ArenaNet's security coordinator Mike Lewis says this is only the beginning, and that the banning rate will likely ramp up as the developer starts to accumulate more data on bot use patterns.
Lewis reveals that ArenaNet has hired a team of "data specialists" who will focus solely on analyzing botting reports. He also claims that these additional anti-botting measures notwithstanding, the company's current efforts have so far hit gold sellers hard.
1600 Account Terminations
"Our monitoring of 'bot' activity has already resulted in over 1600 account terminations world-wide in the last week alone, and we are actively tracking the most common 'bots' in use, so that we can continue to eliminate them from the game," said Lewis in an official forum post titled "On Botting and What We're Doing About It."
"As we continue to gather information on these 'bots', we will be increasing the rate of account termination to remove them," he added.
This is a significant increase from the 292 accounts ArenaNet banned for "RMT-related botting and spamming" last September 2.
Lewis suggests that bots are an important cog to the third-party gold selling machine, and that bot-banning combined with active removal of detected sellers and spammers are the key to combating the real money trading activities.
"These efforts directly impact the operations of third-party gold sellers (and spammers). In conjunction with 'bot' removal we also take Real Money Trading very seriously and actively remove hundreds of gold spammers and sellers each day," said ArenaNet's Lewis.
Player Reports Leading to Bans
Lewis encouraged the player base to relentlessly report players suspected of botting. He revealed that player reports will play an increasingly large role in curbing bots in the game, with ArenaNet developing better and more automated tools to verify, and consequently ban, reported accounts that have indeed been botting.
"We are actively improving our means of detecting 'bot' activity in the game automatically. This includes tools for our customer support team to help them verify 'botting' reports and efficiently issue account terminations. Recently we have also hired a team of data specialists who will be helping us create more effective tools for analyzing reports of 'botting,'" said Lewis in the same update post.
An anecdote from MMO-Champion user Laste shows how this player reporting system not only works for botting but also for exploits.
Laste claimed last week that he reported an acquaintance for "transfer-farming" Orichalcum, an in-demand and high-priced ore whose ingots are used for crafting weapons, heavy armor and jewelry. Laste claims his acquaintance reaped a "whopping" 602 Gold in one week through transfer-farming Orichalcum. That currency haul is worth roughly $780 based on current Guild Wars 2 Gold prices as tracked by MMOBUX.
While Laste did not specify whether the acquaintance was transfer-farming for RMT selling or for personal use, ArenaNet considered this extraordinary rate of farming an exploit.
ArenaNet encouraged Laste to report the acquaintance for using an exploit, "and in only a few hours the player was permanently banned," which shows that the turnaround cycle for report analysis, investigation and permanent ban can take less than a day.
1,600 Accounts Permanently Banned So Far for Guild Wars 2 Botting
By Frank Lewis, Sep 27, 2012