Transcript of RuneFest 2011: "Breaking the Bots" Insider Session

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[00:10] taking place throughout rim fest on the
[00:12] main stage behind me here are the
[00:13] insider sessions where gamers get to
[00:15] meet the runescape team ask them
[00:17] questions and give them feedback topics
[00:19] include gaming updates characters and
[00:21] getting into the industry and one hot
[00:23] topic this year is the subject of how
[00:25] the team of combating rotting Daniel
[00:27] Clark tells us more we have two types of
[00:30] 14 going on within the game and we have
[00:32] ruler traders who essentially using
[00:35] force within the game to farm gold and
[00:36] sell it to other players and the other
[00:38] type of pottery that we have is
[00:39] typically I guess we tend to call it
[00:40] more of a genuine player playing the
[00:42] game so this is this is a real player
[00:43] essentially they're either you know
[00:45] pressured on time but they really just
[00:47] wanted to progress with a game you know
[00:49] more quickly so you know keep the
[00:52] integrity within the game is for
[00:53] everyone not to have them well I can see
[00:55] it's a big issue amongst runescape
[00:57] players so here is the insider session
[00:58] breaking the bots there's three people
[01:07] I'd like to call out specifically today
[01:08] and that's one is not here today that's
[01:11] mod Krissy mod Phil if you would stand
[01:15] up in game engine and last but not least
[01:21] mod Ben who has it has been the genius
[01:25] behind this so where are we today
[01:31] we broke the bots but right we don't see
[01:37] this as done by any means any way shape
[01:41] or form and we've done some really
[01:43] really innovative groundbreaking stuff
[01:45] you know numerous patentable inventions
[01:48] to get to where we are today to really
[01:50] have an elevator posture on protecting
[01:54] our game source code it has pained us as
[01:56] I guess as much as it's pained you to
[01:58] see where a game has gone and you know
[02:03] given the first available chance we
[02:06] actually thought it was gonna be the
[02:07] 14th of October though we would be ready
[02:09] to launch this but actually even then we
[02:11] weren't and we need a little bit more
[02:13] testing and
[02:13] be really really robust you know so we
[02:16] obviously launched it at its very
[02:17] earliest opportunity on Tuesday and the
[02:22] crucial thing to say is that we've only
[02:24] just got started this is you know that
[02:27] we felt that the payload we had was very
[02:29] very formidable but you know over the
[02:33] next month actually weeks and month or
[02:36] two we're going to be finishing this
[02:38] project and then you know I think and it
[02:40] will never be a case we can rest on our
[02:41] laurels but I think at that point we
[02:43] will be really really proud about what
[02:45] we have there's been some questions even
[02:46] here today like why is this a problem
[02:48] why
[02:50] you know if someone wants to level their
[02:53] skills mind just let them and my view on
[02:57] that what and the short answer is that
[03:00] you can't because it breaks the game how
[03:03] does it break the game well it's not
[03:05] just the balancing and the economy and
[03:06] the inflation or deflation which you
[03:08] know we see a lot of you feel so acutely
[03:10] but it fundamentally changes the nature
[03:12] of the game it fundamentally takes it
[03:14] away from you know what is a multiplayer
[03:16] social experience to a single player
[03:20] antisocial experience you know if
[03:22] someone is botting they're not sitting
[03:24] there with their Chad open and the other
[03:26] so they're a ghost they disabled they
[03:28] don't want their friends to know though
[03:30] botting so they're hidden from the game
[03:31] they there that there is an active
[03:33] player but they're quiet if you take the
[03:35] sociability out it's no longer a
[03:37] massively multiplayer game it's no
[03:38] longer social network it's no longer a
[03:40] place you go to unwind and chill out
[03:41] with your friends so you know I think
[03:43] even for the most highbrow of you who
[03:45] may say well what harm does it do you
[03:47] know I just did the skill here it wasn't
[03:49] to do anything that harm the economy
[03:51] everything else the truth is look you
[03:53] know we want you to we don't want your
[03:55] computer to play with our computer I
[03:57] want you to have fun without community
[03:59] and as as simple as that you know so
[04:02] that's the first reason for it the
[04:03] second is it undermines the integrity of
[04:05] the game you know I for me the most
[04:09] valuable thing I have them a thing I
[04:11] prize most preciously
[04:12] between a busy job and a family and all
[04:14] those other things is my time I don't
[04:16] have that much of it and I want to know
[04:18] if I'm putting 30 minutes in this
[04:20] evening that that 30 minutes is equal to
[04:22] everyone else's 30 minutes then there's
[04:24] the third the most obvious and nefarious
[04:27] portion of all of us which is the gold
[04:29] farming and this is not players so not
[04:32] you who wants to advance your skills our
[04:35] compete with your friend but these are
[04:37] people who have businesses and their
[04:39] sole business is to undermine our game
[04:41] and you and everything else they make
[04:44] they're parasites they make money off
[04:46] the game itself they make money off
[04:48] buying on your goodwill or your
[04:50] ambitions everything else and you know
[04:52] equally we've seen that these are major
[04:53] sources as well for hijacking and also
[04:56] saw the problems as well so I'm not even
[04:58] going to spend time on why that
[04:59] philosophically needs to be dealt with
[05:01] so where are we what have we done
[05:03] everyone understands the problem you
[05:06] know we've been absolutely rigorous and
[05:08] determined to stamp it out a lot of
[05:12] people and I've I've had one or two
[05:14] chats with you today you know that there
[05:16] was an air of cynicism going of course
[05:19] you like but you know you don't care you
[05:21] got more players quite the contrary
[05:23] nothing terrifies me more than feeling
[05:26] that fifty percent of my player base
[05:29] might not be real if we were deeply
[05:33] commercial we would do nothing if we
[05:36] were deeply commercial we would just
[05:37] leave it we would just we tax it we'd
[05:41] make money on it and you know when we
[05:44] when we did what we needed to do in
[05:46] essence it's actually cost the business
[05:48] a lot it has not just in terms of you
[05:51] know a run for the community that may
[05:53] have been alienated but quite something
[05:56] quite bluntly in monetary terms - I
[05:58] think we did the post you on Tuesday
[06:00] we'd ban 1.5 million gold farming
[06:02] accounts I can tell you as of now we are
[06:06] banning 9,000 accounts a minute
[06:08] by the end of Sunday we will have
[06:10] another seven point seven million gold
[06:12] farming accounts banned we've did we we
[06:17] used to have some 750,000 accounts from
[06:21] China and Korea created per month we've
[06:26] got that - 953 over the last week you
[06:30] know we're looking at this from every
[06:32] single aspect not just dealing with the
[06:34] people in game the ways they can get
[06:36] into game the ways they can promote
[06:37] their ways in game we're also looking
[06:40] we're going off
[06:41] and many of you will know there's a few
[06:43] topical things on this we're suing the
[06:46] pop makers themselves we've banned also
[06:48] by the way more members this year than
[06:50] we ever have in our past so it's not
[06:52] about looking after the subscriber line
[06:54] or anything else like that but I want to
[06:56] leave you with a final point just saying
[06:58] that you know we're absolutely resolute
[07:00] we're galvanized about solving this
[07:02] problem we've made a major first step
[07:05] we're also looking at the causes of the
[07:07] problem grind we're looking at various
[07:10] other ways of dealing with this we're
[07:11] looking specifically still the next part
[07:14] of the wall we need to take us back to
[07:15] the gold farmers and we're looking at
[07:17] that you know we're cutting off their
[07:18] payment methods we're doing all yeah
[07:20] we're fighting as hard as we can almost
[07:22] as unfairly as we can to win why don't I
[07:25] invite Danielle and Richard over here
[07:27] for some questions and put it over to
[07:30] the floor so if I just introduce you
[07:33] very quickly Daniel's the vice president
[07:36] of runescape one of our longest serving
[07:38] members of the team I think you an
[07:39] employee number 13 at the very early
[07:42] days and he's also my right-hand man
[07:44] he's like the chief operating officer
[07:46] and richard murray is our chief customer
[07:49] officer
[07:50] so everything relation to player support
[07:52] community management everything else
[07:53] lives under him over to you any
[07:55] questions from the audience
[07:56] since the bots gnudi how many bots have
[08:00] actually been moved from game so there's
[08:02] been a cross company think tank really
[08:06] focused on the deployment of cluster
[08:08] flutter and all of the associated things
[08:10] that we can do exactly in the same
[08:12] timeframe to deploy because previously
[08:13] we put out one little thing and then
[08:16] something else would you know that the
[08:17] what guys would fix it but specifically
[08:20] this week I think mark alluded to work
[08:22] towards that this week so far and this
[08:25] year so far has being the biggest year
[08:26] for us in terms of banning players from
[08:29] player support we found 7.7 million
[08:31] people this week a couple of weeks ago
[08:34] we've banned 1.5 million and all of the
[08:37] other years combined all of the other
[08:39] roof scape years from day one doesn't
[08:42] even compare to that number so you'd
[08:44] have been really really really and we're
[08:46] not stopping there yes just a quick
[08:47] question with all the poems the other
[08:50] day wouldn't have been a good idea if
[08:52] well
[08:52] mas could have come on there and explain
[08:55] exactly what was going on I was offline
[08:58] for over 24 hours
[08:59] it would have been a good idea if
[09:01] somebody had actually said look more
[09:03] this is what's going on yeah absolutely
[09:05] and you know I've spent nothing but this
[09:08] week personally freely up to 3:00 4:00
[09:10] a.m. on the forums our highest priority
[09:14] has actually been finding out who's got
[09:16] problems and there's a thing I have a
[09:18] raft of emails between people I've
[09:20] managed to find it said help I can't get
[09:22] it my applets not loading we've been
[09:25] working around it we think we feel that
[09:28] as of last night fully even there was
[09:31] some lag issues we think we've addressed
[09:32] big tranches of this but that that this
[09:36] is a perfect you know tech is to blame
[09:39] you know we did a major major major code
[09:42] rewrite in order to break these BOTS and
[09:45] you know we're all so deeply sorry that
[09:48] one of the consequences of that was you
[09:52] know a small percentage of the community
[09:55] couldn't access the content and I know
[09:56] you know if you're playing as much as I
[09:58] do then I know how painful that could be
[10:01] but for that I can only say sorry and
[10:03] truly we have a team still dedicated to
[10:06] all this ongoing tech support issues and
[10:08] we still want it to be even faster and
[10:10] quicker and everything you know it's
[10:11] really really important for us to
[10:12] communicate with our players more and I
[10:14] think if we go back to the beginning of
[10:15] the year and I know it's taken a while
[10:16] for cluster flutter to come out I think
[10:19] one of the things that you know when we
[10:20] look back to January that we could have
[10:21] done better is communicate with the
[10:23] players more so you know I think that
[10:26] you know going forward you'll see us put
[10:28] much more effort into that area you know
[10:30] in the last couple of weeks I think we
[10:32] spoke about voice more than we probably
[10:33] have in the last eight or nine months
[10:34] you know that will continue absolutely
[10:36] it's really important yeah I think to
[10:37] Daniel's point look there's nothing
[10:39] there's nothing internally they're
[10:41] probably frustrates us more than not
[10:43] being able to tell you what's going on
[10:45] it's infuriating but partly as can mark
[10:48] points earlier on my hands are tied
[10:49] because of legal cases and actually a
[10:52] huge part of that is also not tipping
[10:54] off what developers in terms of what
[10:55] we're doing so you know we really
[10:57] appreciate the faith that you have put
[10:58] in us and and have shone on us and thank
[11:00] you for that
[11:01] okay back to Paul okay I'm here with a
[11:03] lovely Ian Ian you have a question
[11:05] yeah guys it's back to the numbers of
[11:08] players that you're banned again this
[11:09] what was it eight to nine million by the
[11:11] sounds of it do we have a figure
[11:12] percentage-wise on how that plays out
[11:15] for the amount of players that were in
[11:16] game what you would have seen is the
[11:18] meta picture on active players if
[11:20] essentially 60% of all of the playing
[11:25] community prior to the Tuesday update is
[11:28] no longer playing and I don't believe
[11:29] that's because their BOTS aren't working
[11:31] I believe that these are the people who
[11:33] were the sweatshops who and everything
[11:34] else we're just running their bar to
[11:36] stay and day out to produce currency
[11:38] very there's been there's been a slight
[11:40] reduction in memberships so so the
[11:44] weight of this really sits on free yeah
[11:46] and again a lot of people are complicit
[11:48] where they have a members account but
[11:50] they bought some free accounts to
[11:52] produce the resources Paul and the stuff
[11:54] I can buy having called that we've
[11:55] effectively taken out 60% total which is
[11:58] probably about 90% free as US members
[12:01] free split player support can see at the
[12:06] height of the problem anywhere between
[12:08] 100 and 200,000 new botting accounts
[12:12] created every day and I just think about
[12:14] that for a second 200,000 accounts
[12:17] coming in to take your ego resource and
[12:19] supporting to a game and you know the
[12:21] impact internally and the the focus that
[12:24] we need in order to tackle that is
[12:26] immense and so look we're really happy
[12:29] with the week that we've had so far it's
[12:31] a start
[12:31] we've got more ideas so you know just
[12:33] just keep watching okay question over
[12:35] here I'm at the back guys right at the
[12:37] back this is reality a turd but one of
[12:49] the things we've observed on the forums
[12:51] is a lot of frustration about roll backs
[12:54] and account resetting and that does tend
[12:57] to sometimes give the idea that you've
[12:58] gone a little soft on buds now I think a
[13:01] lot of that is not from understanding
[13:02] why you're doing that instead of banning
[13:05] can you give us some kind of insight on
[13:07] that as to why you're choosing that
[13:09] rather than the visibly harsher
[13:11] punishment of an outright ban outright
[13:13] banning still happens it still happens
[13:15] for members it still happens regardless
[13:16] of what level you are
[13:18] over the course of the last couple of
[13:20] years the landscape has changed no but
[13:22] developers don't stand still why should
[13:24] we you know and you know from
[13:26] conversations that we have internally we
[13:27] come up with new ideas and new ways to
[13:29] tackle things whether it's rollback
[13:31] charge Bank etc and and we experiment
[13:34] and the idea is the cause maximum pain
[13:36] and try and understand what the impact
[13:39] is going to be and we know we're trying
[13:40] to learn from that the amount of people
[13:41] have been rollback is incredibly minimal
[13:43] it's so small it's unbelievable
[13:44] whether or not we continue with that as
[13:46] an option we're not sure you know this
[13:47] kind of thing that we need to work out
[13:48] but you know it's interesting to learn
[13:49] from this but I don't think I don't
[13:52] think it's the wrong thing to do to try
[13:53] and evolve our thinking and evolve our
[13:55] strategies and have many more tools in
[13:57] our Arsenal mark touched on it earlier
[13:58] on is there our focus has really really
[14:01] changed from you know I think we
[14:03] realized the banning members rolling
[14:05] them back you know it's quite time
[14:06] intensive for us to actually do that we
[14:08] have teams of people that that monitor
[14:10] things and you know take action against
[14:11] people the number one thing that works
[14:13] is actually breaking the bots and this
[14:15] year we've been utterly focused on you
[14:16] know technology improvements that can do
[14:19] that rather than you know the time
[14:20] intensive process of rolling people back
[14:22] and banning people which doesn't
[14:24] actually affect it doesn't tap with the
[14:26] root cause of the problem I'm here with
[14:28] Raven I don't know if that's his real
[14:30] name or not and it's the last question
[14:31] so it's a good one no pressure though
[14:34] hello I've noticed that robots in
[14:40] disguise seem to be acting with impunity
[14:42] a lot of people seem to go back to order
[14:44] placards and number of other methods
[14:46] have you any plans to tackle robots in
[14:49] disguise and popular and the auto
[14:52] clicker yeah absolutely so that what we
[14:56] did with cluster flutter was
[14:57] specifically aimed to completely nail
[14:59] all the reflection injection type bots
[15:02] which are you know the most
[15:03] sophisticated the most problematic they
[15:06] able to work around there are some other
[15:08] countermeasures that we actually have to
[15:10] deal with the clicker mods the beauty
[15:13] about the clicker BOTS is a it's a far
[15:14] easier problem to solve
[15:15] and that's why we've left it for last it
[15:17] was also smaller in terms of quantum as
[15:19] it was truly
[15:20] 2% of all the bots we were seeing and we
[15:23] feel we can very much deal with that and
[15:26] that's when the community can help us
[15:27] deal with that with it with regards to
[15:29] Rudnick reporting because the behaviors
[15:31] are that much more scripted enormous
[15:33] trivial so you know for sure as I was
[15:36] saying earlier on this is just the start
[15:38] of a process we obviously wish we were
[15:41] ten months back when we started this
[15:43] process we've had the ability to be
[15:44] there but the landscape for the next few
[15:47] months is going to be very very
[15:49] interesting I suppose as well one of the
[15:51] things which is quite important is you
[15:53] as the community can really help us I
[15:55] think in a couple of ways I mean firstly
[15:57] last week we've improved our reporting
[16:00] features and functionality so if you go
[16:02] into your settings menu you now have the
[16:04] ability to right-click report on an
[16:05] avatar now we've introduced that because
[16:07] we know botting accounts purposefully
[16:09] create a hard to type name that's the
[16:12] feedback we get from you in the forums
[16:13] and like I might not be typing back in
[16:15] the forum's my team might be typing back
[16:17] in the forms but I can bet you they are
[16:19] reading them 100% because a lot of our
[16:21] ideas are actually generated from you
[16:22] and the thoughts that you have so please
[16:25] use these new reporting tools and help
[16:26] us but I think it's also probably
[16:28] important to say that like we're dealing
[16:29] with a problem which is a massive
[16:32] massive intensive resource problem for
[16:34] us that we'd rather be putting that
[16:35] resource into building great content for
[16:37] you you know if we're going into a
[16:39] lawsuit or we're trying to tackle a bot
[16:40] while taking a couple of guys from game
[16:43] engine to start to tackle reflection
[16:46] type BOTS et cetera
[16:47] it takes us away from truly one and what
[16:49] we want to deliver from you it's a
[16:51] necessary evil but you can help us by
[16:53] reporting you can help us by making sure
[16:55] there's no market for them and you can
[16:57] help us one making sure that the people
[16:58] that you play with are playing with
[17:00] integrity and I think you know together
[17:02] this isn't something we can do by
[17:03] ourselves we truly truly need to stand
[17:06] together on this first of around a
[17:10] quarter these guys it's very difficult
[17:11] to answer questions on the hoops so
[17:13] welcome guys
[17:14] thank you some interesting points raised
[17:18] there so what's been the community
[17:20] feedback since the big cull of bots last
[17:21] week it's been really really positive I
[17:24] mean I you know our forms in the last
[17:26] week I think the guys have loved it I
[17:27] think there was a degree of apprehend
[17:29] apprehension about whether would work or
[17:31] not I think it clearly has worked and
[17:32] you know every single post in a 1909 or
[17:36] 9%
[17:36] posts have been really really positive I
[17:38] think some people are wondering how long
[17:39] it will work for and I think you know
[17:41] we're very confident it'll work for you
[17:43] know a significant period of time we
[17:44] have multiple other projects as well you
[17:46] know another cluster flush with it and
[17:48] that could be used and to stop by so I
[17:50] think overall very very positive in
[17:52] terms of how people can help us you know
[17:55] essentially it's really really important
[17:57] if you see a bot within the game where
[17:58] you think you see it but within the game
[17:59] to report it and then the other thing is
[18:01] really you know gold farming only exists
[18:04] if you're buying gold so we would really
[18:05] you know go at it to say don't buy gold
[18:07] because essentially it just drives the
[18:11] market really and you know we were able
[18:12] to try to stop that really so for the
[18:13] good of runescape it's really important
[18:15] that you know you don't buy that gold
[18:16] and also that you were