The Great Bot Hunt – part 1

by Alphaville Herald on 18/11/07 at 11:35 pm

Where do the landbots live?

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

bot stuck in the ground dead center in Margery (a linden water sim)

I almost admire the 150-proof chutzpah of the greedhead who has been running 20 bots hidden on land owned by Linden Lab for the last few months. Most sunlight-deprived overweight basement dwellers trying to “monetize the gameplay” would pull a chump move – like packing their bots into a cargo hold floating 700 meters over their own land – and get fingered as a super-creep when someone connects the dots and ties the bots to an identifiable human player with some interest in maintaining a reputation in-game.

But real pros know better – why pay for virtual land when you can park your bots on the Linden’s land? You’ll save on tier fees, and avoid a virtual lynch mob at the same time. Even better – you have the Terms of Service to protect your identity.

The in-world business scene has always been rough, and shortly after the Lab open-sourced the SL client software last year, the “make real money in SL” dream took on a cold metallic edge – a Wüstoff Trident Grand Prix sort of edge – with someone else holding the handle. Bots are both a symptom and an outgrowth of this – and the sort of thing that will be putting third world gold farmers out of work soon, if not already.

Automated bots can scan the land-for-sale listings faster and longer even the most over-caffeinated college student. Residents who play the metaverse land market soon learn that nothing but trouble await those who accidentally put their land up for sale at below market prices. Mysterious avatars swoop in and buy the land – acting as robotic virtual land arbitrage agents – much to the dismay of the human players involved. Then there is the charming possibility of automatically laundering money by passing it through the hands of a number of automated avatars. Money laundering is not the sort of business you would want to run it on your own land – if that is what is going on here.

Where do the bots live? An exclusive SL Herald investigation may have uncovered the answer – yet the LL staffer we contacted this weekend was unwilling to boot more than one of the bots — unless the community at large files plenty of abuse reports. We’ll cover where and how to do this in parts two and three of this story – and look into how pros play the system at the expense or the rank and file players.

One Response to “The Great Bot Hunt – part 1”

  1. [...] was a 2007 series of articles in the Alphaville Herald called “The Great Bot Hunt,” part 1, part 2, and part 3. I went hunting and found some bots myself, but at that time I didn’t [...]

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