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Botwatch | RuneScape Wiki
Botwatch is the name of the software Jagex uses to detect accounts using bots ingame. This system received a major update in September 2012 along with the release of Botany Bay. According to Mark Gerhard, Botwatch is able to profile accounts and determine whether or not they are using botting software. Most other anti-botting measures have focused on protecting and obfuscating RuneScape’s source code, but Botwatch doesn’t focus on breaking the code of the botting software. Rather, it monitors an account’s actions and determines whether or not it is human behaviour. Certain checks are also in place to determine whether or not the game is being played using an official Jagex client.
The Botwatch system has banned players directly, making it the first automated banning system in RuneScape. This being said, Jagex is quite confident in this system and guarantees that all legitimate players will be safe. However, a major glitch did arise from an early flaw in the system, resulting in thousands of innocent players being wrongfully banned.
On 18 September 2012, Jagex added preliminary bot watching code to RuneScape, and spam bots started to explode and get banned.
They can perform two animations when they get banned.
They gasp for breath, choke, and then fall over. (Doing the Dramatic Death Emote. )
They glow and start a cry emote, before a fireball burns from inside them and kills them from the inside out, finally making them explode.
The bot bot exploding – Dramatic Death emote, this happens when the bot dies
Botwatch rogue banning glitch
The Rogue Botwatch bans glitch was a major glitch that occurred on 27 September 2012, resulting in the illegitimate banning of thousands of accounts. Around 3:30 PM Jagex time, Botwatch began removing thousands of innocent players from the game and placing unappealable permanent bans on their accounts. It would teleport the players to many locations, including White Knights Castle and Wizard’s tower. If an affected player dropped an item, it was instantly destroyed. Affected players were also unable to trade with others, nor use the Grand Exchange. The glitch was fixed in less than an hour after its discovery, and Mod Emilee issued a public apology about the issue and described its cause.
Unfortunately, whilst updating our systems, a human error occurred which resulted in the accidental banning of a selection of online accounts. These bans have now been reverted and we will be rebooting the servers shortly to ensure that all accounts can log in as normal.
Those who were affected by the glitch later had the falsely issued offences (and accompanying punishments) manually removed, and were also given 20 free spins on the Squeal of Fortune as a goodwill gesture. Some players who were affected had a number of their stats temporarily drained upon logging back in, to levels that would otherwise permanently be rolled back to if they were caught [legitimately] macroing and given a second chance. Their base levels, however, remained unaffected. This could be treated like any other temporary drainage of a skill, such as by drinking a restore potion or simply waiting for the stats to regenerate on their own. However, some effects of the glitch were not so temporary; for example, items that were dropped by affected players and consequently destroyed were not refunded to them.
The next day Mod Emilee confirmed the cause as a heuristic from the testing phase of the system which was accidentally turned on, and stated that barriers were put into place to prevent it from being turned on again.  In a Q&A session the following week, Mod MMG stated that the number of affected accounts totalled around 40, 000, and confirmed that each and every single affected account was unbanned. 
Even after being fixed and reimplemented, however, the system still wasn’t perfect, as there were many innocent players who were allegedly being falsely banned[source needed]. Beginning on 15 March 2013, many players logging in from China and South Korea were immediately and permanently banned,  many of who claimed to be completely innocent.  This became a great concern to players in South Korea and China, opening wide discussion in several Chinese RuneScape forums. The bans seem to have stopped [source needed], but some of the oldest and most experienced Chinese players are still banned.  So far, Jagex has not publicly commented on this issue.
Live Stream Bot-busting Q&A
^ Mod Emilee’s post on the rogue bans, quick find code 15-16-748-64015981. RuneScape Official Forums.
^ Mod Emilee’s post on the cause of the bans, quick find code 15-16-748-64015981, page 117. RuneScape Official Forums.
^ Future of RuneScape Q&A Transcript Mod MMG, question 30, post 2.
^ a b c Chinese players’ discussion about being innocently banned
v • d • eBotany BayNPCs
The Botfinder General
Pitchfork of vigilantism
Pitchfork of justiceOther
v • d • eJagex Monitoring SoftwareAnti-macro
Inappropriate Behaviour Warning
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Botting – OSRS Wiki
Macroing, botting, or autoing is the act of using third-party software to perform automated tasks. A macro operates by automating user input to the game. A simple macro may just move the cursor to a certain position and perform a click while more advanced ones may interact with the game client directly; as technology advances, botting methods as well as their countermeasures have evolved from simple macros to utilising machine learning. The terms macroer, autoer, botter or bot usually refer to players who use such programs. Usage of macros is not allowed under the RuneScape rules (Rule 7) and may result in action taken against that player’s account, such as a temporary or permanent ban. Moreover, Jagex has the authority and power to reset or rollback a player’s skill levels and/or bank value before initiating a ban.
Macros can be programmed to perform almost any task. Typically, they are used to perform tasks deemed overly tedious by real players, such as training a particular skill, collecting a certain item, or quickly typing an offer or phrase. Some examples are given below:
Autotyping programs can be used to repeat a specific message over and over. This is often used by players in populated areas like World 301 Varrock West Bank where a trade offer quickly disappears in the volume of other public chat messages, or it’s used to advertise a real world trading site. This can be a nuisance to other players, as with all the spam, and can be reported under the offensive language option. If advertising a website, they can be reported under the advertising websites option. If players do not want to report, they can just right-click the name on the chat box and hit ignore.
Autoclickers can be used to repeatedly click a desired spot or click in many locations faster than is possible with a mouse. Autoclickers are mostly used to circumvent the auto-logout system. They can also be used to perform simple actions, such as Low/High Level Alchemy.
Autobuying programs can be used to buy large amounts of items from shops. They can also be used to buy and bank items that can be sold for a profit.
Many macros involve more complicated tasks such as Mining, Woodcutting, Fishing, monster-killing, and more. These programs often have advanced programming that gives them the ability to solve random events, navigate between locations, respond to chat, avoid dangerous situations, and more.
On 10 December 2007, Jagex implemented a number of updates aimed at ending the use of macros in the game. Although these updates have been successful at drastically cutting down on the number of both macros and real-world traders, reactions among players were mixed concerning how well-implemented these updates were. As a result of a referendum, many of these updates which had lowered the number of bots in the game were removed on 1 February 2011.
1 Internal workings
1. 1 Colour bots
1. 2 Injection bots
1. 3 Reflection bots
1. 4 OpenGL/DirectX bots
1. 5 Packet bots
1. 6 Gaming engine
2 Macro program risks
3 Identifying and reporting macros
4 Stopping macros
5 Macros and the economy
6 Response by Jagex
6. 1 Free trade removal
6. 2 ClusterFlutterer
6. 3 Botwatch
9 See also
Internal workings[edit | edit source]
Several macroers chopped down a yew tree. Notice how they walk away as soon as the tree is cut down.
Like normal players, a macro tool needs to control the game by giving the appropriate inputs. These controls result in some game reaction that the macro needs to observe and interpret to plan the next action. Typically, a macro is either a colour-coded or reflection-coded bot programmed in Java or in other programming languages.
Colour bots[edit | edit source]
Colour bots are a primitive form of botting that uses colours in the game to perform. It is done by the bot being told to recognise a certain type of colour on the screen and clicking on that colour. After a certain period of time, the colour has either disappeared or is then clicked again. More complex colour bots can scan certain images or 3D objects in game. After using the same strategy, it then moves to another location. These bots are unreliable and are mostly rendered temporarily useless if the colours or the graphics are changed. Jagex broke lots of these bots by changing the colour in the random events although some colour bots can get around this by scanning the object instead of looking for a certain colour onscreen. This poses a large challenge to these bots and their creators which means they constantly have to update their bots. As colour bots do not read or write to the game’s code, if scripted well, they can be almost undetectable to Jagex. This is one of the main reasons why some players use colour bots even when injection is available.
Injection bots[edit | edit source]
An injection bot is a type of bot that utilises the RuneScape code itself. It injects itself into the RuneScape client and is able to read the client’s code. It makes sense of the code and is able to make choices based on what the code states it will do. This is similar to how we react to what we see on the screen. However, an injection bot does not see the pictures; it sees the computer code that generates the pictures and can modify that code to be alerted when things happen. By doing this, it can do very complex commands and typically can be coded to do anything that humans do and act as we do. When combating this type of bot, it must be given a piece of computer code that it has not seen before, or a variation of it that would cause it to hook into the wrong part of the code to receive notifications. When most injection bots mess up, it is often caused by Jagex updating or changing objects in the game. The most successful instance of messing up injection bots was the update introducing the Bot Nuke. This update disabled most injection and reflection bots by changing where they can access code and putting false code for the bots to read, thus messing them up and causing the weird behaviour.
Reflection bots[edit | edit source]
Reflection bots create a mirror image of the RuneScape applet by accessing the loaded classes and then read the code of the “reflected” copy, without injecting any code. This is considered to be much harder to detect than injection but, if done right, both are completely undetectable. Most bots used both injection and reflection to be able to gather as much data as possible. A custom-engineered game client is used to run the bot rather than through a web browser with Jagex’s official client (as is done with most colour-based bots). This allows the game to be slightly modified making it listen to fake mouse or key events (thus allowing the bot owner to do other things while using the bot) and to disable direct system access (say: faking runtime information) to mislead Jagex’s servers.
OpenGL/DirectX bots[edit | edit source]
Another type are graphic driver-based bots. These types of bots hijack the current API, such as DirectX or OpenGL, which render the game’s graphics to the screen, and use the data gathered to locate players and other objects. These types of bots can also use ID’s like injection/reflection but not all require a custom-engineered game client. These bots can basically read the 3D models from the graphics card to determine what’s onscreen.
Packet bots[edit | edit source]
Packet bots were one of the first type of bots to be around in RuneScape; they could send commands to Jagex’s game servers in the form of packets filled with information such as the coordinates the bot wanted to walk towards. Packet bots no longer exist in RuneScape as Jagex took a swipe at the packet bots by encrypting and changing communications, resulting in one of the first massive bans. Cheating was pronounced dead, for the first time.
Gaming engine[edit | edit source]
The gaming engine is the part of the macro that interacts with the game, and then analyses the responses. A software program running on the game-playing computer usually has the capability to generate mouse input (move, click, drag, etc. ) and keyboard input (key down, key up). Analysing the response from the game can be done by capturing the entire game image (although some image processing might be required to obtain information about the game response). The gaming engine provides the basic mechanisms to play the game, but it requires task-specific knowledge to actually perform the macro operation. Some programs use colour recognition and click colours on the screen while others interface directly with the game.
Macro program risks[edit | edit source]
Many websites claim to have an undetectable macro program that will not only earn your character quick gold but will make it appear as if it is a real person playing instead of a program. In addition to the risk of getting banned for such programs, downloading these programs can lead to keyloggers or other malicious programs getting into your computer. This most often happens when the program is downloaded from a private source usually claiming to be a cracked version of an expensive macro program. Due to the risk of being banned and having your account hijacked, it is strongly suggested that you do NOT use any third-party programs related to RuneScape botting. The high risk of being banned is enough to deter most players from using third-party botting software.
Identifying and reporting macros[edit | edit source]
Many macros or gold farmers can be found performing highly repetitive tasks such as chopping trees, or fishing lobsters. Although many activities can lead to suspicion of macroing, keep in mind that players who display the following characteristics are not always bots.
Names that are extremely difficult to report – A common example is a mixture of uppercase i and lowercase L to produce a name similar to “IlllIlIllIlI” or just random letters. A typical name would be “ftdhfdjhb”. Reporting these player names can be difficult, but this can be remediated by turning on right-click reporting.
Low Combat level players crafting, fishing, woodcutting, or using Magic at high levels.
Only one skill trained (usually Woodcutting, Fishing, Mining, or Melee combat). This can be checked by looking up the name on the Hiscores or casting Stat Spy (P2P only) on a suspected bot.
May demonstrate strange behaviour such as not being able to fish in certain spots and thus running backwards and forwards from the fishing spot (or just not interacting at all with certain spots). Also, something that is common for Fletching macros is accidentally trading other people instead of clicking the bank unless it is a bank-specific macro, in which case it utilises the one-click bank feature.
Stopping in front of a door or gate that has closed.
Acting oddly if a player, follower, item, or NPC is on or near the spot they are working on or moving to.
Wearing very cheap equipment (for example, a Dragon med helm, Granite platebody, Dragon platelegs, Dragon boots, Abyssal whip and Anti-dragon shield are worn by the dragon-killing bots).
Having no quests done, or only a few. This can be checked with the equipment the person wears since some equipment needs the completion of a quest to wear. For example, a Rune platebody requires the completion of Dragon Slayer I.
Using only a Bronze sword. Many of these bots are skiller bots, spam bots, and Sorceress’s Garden bots.
Dropping ore and even gems (without cutting them) when training Mining (This is NOT a reliable method of identifying bots as many players utilise drop-mining as a method of training. If the only reason you have for thinking that someone’s a bot is that they’re dropping ores and gems, they probably aren’t one. )
Setting Hunter traps in a straight lines, and simply standing on top of fires when a fire is lit in that location (can be used to steal traps from bots, as most bots will still drop the trap).
Stopping macros[edit | edit source]
Current bots usually have complex code that can respond to, and overcome, attempts to disrupt their task. Prior to the use of these more advanced bots, players would throw gnomeballs at bots, lure them to aggressive monsters, or close a door or gate to trap bots. Although simple techniques like these no longer work consistently, many players spend a great deal of time discovering new ways to impede the actions of bots. Jagex also continues to add features to the game that make macroing more difficult and to remove macroers from the game. Most bots avoid patterns in their movement during the present days like fletching at random intervals unlike repeative behaviour of older bots. As time continues both sides get smarter in their way of stopping/botting which makes botting an endless problem.
Macros and the economy[edit | edit source]
Some players argue that macros benefit the game by performing tasks that no person would want to do, such as cutting yews constantly. Many disagree, however, arguing that macros sell vast amounts of resources causing the price of those resources to plummet. This then hurts legitimate players who are trying to make money selling that same item.
Many monsters that are monotonous and relatively safe to kill are targets for macroers, such as chaos druids (frequent good herb droppers), which then causes those herb prices to drop. However, areas that require difficult and/or complex quests to complete most likely have no macros. In addition, unique drops from monsters that require human intelligence to kill will not have their prices fall because of bots. Other examples include the rare drops from the Dagannoth Kings. When the macroer finally gets banned for cheating, the rare items remain with the banned player, thus meaning there are fewer of those items in the game, which further drives up their prices.
Macros can also cause the price of rare items to rise. Firstly, by spending their millions that were made easily through cheating they out-bid honest players for rare items, pushing their prices up. When the macroer finally gets banned for cheating, the rare items remain with the banned player meaning there are fewer of those items in the game, which further drives up their prices.
Macros making money are known as gold farmers and most are for gold selling sites.
Response by Jagex[edit | edit source]
Free trade removal[edit | edit source]
Jagex has responded to the use of macros by banning thousands of accounts, wiping stats, and deleting items. The most prominent response by Jagex was the removal of free trade and other changes that occurred on 10 December 2007. While the changes were highly controversial, they did succeed in greatly decreasing the prevalence of bots in RuneScape. These changes did not, however, eradicate botting altogether, and Jagex continues to enhance its ability to ban bot accounts and disrupt bot activities to this day. Improvements in macro and real world trading detection led to the return of free trade on 1 February 2011. Jagex has further clarified its action against those who use bots in other posts on the forums. Bots continued to be a problem in game, however, prompting a post by Mod Paul on the RuneScape forums in an attempt to address the concerns that some players have had about the high number of bots and Jagex’s attempts to combat them. 
ClusterFlutterer[edit | edit source]
On 25 October 2011, an update code-named “ClusterFlutterer”, also known as “Bot Nuking Day” or simply “Nuke Day”, was implemented aimed at preventing reflection and injection bots from functioning. This aimed to prevent bots from functioning by directly reading the game’s java code. Jagex believes that this consisted of 98% of all bots seen in the game. Also, upon revealing ClusterFlutterer, Jagex stated that over 1. 5 million bots had been recently banned.
Botwatch[edit | edit source]
September 2012 saw the addition of “Botwatch”, a set of aggressive bot-detection software intended to more accurately find macros and automatically ban them.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
Before being removed by Update:World Switcher & RotG (i), players who were suspected of botting were moved to the Bot worlds, 385 and 386 which, at the time were not selectable from the world select menu, but could be accessed by manually typing in their world IDs into the browser’s address bar. These worlds are now visible in the World switcher after Jagex decided not to continue with the practice because it was not effective. 
References[edit | edit source]
↑ Mod Paul. “Relief for Bots? WTF JAGEX!. ” 30 September 2010. RuneScape Forums.
↑ Jagex. Mod Acorn’s Twitter account. 19 September 2018. (Archived from the original on 8 April 2021. ) Mod Acorn: “It’s not a thing anymore. The bots ended up just hopping back to Player worlds every time. ”
See also[edit | edit source]
Real world trading
Jagex responses to real world trading
Update:Bots and real-world trading
Update:RuneScape vs Real-world Trading
Update:Trade and Drop Changes
Update:Wilderness Changes, Bounty Hunter and Clan Wars!
Runescape puts botters on trial in Botany Bay and lets players decide …
Runescape devs, Jagex, made it clear that they’re determined to stomp out all botting with a massive account nuke last year that banned 1. 5 million bot accounts in one day. The battle continues with a new initiative that will name and shame cheaters in an open court setting. “From today, any player caught botting will be given two warnings to allow them to change their ways, after which they will be permanently banned from the game – with no appeals, ” say Jagex. “At each warning stage the botter’s avatar will change to signify to the rest of the community that they have been caught botting. After receiving their second and final warning should they break the rules again, the bot avatar will be transferred to a new area called Botany Bay to await the judgment of the community. “When a bot is detected, a giant dragon hand will descend from the sky and point at the avatar so that players in the vicinity will know of their guilt. After a series of temporary bans and warnings, repeat offenders will be permanently booted from the game and sent to a remote island for ayers will receive a special pitchfork item for sitting on a jury. When the inevitable GUILTY judgement is passed, they’ll get to vote on the method by which the bot avatar is executed from a selection of fates that include “being stomped upon by a dragon and blasted in a ray of light from the RuneScape gods. “They also get to throw fruit at the botter as he lingers in the stocks. The event is presided over by the Botmaster General, who demean the prisoner for their slothfulness before pulling the trigger on their execution. “We take a very hard line on cheaters in our game and have taken the unique move to name and shame those who have been breaking one of our most important rules, ” lead designer Mark Ogilvie explains. “We have wanted to do this for some time and we hope that by bringing the actions of those who cheat to the attention of the wider community, we can make a massive step towards eliminating botting from the game”.
Based in Bath with the UK team, Tom loves strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.
Frequently Asked Questions about how does runescape catch bots
How do you bot in RuneScape without getting caught?
Macroing, botting, or autoing is the act of using third-party software to perform automated tasks. A macro operates by automating user input to the game. … Usage of macros is not allowed under the RuneScape rules (Rule 7) and may result in action taken against that player’s account, such as a temporary or permanent ban.
Are RuneScape bots illegal?
Runescape puts botters on trial in Botany Bay and lets players decide their fate. … “From today, any player caught botting will be given two warnings to allow them to change their ways, after which they will be permanently banned from the game – with no appeals,” say Jagex.Sep 26, 2012
What happens if you get caught botting in RuneScape?
No, they can’t detect your mouse moving in other windows with the client.Feb 4, 2010