By James Phinney May 26th, 2010 This is an important day for Guild Wars. Today we terminated more than 3,700 accounts for botting and match manipulation. In cases where guilds were found to be involved in these activities, the guilds were also disbanded. More than a dozen such guilds were disbanded and many others are under continued investigation. Today’s actions are significant not simply because of their immediate impact but also because they represent a new era in enforcement for us. As many of you know, Guild Wars has seen a significant increase in the number and sophistication of bots in recent months. Particularly visible were new types of bots used in PvP. As with any hacks or exploits, our primary concern is the potential negative impact on the experience of other players. To a varying degree, cheaters hurt other players by inflating the economy, devaluing hard-earned accomplishments, or annoying everyone with RMT chat spam to sell gold gained through botting, but cheating in PvP is especially odious because it so directly affects the play experience of others. As anyone who’s followed online gaming knows, bots and hacks are difficult to fully address. Every game of decent size works to keep the problem in check, but no single, absolute solution exists. Although our support team has worked for years to combat bots and actually bans accounts for botting every day, we realize the fruits of their efforts are not visible to players. Further, this new upswing in bot activity showed that our existing processes were not adequate to address the problem. Having made that determination, we’ve been working to improve things on several fronts: staffing, identification, detection, visibility, and enforcement. On the staffing side of things, we’ve increased the number of people dealing with bots and brought in people with a wider range of skills and backgrounds in order to be able to tackle these problems in a more proactive and thorough way. For obvious reasons, we will not go into details about all of the changes, but this batch of account terminations was made possible by our staffing improvements. We’re now working more aggressively to identify hacks and potential exploits much more quickly. In addition to our efforts in house, we’re asking all of you to help us identify issues. Many of you have done so before on forums, but we will now provide a clearer way for you to get this information to us directly: Please report game abuse to firstname.lastname@example.org using one of these exact subject lines: Botting, Match Manipulation, or Game Exploit. That will ensure the message is quickly routed to the right personnel and will expedite a review of the issue. You will be sent a confirmation that we’ve received your report, but in general we will not give out more detailed responses directly to individual players. In a situation like this, information is power. We maximize our ability to catch offenders if we operate in a confidential manner. In order to deal with bots efficiently, we need strong methods of detection. Again for obvious reasons, we will not go into detail about anything we’ve done so far or anything we are planning for the future, but rest assured that bots of all different types can be identified. With our new commitment to bot detection, no hack is safe. We know that the visibility of our actions is important to the Guild Wars community. While we were preparing for today, our Community and Support teams were not very vocal about these new bots. This was both because we did not want to tip our hand and also because we did not want to make promises that might ring hollow due to our lack of highly visible bot bans in the past. Moving forward, as with any security-related issue, we will not be able to talk about these matters with complete transparency, but we will look for opportunities to make clear to you our commitment to protecting the game from cheaters. All of which bring us back to the beginning and to our strong enforcement of our policies against game abuse of any kind. Let me make this clear: We have no tolerance for using bots or hacks. It’s cheating, it harms other players, and there’s no excuse for it. We know that the approaches we used to determine this particular list of terminated accounts did not catch every single bot or hack out there, but we now have many tools and options at our disposal internally, and we have the Guild Wars community itself as a resource to help identify potential exploits. As with this current round of enforcement, we may ban users of a particular hack in batches in order to better disguise our methods, but there is no expiration date for breaches of the User Agreement or RoC. If you cheat today, your account may be terminated at any time in the future. If you have any doubts about whether or not something is allowed by the User Agreement, don’t do it. Don’t take that risk. Account termination means losing not only everything you’ve built up in Guild Wars, but losing the ability to have those accomplishments recognized in Guild Wars 2. Let me give you a real example from today. Here’s an actual account we just terminated: 2,469 hours, 38 titles, 913 plat, 268 ecto, Eternal Legendary Vanquisher monument, Mini Gwen, Chaos Gloves, Mallyx’s Strife, The Holy Avenger, etc., etc. It’s all gone now. Forever. You will not want that to happen to your account. For those of you who raised concerns about this issue, we’re sorry it took as long as it did to put these changes in place. We should have been faster and more prepared. With your help, we will be more responsive in the future. We are listening, and we are ready to take action.