I have been researching the bots and RMT lately and it seems that today the reality is that MMO’s require RMTs to be a success. at least 30% (according to most estimates) of MMO subscribers make use of RMT services.
Second, it appears there is a growing batch of what in the IT business we would call “script kiddies” – people that don’t have a clue how to hack, but use other peoples scripts/programs to do hacking. These script kiddies do it for a wide range of reasons – bragging rights, they can’t afford to pay for services, they feel entitled and believe all products should be free for them, etc…
From my researching online, it appears that the problem we are experiencing here are script kiddies – which I will also lump together with small RMT startups.
All MMOs have botters and RMT dealers, and in most cases their presence (when only the “big” companies are the majority of operators left in the MMOs after startup) is tolerable and an acceptable part of the game. Those of us that do not want to buy our way to to the top, just don’t, and those that do want to buy it all just do.
However, here in ESO we appear to be experiencing the startup invasion of small RMT shops and script kiddies. This is evidenced by the many different naming conventions we see bots and spammers using. It is also obvious by the ways the bots operate. And lastly, it is obvious if you go read some of the botting forums, and read all the tales of people running a few to 5 or so bots each. Remember these script kiddies can number into the thousands, each running a few bots which would result in the swarm we see.
Also, it is my contention, that ESO can not afford to stop all RMT – even though I personally would prefer it, I believe it would not be a viable business plan for an MMO to not allow RMTs to operate. However, it is also my contention that the big companies that have been in the business for 10 years or so have it in their interest to not disrupt the in-game economy or cause mass defections of players by disrupting the game experience. It is in these big companies best interest (financial interest) to keep a lower profile and help the game be successful and so to expand their own market place.
The problem we are experiencing at the moment, in my humble opinion, are the script kiddies and their focus on the short term. Some of these would even love to destroy EOS purely for the bragging rights of how much damage they were able to inflect.
The good news is that I also witnessed expressions of concern over being banned by the script kiddies in the bot forums. It would seem that even though ESO does not give us any feedback about the success or lack of success of our reporting bots, the reporting is in fact affecting this group of botters, and ZOS is in fact banning (some) of them.
I guess I don’t really have a point to this post – just my observations. If anything, I think the issue is more complex than the simplistic “solutions” I see posted here. In a perfect world (my perfect world, not yours 🙂 ) ZOS could lock the game up tight and we would not have to deal with these bots. But, I think in the real world, we need ZOS to find solutions that allow us to play with a minimum of disruption, while allowing for the “needs” of at least 30% of their subs.