Runescape throws cheaters to the masses


The practice of “botting” has traditionally been a rather large issue in Runescape. For years now the game has been plagued by players who attempt to sidestep the MMO genre’s traditional experience and item grind systems by automating the process. In effect, these players are tasking “‘bots” with playing the tedious parts of the game for them, while they go about their otherwise thrilling lives.

Unfortunately for these less-than-devoted gamers, Runescape’s creators forbid this kind of thing in their game and have recently begun taking drastic measures to cut down on the number of people who are only “playing” the game in the loosest sense of the word. In November of last year, developer Jagex unveiled new ‘bot-culling techniques that resulted in 1.5 million cheating accounts being banned from the game. This event was appropriately dubbed “‘bot nuking day” and according to Jagex it removed 98 percent of all the ‘bots in the game.

However, it seems that this mass banning wasn’t enough to drive home the message of how little Jagex cares for these ‘botters. Now, instead of working up fancy new automated systems that can be countered with a bit of human ingenuity, the developer hopes to turn the banhammer of justice over to Runescape’s legitimate player base for a bit of organized vigilanteism. “Those found to be using illegal software will be permanently banned and their account deleted — with no chance of appeal should they continue to ignore our warnings,” Jagex stated via the official Runescape blog. “As we hunt for and identify botters, you — the good citizens of Gielinor — will be the ultimate deliverers of justice!”

The really neat bit though is how Jagex plans to handle these surprisingly formal trials. According to the blog, offending players will be whisked away to an area called Botany Bay where a makeshift courtroom will inevitably declare them guilty. Actually, if Jagex detects your account is cheating, there is no real recourse — you’ll be sent to Botany Bay, and at your trial the jury of other human players will not vote “guilty” or “not guilty,” but instead will simply vote on what manner of spectacular death will be visited on your virtual self. Options include crushing, being devoured by an ancient horror and being smote out of existence by an angry deity. 

Intriguingly, Jagex is offering tangible in-game rewards for people willing to sit on these juries. Join a jury three times and the company will reward your devotion to justice with a “a wieldable pitchfork of vigilantism.” Participate in three more and you’ll unlock additional character emotes. Four more trials after that and your character will be granted “the gloriously pointy pitchfork of justice.”

We have to hand it Jagex for coming up with a novel, entertaining way to deal with its cheating issues, but given the scope of the issue — estimates place the number of ‘bot accounts created daily at somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 — this method of toying with offenders before banning them seems somewhat inefficient. Then again, maybe the inherent entertainment value of sentencing your fellow gamers to die in a virtual world defined by one’s inability to actually perish might outweigh what would otherwise be an unmanageable issue. Either way, it’s heartening to see Jagex so devoted to finding a solution that works both for the company and for its devoted fans.

Product Review

'Black Ops 4' outshines the games it copies with that Call of Duty polish

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s omission of a campaign could have been a deal breaker, but multiplayer, Zombies, and the new Blackout mode make it one of the best shooters of the year.

Dinner is cancelled! How to keep Call of Duty's zombies from eating your brain

New to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Zombies mode and don't know how to succeed? We've got the tips you need to blast away at the undead and keep yourself alive for longer, even without other players helping.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.

Tired of waiting for the PlayStation Classic? Try one of these PS1 emulators

It's not always easy to get ahold of original PlayStation titles due to pricing and general availability. Emulators can solve that problem. Here are the top five PlayStation emulators.

Epic Games sues ‘Fortnite’ YouTuber creators over cheating software

Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against two YouTube users for their role in promoting cheating and hacking tools for Fortnite via a YouTube channel and personal website. As of now, the channel is still live.
Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.

Terrifying clowns try to kill you in this teaser for ‘PUBG’ Halloween event

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds seems to be getting a frightening Halloween event. In a brief teaser, we get a glimpse of two masked assailants, creepy nurses, and an utterly terrifying clown that looks something like Pennywise.

Huawei thinks its Mate 20 X is better than the Nintendo Switch

Huawei positioned its Mate 20 X, a gaming-centric smartphone, as a Nintendo Switch killer, calling it "the best portable gaming machine." The Mate 20 X has better design specs than the Switch, but it also comes with a steep price.

Eat your way to a limited-edition Xbox One X in new Taco Bell contest

If you like the idea of a limited-edition Xbox One X that makes Taco Bell's famous "bong" sound every time it starts up, then you need to enter a new contest launched by the fast-food chain and Microsoft without delay.

You can preload ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ soon, and you definitely should

Red Dead Redemption 2's launch is quickly approaching. If you're planning on buying a digital version, you should keep in mind that the file size is roughly 90GB. Thankfully, you can preload the game starting October 19

These guns will literally blow away the competition in Black Ops 4's Blackout

Finding a good weapon in Black Ops 4's Blackout mode is hard, especially when there are so many options. Whether you like to get up close or keep some distance between you and your enemies, here are the best guns in Blackout.

Wings on the bus: ‘Fortnite’ Battle Bus now sends you to your death even faster

A new update for Fortnite: Battle Royale has made the starting Battle Bus significantly faster, meaning you can get killed by a better player even faster than you could up until now.