Why Won’t Blizzard Blast Spamming Chat Bots?


One of the most annoying problems with the Diablo 2 experience over Battle.net are the bots that constantly spam in the chat channels and even in games. They want you to buy their gold or items, or just come to their gold selling site which might sell gold, and which will almost certainly try to trojan something onto your computer.

These sorts of bots make the public chat and the trade channels basically unusable, everyone hates them, but they seem unavoidable. After all, by the time they’d taken over, Diablo II was years and years old and wasn’t generating any ongoing revenue to pay the salaries of CMs, plus the old B.net code didn’t include proper anti-spammer tools, plus the game wasn’t a closed online system so CD-keys could be generated by spammers, etc.

Those excuses were valid for D2, but for D3? No. B.net 2.0 is new and designed with modern security measures in mind, D3 is online-only so valid CD-keys are required for everything, there are built-in tools to report spammers, etc. In light of that, the fact that gold spamming bots have been overrunning the service almost since D3’s launch seems unacceptable, and a fan sums up that attitude pretty well in a forum post today.

Goldspammers: When will you deal with them?

Seriously Blizzard. Enough is enough already. Since day 1, there is goldspamming on chats and pretty much everywhere. Even PM’s and friend’s invitations. Why can’t you do anything about it? You know this is happening. Everyone else knows it. Even the forums get flooded with this. When will you do anything?

…The best and simplest solution is right here: Filter words, but don’t let anyone know you’re filtering them. As in, if someone says “www.insertgoldsellingwebsitehere.com”, or adds anyone with that as a message, etc etc, you stealth block them for an hour and don’t let the message/friend add go through. You allow them to keep sending messages, but only they can see what they are sending. No one else sees, since they are stealth muted.

…There is no harm in this measure, and it fixes a very annoying issue, which is also a big part of why people don’t go in General, Trade and other chats ingame, since it is very [removed] annoying to be chatting with someone, and all of a sudden, an enormous message occupying 2x the chat size, in all caps, gets spammed several times, and you can’t chat anymore.
Vaeflare: We certainly understand that the activities of gold spammers can negatively impact everyone’s gameplay experience. Rest assured, though, that even if we don’t explicitly call it out, we’re actively investigating and actioning gold-spammers on a regular basis.

The best thing you can do about gold spammers both in-game and on the forums is to report them so that the proper teams can investigate those reports. Doing so allows us to hone in on problematic players so that we can take appropriate action against offending accounts.

How do we actually know action is taken against gold spammers? We need some names and figures. Would be better if the reports we reported reply us to say like “on this day you reported a gold spammer so today that account has been banned.” Something like that would let us know we do make a difference.
Vaeflare While every now and then we will post about particularly hefty account suspension and bans, the actions we take on accounts around the clock aren’t widely publicized.

As far as the actions taken against specific accounts or players, that’s a private a matter to be dealt with between the account holder and Blizzard, no one else. We will not tell you if someone else’s account has been suspended or banned. Keep in mind also that some gold spammers might actually be using compromised accounts, so we endevor to carefully investigate reports so that we can try to do right by legitimate players.

Are you swayed by his explanation? Do you feel Blizzard is doing all they can and should do to block spammers and bots and create an enjoyable Battle.net experience for Diablo players? Or do you need a spoonful of sugar to help you choke down that shovelful of PR excuse-making?

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  1. SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME on you Blizzard !

  2. Hmm I’m not sold that they are actively doing what they can to fight this problem. Just one guy banning everyone who spam, even if being conservative and only ban the worst of them, it wouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes per account banned, if the spammers then insist on getting their hands on new accounts they will have to buy a new one. That one guy would make huge sums of money for the company if he can force the spammers to pay 40$ every few minuts. I guess the biggest problem would be to find the spammers, but just checking the ‘reported spammers’ should give them thousands of human minds filtering for them. Even a decent spam filter get most of the spam, why don’t they implement that to auto report possible spammers and again just that one guy can sit and ban all day long.

    If they aren’t smart enough to do that, perhaps I should hire myself out to ban spammers I would only take 10$ per account banned, that should still net blizzard a few bucks and provide them a service. Since it would pay off doing this I can only presume there is some other reason as to why it isn’t financially sound to ban the botters. But I can’t think of a reason as to why farmers and goldsellers (non-ah sellers) would benefit blizzard economically.

  3. It is pretty sad when the first thing I do every time I log into D3 is go to my friends list and report 5 to 10 friend requests for spamming gold sales sites.

  4. Of course this is mere speculation [because Blizz cannot or will not divulge their data], but I think it is clear that they are not doing enough. Look at the auction house. Look at the prices. Who else but spammers/botters/farmers would be doing this. If normal or even casual fans were solely responsible for the economy, gold would be like $10 per 500k.

    I would go a step further [get ready for conspiracy theory] and propose that Blizz want it this way for the income they generate on the AH. They [in my opinion] have control over the economy so as long as someone does not crash the system, then they will let it ride because they are cashing in or at least sustaining the server and upkeep costs. The problem in D2 seemed they really had zero control over what was happening and with D3 its like they are the sheriff of the redlight district. They turn a blind eye as long as the behavior in question stays within certain, albeit objectionable, boundaries. So the spammers/botters can operate.

    Otherwise, why wouldnt they post some of their bounties, like a weekly update 500 accounts banned. It would be so easy. No legitimate player [or at least very very few, would have billions in gold. I’m sorry theres no way. I actively gold farm, flip stuff on the AH, and I’ve maybe had close to 10M at any one time and its usually spent on getting more stuff.

    Blizz definitely need to be doing more on the economy front. Maybe they will now that they have dynamically solved the difficulty issues with the MP system. Now focus on items, crafting, and the overall economy. If they can pull a 1.05 type patch for the economy, D3 just might be the game we all wanted. I think it is getting close.

  5. Almost every time I log into D3 I have 1-4 “friend requests” which are actually gold selling websites. I always report them as Spam, but more keep showing up. Feels like something Blizzard should do. Writing a regular expression to detect 80% of these and automatically flagging them as spam doesn’t seem too hard.

  6. As the CM said, they’re “actively investigating and actioning gold-spammers on a regular basis”.

    ‘On a regular basis’ means they don’t have a dedicated team for continuously maintaining Battle.net’s user community but rather gather data for a while, let spammers do their thing and in some undisclosed intervals, invest some time into banning reported accounts. Even doing this once per month/quarter/year would indeed be ‘on a regular basis’, as they refer to it.

    So yes, I think Flux is right to question Blizzard’s post-release dedication, when they don’t seem to be very active in keeping spam low. After all, they advertized and defended the absolute and unquestionable requirement for their dreaded DRM system with their power to keep the game clean that way.

  7. Can you imagine a presidential candidate taking the same approach that Blizzard is taking? “Why, yes, Candy, I have done taken various steps, on a regular basis, to address our country’s problems, but I cannot talk about any of them, because that is a personal matter between the government and those who are creating those problems.”

    I don’t buy it for a minute. Since the start of D3, I have been getting regular friend requests from the SAME gold spammer. I report and each and every one of them, but no action. Ever. The spammer is still operating.

    Blizzard could be doing a lot more to stop the spammers than it is currently doing.

  8. I had general chat and LFG chat open for 2 hours yesterday. I only saw one instance of a spammer and he was quickly killed by the block spam method. Was I just lucky? I have had a few friend requests from spammers but not many and certainly less than 1 a day.

    I was wondering one thing. Is it possible for trial accounts to chat? If so that would be the one area I’d shutdown. I’d simply not allow it and tell trial users to buy the game to chat.

    On another note, what I would prefer you guys complain about is still the lack of creating your own chat channels. I would love to see a incgamers chat channel where we can chat to join up for runs.

  9. yes because policing millions of users interactions is easy!

    think of this logically and realistically.

    secondly i only see one type of gold spamming ad, maybe 2.

    The chat one,

    and the friend invite. each with a different name, these are account names not player names. these are also probably peoples accounts as most of the time it is not a spam name.

    reporting it as spam is easy. but how many of these reports must be filtered through a day. I would love any of you to do online submission complaints and see how many you get through a day.

    it is exhausting and I am speaking from experience.

    d3’s spam is NO WHERE near as bad as D2

    • This, this, this, this.

    • That’s why people are suggesting an automated means to combat spammers. Duh.

      There’s no evidence that Blizzard are doing anything other than manual interventions (certainly the CM did not claim otherwise) and clearly Blizzard’s current approach is not good enough.

  10. Maybe if we had a clan or guild system… (I never played wow but, iirc, they have a guild system – let’s not get passionate about “wowing the game”).

    It would be useful to have an in-game tool to talk with friends and create closed clans instead of chat-windows. Something like a “country club”.

    I report a spammer friend request once, maybe twice a week.

  11. It’s a bit of a joke when you don’t even get to know the outcome of the accounts you report.

    Why should i bother doing blizzard’s job and reporting someone if i will never know what happened.

    So i stopped reporting them.

    It’s not so bad on the european side. I play every day but there’s only 1-3 friend requests to deal with.

  12. They’re clearly not doing enough against this problem. It can’t be that hard to filter out people that have sent the same msg 100 times over, or added 10k friends. It’s not like you have to go through every report on people, but a guy getting reported 20 times in one single day is obviously doing something wrong and I guess these bots get reported hundreds of times.
    I like the idea of stealth blocking btw.

  13. Personally i think the spam is neglible. I might see 2 or 3 spammer in a 2 hour play session, and 1 new friend request every 3rd. time i log in or so. Hardly that much of an anoyance. I get that people interact with different amounts of people, but personally i don’t really see a problem.

  14. Again, why would Blizzard ban gold farmers. Blizzard makes money off of these people. D3 is about the money not about your personal preferences.

  15. no where in their terms of use do they state that they owe you an explanation on the results of your report.

    do it or don’t

    but they do not owe you any explanation of the steps they do internally to validate your claim.

    your reports help the process, that is it.

    and why would blizzard want gold sellers?

    it conflicts with the RMAH

    • Because as far as we know, reporting people does absolutely nothing more than print a message on your screen saying they’ve been reported.

      Why make the effort for that?

      It also requires more mouse clicks than it should to report someone – it should be on the top-level menu.

      • really? 2 extra clicks? and like i said:

        blizzard doesnt need to inform you on every report of spam you do.

        they probably investigate it. and not take you for your word.

  16. I agree that something more needs to be done about bots, I think they should just pull their pants up and really start working at dealing with these spam accounts at a faster rate, because the way it seems right now, theres more spammers than blizzard can handle, and they are able to produce spam bots and accounts faster than blizzard can stop them, so either they tell us they are trying their hardest and climb an endless mountain, or they stop this, here and now.

    • Blizzard has no excuse for not having an automated spam filter in place. A few regular expressions and the spam stops. And for things like “D”, you don’t even need a regular expression.

      • wow… the system removed my text within the quotes after the “D”… a game version and retailer later you can probably guess though.

  17. I dont think they do a damn thing about it, same as d2 they never cared and people know this thats why it will never stop really

  18. All they care is Rmah. It’s working perfectly. They improve it every patch.

    • I wonder how active the RMAH actually is. The fact that Blizzard mentioned it during quarterly financial/earnings teleconferences means they thought it would bring in a noticeable amount of money.

      However, I rarely hear anyone talking about it. Most are like “I hate to use the gold auction house but I have to in Inferno” or “I like look for deals on the gold auction house”. Anyone use the RMAH frequently? Is it dead over there, or is that where most items with real value get traded, or ??

      • Who would want to admit they bought an item of the RMAH, people insult mock and taunt those who say they do.

        Trolls love to eat those that say they use it.

        I will never admit or deny i have ever used it. because people will never see it as my choice to use it or not.

      • All the item trading/selling gets done on the GAH because the RMAH has a price cap of $250 (I believe). People wanting more than $250 for their GG items list on the GAH for hundreds of millions/billions of gold and then sell the gold for $$$ @ what, $7/$8 per million (don’t really keep track). Anyway, the point I’m making, people are not going to sell their GG items for $250 when they can sell for 100+ million gold @ $7 per million. Successfully selling an item for 100 mil @ $7 per is $700, a lot more than $250. Thus, the only thing going on in the RMAH is buying and selling of gold. And no one is talking about that. People talk about their items.

  19. swayed? No.
    Blizzard keeps saying the same bullshit every time someone mentions bots,. . whether grindbots or chatbots,. but not a damn thing is done against them.

    Not in D2, not in WoW,. not in D3. they suck at fighting bots.

  20. Why is gamer culture so overflowing with whiny, entitled children?

    • a very good question… and one ive been asking myself the same thing since the patch came out. seems the kids are back in droves, and not only that, they feel like the best way to insult you is to call you a ‘kid’, or ‘teenager’. damn kids….

  21. Just giving us the ability to block all friend requests from (set filter here) would help out a bit. I’d set mine to block all requests from players with names beginning with two consonants as that would eliminate 95% of the spam invites. Legit players looking for friends like Stevebarb or something like that could just send a tell.

    Beyond that I think Blizzard is being limp wristed with these accounts. Getting more than one spam report should result in fast investigation. If they see a bunch of characters with consonant names not only does the account get permabanned so does the IP address associated with it.

    I’m positive Blizzard approach involves pussified thresholds like getting 100 reports. Then theres a 2 week long “investigation” involving some guy in India sending god knows how many warnings before issuing a temporary ban.

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