here are very few people who would deny that the bot/autoer/macroer/gold farmer problem is a major issue in the game of Runescape. The swarms of autoers at most prime fishing, mining, and woodcutting spots hamper the ability of legitimate players to train those skills. Don’t even try going to a F2P rune store with the intention of buying a few hundred death or chaos runes any more. Chances are, there’s an autoer there to, waiting to devour each chaos/death rune as it hits the market, only so “it” can sell the runes on the black market and make some quick, real life cash. The massive influx of raw materials for sale in Runescape destabilises the market and significantly depresses the price for these items, which obviously is not in the best interest of legitimate players like you and me, simply trying to make some honest gold pieces.
While in general, JaGex does a decent job of maintaining and expanding the game, there are some areas where they consistently do a sub-par job. The bot/macroer/autoer problem is not a new problem. It’s been going on almost since the dawn of Runescape classic! It started out in classic as a major issue. Many high-level players used macro software to raise their levels in the interest of climbing the rungs of the high score ladder. The problem has, however, improved since then. Gamers no longer auto to raise themselves on the high scores, but rather to ‘earn’ gold, usually to sell on the black market.
Lately, however, JaGex does appear to be serious about the “Macro Wars.” Several announcements were made (before I left my internet connection for the summer) about the thousands of accounts that were banned for violating the rules, specifically those regarding macro software and real world trading. It's worth mentioning that JaGex has also been banning P2P bots, for which I give them a standing ovation and a big pat on the back. This is a good indication of how seriously JaGex is taking the issue at hand. They are not just willing to spend time and resources banning cheaters, but they're willing to take a substantial hit to their income to clean up their game. Unfortunately, there are simply still a ton of bots left. Banning thousands of illegal accounts is a great start, but desperate times call for desperate measures
Killing off the cheaters is not going to clean up the game entirely. According to the father of capitalism, Adam Smith, where there is a demand, there will always be a supply. The rule of supply and demand is the invisible ruler of the Runescape economy. If the businesspeople behind the ‘GP for sale’ websites have a demand for their product, they will strive to find a way to meet that demand. JaGex must continue banning players for breaking Rule 12, while enforcing that Runescape fan sites, such as global-rs.com don’t advertise for illegal gold sales sites. (Kudos to the GRS team for enforcing this rule!)
Apart from this, there is little that JaGex can do to limit the supply and demand cycle of their GP. The other thing they need to do is to take further measures in ensuring that autos are annihilated before they can contaminate the game, and the market.
To be continued…