On 25 October 2011 at 2:37 PM GMT, an update code-named ClusterFlutterer, also known as "Bot Nuking Day", or simply "Nuke Day" was implemented aimed at preventing reflection and injection bots from functioning. Jagex believes that this consists of 98% of all bots seen in the game. Also, upon revealing ClusterFlutterer, Jagex stated that over 1.5 million bots had been recently banned. Due to the complex nature of the game update, the update was finished 2 hours and 37 minutes after the countdown timer reached 0, resulting in the game being offline for approximately 1 hour and 7 minutes while Jagex updated and tested their systems.
To celebrate, Jagex had created the following events:
- Tuesday: Triple experience for training Slayer. (This effect did not stack with Dragon Slayer Gloves.) Along with that, specific monsters, such as Fire giants and Steel dragons, respawned at a much faster rate (as if the world was full)
- Wednesday: Triple tickets from Castle Wars.
- Thursday: Bonus experience from certain Distractions and Diversions.
- Friday: Triple zeal from Soul Wars
* Indicates that the D&D will be reset on the day if already done for the week. Players can spy on all penguins on the day they reset (Wednesday), and then again on Thursday, which will give them double points. This will give them a maximum potential of 57 points in 2 days (19 on Wednesday and 38 on Thursday due to double points). This is two points below the maximum cap of 50.
How most bots workedEdit
Injection and reflection bots work in similar ways, however they use different methods to accomplish this.
Injection bots inject into the RuneScape applet, reading the game's code directly to determine what is what. Reflection bots create a mirror image of the RuneScape applet by accessing the loaded classes and then read the code of the "reflected" copy, without injecting any code - considered to be much harder to detect than injection but - if done right - both are completely undetectable. Most bots, such as RSBuddy (now EOL) or RSBot, used both injection and reflection to be able to gather as much data as possible. A custom-engineered game client is used to run the bot, rather than through a web browser with Jagex's official client (as is done with most colour-based bots). This allows the game to be slightly modified, making it listen to fake mouse - or key events (allowing you to play other games while using the bot) and to disable direct system access (say: faking runtime information) to mislead Jagex's servers.
The fact that the bots both read the game's actual code, rather than looking at the screen (colour bot) make it very easy for them to complete random events - for example, instead of trying to identify the correct spinning object visually with shapes and colours, the bot simply sees a few sets of numbers, called IDs - unique numbers used by the game to identify every individual entity in the RuneScape world - and picks the one ID that matches the correct answer.
IDs are the basis of injection and reflection bots and it was what made them so powerful. As injection and reflection both exist in Java, the only way to stop bot developers using these functions would be to use something other than Java to run the game applet. This could be done without rewriting the whole game (only the applet would need to be written in a different language, rather than the servers) - however the loss of Java would mean the loss of a lot of compatibility for many users.
The aftermathEditAfter the update, less than 100,000 players were visible online on the home page counter. Free-To-Play worlds were heavily depopulated. Numbers shown in the world select showed that around 78-100 players could be found on most worlds. During peak periods, several worlds reached over a total of 1000. The members trading world, 2, was the only one to reach the player cap during that time. During off-peak periods, numerous Free-To-Play worlds had 40 or fewer players on their servers. The same went with Pay-to-Play worlds during a specific time, reaching to less than 100 per world. Only world 1 was unaffected, as it is a popular trading world. This allows legitimate players to get resources without the interference of resource bots. The full effect of the update is not yet clear; however, prices of commonly botted items began to rise. Many heavily botted items started to dramatically increase in price even before the "nuke" was released.
Due to this update, specific monsters, such as Steel dragons respawn faster than before the slayer event. This was to combat the low populations (if you killed a monster you would have at least a few seconds to get the drops before it respawned).
At Runefest, it was revealed in a session with Mark Gerhard that 7.7 million accounts had been banned for gold farming between the Tuesday (25 October) update and the session on Saturday (29 October), and that another 4-5 million would be banned by the end of Sunday (30 October), and that these banned accounts made up about 40% of the player base. Over one thousand accounts a minute are being banned, and account creation and numbers of existing accounts from certain parts of the world (namely China and Korea) have been reduced by 99.9%, from hundreds of thousands of accounts a month, to as few as 953.
In the weeks following, many players experienced an extreme increase in lag, and a decrease in their FPS (Frames Per Second) rate. Some players have reportedly experienced a decrease in FPS of over 50%. It has been reported that frame rates using MID in OpenGL can go as low as 2 FPS.
The price of various popular items in the game for consumption and skill, after the seemingly total revamp of player base, have received large changes. Skill levelling based items like Trout has its price skyrocketing like never before, from 27 coins (equal to its low alchemy price) to 155 coins as of February 2012, while those with no distinct demand are generally disregarded, example being Air tiara steadily below 10 coins each. Some popular items suffer less fluctuation as of real players granting large demand and supply, or just bots not interested in processing the certain items.
On 3 May 2012 "anti-bot initiatives" which may have included ClusterFlutterer were modified as it "caused an adverse affect on the frame rate and performance of the game." These changes improved the frame rate and performance for some players affected by previous changes. Modifications to the game engine were put into effect to ensure bots would remain broken while improving frame rates and allowing for further development of future anti-bot initiatives.
- ^ Runescape - News - Bot-Busting and Bonuses For All.
- ^ RuneFest 2011 "Breaking the bots" insider session video
- ^ RuneScape - News - Performance Improvement Update.
Jagex Monitoring Software