Home Gaming The Elder Scrolls Online being overrun by hackers

The Elder Scrolls Online being overrun by hackers

2 min read

There was a lot of anticipation for the release of Elder Scrolls Online but the game has been mired in problems since its launch with reports of bugs, glitches and other issues plaguing the massively multiplayer online game.

Our own review scored it at a less than stellar 6.9 highlighting the issues as a major flaw. Two days ago we posted about a new patch that was meant to be resolving a lot of the issues but today a brand new video has landed in our inbox that showcases a much deeper problem with the game.

You don’t need to be an expert in Elder Scrolls Online to notice a blatant pattern of bot players in the video below running a trainer to grab gold. The two most obvious signs that these aren’t valid players are the player names are random character strings and the movements are blatantly scripted.

According to Dark Knight who initially posted this up on the ESO forums this carried on happening for at least 20 minutes but one of the commentators claims this has actually been going on for over 5 hours now.

As if automated players mining gold isn’t bad enough you can also see that the bots appear to be able to sky walk and go straight through walls to improve their mining efficiency.

Apparently these bots are created using stolen credit cards and then when they have mined enough gold it is sold to real players for real world cash making this quite a lucrative business for people. However it’s not just that someone is going against the terms and conditions that is the problem.

The main problem is that these sorts of exploits destroy the in-game economy making the game unbearable for lower end players and resulting in the entire thing collapsing. Elder Scrolls Online has online moderators to monitor and react to things like this but apparently they aren’t reacting quickly enough to stop this being a viable option for hackers.

The developers, Zenimax Online, will need to squash this quickly and I would also recommend they hire a great many more moderators to ensure the game is fair to all the people it is expecting to pay for it. If this goes on for too long the players will start deserting in droves and once that begins there is no way back.

Last Updated: May 15, 2014


  1. Kensei Seraph

    May 15, 2014 at 08:45

    That’s disgusting.


  2. Hammersteyn

    May 15, 2014 at 08:46

    The Elder Trolls Online


    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      May 15, 2014 at 08:56

      Elder Scrolls Goldmine?


      • Hammersteyn

        May 15, 2014 at 09:05

        Good one!


    • Mossel

      May 15, 2014 at 08:59



  3. Admiral Chief in Space

    May 15, 2014 at 08:47

    Filthy hackerses


  4. Umar Returns

    May 15, 2014 at 08:50

    But every MMO has bugs right? Every MMO get’s hacked right?…….
    Where are the fanboys now, giving companies free passes….


  5. Hammersteyn

    May 15, 2014 at 08:51

    Zenimaxshould hire these hackers to fix the game.


    • Ezio Auditore da Firenze

      May 15, 2014 at 11:54

      They’d just steal their info.


      • Hammersteyn

        May 15, 2014 at 12:01

        Hahaha maybe, but it seems they know the game rather well.


        • Kahow

          May 21, 2014 at 23:09

          It’s on Hero Engine. Anyone can buy a Hero Engine license for like $100. There’s the problem.


  6. Phylax

    May 15, 2014 at 08:55

    Im so glad I dint buy this yet!


  7. RinceBroken

    May 15, 2014 at 09:04

    Elder Scrolls CrimeLine?


    • Hammersteyn

      May 15, 2014 at 09:05



  8. RinceBroken

    May 15, 2014 at 09:05

    And this is why I stay the hell away from games like this.


    • Admiral Chief in Space

      May 15, 2014 at 09:06

      You said it


  9. Dalmeth

    May 15, 2014 at 09:09

    I watched as no less than 120 bots ran to a spot in Cold Harbour. I reported as many as I could, but didn’t get any kind of response other than the standard one.


    • RinceBroken

      May 15, 2014 at 09:11

      How does that affect your will to play? I ask as I don’t play myself.


      • Dalmeth

        May 15, 2014 at 09:13

        I have been less inclined to play overall. There is also a persistent issue with lag. Looking forward to Wildstar. If that is reasonably lag free and bug free, I will probably let my ESO sub expire in 3 months.


  10. Wyzak

    May 15, 2014 at 09:11

    I still think that it will be F2P in 6 months, but probably won’t be worth playing anyway.


    • Admiral Chief in Space

      May 15, 2014 at 09:14

      3 months, I’m calling it


      • Hammersteyn

        May 15, 2014 at 09:16

        I’ll mark the calendar 😛


        • Admiral Chief in Space

          May 15, 2014 at 09:17

          15 August 2014, do it!


  11. HvR - THE Average GAmer

    May 15, 2014 at 09:24

    Shock and horror who saw this coming.

    Hope Bethesda looses some money on this, gets it out of their system and start working on a proper SP open world game again


  12. Lothy

    May 15, 2014 at 09:40

    There was a post on Reddit explaining another exploit in coldharbour, Zenimax saw the post and made changes to the quest and im regularly seeing GM messages ingame dispensing bot justice. How does this effect gameplay? personally haven’t noticed any. How can it effect the market when the market is player driven, so if its effecting the market its in very small pockets. I haven’t seen any bot based AH guilds advertised in game (ie some odd named character offering invites to a trade guild).


    • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

      May 15, 2014 at 09:48

      It affects the in-game economy because there is an influx of cash in to the economy system from bots. This can cause prices of items to increase (Because it’s player driven and not fixed by the creators). So when there is an abundance of cash what is the logical thing for people to do?

      Increase prices of things they sell. Why not increase the price of items because there is so much cash floating around? Then you get the poor new player who joins and can barely afford the basics.


      • Lothy

        May 15, 2014 at 10:12

        Im part of 2 Trading guilds, one that I started (which is small) and another I joined 500/500 players and in the month and a half that I have been playing prices haven’t been that bad. Materials have dropped in price and there seems to be a standard price range for green (300g), blue (500g) and epic (1000+).
        What im hating about these articles is that its painting this horrific picture of the game that is far from the truth.


        • Son of Chaos

          May 15, 2014 at 19:41

          high ammounts of bot gold do not raise prices in economy. There is much more involved in the economy of a game then that. usually funds and good random items will be transferred to a few or several legitimate accounts and those ones will then pawn the gear and use the gold to play the market. those doing this dont just go waste there money. They are crunching the numbers more then the creators did, they will buy the items that hit cheap and know are worth lots, and while they buy everything good cheap eventually prices will sky rocket as all good items worth buying are now in the hands of few. On the other hand this causes the whole community to collapse as those who need cant get those who have dont even play the game, and those who made the game watch as it falls to pieces. Diablo 3 was just as bad and in my opinion crashed and burned. what was once 1mil is now 10k gold started 1m = 1 $ now its somewhere in the 25m = 1 $ mind you they made an even worse error and removed the only plus they had. Im sad to see this i had high hopes and a preorder for ESO now im cancelling it. Im not playing this shit on PC and console 6 months away…. yea sorry got better things to do. .


  13. Kromas

    May 15, 2014 at 09:50

    MMO with Bots?!!


    • retaliate

      May 15, 2014 at 10:41

      With this many bots…. it’s more “You don’t pay!”


  14. CleanFun

    May 15, 2014 at 10:11

    I used to rage and complain until I saw the bigger picture. Then I realized that it’s a fight that wont be won anytime soon. With a thousand people fighting each other for a $5/day job in China, you’ll never stop them from flooding MMOs where they can make a week’s pay in a day. I just buy the gold anymore. $5 usually nets you a solid week’s worth of farming. They get a bag of rice, and I get to not worry about fussing over digital mammon.


  15. retaliate

    May 15, 2014 at 10:40

    I thought Matt Firor was “experienced” at MMO production…

    I honestly, in his position, would NOT have let the game get released without some of the basic anti-cheat mechanisms (that have been refined in the genre over a decade) in place, server-side.

    If you neglect essentials and fail to protect the integrity of your game world – you will get burned.


    • Lothy

      May 15, 2014 at 12:10

      lol u assume they didn’t, perhaps the basics were already done. But china being china probably found more ways to get round this. Even to this day bots are a huge issue for any mmo. K lets put it this way, TESO is using a megaserver hence everyone is basically playing on 1 shard. So logically you bound to run into more bots then u would on the many servers that WoW has.


      • retaliate

        May 15, 2014 at 13:06


        X:Y:Z:Timstamp check on harvestable nodes would have the speedhacking harvesters nailed in minutes, it’s a basic check and it’s obviously one that’s been lacking server-side. Anyone trying should have been flagged and auto-kicked/suspended from launch day.


  16. Ezio Auditore da Firenze

    May 15, 2014 at 11:55

    Definitely waiting for a fix.


  17. Lothy

    May 15, 2014 at 12:59

    For those interested here is a really interesting read:


    Also read further down for a reply from zazamalek, he gives a well written breakdown as well.


  18. Skyblue

    May 15, 2014 at 14:47

    Huge fan of Elder Scrolls but have not and will not be touching this.


  19. Charl van der Merwe

    May 15, 2014 at 15:33

    Hahaha, love the comments, as if no other MMO has ever suffered from bot problems.People are exploiting the 1 month old game yes, there will be fixes for it and it will be removed. Just like it happened in WoW, just like it happened in everquest, just like 80% of the mmo’s on the market.


    • Dungeonlilly

      May 15, 2014 at 16:42

      In EQ you could instantly contact a GM for any bug. Then they would give you free wedding cake and ale, after fixing your problem. Here we are asked to spend hours reporting bots to a general CS complaint ticket queue. Big difference.


      • Charl van der Merwe

        May 16, 2014 at 08:17

        EQ peaked at about 100k people at one stage, they mostly had a maximum of 10k on at one time(Between all servers).ESO has sold millions.Theres a bit of a difference in scope here.


        • Elder bots online

          May 16, 2014 at 09:02

          “ESO has sold millions”

          best joke ever


          • Charl van der Merwe

            May 16, 2014 at 09:37

            Nice nick, are you asshurt bro ?

        • Dungeonlilly

          May 16, 2014 at 15:58

          I am unsure what that has to do with a GM being available to bot squash (or only on for 15 minutes a few times a week, as with ESO).


  20. Guest

    May 15, 2014 at 15:59

    It doesn’t have that much of an effect on the economy. Minimal probably. That is because there is no global auction house. Trading is confined to guilds that can’t get bigger than 500 people. This is a lot of doom and gloom for a small problem. It is annoying but it is not a game killer. Spend time in the game and you will know that.


  21. Paul Steen

    May 15, 2014 at 16:02

    Minor issue, really. Being in the game for a month, I know that the bots are annoying but do not break the game. There is no global auction house so bots and gold spammers can not have a global affect. Trading is limited to 500 person guilds so there could be disturbances within individuals guilds. I wish authors like this would get their facts straight and present the truth.


  22. Don't believe the hype

    May 15, 2014 at 16:06

    This article headline and content is quite inaccurate and misleading. The game is hardly being “overrun by hackers”. It is accurate that there are groups of bots that have been camping areas and quests bosses, but it is hardly ruining the game. I would consider it an annoyance, but it isn’t like botting is anything new in any MMO. You can log into World of Warcraft today and still see botting…that game has been out almost 10 years now. As for the bugs, out of the 354 quests I have completed on my character so far…6 of them were bugged (3 were in the same quest line and was fixed three days after the official launch of the game).

    Before it came out, I was a bit on the fence about this game due to some of the things I was hearing about it from Beta. For some reason, it is fashionable for people to want this game to fail, but it is a very well made and entertaining game. The majority of what you are hearing about the bugs and “hackers” is just hyperbole. This is the best made MMOs to come out in the past 10 years and has a lot of very good stuff in the game. Those that are sitting back wishing for it to fail baffle me. You are just missing out on a fun game.


    • retaliate

      May 17, 2014 at 10:22

      It is accurate to say the game is getting overrun by hackers. A cursory glance at the ESO forums demonstrates just how bad the problem is.

      For new players, the inability to farm mats because bots are hogging all the nodes in starter zones does actually ruin the game. Seeing bot trains running through a supposedly immersive world ruins the game too.

      On the server-side, the game has so many holes it feels like they’ve made a sieve and these holes are being exploited.

      A competent MMO developer who paid attention to the last decade of MMO gaming on PCs would not make the mistakes ZOS have, they essentially failed to have any effective anti-cheat mechanisms in place from launch and they’re still scrambling to do anything effective.

      Conceptually and in terms of art assets and content… ESO is great.

      Technically, it’s a f**king tragedy because the dev team have overlooked basic MMO server essentials.

      To anyone considering MMO production, learn about WoWEmuHacker and WPE for a good insight into what experienced MMO gamers expect you to be able to defend against. If your servers don’t check the viability of user’s actions, expect pain, embarrassment and financial losses.


  23. Morgan Dryblood

    May 15, 2014 at 16:14

    We can MMO too… or maybe we can’t…


  24. Dungeonlilly

    May 15, 2014 at 16:24

    Few things:
    1. This is a very common thing to see in ESO. It is absolutely everywhere. This is not a one-in-a-million shot of bots in action. This video shows exactly what its like to pay for and play ESO.
    2. They fly through the air and walls, travel under the map to harvest nodes and do not bother to try and hide it. It is quite difficult to harvest for players. Youtube it. Its disgusting.
    3. A few weeks ago forum users were spammed with gold spammers emails in their forum mailbox.
    4. This forum user was banned from ESO forums for posting this video as it showed bot names. No naming and shaming the bots.
    5. There needs to be more visibility to this problem. Possible players should know exactly what they are signing up for when buying ESO. Sure bots are in every MMO. Do you always see them so blatantly doing this? No. Because it is an environment they feel comfortable doing this in. Beautiful Tamriel has been turned into Arkham Asylum, and there is very rarely a GM on on to Batman it up.


    • Don't believe the hype

      May 15, 2014 at 17:19

      It is more common to see the botting in lower level zones, but it can be seen elsewhere. I still don’t agree that it is “a very common thing to see” or “it is absolutely everywhere”. It most certainly does exist, is problematic and does need to be addressed, but its prevalence and impact is being dramatically over exaggerated. The game is just 1.5 months old. It isn’t like this has been around forever and a day with no action being taken by Zenimax to resolve. People need to have reasonable expectations of how quickly things like this can be handled so it doesn’t have any adverse impact on the game or the people who are paying to play it.


      • Dungeonlilly

        May 15, 2014 at 20:08

        I disagree. This situation couldn’t be exaggerated if I tried. It simply is how it was shown. The bots are in Coldharbour, which is a level 50 zone, so it is not just low level zones affected.


    • Matthew Daniels

      May 16, 2014 at 11:41

      Absolutely everywhere.. I’m v4.. and saw no bots out of the first zone..


      • Dungeonlilly

        May 16, 2014 at 15:53

        I’m glad you had a better experience than I did. Potential customers will be playing in low-level zones though, so it should be known. Also that you can watch it for hours (as I did) and open ticket after ticket (the only way to report them) with no resolution. If you can defend this with the video right above you, then you’ve found the game for you.


  25. obviousanswerhere

    May 15, 2014 at 17:29

    Why don’t they just make botting part of the game. Classic example is the skill for enchanting that gathers runes for you while you are offline. Then people who can’t play as much don’t get an uneven footing and they don’t need to waste resources on economy exploits. Lots of games feature auto play, contrary to popular belief. To people who say you should have to earn things: stop ruining everyone else’s experience because you can’t face the idea that you waste your life on video games.


  26. DukeAJuke

    May 15, 2014 at 19:16

    Let’s be honest here. While this game has made a respectable amount of money at release, it is not going to last long. The reason why it’s so easy to bot is because the game mechanics and cookie cutter quest system are just, well, “simple.” There is nothing new in this MMO and people are getting bored quickly. Most people are not going to hang around and pay the steep monthly subscription just to see if things get better (and I don’t believe they will), the game is just fundamentally flawed. I’m glad I got a chance to play open beta before forking out the $$ for this game. The money was much better served in the form of my new Callaway 3 wood :).


    • Lothy

      May 15, 2014 at 20:47

      Where is $15 dollars steep? This is a standard MMO monthly fee and always has been.

      In what MMO have you read or listened to all the quests, probably none. The reason being is when you play a normal RPG game you can expect the game to end of a certain amount of hours played. An mmo continues endlessly. You get certain main quests and the just your filler quests, this is how it works. Ppl are getting bored quickly because they are so damn critical and cant see the wood from the trees. Pratically every AAA title Iv seen has been released with issues, its basically impossible to generate every scenario a gamer can play in to see if the game breaks. But also that doesnt mean that Zenimax should have released a game with some blatant problems. Ppl forget that there is a fine line here where massive amounts of money is invested in a game and the need to get a ROI on it. Its so easy to sit behind our desks and play Caesar choosing whether this game will live or die.


      • DukeAJuke

        May 15, 2014 at 20:57

        Game = $60.00+ to buy, $180 a year to play. That’s $240.00 son – even if you don’t choose to play it after the first year. By most people’s standards that is an expensive video game. I don’t mind paying a premium for a quality product or good entertainment, but in my opinion this game doesn’t meet either of those criteria; and I’m obviously not alone in my opinion.


        • Charl van der Merwe

          May 16, 2014 at 08:29

          Its an MMORPG, WoW, FF14 and many others all cost an initial price and 13-15 $ monthly afterwards.It’s pretty much a standard.


  27. Coldfreeze

    May 15, 2014 at 20:28

    I have been playing since release and even though I love the game (huge fan, completely biased.)

    These issues are geting out of hand. It had a buggy launch, but stuff like this is indeed driving players away. I just once want to see an article saying: New patch improves ESO.


  28. galadian

    May 15, 2014 at 21:01

    One of the major mistakes in the editors piece is that the economy is completely player driven. Since the ash is goods driven this would mean everything is ran through a clear system. The real effort needs to be on monitoring account activities to stop gold selling and gold buying. They are actively stopping the bits and scammers it takes time considering the size of the server. Personally I believe the game has been well done literally the best launch for new game I have seem in a long time. The bottom line to me us the individual writing this piece needs to play the game and not trust outsidesources to prove a point play the game. Also as you get it if the opening zone there is a dramatic drop in farming bits of any kind.


  29. Tujiro

    May 15, 2014 at 23:30

    The console version is going to be ruined from day one since they are allowing you to transfer PC characters to the console versions. Idiots…


  30. Jedi JJ

    May 16, 2014 at 08:24

    But. Does it maybe make the game good?


  31. TJ Laakkonen

    May 16, 2014 at 11:37

    Now I am really happy of my decision after Skyrim that I will never ever again buy a game from Bethesda… some bugs I can swallow but problems of this magnitude, way to go Bethesda… you really know how to bug your games.


  32. Matthew Daniels

    May 16, 2014 at 11:46

    Is this article old or something? I actually you know.. play this game and I’m currently ranked v4. I intentionally went back to Daggerfall to see pretty much no gold farmers in chat during prime hours. Also you can no longer loot public dungeon boss’ s more than once. On top of that past the first few dungeons I never encountered a bot. It’s like whoever wrote this article is bored and looking at articles written 3 weeks ago and ripping them off.


    • Dungeonlilly

      May 16, 2014 at 16:09

      I play the game too, and it’s not old. It was posted on the forums the day before yesterday with a request for a GM. I am seriously baffled that with a video showing what the title of the article claims, there are so many jumping to defend it. If you would like to see for yourself, check the forums. There are new posts and videos several times daily of exactly this same thing, though I doubt even then some people would believe.


  33. retaliate

    May 17, 2014 at 06:32

    To anyone thinking of resubscribing – don’t bother!

    Transactions are still “failing” as of today (May 17th) for many CC payments (the money gets deducted from the bank account but you get no game time nor gain access to the forum.


  34. Dirkster_Dude

    May 17, 2014 at 12:18

    One of the many reasons I don’t really get into MMORPGs.


  35. sur0x

    May 18, 2014 at 00:03

    of course, cheap key https://www.g2a.com/r/digital-elder-scrolls-online attacts a lots of bots


  36. mmodev

    May 19, 2014 at 19:08

    WARNING: Subscription system is locking up funds in their
    customer’s bank accounts, sometimes double-charging and failing to give
    game-time. I’d strongly recommend anyone thinking of resubscribing to
    check ESO’s official forums first or wait until they announce the issue
    is definitely fixed (if they’ll ever admit anything was wrong on their
    side with the litany of failed transactions they’re causing every

    The payment system failures affect multiple
    banks, multiple cards and even PayPal payments. ZOS refuse to accept
    responsibility and are blaming everyone else. They’ve known about this
    issue for 8 days and have failed to do anything to fix it or stop
    customers getting caught up in the problem.

    Of course, ESO is
    still at beta-release quality on the technical side (except the artwork
    and content, which is admittedly one of the things about ESO that is of a
    AAA-rating standard.) As such, ZOS should not be charging anyone for
    it in it’s current state. It’s a flawed product that is dependent on a
    brutally flawed service.

    – The game is riddled with bots that fly, speedhack and noclip through meshes.
    – The bots spam zone chat and send spam in-game mails to players frequently.

    The bots are so prolific that it has become almost impossible for new
    players to get enough mats from starter zones to be able to craft
    – The server-side development is a joke, the game launched with practically no server-side anti-cheat mechanisms at all.

    The game was pitched by Matt Firor as “polished, lag-free”… it’s been
    a clusterf**k and there have been numerous reports of lag (Thanks to
    the lag, I figured out that even the meta-data for static scenery props
    is sent from the servers to players so when there is lag – the
    consequence are ridiculous.)
    – ZOS have failed to respond to
    customers promptly, systematically mark unresolved tickets as resolved
    automatically and cannot give technical answers.
    – ZOS are failing
    miserably to support the game because of all the glitches, technical
    design mistakes and what appears to be a company-wide ignorance to 10+
    years of MMO development wisdom the industry has to reference.

    friend of mine is so pissed off he’s even looking into the EU laws about
    commercial sales and says that from what he’s reading – they mis-sold
    the game by launching with known critical bugs and known exploits that
    were not fixed and that would be certain to cause many legitimate
    customers to be outraged.

    ZOS were given the technique to stop
    speedhacking on a platter about a month ago… a handful of patches
    later and bots are still speedhacking and generally humiliating ZOS. –
    They’ve even been given solutions to the bot problems but it’s unlikely
    they’ll have a grip on the situation for a few months yet (judging on
    the rate it takes them to fix anything!)

    Some players claim 90% of their guild has gone, some believe the game has already bled 80% of players.

    a TES fanboy, a software developer and MMO gamer for some 8-9 years – I
    wanted ESO to be “THE” MMO for the next few years but can clearly see
    just how much Matt Firor and his team have made ESO into a giant

    And before a ZOS employee posts excuses or pretends to be a player
    who is unaffected… all I’ll say is if anyone is in doubt about my
    claims above… just go check out the official ESO forums for a mountain
    of supporting evidence.

    Also… to the video game industry media/press (IGN,PCGamer,Gamespot,EuroGamer,etc..)… WHY THE SILENCE?

    It’s depressing and horrible what has happened to ESO, but the way ZOS are
    handling things – they do not deserve any collusion or cover from
    yourselves. In fact, while they are screwing many customers over with
    their broken payment system and while they pretend that their litany of
    bugs and flaws are really just overreactions by customers – YOU should
    be the ones issuing warnings to all MMO gamers about these problems.


    • Dungeonlilly

      May 20, 2014 at 16:43

      Why the silence indeed. As of right now forum PMs are once again disabled due to gold spammers. For players that have not unchecked a setting in their forum profile, this automatically sends an email to their regular Hotmail/live/yahoo/whatever account. Its jarring as you cant really tell its not directly from the goldsellers (or ESO devs) unless you are a dedicated forum reader and are already aware of the stuation.


  37. Paulo Ferreira

    May 22, 2014 at 13:49

    Anyone who thinks this is new to MMOs is an idiot and btw its in every MMO everyone farms gold and loot and I have yet to see an economy ruined in an MMO from gold selling or farming. The real issue here is that they are using bots to farm not the farming itself which using bots is illegal that’s a fact and until we leave in a world with no hackers then all they can do is try to moderate the issue which they have been trying to.

    As far as the gold problem if they really want to solve that problem only way to do so is to take it over and offer that same service themselves at least then they have control over it and the MMO itself benefits and a lot of whats going on I can assure you would not happen as much or even at all because then they would have no reason to do it if the demand is no longer there. This may not be the perfect solution but it is the best solution at the moment. People will always buy, trade, and sell what they feel they own and have paid for so of course even in a video game they will do same.


  38. Frank Beans

    May 28, 2014 at 04:18

    I wonder how much blizzard is paying these hackers to ruin the game.


  39. AnonOFC

    June 18, 2014 at 20:29

    it took me less than a few hours to create the following hacks and place them into a C++ console with public code and release, (Infinite Sprint, Speed Hack, No Fall Damage, 0 Gravity, Infinite Ultimate Ability, and finally teleport, and soon each bot will be teleporting to quest locations for even faster botting)


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