Bots are like any annoying pest out there. They multiply quickly, ruin your things and day, and are incredibly hard to eliminate. You can try to kill them off, but they just come back after some time. It’s like you can’t even get rid of them entirely sometimes. In games, they might seem harmless, standing near the auction house, but they pose a threat more severe than the hacks they use. They’re ruining the Lost Ark gold economy and jacking up prices everywhere.
What’s worse is almost three-quarters of the player base are bots.
They haven’t been as much of a problem near launch. However, things have amped up so much that it’s becoming a problem. While some players keep their accounts logged on 24/7, there’s something unnatural about the concurrent player charts of the game on Steam.
Other MMOs have their player counts rise and fall according to player schedules. Lost Ark has no such pattern. If there were any peaks and troughs, they’re only very slight dips against the always logged-on players.
Smilegate had celebrated that the game had reached 800,000 concurrent players. The question remains, how many of those are genuine, real players? Is this something worth celebrating?
A month ago, some measures were taken to reduce bots and prevent them from doing what they do best. That meant
- Level-gating certain areas
- Chat moderation
- Updates to systems and security software
- Activation of a detection system to flag potential bots
- Improving the customer support and help tools for reporting
- Blocked VPNs and IPs
Of course, with the tenacity of bot users, these were and never will be enough to stem the flood. There is a secret plan behind the scenes they don’t want leaking, so the account makers won’t have any ideas. Still, we can’t be sure it’s going to work.
Now, a big wave of bot bans was announced for June 16. Players rejoiced because this is a much more brutal punishment for those who make them. All their progress and whatever they’ve collected will be gone and inaccessible forever.
Why is There a Flood, Anyway?
Well, it’s all because of real money trading. For the uninitiated, that’s trading virtual goods or services in exchange for real money. It is against any ToS of a game, but that doesn’t stop traders from doing it.
Anyone who plays a game knows it’s hard work grinding for gold, items, and whatnot. You know what’s easy, though? They make an account, set up a program, and wait for Lost Ark currency, items, and whatever they can sell to fall into their laps. That’s why there’s a boom of bots in the game.
The only way to eliminate this root problem is to keep players from engaging these traders in their clandestine market. That’s something a bit difficult to do. The biggest reason people participate in these back-alley deals is the convenience and price. Their offers usually are cheaper, and some are customizable. For some, those are worth more than the official ones in-game.
What happens is that transactions transfer millions of gold, which have to be traded through the auction house. That means you’ll see ridiculous prices for cheap and almost trash items in the market. Those go for millions because that’s the easiest way to transfer vast quantities of gold.
Besides, they’re taking every mob and enemy from regular players through their hacks. They produce gold for themselves, leaving nothing for others to get. That means normal players can’t earn the gold they need to buy upgrades for their character. More than that, the prices of the upgrades are climbing slowly.
The bots are driving players to spend real money to buy Lost Ark gold, whether officially or not. The black market traders would love the boom in business, but their trade system is untenable. It’s destroying the game’s economy and, frankly, making it less enjoyable.
Plus, they’re crowding the servers. Those already have limited space for players, and authentic players can’t even get in anymore with them farming in full force. The queues are getting more ridiculous, and it’s all because of botters.
Is There Anything That Can be Done?
The bot ban wave is a start to fixing things, but it’s only the beginning. Amazon and Smilegate must crack down and follow up on their bot-detecting and punishing abilities. They have to keep up these policies and activities because bots will pop up later, as stated at the beginning of this article.
After exterminating a pest, you’d do things to prevent it from happening again, right? That’s also what they must do for Lost Ark. This big ban wave is the extermination. Still, the developers must put in preventative measures to prevent it from happening again.
They have to do it soon. Players have been quitting because of the queues and rising prices on the AH. New players can’t get into the game because bots are ruining everything. There is a minority of players holding out, but how long can they keep that up? This is a real problem that must be fixed. Fear may not be the best way to run a kingdom, but one that does not fear its government can give rise to anarchy.
Isn’t that what’s happening right now? No real consequences were given to botters, so their numbers went unchecked. It rose and rose and almost took over the game. Nobody wants a kingdom of lifeless automatons, and that’s what the game will be if left unchecked.
Let’s hope that Amazon and Smilegate get their act together and deal with these bot accounts properly. It’s for the good of the Lost Ark gold economy and the player base.
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