Over the last couple of weeks we've had a sudden increase in reports of people apparently using 'bots' to play the game automatically (which is in breach of Rule 7). Firstly, we want to let all our honest players (and that's the vast majority of you) know that we are aware of this problem, and that we are taking immediate steps to tackle it. We currently ban about 8000 accounts every week for trying this sort of cheating, and for a long time that kept things under control. Things have clearly moved on, however, and that is no longer enough, so we are in the process of upgrading our detection and prevention systems. We also have logs of historical activity, so we'll be able to make sure that dishonesty doesn't pay. Please bear with us while we sort it out! There are also ways you can help us, so please read on.
What's happening is more complex than it first seems. What's actually going on is that the VAST majority of the level-3 characters you see playing the game repetitively and not talking to anyone, are actually people from countries such as China and Korea, who are trying to collect RuneScape gold to sell for real world money (obviously against the rules). Some of them aren't even using bots, they are just playing the game very repetitively with a single-minded purpose to collect gold. These people have no interest in playing the game properly, and therefore don't care if they get banned. The final effect is the same, though – it spoils the game for everyone else.
We can (and do) ban them - including using IP bans - but they still find ways to make accounts. We seized 6 billion in RuneScape gold by banning real-world traders last week! Unfortunately, these people are obliged to work such long hours and are paid such low wages that if even a tiny fraction of gold makes it to the market, those running the sweatshops will be encouraged to continue. This is why we are now further increasing our efforts.
So how to stop it? The answer is clearly to tackle the black market. As long as there is the potential to make money, they won't stop trying, even though it damages the game for everyone else. Of course, if nobody spent real world money on RuneScape gold these unwelcome groups would just switch to a different game.