Can You Get Banned in Guild Wars 2 for AFK Auto-Attacking?

By Frank Lewis,
Anecdotal evidence suggests that it can lead to temporary suspensions and even bans, suggesting that the detection system in place may not be sophisticated enough to identify real botters from AFK auto-attackers.

Or, it could mean that ArenaNet is not making an effort to distinguish between the two as it tries to send a message that any type of automated game play will get you in trouble.

ArenaNet has a clear policy of banning software-assisted botting, this much is clear when reading through the Guild Wars 2 Rules of Conduct: "You may not use any third-party program (such as a "bot") in order to automate gameplay functions, including playing, chatting, interacting, or gathering gold or items within Guild Wars 2. You may not assist, relay, or store gold or items for other players who are using these processes."

But what if players activate the auto-attack feature and goes AFK or "away from keyboard" without the use of a forbidden third-party program? This way, the character kills mobs and racks up precious Karma, Guild Wars 2 Gold and experience while the player eats, sleeps, or performs other tasks in real life.

Is this also against user policy, classified as botting and will result in suspensions and bans?

Guild Wars 2 forums user LordPenguin found out the answer the hard way. The gamer's account was levied with a 72-hour suspension, which he appealed, reasoning that despite having used the "in game ctrl right click automation feature" - an auto-attack mechanic usable by all characters - he did not break any explicit botting rules.

The reply from the ArenaNet support team admonished him in one e-mail for "automated game play" and then in a subsequent email of "botting." LordPenguin was flabbergasted because given ArenaNet's own definition of botting, his AFK auto-attacking activities are not forbidden.

In the end, his reasoning mattered little. The suspension was upheld.

Several other Guild War 2 forums users in this "I auto-attacked and got banned" thread shared the same experience of being suspended or banned for engaging in "automated game play." Some were caught abusing the automated shooting of Engineer turrets and were given the same punishments. A few reported to have successfully appealed the bans.

Provided that these accounts are true, we see that ArenaNet's bot detection system may need some refinement. Right now, it is basically lumping together botters and AFK auto-attackers, and suspending both automatically. This could be by design. It is hard to tell with ArenaNet so far staying silent on the issue.

Although if we're to go by the personal opinions of staff like support liaison Gaile Gray - who believes that "AFK gaming is not gaming... I would hope that people would not expect to get by with it," - then it's not far-fetched to imagine that the system is working as intended.

That is, punish any abusive AFK behavior, enabled by third-party programs or not.

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