Monday, 16 February 2009

Bots in MMORPGs

The article, Confessions of a WoW Botter, is a fascinating look at AI in the form of bots for MMORPGs.

Until a few months ago, it was pretty easy to spot a bot. A trained eye could easily tell if a character is behaving normally or controlled by a program. Tell tale signs are fixed paths, jerky movements, identical attack orders, running into objects, huge stocks of “grindable” items on the AH — all of these things are easy ways to identify a bot.

Things have changed, though. The botting community has created “smart pathing” code which basically analyzes the texture files in WoW to see where obstacles are and best pathing information. Using these advanced features along with highly modified custom classes, I’ve done test runs where my character actually plays *better* than me. He jumps over fences, pulls 2-3 MOBS at once, kills them, and then moves on. He does quests. He stacks his Eternal’s like a good boy and heals and buffs other players when they are near by. He talks back to his friends and guildmates, politely ignores people he doesn’t know, and when his bags fill up with stuff to sell, he mounts up to the nearest vendor, sells the vendor trash, mails the better stuff to a bank alt, and heads back for more tedious killing.

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