Do Bots Show That MMORPGs are Pointless?

by on January 22, 2013


That’s the bold claim that Tobold made last week – the prevalence of bots and botting in MMORPGs shows that they’re actually nothing more than repetitive, simple tasks.

It’s already been a controversial claim, but he does have a really interesting point:

“Apart from players wanting to bot a game activity, which shows that the activity isn’t all that interesting, the second problem is bots being so perfectly able at performing those activities, showing how repetitive and simple the things we are supposed to do in a MMORPG are in the first place. Douglas Adams’ book “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” contains a paragraph about the electric monk, “a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself”. Bots play tedious games for you, thus saving you the bother of playing the games yourself. What does it say about our games if we need labour-saving devices to do those tedious, repetitive, and trivial game activities for us?”

Read more here: The Problem With Botting

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: General MMO Interest

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Celendus January 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Well, bots are also a way to get free stuff while you’re asleep or at work – i.e. good old fashioned cheating. And people do still bot things that humans are better at (battlegrounds for instance). I feel like bots are just an inevitable outcome for any game that can be botted, that puts rewards behind a system of “earn points, spend points”, and that can’t be cheated with cheat codes or altering a save file, the way single-player games can be. Though it’s poor sportsmanship for a multiplayer game, I can see merit to the argument of a time-crunched player wanting to get to the good stuff.

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Aly January 23, 2013 at 12:04 am

The only people I know who have botted games are those who, like you said, wanted to farm when they didn’t have time to play. There’s also the multi-boxers who are just trying to farm more in a shorter amount of time. It’s less about bypassing content and more about why get 1 of something when you can get 3 or more in the same amount of time?

I don’t really consider the farming aspect of MMOs the content of the game, anyway, but you’ll always have the people who are always looking for a quicker, easier route no matter how enjoyable the game. It’s just in their nature. I’ve seen people who have only just started playing a game immediately ask about cheats to speed things up before they’ve even experienced it.

Aside from those habitual cheaters, I generally assume most bots I see are in the gold selling business and not actually gaming for gaming’s sake. They usually don’t even bother with real names. If the simple act of naming a character is too tedious and boring, what wouldn’t be for such a person?

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pod32 January 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Guess I’m “old fashioned” and believe that if you want something then work for it. If you don’t have the time it takes to get the good stuff, lower your standards, so to speak. There are plenty of things in this game that are good and do not take a lot of time to get. Cheating shouldn’t be the answer, but there will always be someone who wants something for nothing.

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Machination January 23, 2013 at 5:41 am

I don’t think it’s a simple matter of avoiding work, but that the reward system really is broken — the reward in a standard MMO is truly the end-game. All the new content, all the focus, news and energy goes into the end-game. Because of the way flow works in an MMO, all the previous content feels dead, empty, and alone (solo).

While I think botting is stupid, I see why people are tempted to jump right to the reward, when the only reward is later on. Now if you had an MMO all about story, then there couldn’t really be any bots, because the reward is entirely intrinsic, and not extrinsic.

The more extrinsic your reward system, the more prone to botting it will be.

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MrPendent January 23, 2013 at 2:48 pm

First, I’m not sure what the question is. MMORPGs are pointless. It’s a game. It doesn’t matter how well you do, or how awesome you are, as soon as they pull the plug you are left with less than you had when you started.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I just think there is something a little silly about arguing that the game means anything at all.

Also, I don’t agree that the end game is the reward. To me, the “end game” is exactly that–the end of the game. Time to re-roll or move on. I can’t understand the desire to spend countless hours to make incremental improvements in your armor. Again–everyone finds their fun where they can. If someone believes (as the people who seem to understand why someone would use a bot to play the game for them) that the reward is the endgame, and that the game doesn’t start until you’re 90, then why aren’t folks pushing to be able to roll level 90 characters right out of the gate?

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