With the increase of bots coming into the game world, we’ve been taking proactive measures to maintain a healthy player experience.
Building a healthy game environment has many challenges. Whether it’s ensuring cards are balanced correctly, RNG is kept at bay or bugs aren’t hiding in the cracks… there’s a lot that goes into ensuring Gods Unchained remains fun, healthy and challenging.
Most of the problems we come up against occur as a result of something created on the dev side of things, but there’s an issue that’s a bit harder to balance as it doesn’t come from the inside: exploitative external forces.
With core market trading on its way, we expect to see an increase in bots being used to farm resources. Already, we’ve seen bots deployed to increase deck earnings (among other things) so this week we launched the first iteration of our automatic bot detection system.
This system scans the Gods Unchained servers temporarily suspending any accounts that appear to be bots. If further review finds the account has been running bots at some point, no assets will be removed (they are truly decentralized) but the account will be blocked from queuing or fusing from that point on.
It’s a good start, but admittedly it’s not a perfect system…. yet.
In its first week of running, some initial leads turned out to be wrongly accused players. While this doesn’t feel great, we’re grateful to these players for following the appeal process as these instances have and will help us fine-tune the detection system to course-correct in the future.
Thankfully, the majority of instances detected were made up of the malicious (read: mindless) 1s & 0s we were looking for, meaning we’re on the right track.
So why are bots bad?
There are multiple reasons for this, but the main two relate to the game and its economy.
First up, playing against bots sucks. Ranked Constructed is designed to pit player against player in a battle of wits, strategy and sometimes brute force (Nature decks, anyone?). Bots do things a little differently: they sour battles with uninspired moves, repetitive actions or – worst of all – run-down-the-timer tactics (often leading an opponent to concede out of pure frustration).
Secondly, bots that exist to farm resources work against the economy. Some assets can (and will) only be attainable by playing the game. If bots spend all day farming these assets, it dilutes the value of certain resources and diminishes the effectiveness of the ‘Play to Earn’ concept as a whole.
Both these instances significantly affect the health of the game as they both create a negative player experience, so it’s something we take very seriously.
A secure future
We truly believe in the ideal that blockchain is built on: that decentralization is the fairest way forward. Giving players complete ownership over their digital assets is one of the pillars of Gods Unchained and something we’ll continue to champion. We’re excited to watch this blossom as we begin to release further opportunities for players to collect and trade assets.
To see this become a reality, security-focused steps like these are necessary to ensure that Gods Unchained maintains an even playing field, one that not only rewards players and traders alike, but protects them and their assets from the possibility of exploitation.
Watch this space.