I used to be one of those people who used a bot program to play World of Warcraft for me. It started when I heard about people using a bot to fish for them, and as anyone who plays WoW knows, fishing is singularly the most boring activity you can do in WoW.
Searching around on the internet I found an interview with the maker of Glider (WoWGlider as it was then) and from that interview I found the Glider site (www.mmoglider.com), liked what I saw, and spent my $15 to buy the program. From there on in I learnt how to use Glider to level up characters without me having to be around to do all the legwork.
Overall I’m pretty bad at WoW, not clueless just very slow, I started playing a few months after release and I didn’t even get to level 60 until after the Burning Crusade expansion was released – in fact it was only using Joana’s Horde Leveling Guide (www.joanasworld.com) that I eventually got up to 60 and then 70. Something that all the botting I did never actually managed to accomplish for me.
It turns out that I was equally as bad at botting* as I was at playing WoW, I kept starting new alts and new accounts to try out different classes, botting them up a bit and then switching to something else all while keeping a low profile to avoid getting banned. After a while I got fairly good at setting up my little botting routines (or profiles as they are known) and got a few characters up to level 60 before the BC expansion came out. I was building up a little army of botted accounts and characters.
Now in the botting world there are several sorts of botters, there are those who play WoW for fun and use Glider to level up some alts to try out different classes, there are others who like to use the bot to back them up in a party, there are also those who create accounts to sell, those who farm gold (either for themselves or to sell to others), and those who bot in battlegrounds to farm honor.
Botting is very useful, it frees up the time you would have spent grinding and lets you go out to the movies, or make beautiful love to your fiancée. All the good things in life. The careful botters, of whom I counted myself as one, keep a low profile to avoid getting banned, do not race up in levels, and do not sell countless farmed goods on the auction house.
However it seems that most botters are in it for the money, they are leveling characters to sell or are farming gold to sell, and because they are in it for the money they have a don’t care attitude that makes them stand out like sore thumbs. They bot in quest spots, waste everyone’s effort in battlegrounds, are on 24 hours a day, use the simplest routines, and are mostly hunters with a pet boar named boar… Many people call them Chinese gold farmers but in fact a lot of them are lazy teenage boys with no scruples out to make the easiest buck they can get away with.
I don’t like the botters who are careless and blatant so I report them at every opportunity, and most have been subsequently caught and banned. I know because I add them to my friends list once I’ve reported them and after a while they stop logging on, for good. The botters who are subtle and careful, I mostly don’t even see, neither will you, and they’re genuinely not doing anyone any harm, they’re just saving some time.
The blatant ones are like those terrible people who will lie to your face and not even have the grace to be subtle about it, you know, people who would be estate agents or second hand car salesmen if they weren’t so lazy.
Now on the Glider forums they have a rule that if you confess to reporting a botter then you will be banned from the forums. It’s a pretty stupid rule because only a complete idiot would be caught out by it but there you have it. There are plenty of forums with stupid rules like that and this article will get me banned from the Glider forums and incite a flame war the like of which has not been seen since Rome burned (please excuse the internet hyperbole).
However when you read between the lines of other people’s posts on the Glider forums you can see that there are tons of people there who report their ‘fellow’ botters. Not least by the way they scream and shout when someone mentions that they have thought about reporting a botter – the lady doth protest too much and all that.
So all the time I’ve been playing I’ve also been reporting my fellow botters and this makes me a very bad person in their eyes. But frankly, they’re a bunch of blatant cheaters without an ounce of morals between them, so screw ‘em, screw ‘em in the ass.
On the other hand I also contributed to the glider knowledgebase by writing some helpful guides and helping people out on the forums. None of that will matter once they see this confession though; I will be universally reviled by the Glider community.
Unfortunately my botting wasn’t really satisfying, it’s quite easy to setup and level up a bunch of characters or farm some materials for crafting or to sell for gold but it doesn’t provide any satisfaction as there’s nothing to do with those botted accounts but either sell them on or farm with them. So a while ago I stopped botting, bought Joana’s leveling guide and started playing manually, which, although slower, is far more satisfying.
Finally getting to level 70 and having done it by myself with only a written guide to show me the way was really fulfilling, WoW is a great game for leveling up on your own and with the recent changes to leveling speeds it’s got a lot better as WoW used to be very slow to level in the mid to high levels. Since the leveling speeds have improved and I got my first character to level 70 I have started grinding a few more alts up.
Since then I have come across something that suits me down to the ground: multiboxing. In case you weren’t aware, multiboxing is playing more than one copy of an MMO at once and using hardware/software tools to broadcast keystrokes from one copy to the others. It’s a decent challenge for someone like me who’s good with computers (and programming) but not so good with an MMO (my leet skills are sadly lacking). You can find out more for yourself at www.dual-boxing.com.
I first discovered multiboxing when someone on the Glider forums posted what they thought was a massive botting setup of 40 or so PCs all running WoW at once; in fact it was a very specialized multiboxing setup to allow two people to carry out their own 40 man raid.
It was those screen shots on the Glider forum of that setup that started me off on multiboxing and it’s with multiboxing that I finally managed to make WoW really work for me. Because all the time I was botting I was trying to build up enough accounts, characters, and computers to run them on, in order to be able to have a whole party of bots led by me.
One of the downsides of WoW and most MMOs is that they have some fairly heavy group only content. Sections of the game that you can only get into if you have a whole group of people to back you up. I’m talking about instances, dungeons, raids, and other special encounters here. The trouble with these group only sections is that you need a group to do them and getting a group together is really, really hard.
So my long term goal for botting was to be able to run those instances on my own without the headaches of leading a group of people, something which I do not excel at. Ultimately however, it wasn’t botting that got me to that position but multiboxing. Botting might be easy but it gets you even less than playing the game by hand, no real challenge, no learning, no excitement, no fun, and what’s the point of paying for something that’s not fun? It took me a while to learn but botting doesn’t do you any good.
*By botting I mean using a third party program to play WoW, not the other sort of botting: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=botting
Postscript: This article was originally written in 2008.