When it comes to competitive tactical first-person shooters the level of gameplay is really high and sometimes even after trying their best a few individuals fall short of truly mastering the skills required to play the game. Some of these players turn toward unfair means to gain an advantage over their opponents be it through third-party applications or game file modifications, but then there are some that satisfy their ego by punishing innocent players that they don't like (usually players who are simply better than them) by getting them banned using 'Report Bots'.
But how is that even possible? What are these 'Report Bots'? Is there a way to protect ourselves from such users? We will try to clear all your doubts by explaining what ‘Report Botting’ is, how it works, and what steps has Valve taken to counter this growing problem.
What Are Report Bots?
Report Bots are automated bots which push a CS:GO player to the Overwatch review system by mass-reporting them (for cheating/griefing) with multiple bot accounts. The goal is to get a player banned from the game.
But simply spamming a report action against a particular user does not get them banned by Valve, unless and until they have done something for which they deserve to be punished.
How Does ‘Report Botting’ Get Players Banned?
Users who usually get players banned using this method are not your run-of-the-mill cheaters as it is not easy manipulating Valve’s ‘Overwatch System’ to work against its intended purpose of catching and banning cheaters.
- The problem starts with innocent or legitimate users themselves committing the mistake of 'griefing' the cheater by shooting them or being AFK (away from keyboard). The intention behind it might be noble as they do not wish to partake in a game where a player is cheating and condemn this by pulling off the above-mentioned actions.
- Unfortunately, their actions are a double-edged sword which comes back to bite them as these cheaters use ‘Report Bots’ to mass-report these users for griefing or other such things.
- By ‘Report Botting’ these legit players these cheaters hope to forcefully get them into the ‘Overwatch System’ to undergo a review. After which these innocent players are either handed a 30+ day grief ban if they are first time offenders or a permanent game ban if it is the second time they get reported for the same.
Can These Cheaters Be Taken Down By ‘Report Botting’ Them?
Unfortunately, No! As stated above these cheaters are not your average joe and mostly stay hidden by blacklisting themselves from these Overwatch bots while also maintain high trust factor by maintaining a high-value inventory, regularly doing market transactions via Steam, and even taking part in Overwatch vigilance themselves.
Has Valve Taken Action Against ‘Report Bots’?
Valve has indeed taken measures to stop users from getting report botted. Three years ago a Valve developer who goes by the name of John McDonald put in the work to bring a stop to ‘Report Botting’ which was a serious menace at the time. He even went on record to say that “Report bots do not work. I personally did the work to prevent them about a year ago.”
Somehow the cheating community found a workaround as the practice was once again on the rise earlier this year. However once again it was John McDonald who took care of the problem before it could truly cause a lot of damage as he went on to state “RIP report botting.”
But at the same time, he also specified that this is not a permanent fix and that this is an “ever-escalating battle”. So though ‘Report Botting’ is not a big issue at the moment it is still a very relevant threat to the CS:GO community.
It’s not clear to what extent report bots have become a problem in CS:GO again, but it sounds like it has been fixed for now, with the bad actors being banned.