Pretty much since launch New World, as with any decent-sized MMO, has been targeted by bots. Initially our mindless friends focused on fishing and ore-gathering, which is still largely the case, though they now seem to be branching out into other careers and, most notably, hitting fairly high levels. Let's put it this way: When you've got a bot at level 30 plus, that is a lot of fishing XP, and suggests how long that bot has been active.
“Over the last week I have seen a huge influx of bots on my server again,” writes JustDaveinTheLBC. “But they're all higher level now, 20's & 30's. They're out harvesting and mining in full effect. Are other servers seeing this again? I've reported the same bot three times in three days, its starting to get really annoying competing for materials with bots….”
There's no shortage of video evidence doing the rounds, where players observe characters that are clearly not being controlled by a human player.
The player Rheality_, meanwhile, has been tracking a bot called yhnmd, reporting it regularly, and the bot's still merrily going about its business ten days later. Though at least sometimes it misses a step and leaves lots of lovely leather to collect.
Player frustration at Amazon Game Studios apparent inaction is twofold: It makes it feel pointless gathering one's own resources when prices are going through the floor thanks to an abundance of bot activity; And when players have consistently reported what seem like obvious bots, nothing has been happening (perfect example on the official forum).
“Give up on gathering resources to craft,” writes WickoCity on the game's Steam forums. “The bots are constantly running their routes over and over. Sometimes you can watch them follow each other only seconds apart. Reporting does nothing. Time to move on.”
“There is a fishing bot on my server that sits in the same spot at least 18 hours a day,” writes Chance_Waters, including the server and bot name. “[It] has single-handedly destroyed the price of multiple items, ruined fishing on the server, has received hundreds of reports, and still isn't banned.”
There are caveats to this, the first being that some folk do tend to act like the sky is falling in when these spikes happen. It may be that New World turns out to have long-term and serious problems with bots, but it's also a little early to be making that call: Dealing with bots and scammers of various stripes is simply a fact of life for any sizeable MMO, and New World is far from the first to tackle the challenge.
While players wait for Amazon Game Studios to get a better grip on the problem, there are of course good old human solutions. The classic method for dealing with bots in New World is unchanged: players aggro a mob like a boar or a crocodile, lead it to the bot, and through careful positioning make it start attacking the bot. Another amusing tactic is building little 'u' shapes out of tents on the bot routes: If a bot gets 'caught' in it, its pathing isn't complex enough to get it out.
Whatever the reality may be, Amazon Game Studios is again in the position of having an in-game problem that New World's community feel is not being dealt with, or treated with the seriousness it deserves. A recent duping glitch was being reported long before action was taken and, while the developer retrospectively banned players who'd taken advantage and fixed the issue, it had to turn off the game's entire economy while doing so. I've contacted Amazon to ask what plans there are for dealing with bots, and will update with any response.