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A bot (short for robot) is a program used to do repetitive tasks.
Bots in online games
In online games, they are often used for farming and spamming, and botting is generally considered cheating. They are often used for profit by companies that sell virtual items. Bots are against the terms in the Guild Wars EULA, and will get the bot user's account banned. ArenaNet has used different techniques to counter bot farming, such as reduced drops for solo farmers, nerfing of popular farming areas, and banning of accounts confirmed to be used for bots.
"Botting" and "botter"(s) refer almost exclusively to the use of bots in online games.
Bots are harmful mainly because they make the large-scale gathering of items simple, fast, and easy. This in turn leads to flooding of the market, causing price decreases. Bots are also used by companies and people who sell gold for real money. The idea of selling gold for real money causes a price increase for items that are not commonly farmed by bots. This is because players will just buy gold online instead of working for it like a legitimate player would, and then buy the virtual items they need in the game with that gold. Bot use is greatly frowned upon by regular players.
Some bots return to cities to automatically sell items they have farmed, and are often identified by one or more of the following:
- Poor English
- An obvious text macro
- Frequent repetition and the use of a incremented number after each phrase to prevent the chat from filtering their spam in the chat window. Note that some normal players may employ the same tactics.
- Failure to respond properly to a player's queries
- Farming bots usually have some kind of path file that they always follow, you can easily recognize bots by watching the way they go through the gate, it is always the same.
- Often guildless.
- Some bots do not appear to be walking by pressing and holding the 'forward' key but instead look as though they're hammering it.
- Failure to respond at all, instead trying to automatically trade with you and/or join your party.
It may be a good idea to first "quiz" the bot before reporting them, although there is often a "bot master" who will respond to such queries, so this is not foolproof.
Suspected bots can be reported to ArenaNet through their "Ask a Question" form on the Guild Wars site. Instructions for doing so can be found here. Another way of reporting bots is to target the suspected bot, type /report in chat and then select botting from the list. The name of the bot can be typed after '/report' if you can't find them in the outpost. Note that after your report, you will not receive correspondence about proceedings between ArenaNet and the alleged violator.
Infrequently, henchmen and heroes may be referred to as bots. This mostly comes from players of first-person shooters, where computer controlled players are generally referred to as bots. See Wikipedia's bot disambiguation page for other possible meanings of the term.