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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

MMOBux's interview.

MMOBux has conducted an interview with me. The interview talks about GFC ties and examining the relationship between ArenaNet and GFCs. You will also get to know about me a little more. Also, I do a little follow-up section about the comments and reception of my articles.

The interview can be read here

Until next time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Concerning comments and next post.

Due to "popular demand" comments are now un-moderated. I apologize for enabling moderation, as I expected an influx of spam comments. However this is not the case. Afterall, I do not try and shy away from the truth. I will only delete obvious spam comments. Expect the next post to occur in the next week or two.

Until next time.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Truth: Part 1

Hello reader.

I am an ex-employee of, who has developed a popular massively multiplayer online game named Guild Wars. First thing you may question is why I have called it a MMO. Fact is there is no other product as unique as Guild Wars. It is not unique enough to define a whole new genre, and I firmly believe Guild Wars and its sequels will always be the only mainstream entry of its kind, due to its business model. This article addresses and exposes the truth behind many issues, most public, some private, and the reasoning behind the cause and effect of such issues. This article primarily concerns the game Guild Wars, but it may be an interesting read for anyone. Especially other MMO players who rarely have a chance to glimpse the inner workings of a company.

The truth may be hard to handle. I do not claim any of this as the definite truth, only my view of the truth. For all you know, I could be a rambling madman from outer space. After the public dupe outbreak incident, I felt it was my duty to reveal some truths about the company I worked for, and the game.

I will only state facts in a factual manner, and rumours or facts I have not had time to confirm in a non-factual manner. This may result in a disjointed reading. I apologize but almost every sentence in this article could be expanded upon several paragraphs. I have condensed a lot of the material. Every sentence here is extremely important, and should be read with excruciating detail. If the reader decides to re-read the article, I am sure you will find out details you missed. There is extreme anonymity in this article. I am not here to ridicule, offend, or hurt any of my peers and co-workers. I am not here to single out any individual, be it employees or popular community individuals. I am only here to reveal the truth. My tone may change abruptly over sentences. I apologize, as this is a by-product of my condensation in order to save you time, and the fact my normal personality is not factual or cold. I will be using terms that most gamers will be familiar with. However if you are not, here are my own written definitions in the context of this article.

Botter = An individual using a program to automate actions in Guild Wars.

GFC = Gold Farming Company. Companies that sell Guild Wars Gold for real life cash. Their primary source of gold is from botting.

GM = Game Master. An administrator with various commands and access exclusive from normal players.

Duper = An individual that replicates the item using programs or in-game exploits.

Carebear = This is extremely hard to explain without prior MMO experience. In the context of this article, it is not used as an offensive term. It is used as a definition because I cannot articulate the specific classification of character. In context it means someone who is uncaring, laid back, and very unresponsive of learning from their mistakes. It is a very laissez faire attitude. I may not be using the French term correctly. It also fills the usual definition of uncaring of PvP.

PvP = Player vs. Player. Real life opponents fight against other real life opponents.

PvE = Player vs. Environment. Real life individuals fight against A.I. controlled opponents.

From this point forward is the factual truth.

Perhaps the most important thing to know is that is run by carebears. It may surprise you I have used this derogatory term. In this context there is no offense implied by the word. As explained above this is the only term I could find that expresses extreme articulation of their behaviour. That is why certain individuals have complained of too much bureaucracy. Another important thing is that this is a capitalistic world. We only perform actions that will increase our revenue. Wrongful ethics are only wrong if there is public knowledge about such ethics. Of course, we are human beings and have a human nature. If you are shocked by these truths, please know that every MMO company will probably have some aspects of these truths in their company. You just don’t know about it. Welcome to the real world.

I shall begin by addressing botting. As technology increases and Guild Wars’s popularity increases, the botters will increase. Botters are necessary for GFCs to obtain gold. Until the implementation of reconnects it was their main source of gold.

GUILD WARS ANTI-BOT MEASURES’s measures are drastically different from any other MMO. The game monitors how an individual plays. It monitors mouse activity and keystroke delays for recurring trends and irregular movements. Any keystroke, mouse movement, or click is recorded and analyzed. Chat logs are also analyzed. To be honest I found it to be “primitive programming”. But it was extremely effective. Any suspicious activity would be flagged by the system, and a GM would investigate it. They would monitor how you played, and your chat logs.


Now we didn’t ban accounts until the public outcries gradually became large enough for us to “care”. Why? Very simple. It required additional work. We had ties with GFCs. (I apologize for the abrupt introduction of this new information. I will expand upon it later in this article.)

We initiated several “ban floods”, much like the publicly announced 26th May 2006 affair. Obviously this was just PR material. These were waves which bot accounts would be banned. The GFCs knew the accounts that were being banned. We provided them a list of accounts that would be banned. Some GFCs were told to remake the accounts under different character names to thwart the PvE community, or remain inactive on those accounts until later periods. A majority of the accounts were shutdown. and the GFCs agreed to this due to several factors. The major ones are listed below:

1) It makes the game appear “community driven”, and makes the community think we care. This would retain player interest in the game, thus preserving the gold demand. (Players would otherwise think, “Why play when bots overrun this game? It’s worthless.”)

2) Banning accounts helps our business model. Because we do not charge a monthly fee, the botters have to buy new accounts. This would be an under-the-hand transaction of the GFC’s payments into our hands, without ability to be traced back to us.

3) Most of the GFC’s accounts are protected. This means we will “ban” botters that are unprotected, usually homebrew code of players that do not work for GFCs. This provides an illusion that we are working against the botters as players have no insider knowledge of GFCs.


I felt it was appropriate to explain our ties. Know that every MMO company that has a large GFC presence in their games will use this to their advantage and form an unofficial partnership to boost income. This income may not be recorded properly, or at all in financial statements. Obviously the large GFCs are much more protected than the small. Some of these connections may not even be known to higherups and seniors. We are the latter. Even if the seniors do know, they will most likely do nothing about it. It generates revenue and keeps the gold buying population happy. In all regards, it is a good thing. You may be asking the question of why we allow botters to persist and “pollute” the PVE environment, if we are the developers of the game. Why don’t we just input some commands and generate gold?

Contrary to general consensus, we do not have these commands. I believe the PR had claimed this on several occasions. To my knowledge, we have no access to these commands even if they exist. It would make sense not to. Implementation of these commands would increase backdoors into our program, and further potential of manipulation either by external hackers or internal staff. Understand this, any implementation of code allows greater potential for exploits, no matter how simple, no matter how small the effect. It allows greater control over a program.

Even if we did have these commands, there would most certainly be logs. Evidence of any kind is unfavorable to an unofficial partnership. With the anti-farm code being strengthened and re-written to be more effective (by-product of GFCs), we had to design a method that would allow us to generate large quantities of gold without noticeable evidence. The bots were simply not providing enough gold supply for the demand.


We scoured the suggestion forums for an idea. The main idea at the time was ability to reconnect due to the large amount of Err=7s occurring in game. The PvP community was a large factor in establishing that reconnects had to be established. You will probably know what we will talk about next by now. For those that do not, let me explain the situation. A couple weeks ago the reconnect feature was disabled due to players exploiting this feature in order to dupe items. The items that were mostly duped were Ectos or Armbraces of Truth, as they were high-demand, high-priced and stackable items. After the public learnt of the method, the population of dupers were too large to be ignored. Action had to be taken and it was. Thousands of accounts were banned. The damage to the economy will never truly be revealed, as these “dirty” items could’ve gone through hundreds of exchanges, through many innocent players inventories.

The exploit was intentional.

As said before, we needed a surefire way to generate mass gold supply without upsetting the players. The close circle of employees that knew this information was kept airtight. This information was never leaked to the public. It is a fact. There are several theories as to how the public became to know of this information. I do not have access to resources anymore, so I cannot confirm this. But this is my theory.

Duping using disconnections is not exactly new to MMOs, and is still possible in many games without third party programs. After the introduction of reconnects, several individuals who were experienced in game exploiting decide to test out whether it was possible. And to their delight, they found that it was. These individuals would obviously keep the secret to themselves, and maybe share it with their best buddies. The phrase, “In order for three people to keep a secret, two must be dead.” comes into play here. Gradually but surely, the duper population increased. Most internet personalities have an egotistical edge to them, and they were sure to brag. Somewhere along the lines the duper population increased exponentially. The rest as they say, is history. Very cliché.

During this phase, anti-farming was of great debate among PVErs. It became harder and harder for players to obtain items, and for a time the economy was stabilized. Along with botters being banned, the GFC industry looked “bleak” for Guild Wars. Of course this was simply an illusion. The GFCs used this as an excuse to raise their gold prices. As always the population bought it. It was harder for regular players to obtain gold, thus they would be pressured into buying gold. In other words we tunneled the players into GFC’s customers.

This is a lot to read for my first post, but I have hope you have read my version of the truth. My next post will be about another subject, either of my own thought or the emails I receive. Please digg this if you want to spread the truth.

I will respond to as many emails as humanly possible. It is obvious that I desire exposure to this article, otherwise I would not have written it in the first place. If you feel this truth is important and should be known, please spread it and digg it. My email is

Until next time.