Electronic Arts (EA) has found a fairly easy way to detect bots in multiplayer games in order to ban them from ruining gameplay for genuine players.
According to a new patent published earlier today, EA wants to use a new type of Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA) to prevent bots from farming rewards intended for human players.
The patented system will present randomly generated puzzles of varying difficulty to players as soon as they log into a game. If players are able to solve the puzzles, the game will recognize them as humans and grant them rewards based on the difficulty of the puzzles they solved. If they are bots, they will be ousted by the game-based CAPTCHA and not receive any rewards at all.
The said puzzles can be anything but EA proposes breaking up in-game items such as weapons and skins into scattered puzzle pieces for players to solve. This way, players will be able to (kind of) see the rewards they can have should they want to opt for a more difficult puzzle option.
Bots are pretty common to spot in multiplayer games. They are programmed to play instead of human players to grind matches and long gameplay hours for rewards and items.
A player for example can assign a bot to farm crafting materials in World of Warcraft while they sleep. Another player, as another example, can assign a bot to play League of Legends matches to farm Blue Essence currency.
CAPTCHA has widely been used by websites to authenticate whether the person trying to log in is a human or a machine. The security measure usually generates a random sequence of letters, numbers, or images before asking the person to identify them. Fair to say that bots have grown rather intelligent over the years and while CAPTCHA can be fooled, it still does the job for small-scaled needs.
EA believes that the same security feature can be incorporated into games as well, which sounds like it might actually work.