MMOG threats: bots, cheats, farming...

I'm sure that developer thinking over new "WOW killer" game sooner or later face with bots and cheats counteraction issue. Many of us had already dealt with it in some ways. Beeing on CDC @ SF i met a lot of interest over it...

Its pretty clear that bots and cheat may bring serious harm to both online universe existence and amount of project revenue. Depending on the MMOG business model, copyright owners run risks to lose considerable part of subscribers or revenue generated by in-game goods sales.

First of all people think over own solutions, various tricks to reduce the threat. But anyway games operators are forced to keep special staff to ban cheater's accounts. Obviously dividing efforts in 2 different directions means more money and time consumption.

Is it possible to concentrate on one way and become effective? I'm sure yes. I had over 20 meetings on GDC and found out huge interests for MMOG protection and security solution from various forms of business - starting game engine developers till the publishers and operators.

What if we reach the goal through game client code obfuscation, and traffic encryption? Here we get RAM control, application integrity control, launch control, code protection from being analysed. Malefactor has to reverse protection to analyse how it works and be able to make any kind of cheating/bot tool.

Constant protection updates with different encryption mechanisms coming with game patches and updates may seriously slow dawn reversing process and make such tools development almost impossible. Traffic encryption will prevent it from being analysed that greatly reduce possibility of unauthorized servers install.

As StarForce now is able to provide developers with full functional free test account to try the protection on your own MMOG games I want to invite everybody who interested to try it out. Your feedback is really appreciated.

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