazon Games basically says a good idea, but the scale of the game and the different laws in the regions it is operating in make this an unrealistic thing to implement.
It’s very interesting to see a publisher of this size face a perennial problem, and Amazon Games is clearly serious about the problem and has all the resources in the world to play with it. Whether bots really are a solvable problem, of course, remains to be seen—no doubt Elon Musk would love to know how.