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[L2J] PlayINERA - Vanilla


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It's a little more complicated than that. There are lessons learned from every adventure. Here's a brief run down for everyone to understand how the world of botting works from the perspective of a team that's been together for over 5 years. Feel free to read or skip it, it's up to you:

 

SEASON 1

Spoiler

For Season 1, Blood World, our team developed a server-side bot algorithm that can track nearly all forms of botting with excellent accuracy; it uses marks or triggers to gather information on every player in the game simultaneously. But now we needed to expand GM support to handle the high number of bot reports, upwards of 60% attempted some form of automated play. Our system was overwhelmed. We did not want to expand our team so we focused on refining the system.

 

SEASON 2

Spoiler

For Season 2, Resurgence, we applied global algorithms that increased the accuracy and threshold of the marks or hits. This required a lot of work. The result was a system that we called the 'F' menu; GMs could now ban everyone at the click of a button with a high degree of accuracy and on a mass scale. However, the data suggested that still nearly 60% of players will bot or attempt botting. This means that we would need to ban 60% of the population all at once or close to it. If anyone can say dead server fast enough that was exactly our worry. Players would start to notice a rapid decline in population if we proceed to ban at such a high rate. Despite this, we proceeded to ban players. The lesson learned was that we needed to develop a system that HARD stops botting from the start so we do not end up with a population that is polarized. This would at least maintain a stable population and not one that is drastically falling on the daily due to the high number of players that use bot software.

 

SEASON 3

Spoiler

For Season 3, Vanilla, we sought advice from L2Shrine's EMCA and applied a custom antibot that intended to hard stop the botters from entering our server. The idea was to attract all types of players but force them to play fairly due to our hard stops from connecting to Vanilla. This would stop the polarization and stabilize the population as we would not need to ban large groups on the daily. The system worked at first but was bypassed or needed a lot of work to function to our expectations. At the end of the day, we made a decision to cleave a high number of bots using our F menu, upwards of 500 players in total. But the more you cleave the more empty the world begins to feel. Lessons learned were that we were able to drop the bot percentage to approx 2% from upwards of 60% in previous seasons, despite this it simply was not good enough when it comes to critics. The 2% ends up being the topic of conversation and no matter how many players you ban or police, the positives quickly turn into negatives in the eyes of the public if you do not cleanse the world of all forms of botting - not an easy feat even with the support of the F menu.

 

LESSONS LEARNED:
 

Spoiler

 

- The more you ban bots, the more empty your world feels. This has a detrimental effect on population.

- The more you enable bots, the more discouraged players feel to continue grinding. They may quit over it.

- Many assume that banning is better because it will draw in more players, however data suggests the only concern players have is population, not fairness. If you create a perfectly fair world, for example, imagine one where players were 100% balanced, they will resort to blaming other game issues that are not fair and quit. Issues that are out of our control or simply false like blaming the OE rate from breaking a weapon, or failing 4 crafts in a row and blaming the low craft rate, or losing hero and blaming Oly feeding, etc. In other words, botting is not the only driving force for the departure of players. There are many variables.

- The GM's conundrum will start to flourish. Say you catch the biggest leader of a clan botting. Do you ban him? You'll destroy an entire clan all at once upwards of 80 members. And all their friends might leave too because of the injustice. After all, they will claim they were not botting. So you decide not to ban for the better of the world and its stability. But then you risk destroying the world's integrity as others try to catch up to the clan. Their critics will resort to blaming their advantage on botting. But suppose the clan is just very good and actually does not bot; however, due to their skill gap, certain critics will still assume they bot despite having a clean record. Suppose you end up banning the top clan leader that was actually caught botting, next siege the opposing clans have no one to fight. Then they quit due to the dead server philosophy. Every action will tip the scales towards one end. Banning will tip towards an empty server. And enabling will tip towards polarization between honest players and dishonest - injustice.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

Our team is currently working on finding a balance. We will be taking our projects in a different direction away from hard or soft antibots with strict penalties. INERA will focus on balancing the two opposing forces rather than choosing one or the other. For botters or cheaters, we will apply global nerfs and visual marks using our custom and fine-tuned F menu; simply put, it is the closest thing to an antibot that actually works.

 

There will be a distinction between the two types of players and an equalizer that maintains balance. We're not particularly fond of giving players tools to bot like Warland did but I do agree with @mr zero that balance is the key to solving this problem. There are simply not enough players to mass-ban everyone at once, lessons learned #1, and doing nothing is not fair to those that play honestly, lessons learned #2.

 

The equation to a successful and long term server is not mass bans. It is much more complicated than that. Most servers no longer care though, they gave up on you a long time ago; it's why the same admin has chosen to recycle 3-4 different names and launch one every 3 months. You have become a dollar value to them because satisfying the community is hard.

 

But that's why we do these projects. INERA likes the challenge; it's really not about money with us.  One day we hope to find that magic formula where everyone is happy. Perhaps its a lost cause but it certainly keeps us busy and brainstorming. Feedback is what gives us the drive to push further into this beautiful world. And we will do what we always do: asses the situation and innovate forward. Bigger, better, stronger. Every year we grow and improve our systems and every year we attract more players.

 

Our philosophy is what separates us from others.If botting is the major issue in Vanilla; it will become the main issue to fix. And that is exactly what we are doing behind the scenes. We'll go the extra mile to assess our lessons learned and stand behind our projects at INERA.

 

Thank you for the feedback.

 

Regards,

Vice

 

 

Edited by PlayINERA
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Played both their previous servers and the team behind playinera is one of the extremely rare teams left in the Lineage 2 scene that really care about their project. You can feel that they put their hearts and souls into it. Will definitely play this one again. It's always been fun.

It's a little more complicated than that. There are lessons learned from every adventure. Here's a brief run down for everyone to understand how the world of botting works from the perspective of a team that's been together for over 5 years. Feel free to read or skip it, it's up to you:   SEASON 1   SEASON 2   SEASON 3   LESSONS LEARNED:       CONCLUSION: Our team is currently working on finding a balance. We will be taking ou

Launch Date September 20, 2019 http://vanilla.playinera.com      

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Trust me when I say I'm not a fan of automated game-play; in fact, I've always been staunchly anti-bot. I've never used Adrenaline, and I never will. Nevertheless, in recent months of playing this game more competitively again, I've come to realize that I'd rather see automated implemented into elements of the game, as a means to bridge the gap between a normal player and a bot player, rather than witness that gap widen as time progresses. Time is always in the bot's favor, because a bot doesn't experience fatigue. 

 

That being said, if something else came along that works efficiently and tackles the issue effectively enough, then I'd definitely get behind it. But from my personal experience I haven't seen something be successful at it, yet. Which leads me to ask out of curiosity about this: 

 

Quote

For botters or cheaters, we will apply global nerfs and visual marks using our custom and fine-tuned F menu; simply put, it is the closest thing to an antibot that actually works.

 

@PlayINERA

I find this interesting, what do you mean by global nerfs and visual marks? I mean, game-play wise, how would that work and what sort of nerf would a botter experience if it's detected by the "global nerf"? 

 

Also, I agree with most of what you said about people quitting for other reasons, and always prioritizing high population over fairness, and about people always focusing on the negatives. I do disagree with the notion of a clan leader being considered "too big to fail", though. I get it, from a practical standpoint. Yet, I've also witnessed a server that downright banned (albeit, temporarily since it was common policy on said server that everyone get's a second chance) one of the biggest clan leaders on their server, and was unscathed. I wouldn't overestimate loyalty. Clans nowadays aren't exactly clans, they are CPs working together for a common goal. Sure, if you ban a clan leader 1-2 CPs might end up leaving, but if your server is considered "hot", the majority of CPs will seek employment elsewhere the very next day. 

 

Anyhow, really interested in that global nerf for botters/cheaters concept. 

 

 

 

 


 

Edited by mr zero

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The concept requires a lot of work to pull off, fortunately we've done 90% of it already.

 

The premise only works if you have systems or tools to police the world. We developed over 30 distinct markers that track automated play and inform us of suspicious activity in real time. For us, banning bots has never been the issue; it was always the admins conundrum that made it so confusing. Every time we ban bots you would think players would be happy and join or promote the server but in actuality the opposite happens, the population drops rapidly because you're cleaving the world. I made a whole post about it on our forums:

 

https://forum.playinera.com/topic/4489-antibot-policies/?tab=comments#comment-21568

 

TLDR:

 

To apply global nerfs you need to develop a system of tools that can police the world effectively and catch any sort of botting in real time, i.e. not an antibot software but backend tools to physically catch and cycle through players quickly. This we've already completed at INERA, we coined it F-MENU.

 

You use F-MENU to apply marks to bots on a daily basis, 3 admins cycling through hundreds of players within minutes and, should you catch a bot or a train, you simply mark them through a function. Any marked player will have all configs reduced by a percentage, this includes drops, quest drops, quest rewards, xp, sp, raids, etc. If your server is 4X, the marked player would have 1X. If the drop rate for stones is 1X, he or she would have 0.25X. Honest players can see marked players visually, if they want to kill the bot train and take over the spot they're welcome to do so, and due to the mark, any time lost greatly affects the botter because his or her time is 4X more worthless than the honest player. So you equalize the time invested between the honest player and the player botting. In other words, we do not condone botting, but our penalty will not be destruction; it will simply be equalization. Play as freely as you'd like.

 

The mark will not last forever. They can cleanse themselves with a scroll should they wish to become honest and play the game with morals. If a player uses a cleanse, he or she will automatically trigger into a separate window in our F-MENU. This is the high risk section which informs us of players that have cleansed and are likely to start botting again. We will cycle through those every few hours; it will let us know of their activity at all times and their status (marked / unmarked). They basically are on our FBI radar 24/7.

 

Each time they cleanse they are supporting the server in terms of donations. It also gives our admins incentives to hunt and police the world actively through the use of F-MENU. It's a game of cat and mouse with rewards on all sides.

 

Botters get equalized on a global scale with active police work utilizing F-MENU / Triggers.

Honest players do not have to suffer from the unfair time advantage that botters receive.

Admins receive donations in the form of cleanses incentivizing the police work like commission.

 

This is all conceptual. But we will likely follow this route.

 

Instead of alienating the bots, we will simply close the gap that ultimately causes botting to inflate economies and destroy the incentive for honest players to grind:

 

- The time invested difference. Botting time should not equal to honest time. So we're not looking to destroy accounts or issue mass bans, just equalize the rates. If bots can run 24/7, then botting time is 0.25*honest time, so if you hunt 4 hours on average daily (grinding), the bot needs to carry out 16 hours of straight grind to acquire the same items, xp, sp, etc.

Edited by PlayINERA

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I like it, seems pragmatic enough to actually work in practice as well. Instead of granting honest players automated game-play features to balance things out, you opt to handicap a bot's efficiency with a 0.25x to 1x "time" exchange rate to an honest player. Different route with a similar objective in mind; creating a gaming environment that works for all. 

 

 

 

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@PlayINERA 

 

Interesting notes what you have posted and interesting lessons that you've taken. At last and at least. You know,  more and more admins who try l2 servers they don't ever, not even seem to understand their own mistakes and since you're to the next step by admitting your own faults/mistakes this takes you to a greater level so grats for that try high five. Allthough, you still have a lot to learn and the community is tired of trial and error learning from admins like you. You are still far from understanding that this game is meant to have an expiration date and those who deny that, just end playing alone their creations. In other words let me clarify that for you. 

 

Fact 1. You make a successful grand opening (this is the key for a successful server, you don't and then you already failed within the next 2 days with the lowest activity).

 

Fact 2. After that period of success you know that the downfall will begin to rise day by day and become even stronger until you hit total real 0. What should your reactions be to this physiological process of that game ? Re - balancing ?  Keep promising stuff to the people so they don't quit ? Keep them active with online events ? WHATEVER you chose to do and I mean that; WHATEVER you decide to do to postpone it, evey time and everything will come to the same end and have the same result Game Over. Period.

 

Fact 3. Despite the fact that you give 100% of your time, you are the best and most uncorrupted admin ever passed to the l2 game you will fail to keep them playing your shit. A player knows when it's time to leave, no matter what you do he will just quit regardless how pro your server is or how pro you are as a smartass superior gender of administrator kind to the l2 scene.

 

Now let's get to the main point of my post instead of just writting down true facts. This game is meant to always be like that, good ammount of people online when opening -> fun at the mead time -> boring after a while (this can very from a day to a week or to even months in rare cases) -> boring to play the same and the same shit everyday the activity is now lessen -> further drecrease to the activity since some left -> end is now soon -> spasmodic movements from the admin team to save the game -> failed or postponed the server's life for a while -> zombie game unfortunately -> k.o. server closure since 0 online. 

 

And my question has as following :

Can you change what is programmed by it's nature to be or to happen ? That's the puzzle you have to solve rather than concentrating to just botting or balance and unbalance retard stories and such kind of dilemmas that we hear for almost more than a decade since from brainless players and their fellow admins.

 

Have fun and happy new year to you and the rest humanoids who choose to read my posts through the years.

 

 

Edited by Dev

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Hello Dev, I think everyone accepts the notion that servers have an expiration date. But there's a difference between a two week server, a two month server, and a one year server. The real challenge is to maintain a population that is considered "healthy" relative to the open world environment of the game for as long as possible. Private servers are meant to die within a time-frame like that, because simply put, they cannot update into later chronicles, gradually, thus providing new content every so often. 

 

Let me remind you that retail went from Prelude (c0) to Interlude within 3 years, on x1 rates. So of course private servers, with higher rates and without the luxury of chronicle progression are going to have a much shorter lifespan. 
 

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1 hour ago, mr zero said:

Hello Dev, I think everyone ....

"The real challenge is to maintain a population that is considered "healthy" relative to the open world environment of the game for as long as possible."
 

 

Yep, it seems you didn't understand my final point. That's exactly what I wrote. That's the real deal of any server but the quest remains on how you will achieve that target by going against the program or the server's lifetime cycle plus 99.99% of servers fail in that benchmark of the lifespan or business cycle.

 

 

Edited by Dev

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Can you change what is programmed by it's nature to be or to happen ? That's the puzzle you have to solve rather than concentrating to just botting or balance and unbalance retard stories and such kind of dilemmas that we hear for almost more than a decade since from brainless players and their fellow admins.

 

Everything in life has an expiration. Your goal should not be to make an eternal server; it should be to accommodate the play style of 2020 but retain its old ways simultaneously. Botting is not a trivial topic. It becomes complex as you realize any punishment will merely affect your bottom line: the population count. Any action you take will result in negative hit unless you define better standards.

 

I think if admins want my advice, focus on the theme of complaints from your seasons and address those. For three seasons we have tried to address bots unsuccessfully; it is clearly a difficult issue. But as admins you also need to stick to your own moral codes. For example, I hate botting, I never did, never will, but people love it, so find a balance between honest and dishonest.

 

Every season at INERA we listen to the majority voice and address those issues followed up by some pretty serious patch work and goodies.

 

How do you retard or cheat the death of a server?

 

Well now, that's why we make these seasons. We ponder the same question. For now all you can do is take the lessons learned from worlds and apply them accordingly.

 

Regards,

Vice

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@PlayINERA thanks for your answers. I played at your server 3 months. Best server I've played in the last couple of years, but you guys seems to find a solution to the problems "too late" and that's the reason i quitted.

 

Anyway thanks for that season, hope you learned a lot. See you in the next season

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