Yesterday was not a good day for the game. The devs conceded yet another valuable asset to the botters by closing down the Gateway forever. It’s not the first time the legit player has to suffer in the war against botting, and prolly also not the last time. Leadership, Coalescent Wards, bound Refining Points, capped utility procs, now the Gateway… the list keeps growing.
I don’t agree with the decision and regret losing the Gateway, but I also don’t think it’s a decision the devs took lightly. You might even have to honor their courage, because pushing through the decision against the mob is certainly not easy.
Botting was an issue
Also let’s not pretend botting hasn’t been a huge issue with the Gateway. I myself have seen and worked on scripts for the Gateway that can potentially exploit any offered function:
- Botting the Sword Coast Adventures with a 100% success rate
- Playing the ZAX to create AD out of thin air (buy low, sell high)
- Auto buy and sell auctions and undercut the competition
- Bot professions
The devs acknowledged they have taken steps to stop the issue, but eventually failed which ultimately led to the shutdown of the Gateway. I think in the end the botters lost more with the Gateway than the legit players, but it’s disconcerting that Cryptic seems to be only able to handle botting by cropping features. There is not a single example of them directly fighting bots aside from a few features to hinder new account of accessing the mailbox and such. All they do is cut, cut and cut.
No indication of success
What makes matters worse is that we also lack any indication of success. The gold spammers have not gone away, and obviously never will. Any prevention they do only seems to relocate the problem, not solve it. The Sword Coast Adventures are now gone for botters of course, but the environment to automate professions ingame is well developed and long set up.
In the end the devs have to show their actions have hurt botters more than the legit players, which have lost a lot of useful functions with the Gateway. It doesn’t help that Cryptic is prone to remove without a proper backup plan. Panderus confirmed he has gotten the task to look into ways to make the lost Companion Gear from the SCA available ingame. It’s irritating and unprofessional this wasn’t done in advance. Now the gear is lost for a certain time. Also professions need a major overhaul now, which is supposed to happen “within the next modules”. I mean, what the eff?
It’s a business decision
It also bugs me that botting is once again used as prominent cover-up. The devs confirmed the shutdown was about resources. This means there undoubtedly would have been ways to preserve the Gateway while making it harder for bots. The devs however weren’t willing to invest their time in the process. You can bitch about the evil botters all day, but this is as much a business decision. Let’s not forget the Gateway is something they can not utilize on all platforms and I’m pretty sure this makes it incredibly hard to assign devs to the project.
Overall I think you can understand the decision, but a sour taste nonetheless remains. The devs at least have to handle these situations smarter and offer prompt solutions instead of a random compensation with an ironic touch. But since we are talking about this stuff as long as the game exists, I personally doubt their strategy will ever change. Which is again simply a matter of resources. It’s frustrating, but the only real solution for players would be to switch to a bigger title.
What’s you take on the shutdown of the Gateway? Share it in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!