I'll start this article by making a promise. This is the last article I will write about botters, RWT-ers, account traders, cheaters and other such scum that falls in this category. Forever. Probably.
A lot of complaining has been done about these people, even by me, and with good reason. Some people found their livelihood becoming worthless. Some others found that their skill cape got them scorn sooner than respect. And yet others simply don't like seeing their friends rage quit after a walk on the dark side has backfired on them.
But other than a lot of "Jagex shouldn't have done this or that," claims, I've seen few permanent solutions being offered.
Let's review. Just as some people would rather see an innocent man rot in jail, than let a murderer roam free, some would bring back the Sleeping Bag of Terror, or place some kind of Captcha of Confusion to stop bots. Thought this was bad? Some of the other suggestions I've seen, while hilarious, like the ability to set people on fire (and introducing a stop-drop-roll emote), are still just as pointless.
Yes, that is the simple truth. Jagex has already stated it, but for those who missed it, here it is again: For several reasons that are too boring and complicated to explain, Jagex will always be one step behind the programmers of the bots, and these programmers will always find a way around every obstacle that is put in their way; at least for as long as Jagex wants to stay with a Java-based code.
And while Jagex claims that they can detect bots very easily nowadays, it is also a fact that you need to merely baby-sit them (interrupt them on occasion) to fly below their radar. Clearly fighting botting and RWT with in-game measures is a pointless waste of time and resources.
So measures have to be taken from outside of the game. But for any viable solution we have to find out a few things about the root of this problem.
Why do people bot, buy gold, or buy high level accounts in the first place? It is a question I've been going over in my mind quite a bit, but the only answer I can come up with is laziness.
People want to have awesome stats and the best equipment and have the highest level content unlocked without doing all the grinding that over half of the RuneScape game is. So why not give it to them?
Sounds insane, right? I know, I cringed at the thought of it too. But what if Jagex sold GP or even XP to put on your accounts, while undercutting the current RWT-ers? It would eliminate the need to buy your stuff from shady companies. Since free bots have recently been deemed unsafe and prone to hacking your account, people prefer to pay for the programs anyways.
Of course, those "bought" accounts can never be let lose in the normal population of RuneScape. They would falsify the competition, and try to monopolize the market, just as it is now.
So why not put them on a separate server? Also, since these people care little about anyone's achievements, and possibly not even their own, there will be no high scores, Adventurer's Log or Photo Booth available. The GE there would be merely a shop that buys and sells everything you need for whatever the GE's median price of is on the main servers. You could even allow communication back and forth between main and cheat servers, just like it currently works between RuneScape and FunOrb.
To give the new servers a constant influx of new people, anyone caught botting (provided Jagex makes reporting a lot easier and faster), RWT-ing, or buying and selling their accounts will still get their second and third chance, but only on those servers. If all this was in fact implemented, account trading would also drop to a minimum, as you would never be sure if this account was still able to play on the main servers.
Will this work? I will not pretend to say that this is the Holy Grail, or even a Hail Mary. But any long term solution must come along these lines.
And why must there be a more permanent solution? Because Jagex's recent appeasement of cheaters, while catering the to short term vision of keeping the number of subscriptions afloat, will only serve to enrage their dedicated customers in the long run.
So I put this to all of you, dear readers, what do you think a permanent solution looks like, if possible? Failing that, when will enough be enough?