Content of the article: "Systems for Detecting Alt Accounts (discussion)"
An issue that's plagued the MMO genre since its inception is people with no lives buying several accounts and using them to double/triple/quadruple their productivity and give their main character more money, experience, equipment, or power. As huge of an issue as this is, as it destroys in game economies and makes normal play no longer viable, there still isn't a decent way to stop it, which really sucks.
These are the only methods I could think of off the top of my head, but most of them have major issues:
Having human moderators is probably the most viable option out there right now, but there's only so much a small team of people can do to detect foul play on a large scale MMO with thousands or even millions of players.
Prohibit multiple accounts on the same IP
This doesn't work because
- IP's can change and
- It would prevent multiple people in the same household from having their own account.
Prohibit multiple accounts on the same MAC Address
This also doesn't work because
- MAC addresses can be spoofed and
- It would prevent multiple people from playing on a shared computer
While this could work to some extent,
- A lot of people won't like the idea of a company possessing all this personal information about them, and
- What would stop a player from asking a friend/family member to do it for them?
IMO, this would be the best way to handle it. An advanced AI could analyze player data and activities, learn the patterns of players that use alts, and eventually be able to detect and ban alt users in a matter of seconds without a human ever needing to get involved. However,
- Developing and maintaining an AI such as this would probably be costly and difficult and our computing technology may not yet be advanced enough to make this viable, and
- If it made a mistake, it might be difficult for a human moderator to recognize it.
Feel free to discuss your ideas on how to tackle this problem in the comments.
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