Tag Archives: Temple of Ahn’Qiraj

Blizzard Goes After WoW Classic Bots and Warms up for AQ

This week saw some WoW Classic news related to bots and cheating as well as a stress test on the public test realm.

Classic is as classic does

The big announcement was that Blizzard had banned 74K accounts for EULA violations.

We’ve recently completed a round of actions against players who were found to be cheating in World of Warcraft.

We rarely communicate publicly about this, because we’ve found that describing our sources and methods can make it easier for malicious actors to work around them, but we feel that it’s worthwhile to expand on the subject today, as many players have recently asked us for more details.

Including today’s actions, over the last month in the Americas, Oceania, and Europe regions, we’ve closed or suspended over 74,000 WoW accounts that were found to be in violation of our End-User License Agreement 68. The majority of these were found to be using gameplay automation tools, typically to farm resources or kill enemies much more efficiently than legitimate players can.

While today’s suspensions were applied in a batch (often referred to as a “banwave”), it is a top priority for us to identify accounts that are botting and remove them. Our team works around the clock, every day of the week, and many of the suspensions and account closures over the last few months have gone out in the middle of the night, or on weekends.

Like you, we play World of Warcraft. We understand what it’s like to spot a player in-game who appears to be botting. We always want to eliminate the botting player, if it can be proved that they are indeed cheating. And that raises a big difficulty in addressing this issue – we have to prove to ourselves that the accused player is not a person who’s actually controlling a character with their hands on a keyboard.

We use powerful systems to determine if the suspected player is using an identifiable cheat, and our heuristics (which we do not outline publicly) are constantly improving and evolving. But when we examine a suspect and these measurements aren’t out of line, we have to manually gather evidence against the accused player, which can be very time consuming and complex. It’s worthwhile though, because we never want to take action against a legitimate player.

Yes, there have been cases where a legitimate player appeared (to another player) to be botting. In those cases, where a legitimate player is reported and then cleared of wrongdoing, it can be very frustrating to the reporting player to again see what they think is a bot. We’ve also seen examples where the reported player was caught exploiting the game, and was removed from the game, and then quickly returned to doing the same thing on a new account with the same character name. That’s an infuriating sight for the players who initially reported it. We greatly appreciate your reports, and we understand how you feel about this.

We’re ultimately working to unravel a challenging circumstance. Real money trading drives third parties to put an enormous amount of effort into circumventing our detection systems. As much as this is a very high priority for us, it is the only priority for profit-driven botting organizations. The bans we issue are simply a cost of doing business for them.

We’re working on further improvements to every part of the game that might address cheating issues more swiftly and completely, and we’ll continue to let you know as those next steps are taken.

Thank you very much for your feedback on these issues, and thank you for your reports!

Ars Technica even did a story about the “bot mafias” that were present in WoW Classic. and how they have messed with the economy, all no doubt in furtherance of illicit gold sales.

I know I have seen a bunch of gold seller spam email messages showing up on my characters lately.

I have multiple screen shots of similar messages

I have been using the “Report Player” button to respond to these, so hopefully I helped target a few bad actors.

In addition, Blizzard made a change to the number of instances a player can access during a single day.

As part of our ongoing efforts to eliminate exploitative and automated gameplay, with scheduled weekly maintenance in each region, we’re implementing the following change to our settings on all WoW Classic realms:

  • You may now enter a maximum of 30 unique instances (dungeon and raid) per day, per realm.

This restriction complements the current limit of 5 instances per hour. Now, when a player enters a dungeon or a raid, the game checks to see if they have entered 5 instances in the last hour or 30 instances in the last 24 hours, and if they have, they cannot enter the instance until enough time has elapsed. This check is across all of your characters on your realm.

These limits only apply to dungeon and raid instances, and do not apply to PvP battlegrounds.

I had run into the old “five instances per hour” limit while trying to get the Hydrocane to drop in Gnomeregan, but the overall cap will now close that out a bit more thoroughly I suppose.  (I didn’t need nearly that many instances to get the drop on multiple characters.)

And then, in a note about things to come, Blizzard also did a stress test on the PTR on Thursday to test Silithus and the Ahn’Qiraj (AQ) opening event.  They have already posted a summary of how that went.  We shall see if they do anything with the information they collected.

Finally, layering, which Blizzard had to turn on again for a few realms recently due to queues, has been worked on to make sure that it will function correctly when these events hit the live servers.

Looking for Mr. Bigglesworth

On the collecting end of pet battles in World of Warcraft I am running out of easy pets to catch.  I’ve scoured most of the open world and the few pets I have left to catch there have some special circumstances like there needing to be a weather event in the zone, needing to stay up until midnight, or the season needing to be summer in the real world.

That in mind, I began looking into what other routes I would need to pursue to continue collecting, starting with some of the pets I see recommended over and over again.  Mr. Bigglesworth gets mentioned now and again, and while he didn’t make that top 20 list over at Warcraft Pets, I decided to see what it took to get him.

He is actually the reward for the Raiding with Leashes achievement and, as it turned out, I wasn’t too far off from getting that.  In fact, I needed to collect just one more pet.

Just one missing from the list

The Viscidus Globule comes from the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, AQ40 of old, a raid I have been in more than a few times in search of pets, mounts, and other items.  The drop rate is alleged to be pretty high for the pet.  The problems was killing the boss, Viscidus, who has one of those special mechanics.

In order to slay Viscidus you have to freeze him by spell, enchant, or weapon, and then hit him 75 times in 75 seconds or less to finish him off.

Vikund, my default “do all the things” character can wander through AQ with impunity, but soloing Viscidus is another matter.  I found him a weapon that would freeze the great blob via frost damage, but no amount of haste was going to get me those 75 hits in time to slay him.

Fortunately at this point I have a selection of level 100+ character to choose from and, in reading about how people have taken Viscidus down solo, the beast master spec’d hunter seemed to be a viable option.  All you had to do was get a ranged weapon that put the freeze on the slime, something you could do via various enchants or oils.

None of those seemed to be available at the Auction House however, and the long neglected enchanting skill on one alt came up dry as did another alt that was an alchemist.  However, there was a bow available from a Wrath of the Lich King quest line that would do the job.  However, while the bow was available from a vendor, it was bind on pick up, so Vikund, who had done the quest line up in the Storm Peaks could buy it, he couldn’t hand it off.

And Tistann, my hunter, had not done the quest line.  So it was off to the Storm Peaks with him to get it done.  Fortunately getting far enough down the quest line to be able to buy the bow didn’t take that long and, of course, being level 110 meant there being no risk while doing it.  Soon he had the Brunnhildar Bow.

This bow freezes stuff

From there it was off to the instance.  I had to think for a moment as to what would be the best way to actually get there.  Getting to Darnassus and taking the griffon the length of Kalimdor was my first thought.  But then I seemed to recall a portal to Uldum in Stormwind from back during the Cataclysm expansion.  The portal was still there and I was soon winging my way to the target.

Once there I was quickly trotting through the now familiar instance to Viscidus, avoid what I could walk around and slaying what I could not.  There is one stretch where you end up with dozens of arachnids chasing you that I usual just AOE once they all collect on Vikund.  With Tistann I avoided even that by just feigning death once I was through, speeding my way to the fight.

Spotting Viscidus

Getting in there and stuck into Viscidus wasn’t an issue.  His health was hardly a barrier.  Had he been a tank and spank boss and level 110 could have one-shotted him.  Instead he sits a minimum health until you do the special routine.

Viscidus waiting for the right moment to die

As the frost attacks built up Viscidus first changed color and then, when he was frozen, there was an announcement and a graphical indicator on him.

Viscidus frozen

At that point the counter was running and I needed to get in those 75 melee attacks, so I unleashed all the pets and called on Stampede and fired away, all of which easily totaled up to the required number of attacks and Viscidus went down.

Viscidus defeated

He just didn’t drop the pet.

I had to wait for the instance lockout to run down and try it again a few days later.  The second time around the Viscidus Globule dropped and, on collecting it I also got the Raiding with Leashes achievement and Mr. Bigglesworth as a reward.

Pets obtained!

I put Mr. Bigglesworth at the top of the leveling queue and had him up to level 25 the next day, so I have him ready if I need him.

Mr. Bigglesworth Ready

Obtaining Mr. Bigglesworth also put me another cat along in the quest for the cat collecting achievement.

Not quite crazy for cats yet

I need two more cats for that and the Crazy Cat Man title.  I think at this point I have all the easy ones off of that list.  I guess I should have purchased a Guardian Cub back in the day.

And now I have move on to Raiding with Leashes II.

The second achievement

I am actually not doing bad on that one either.  I’ve been to Kharazan for other things like transmog and such that Vikund is exalted with the Violet hold.  But the drop rates for the pets are not so generous as they were with the Viscidus Globule.