That question began turning over in my head the other day when I was in an Isle of Conquest battle. As usual, I darted over and grabbed the Quarry, hanging around until the Alliance captured it and made serious inroads on blasting into the Horde keep.* I then noticed that the Alliance grabbed the Docks, Hangar, and Workshop in short order.
"WTH is the Horde doing?" I asked in BG chat. "Are they turtling?"
"No," replied a druid. "They're all bots fighting in mid outside their gate."
"We've got a ton of them on our side too," a pally added.
I crept up to the Hangar and perched on a ledge to watch. Sure enough, toons were emerging from the Horde Keep in a steady stream into a huge melee about halfway between the front gate and the Workshop. Nobody was even close to the Workshop or even bothering to go around to the Workshop or Hangar.
Okay, I'd been known to fixate on a fight in a BG before, but when the gates were breached into the Horde Keep, I ran in and found..... Horde players rezzing and making a beeline for the front gate's portal.
Nobody bothered to try and defend the keep.
It was quite surreal, seeing a Lock and a Priest --both with over 440k health (I checked)-- run right by me and straight for the brawl outside. Typically everybody on the other side gangs up on the Rogue if he's visible, so I was shocked when I wasn't stunned and feared all over the courtyard.
But why set yourself up as a bot? Why run the risk of having your account suspended** for a few Honor Points?
Near as I can figure, there's three reasons why. Feel free to add your own or dispute as you see fit:
- Keeping up with the Joneses. There are players that, due to time crunch or whatnot, feel that they can't spend enough time grinding for gear as they should, so they decide to run a bot program to get the points needed to buy the gear. The problem with that is the more bots there are on a team, the lesser chance you have of actually winning the BG. If you've got a full Honor set already --and it's only a week or so's worth of running AV to get the points for a full set-- why bother botting when you need to actually win the BG (or Arena or Rated) to get the Conquest points?
- Beating the System. Similar to the first reason, but instead of attempting to gear up due to lack of time, botting is done not only for gear but to give the MMO's devs the middle finger. The "I'm so clever that I found a way to beat your shitty grinding game and get the points I deserve!" attitude isn't too far off the big ego driven attitude found in BGs, so I can easily believe this motivation.
- Boosting a Hacked Account. Someone comes along and hacks into an MMO account, but the toons aren't completely up to spec to be useful for the hacker. Therefore, they set up a bot to get them the necessary points/gear/mats/whatever. This is the one that bothers me the most, because when I see such blatant examples of botting, all I can think of is that's some poor person's hacked account.
There are days when it sure seems tempting to login, set up a bot, and then go take care of errands for the day. Or maybe set up a bot to run overnight along with any backups/AV scans that have to be done on the computer. The "no effort and big return" carrot and stick is very powerful, and with botting software steadily becoming more sophisticated there's plenty of pressure on MMO admins to flush out bots and keep the peace.
Plus it'd be nice to not have about half of your team run straight to the mid in EoS and park there for the entire game.
In case you've not tried it or haven't purchased it yet, another Free Weekend in Guild Wars 2 started today.
And to answer your question, yes, I've already logged in. My Thief is still there, and still getting killed off when he attacks enemies two levels higher than himself. I've gotten too many bad habits on easier MMOs these days....
*So few people even think of capturing the Quarry --or the Mines in AV-- that I've kind of taken that on as part of my job. It's a small thing, really, but can be vitally important in a fight that devolves into a war of attrition. I find that the team that does the small things well will typically end up winning in the end.
**It used to be that way, anyway. I'm not so sure now if you can be suspended for botting, because it seems so prevalent.