Botting is an issue that every MUD deals with in one way or another at some point in time. To date, we've outright banned bots, killed them down to level 1, ridiculed their players, and been generally mean to people we suspect are botting. Currently, there are very simple rules that determine whether or not a particular account is botting. To wit, if you have a trigger that starts a fight for you, you are botting.
However, part of playing a MUD is being clever, and people have legitimately explained that they simply do not have the time to play a MUD fulltime. (Heck, that sort of 'gameplay' is what Progress Quest is based upon. And I love that game.) Anyhow, we are considering allowing bots, given the following rather restrictive rules:
Clearly there are a couple of points to iron out, so please feel free to discuss this here, or on the talk page. Furthermore, if you are going to answer, please indicate whether or not you would try playing a bot under these rules, with the stipulation that you could have your bot logged in at the same time as an actual player.
—A note I can think of, you say open pk but can't initiate pk fights with non-bots. I see this being an issue. IMHO the bots should be entirely 100% segregated from normal PK. I.e. though they are open pk, it's only to other botters. Otherwise it will be too easy for human pkers to farm excessive pk rewards killing really poorly written Zmud bots. It would also allow a clever player to write a MUD-bot designed to minimize damage and maximize health points. Such an opponent could then be engaged by their main character for convenient risk-free PK exp and gexp. paradox 2010/04/06 17:07
—A good point. My reasoning is more that if a bot steals a legitimate player's mob, the player should have some sort of recourse. — Mreh 2010/04/06 17:09
I think this would essentially split the mud into two different games… I'd rather not have bots. You're still going to get the same rulebreakers who'll bot as regular players. I don't think this activity will decrease as a result of such a change. Unfortunately, the only real way to fix the problem is to have more enforcement, which consumes resources… perhaps in future when we have more players, people who are not so good at coding could be law wizzes assigned to trapping bots, etc. -Sigh
— @Sigh - Yes, another option debated was to just have a DevDune like instance of Dune. I.e. a separate game for the bots. In regards to the issue of botters still botting as non-bot-listed chars. You are right, people will still try to bot their main characters without being considered bots. BUT I pointed out to Mreh this makes punishment much easier. You get caught once or twice and your character is set to be a bot from then on in. Like it says above, permanent. paradox 2010/04/06 18:44
— I'd personally rather not see the introduction of sanctioned botting in any form. That aside, I don't think the proposed scheme is workable. I agree that some recourse for a 'real' character against a bot is necessary, but also that any sort of open-pk would be very abusable. Unless, of course, bot PKs were somehow segregated from normal PKs and made rewardless (except exp). — luther 2010/04/06 19:40
— If we start to allow bots Dune will die. Yes I believe that having a trigger to start a fight is ok…as long as you aren't also moving through rooms and areas automatically. I used to have a trigger for 'You killed sldier', 'Kill soldier' but I don't anymore because of the new rules. I have never actually botted once in my what 9 years on Dune, I believe it will ruin the game for many players that actually like to play. I say keep banning botters. Botting ruins the fun and the thrill of making your character on your own. Each one of my alts I have made from the ground up with no botting. And they are good characters. Yes time consuming, but still worth every minute. — extra 2010/04/08 13:50
— I don't think allowing bots now, in any form, after so many years would do any good to dune. — cens 2010/04/08 15:11
— Of course - like on websites - it could be possible to set certain areas as 'bots-no-entry' (forgot what the website equivalent is named; something with 'no follow'?). This could keep a part of the mud enjoyable to the players who don't bot. — temujin 2010/04/26 06:29