Runescape News: Jagex Nukes Bots All Through the Courts

by JoHarrington

The makers of Runescape have successfully prosecuted bot makers, Impulse Software. Jagex now has the names of all infringing customers.

Bots have long been a problem in Runescape. These are programs which effectively play the game for players away from their keyboards.

While these gamers cheat their way into the hiscores, legitimate players often find themselves locked out of favorite areas. The influx of black hat programs means that the game is unbalanced due to stockpiled resources.

It is like players using digital slaves to muscle out those who would make it alone. Now Jagex have struck back.

Runescape Botters Beware! Jagex has your Names!

As part of the settlement against the iBot creators, Jagex secured their entire customer database.

Cheating players of the on-line MMORPG Runescape will today be anxiously watching for the fate of their account.

It is expected that hundreds will be banned, after a judge ordered the handover of a bot-maker's customer records. Each person named within them will have broken the rules of the game.

Runescape developers Jagex have actively attempted to stamp out bots for years. On January 23rd 2012, their latest battle saw the company emerge victorious from a Boston courtroom.

Eric and Mark Snellman admitted to computer fraud, copyright infringement, circumvention of technological measures, along with a host of other infractions. As the owners of Impulse Software, they had created, marketed and sold a number of programs designed to allow Runescape players to train their levels without even being at their computers. Amongst the company's products was the iBOT software.

The court ordered Impulse Software to pay a six figure sum in damages to Jagex, which included paying their legal fees. In addition, the Snellman brothers had to hand over all of their websites, codes, programs and platforms. All Impulse employees were banned from ever accessing any of Jagex's copyrighted games; plus they were permanently muted from commenting publicly on the case.

A lot of nervous bot users will be waiting for the other boot to fall, as that client database falls into the hands of Jagex's 'bot nuking' team.

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A High Level Boss Fight - Jagex v the Bots

There has been a long history of account cheating in Runescape. The court case against Impulse Software was merely a single battle in a long war.

Scrolling through the fan-sites and social networking comments, the reaction of Runescape players has been largely one of delight. Yet many have added the resigned caveat, 'I wish it had happened five years ago.'

Over the past half a decade, botting has been an increasing problem in the game. With automated programs, these cheating accounts could work like golems around the clock. Thousands of avatars took up sought after skilling spots or monopolized the combat bosses. It became harder for legitimate players to train their levels, thus leading to many leaving the game entirely.

For those who decided to stay, there were indirect problems, such as lag due to a high number of accounts being artificially logged on.

As a player myself, I have seen botted accounts on numerous occasions. It was a common sight to see hundreds of players moving as one between spots in the Fishing Guild or ore in the Living Rock Caverns, to name just two hotspots. A conversation could not be sparked, until the realization dawns that no-one else is really there, despite the CPS dragging through the seeming mass of players all around.

Jagex have remained determined to combat the developers and users of the bot programs alike. However, this has never been so successful as during their most recent efforts. On October 25th 2011, Bot-Nuking Day was unleashed onto an unsuspecting Runescape. It was the cumulative result of many months of research and hard work, on the part of Jagex's security developers. It effectively removed 98% of the bots from the game and it has continued to keep them out.

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What Jagex Gains from Defeating the Botters

The moral high-ground is all well and good, but the makers of Runescape have an even bigger prize.

The handover of so much information from Impulse Software means that Jagex are able to study precisely how bot developers are hacking into the game. This information will naturally feed back into future 'Bot-Nuking Days'.

Moreover, Jagex have always stated that there would be no botting problem in Runescape, if players just refused to use the illicit programs. They now have a substantial database of the names of those who didn't heed them.

There is a psychological battle won here too. The action against Impulse Software will have forged in-house procedures and knowledge, as well as a legal precedent, which can both be used to target similar companies. Players will know that registering or purchasing bots will eventually result in the loss of their Runescape account. Programmers will know that they run the risk of crippling financial costs and a criminal record.

In this way, Jagex have scored preventative points in their war against the bots. Though whether it's a war that can eventually be won remains to be seen. For now, Runescape is relatively bot-free and the battles keep on going.

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Updated: 03/19/2014, JoHarrington
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lobobrandon on 06/13/2012


JoHarrington on 06/13/2012

Ah! Well, judging by my experience, you've had a lucky escape!

lobobrandon on 06/13/2012

I'm not a member :) I'm a free to play don't have that quest. Unless it's new (past 8 months)

JoHarrington on 06/13/2012

Nomad? He's the boss in the quest 'Nomad's Requiem'. Twitch players found him relatively ok to beat. I'm not a twitch player. :(

lobobrandon on 06/13/2012

Wow that's a lot. I'm not quite sure what they are though

JoHarrington on 06/13/2012

It took me 75 attempts to kill Nomad. True story.

lobobrandon on 06/13/2012

Haha :)

JoHarrington on 06/13/2012

I don't know. I'm level 129 and you haven't seen me in combat yet. LOL

lobobrandon on 06/13/2012

No way, I'm experienced enough on RS to know what bad playing is and what botting is :) also Level 116 combat can't be a bad player hehe

JoHarrington on 06/13/2012

I suppose that those who stay at the home are relying upon leeching XP.

Could this individual just have been very, very bad at playing? LOL

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