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This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Murray and is dated 20 August 2009.
Player Support's Answers

Investigations into the Community (ICU)

Rots Fanatic asks: You have almost entirely stopped RWIT (Real World Item Trading), but what about the other two ways to RWT? Will you introduce an update that will stop Account Trading and Powerlevelling (someone logs onto your own account and trains it for a real payment)?

We are aware of these activities and have teams in Player Support dedicated to both catching the rule-breakers and removing the websites they operate from. We also educate our players about the hijacking risks of purchasing power-levelling services, put in place game changes to make it harder to do, and continually improve our detection methods so we can identify the culprits quickly and accurately.


Mattonline asks: Afk training is becoming a massive problem, and after having a disucssion in game with some players, many think that it is ok, since you don't stop them from doing it. My questions is, will you try to put a stop to AFK training.

AFK (away from keyboard) training is as much a breach of our rules as Macroing. Both methods of training allow a player to increase their levels in a way that they would not be able to do themselves and that provides them with an unfair advantage.


5uper Bowser asks: Hello there, Will you ever give second chance's to the offense of bug abuse? I myself was banned for bug abuse last summer on my one and only account of 7 years, Super_Bowser. I made a horrible decision one day, and the bug I abused only gave me up to a 40k advantage, The next day my Runescape Classic and Runescape account was perminantly ban. I'm wondering if you will ever consider bank drops, where you drop all of there items to be able to play, or just give that offense a year ban, Not perminant. I know from experience we all make mistakes, and I myself was not thinking that night I abused my first bug, and got banned. I'm wondering if you can let that offense only last a year.

We review each and every case of bug abuse on an individual basis. That’s because a bug abuse offence can range from a graphical glitch, which doesn’t particularly affect the game play of other players, to PvP bugs that give an unfair advantage at the expense of many. When it comes to appeal, the evidence that originally supported the offence is reviewed and checked thoroughly. We can’t discuss the decisions made regarding any specific account here. If you feel your offence was too harsh, please appeal it.


Alien Jy asks: What do you plan to do about Phishing, I once saw a video of a mean Phishing attempt, someone went to ***.runescape.*** and the whole site looked the same, the web adress was the same, but when he went to log in it asked him for a bank pin, if that wasn't there then surely he would of been hacked.

Phishing is as much of a threat to us as it is to online banks and other large organisations. Preventing phishing is one of the key motivations behind the ‘advertising other websites’ rule, which we strongly enforce. We work closely with a wide range of web hosts to have such sites removed swiftly.

Phishing is a criminal offence and we pass the details of these individuals to law enforcement agencies, and the parties responsible could end up in Jail. If you spot a dodgy site, please post it in the ‘Contact us’ section of the forums.


Sk8 Punk101 asks: This is a big question for myself and A LOT of other people. Macroing is against the rules. It's and automatic perm ban, no apeals at all. Do you think that's a little unfair? I have 2 friends whos mains were banned and they had never macrod before. Don't you think they should at least be able to apeal

I can’t comment on your friends’ accounts, but it’s very sad that players get sucked in by the lies on cheat sites. They use these macro clients and believe that they can get away with it, which is simply not true; the gains really aren’t worth the risks. Players can see what offences can be appealed by visiting the ‘Appeal Bans and Mutes’ section under the ‘Help’ menu.


Symeh asks: What Will Jagex Be Doing About Private Servers, Shutting More Down?

Private servers are illegal. The law is very clear in this area and we will continue to force private server owners to close their operations - through legal action, if necessary. If you know of one, please report it in the ‘Contact us’ section of the forums and we’ll do the rest.


Subcomfreak asks: We all know about the game screen random shift to get rid of auto-clickers, and complex macros made by players themselves with a recorder, but how could you detect the most advance auto-fighter, foe example the newest sythe (I don't use it I just was browsing on a fan site and saw it! Never downloaded it or used it, So don't look at me like I'm a bad guy ) Which has anti-ban features, logs you out when you run out of hp, eats, and uses a spec atk every 10 monsters!!!! How can you detect stuff like that?

We cannot share information regarding how we detect macros - to do so would compromise the systems we use and make circumvention easier. However, the macro detection systems used by Jagex are among the most complex in the games industry and we can detect any and every form of macroing in the game. Many people seem to believe that with anti-ban features they will never be caught, but that simply isn’t the case. We’ve yet to see a macro that is even partially good at going undetected.


I Swatch I asks: Instead of taking the drastic measures you did, why didn't you limit each credit card to three accounts and make us register out credit cards at a bank? Why did you choose to alter in game content to deal with a Legal problem? Surely anyone who uses their credit card for professional purposes would already have it registered, leaving a very small minority who would have to make a once off effort, and these implications could be reversed.

The decisions we made were by no means made lightly. We weighed up hundreds of options before deciding on our course of action.

Often, gold-farming operations are linked to organised crime. The gold farmers were paying for their memberships with stolen credit cards - not necessarily stolen from you, the players, but cards cloned in some fashion somewhere in the world.

These card details were either passed on to such operations or sold to them, and then used for RuneScape membership. An innocent person might be in a café in Belgium buying a coffee for their girlfriend on a Friday night. They don’t play RuneScape, and have never heard of it. Their card is cloned. By Sunday, that card has been used by a gold-farming operation thousands of miles away to purchase RuneScape credit. Limiting cards to three accounts would not help - they would simply obtain more stolen card details.


G0lden Cp asks: why don’t you give no evidence for people who are banned for macroing ?

We hold evidence on every account banned for macroing. As such, when you appeal a macro offence we still check said evidence; however, showing it would compromise our detection methods, which are among the most sophisticated in online gaming. Basically, we don’t want to help the cheaters.


Kevin Aqua asks: I'm just really curious if someone actually looks over the appeal etc. before sending out automated/ pre-set messages.

As to the automated reply issue, it’s been a long held view that a Jagex bot checks offence appeals before denying them and sending an auto reply. That simply isn’t true - at least, I’m not a bot and I check them! :)

What actually occurs is that we see the appeal, we assess it against the evidence and then come to a decision to grant or deny the appeal. In either case, a reply is generated by our systems. Our focus is to clear offence appeals as quickly as possible in order to get people back in game with minimal interruption. It would be simply too time intensive to reply to every appeal with a personal message. Having said that, Mod Kelvin does look a bit like Data from Star Trek; does that count as a Jagex bot? :)


Game Shark82 asks: Are autotypers allowed? and if they are not, why are they not allowed? it makes the game much easier. Is jagex thinking about making like an inside game autotyper that everybody can use? to make it easier to buy stuff at the G.E and all over rs.

No, autotypers are not allowed. They are generally misused, and by spamming the chat window they hinder people’s ability to communicate with each other. To type automatically you would need to use a piece of third party software in conjunction with RuneScape and this is against our rules.

We do already have an in-game solution - it’s called Quick Chat and is available in the chat window. There are even hot keys that make it easier to use, and there are buy and sell options.


Billing

Knight 00145 asks:' Will RuneScape membership be more expensive in the future or cheaper?

We’re always looking to offer the best value price possible for membership and, as such, there are currently no plans to increase the price of RuneScape membership.


Rangasp2 asks: Do you guys have plans for new payment methods for new countrys? for example South America countrys?

We’re always looking to expand the possible payment options for all of our players, no matter where they are playing from! We’re aware that players enjoy our game from all over the world, so don’t you worry about this. If you have any suggestions for particular payment methods in your country we can be contacted by sending a ticket. (Under the ‘Help’ menu, choose ‘Customer Service’ > ‘Billing’ > ‘Submit a query’.)

Any additional payment options will be posted as news and on our forums, so I would advise for you to keep a lookout for this. We already have a number of payment options available to all countries, and while we feel there is a good level of choice, we’re always going to expand on this. :)


Peace 4 Lyf asks: Hello, i was wondering if the code once SMS'd and recieved would last longer than the durtaion in which it lasts at the moment, due to the fact that i buy 3-4 codes at once so that sometimes when i go abroad i can use the codes and renew my membership as it is the only option i have to become a member.

All PINs purchased by PayByPhone or PayBySMS last for six months. Therefore, you’re more than welcome to purchase several PINs at a time, and then simply redeem them over time.


Jamie Jams14 asks: I would like to know if you can Put those runescape cards in 7/11 for Australia!!

The response to our prepaid game cards from our players has been fantastic, in particular from our Australian players. Let me assure you we are all working hard to make this happen. We’re aware that these game cards are very convenient to purchase and use, however, there are a lot of logistics that need to be planned and implemented to make it necessary for these to become available to a new country.

Don’t you worry, though, Jagex wants these to become available to you; while they’re not available yet, they may well be in the future!


Pehry asks: Membership Cards! So here is my question, is Jagex planning on releasing Membership cards to Canadian RuneScape players? If no then is it a possibility?

and

Leonis10 asks: will membership prepaid cards come in Canada walmart?

Jagex would love nothing more than to have all payment options available to all our players from whatever location they are playing from. Unfortunately, this must be done with negotiations with our billing partners, therefore, the current payment options available to you are as they are. Rest assured, though, Jagex are always looking to expand the payment options and game cards may soon be available in Canada. Watch this space...


Emma Mae asks: Family Memberships: any thoughts? Perhaps higher trading caps for members within a IRL family???

There’s nothing more encouraging for us to see than a whole family playing our game together. Though there are no immediate plans to implement this, we may introduce a family scheme sometime in the future, but have no plans to do so as of yet.


Working for Jagex

Andy013190 asks: I don't even know if you can answer or which person would be the best to answer. I am declaring my major this year in collge. I am going for Web and Digital Media Design. I also am studying abroad in Ireland and thought I might try to visit Jagex. I was wondering if I wanted to get a job in a company like Jagex, or someone similar (I would rather go to you guys but I don't know how hard it would be to get in), what kind of classes should I take and who could I contact for an application? Well not right now but in a few years.

Firstly, good luck with the studies in the Emerald Isle - I lived in Ireland for most of my life, actually. We're extremely proud of the Jagex team - they're some of the brightest, most capable and most enthusiastic people in the industry. It's a great place to work and, when we recruit someone new, we're looking for them to enhance that even further. If you are interested in becoming one of the family, we have a careers section on the Jagex.com website that is worth reading. Regarding visiting Jagex, it's not a good idea, as we never allow any visitors into the building for obvious reasons. We'd hate for you to travel so far to then be disappointed.


Tcool Guy asks: Are there different sections of the building dedicated to one game like RuneScape and another like FunOrb?

Yeah, most people operate in teams as you'd expect, and the office space is mostly open-plan so everyone sits together, which is very handy for paper airplane wars.


Tcool Guy asks: How do people get jobs at your company? Do they apply online or in person? do you need to get to a certain combat level in runescape before you can get the job lol

Have a look at the 'Careers' section on Jagex.com for vacancies. Interestingly, a high combat level can sometimes help give you an edge, because it shows you've invested time in the community and understand it a lot better than someone that doesn't play. Certainly, for promotions into, say, the Community Management team, game knowledge is a must.


Emedina94 asks: Do you take interns? (Just out of curiosity)

Yes, we do. Over the last few years we've taken between 30-60 placements each year. Placements normally stay with us for a year. We look for interns/placements with all sorts of backgrounds, interests and aspirations. At the moment, we have a mixture of students taking gaming, programming and technical degrees. We also have business students and are interested in adding language students in the future.

As you can imagine, it gets busy around here in summer with 60 people leaving and a new 60 joining, but we have an ace training team to help them get orientated. The best thing about the programme is that we get to meet some awesome people each year, and the ones that really inspire us are offered a career with us when they complete university.


Haz0r11 asks: How is the Jagex staff doing? (randomness) lol

Great! This quarter, all of our teams are having a team day out. We've had teams go to London to see stand-up comedy, others have done raft building and canoeing, another team is heading to a funfair with some pretty scary roller coasters, and the Investigations team is looking forward to "Go Ape".


Thecylep asks: How would I go about working for jagex/runescape do I have to move to another country if I don't live in England?

We don't have any plans yet for offices outside the UK, but we're an ambitious group of people, so you never know what the future holds. My suggestion of an office in St. Lucia is was flatly ignored! The cheek... :)


Rules

Mattonline asks: Do you feel that your stance on game-related spam is too lenient, given that game related spam is not a muteable offence? While somebody saying '@@@@@@@@@@@' for a while is muted, I find it annoying that someone saying 'Join merch clan!!' for hours on end is not, both are spam in that it disrupts the chat screen. I understand making use of the ignore list is useful, but that doesn't cut it in some cases.

Well, probably unsurprisingly, I'd have to say that I don't find our stance on game-related spam too lenient, although it is something that we've had to find a balance with. The ignore list 'switches off' any perceived spam immediately, which makes it the most efficient and, therefore, preferred way to remove it from your gameplay. If it's excessive spam, however, then yes, I agree that sometimes the ignore list doesn't cut it and, in those cases, we do reluctantly issue black marks, whether game-related or otherwise. I do think that ideally the ignore list is the best way to take charge of a situation if you come across any form of text in-game that you don't want to see.


Icy Phyre asks: Could you please explain in detail what offensive language falls under the category of being a reportable offence. I have read the rules many times while trying to figure this out, but it still does not give me, as well as thousands of other players a clear description as of what is offensive. Yes i know spam is offensive etc., but even some player moderators that I have asked do not understand how offensive a word can be before it becomes a reportable offence. Excuse my language, but the bandits themselves shout the phrase "Die zamorakian/saradomin SCUM!" I feel this word should not be offensive, because the bandits say it without being muted, so why can't players say it? However i do understand that some players may find it offensive.

I think that the key word here is context. To give you an example, in a battle between clans, it may well be part of the banter to scream "Die, scum!". However, were I to shout that at my girlfriend, I'd probably find myself sleeping in the garden. I think it's also worth pointing out that the game filter isn't always the best yardstick to say whether a word is offensive or not, as again, the context of usage is key.


Melzar asks: Are you going to make false merchanting clan leaders reportable?

Organised merchanting has long been an activity in RuneScape, but the advent of the Grand Exchange made the activity more accessible and prevalent than before. People always want to try to make a quick buck! (For more information on our stance on merchanting clans, feel free to check out quick find code: 74-75-817-59124146.) I think that any player making false promises for their own benefit of any kind is not within the spirit of the game, though, and should be avoided if possible.

Do we take action against every player that makes a false claim? Mostly, yes, but I feel that that, like real life, it's often down to the individual to have their wits about them and make their own choice as to whether to trust a player or not. Fortunately, though, players are increasingly savvy of false claims, and I think the lack of scoundrels selling 'rare grey lobbies' and 'rare spinach rolls' shows that common sense generally prevails! In case you're interested, there is a list of recognised fan sites at this quick find code: 14-15-293-59239903.


Playerx19 asks: Firstly, I would like to know if it is OK for clans to advertise their clan sites to their clan members. One of the game rules states that: 'You are not allowed to actively advertise in any of our games or forums. This includes advertising any website or product, and no web addresses are allowed.' Does this apply to clansites though, because the clansite is a 'fan' site, and it boosts the RuneScape community. Most clans do it anyway, and the site is told to clan members ONLY.

This is quite a difficult area, as we know that the rules on website advertising are restrictive to clan sites. However, let me level with you on the dilemma we face here. Many nefarious sites that try to steal passwords from players using keylogger software masquerade as cheat sites, help sites or, indeed, clan sites. Determining and then constantly monitoring clan sites to ensure their safety isn't something that we can do, unfortunately, so we've had to maintain a blanket approach to advertising such clan sites. Mind you, though, if it's a clan worth its salt, then it wouldn't just let anyone in, so wouldn't be advertised to the world anyway. So, if a fellow clan member wants to check out your clan site and you tell them in private chat, I can't see that being a big issue, as it's not advertising the site. ;)


Assassin530 asks: Um i do believe at one time something was said bout all the reporting coming in about cursing and chat filter catching and this shouldn't be reported b/c the chat filter did its job. so my question is that right or should people still report if the chat filter catches a bad word?

You believe correctly! If the chat has been caught by the chat filter then there's no need to report. If the chat hasn't been caught by the filter then, to be honest, there's still no need to report, as if the language is offensive to you, the ignore list is the most efficient and immediate way to remove it from you gameplay. =) If you feel strongly about it, though, please go ahead and send in a report.

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