Power Leveling: Bots, Wardens, Suspensions, and Bans

By: Mike Estabrooks

MMORPG’s (massive multiplayer online role playing games) are something of a lifestyle for many people and hobbies for others throughout the world; however, with these games come the issues that surround power leveling and bots. Now, those of you who have been in the gaming world for some time know what these issues or controversies are, but those of you who are relatively new probably do not know much about these issues. Power leveling, though there are different definitions, essentially means that a gamer uses means, such as hiring experts to play their character, to level up their character more quickly then the game developers intended. Bots, which are generally third parties, in the form of programs, which control characters to gain experience, items, gold, etc…, are considered a type of power leveling because the gamer is not playing their character.

The issues surrounding power leveling and the use of bots is that it degrades the game for the gamers who actually work hard to achieve experience and such. What would normally take a 100 hours or more to achieve was achieved in 10 hours or less by a bot. Essentially, the use of Bots makes the efforts of the true gamers seem insignificant and defies the true purpose of any MMORPG. The difference between bots and other forms of power leveling is that your character is not necessarily being played; it could be a completely different character that does the work for you and then you collect what the Bot has earned.

The question now is not whether or not power leveling and the use of bots are unethical but rather what is being done to stop such tactics. While there is not much you, an individual gamer, can do besides reporting a character or avatar you suspect to be a Bot, game developers and Wardens, which will be discussed later, are developing tactics to end the game of “cat and mouse” between themselves and these power leveling companies. In order to eliminate Bots and other forms of power leveling, game developers have started banning and/or suspending gamer accounts that have used these tactics. Moreover, through these sometimes mass bans, game developers are allowing other gamers to know when they are dealing with bots and such.

The Warden, which may be capable of different actions in different MMORPG’s, is basically a type of cheats scanner or monitor. The Warden may scan your computer in order to detect items that are put into the game or for other things that are used to create bots. If the Warden happens to detect something on any active gamer’s computer, it will contact the game developer and the account will be banned. However, this starts the game of “cat and mouse” again as the power leveling companies are constantly improving themselves so as not to be detected by the Warden and, in turn, the Warden is constantly advancing so as to keep detecting the power levelers. The Warden also scans for repetitious patterns of moves that Bots often make. Essentially, the Warden can detect any form of Bot online.

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