About HB2 Profiles

Everyone needs a little help getting started now and again, so to this effect, we provide this following section for new users of HonorBuddy2(HB2).

What is a "Profile"?

Profiles are nothing more than a set of instructions that tell HB2 how to achieve a particular goal. Goals can be anything the profile writer desires. For example:

  • Do the quests in this zone to get the zone's contribution toward The Loremaster achievement
  • Do the quests in this zone to get levels for a character
  • Grind on mobs in this zone to get levels for a character until they turn green, then move me to another zone
  • Grind on a particular set of mobs to establish reputation with a faction
  • Explore these zones to acquire World Explorer achievement
  • Loop around a zone to mine and herb until our bags are full
  • Do some PvP in one of the battlegrounds

Profiles themselves are written in a markup language called XML. A simple editor will suffice, although there are dedicated tools to help things along. Many prefer Notepad++ since it colorizes the XML automatically, and makes it very easy to edit.

The Profile writer decides on what he wants to have accomplished, then writes the set of XML instructions to make HB2 achieve the goal.

Where can I get Profiles?

HB2 comes with the PvP profiles needed for any of the Battlegrounds (AB, AV, EotS, IoC, SotA, and WSG).
We highly recommend you don't use WSG, as it is very easy to spot botters in that Battleground.

All other profiles come from community contributions. The two places to look for HB2 profiles are:

The Wiki is maintained by the HB2 Community and is external to the main HonorBuddy website. At the time, the main HonorBuddy site did not have any Wiki capabilities, and some community members were tired of stepping on each other's toes in an attempt to update profiles. The discussion about starting the external Wiki site was quite lively and can be found here.

In the Forums, you will find many good ideas and good intentions. However, the forums are disorganized, and many people are duplicating each other's work. You will also find a lot of profiles tagged as 1-60 or 1-80, yet they only go from 1-15. The Wiki was an attempt to add some organization to the madness in the Forums, and eliminate some of the duplicated effort. The idea is to move the QuestOrder profile machinery forward more quickly, as is so desperately needed.

References:

Where do Profiles go, and how do I use them?

The PvP Profiles that come with HB2 are located in a directory called ''<HB2_install_dir>/Default Profiles''. We recommend against using HB2's "Default Profiles" directory to store profiles you acquire from the Community—it becomes a maintenance problem if you do.

Use a Parallel directory structure with HB2
We recommend that you establish a separate parallel directory to hold the Mesh, Plugins, and Profiles that you have downloaded. For instance, if we installed HB2 in ''C:/Games/HB2-1.9.5.8'', we recommend you create the following directories:

  • C:/Games/HB-Extras/Mesh
  • C:/Games/HB-Extras/Profiles
  • C:/Games/HB-Extras/Plugins

Here's why… HB2 is updated every two to three weeks:

  • It is generally a bad idea to install a new HB2 on top of an old one.
    Instead, put the new release into a new directory. If the new HB2 fails, its easy to go back. Also, its possible for the StyxSettings.xml et al files to change schemas, or directories to be reorgnized for a release—meaning that the old ones won't work with the new release, or worse will confuse it terribly.
  • HB-Extras/Mesh directory
    keeps you from having to re-download, move, or copy mesh files every time HB2 is updated
  • HB-Extras/Profiles directory
    allows you quick access to your common set of downloaded profiles from any HB2 version or copy. (Yes, many users run multiple copies of HB2 at the same time.)
  • HB-Extras/Plugins is our versioned archive of plugins
    When you download plugins, you must copy them to the appropriate HB2 directory (C:/Games/HB2-1.9.5.8/Plugins in our example.) However, we also keep a copy of the plugin in our HB-Extras/Plugins directory. The HB-Extras/Plugins directory acts as a ''versioned'' repository. You should make certain the plugin's version number is part of the file name in the repository. Why do we do this? Many plugin authors overwrite their 'first page' with the latest version of their plugin. If a particular version worked for you, but the new one doesn't, there is no way to go back and acquire the 'works for me' version. So, we keep a copy around locally in our repository.

Since both Plugins and Profiles are a community effort, there is no consistency in naming conventions or versioning. You don't know that the version of the Plugin/Profile you are using will be available if you go back and try to redownload it from the forum—it may have been overwritten with a new version that doesn't work for you.

This parallel directory structure system works very well for us. Use it or not as you will.

Should I prefer Grinding or Questing Profiles?

Before answering this, let's talk briefly about bot detection mechanisms. Other forums have discussed this at length. A good place to start reading is MMOwned. MMOwned is where I started my research that eventually led me to select HonorBuddy. Reading MMOwned is highly recommended.

Detection mechanisms have two 'sides'—client-side, and server-side. On the client-side, WoW has an auxiliary program, referred to as "the Warden", that runs along with the normal WoW-client. The Warden looks for things like:

  • programs outside of the WoW-client poking and prodding at the WoW-client's memory locations
  • programs trying to masquerade as services the WoW-client uses (keyboard reading, disk reading, memory allocaters, etc)
  • key sequences being pressed 'too fast' and with little-to-no variance
  • speed hacks (moving faster than you should be. Yes, movement calculations are largely client-side)
  • collision avoidance hacks (moving through walls and other boundaries you shouldn't be able to)

"The Warden" just watches and reports—it takes no action on its own. It is up to the job of the HonorBuddy developers to keep us safe from "the Warden". To know its safe, reverse engineering of the Warden has to be accomplished, and work-arounds provided within HB2. The HB2 developers do a fantastic job of protecting us from "the Warden", and it was a major reason we selected HB2. Other bots promise such, but few deliver. Reading through some of the discussions on the MMOwned forums make this very clear.

Avoiding Server-side detection is largely your job, and the job of the profiles you select. This detection occurs by running statistical probability tools on the behavior that is observed from the server-side. Examples of non-human behavior that can easily be detected servers-side include, but is not limited to:

  • Attacking mobs placed inside a rock or tree or other obstacle for more than a few seconds (humans would never do this)
  • Attacking a mob that is evading for more than a few seconds (humans would "figure it out" quickly)
  • Being stuck for considerable amounts of time (after 10mins or so, humans would hearth or use the auto-unstuck facility)
  • Grinding six hours or so without one biobreak

Some people are lucky even if they are careless. What can accurately and actually be detected server-side is subject to many (dissenting) opinions. Just keep in mind that analysis of server-side detection is all conjecture—only the WoW developers actually know the actual scope and mechanisms.

I run a single bot account that keeps my main account in the lifestyle to which it's become accustomed. I only have the one bot and would like not to lose it, and have time to babysit the bot while doing other things. As such, I prefer the following to avoid the banhammer by looking as 'human' as possible to the server:

  • Use the eSafe plugin
    This plugin (version 1.5 or higher) will automatically hearth you to your inn and resume botting if you are stuck or if someone has been following you for more than a set period of time in the game. It can also be configured to close down WoW if the hearthstone is unavailable due to cooldown. THIS PLUGIN IS A MUST-HAVE!
    Forum thread: http://www.buddyforum.de/showthread.php?117-eSafe-Making-botting-safer-v1.3 (you will need to look deeper in forum thread to find latest version of plugin, as the original author hasn't updated it in a long time)
  • Don't be in a hurry
    Behaviors induced by the hurry to "get to 80", or "make a boatload of money" is a great way to send up server-side flags.
    Its one thing to be in a hurry when you are playing WoW—you still take biobreaks et al. Its something completely different for you to be in a hurry when your bot is playing WoW. Almost all behavior associated with being in a hurry with your bot causes you to make bad decisions: botting for 15+ hours a day nonstop, putting 50 stacks of adamantite on the auction house at once, etc.
  • Use Questing profiles as much as possible, even if some pain (of "helping it through" an area) is involved
    Questing and problem solving are a very human thing to do. Grinding away for days on end is not. Humans frequently like mindless, repetitive action like grinding (especially when your stressed). However, excessive grinding is "not normal human behavior"—especially for a game designed for social interactions and questing. If you grind nonstop for hours on end every day, you might as well write Bliz an email and tell them you're botting.
  • Watch your grinding zone choices and durations
    Don't grind all day in Azshara or Hinterlands (underpopulated zones). Grind for a while, but not 10-15 hours straight.
    If you must grind, change your grinding zone every few hours.
  • Switching up toons
    Don't play 14 hours on one toon. Play 5 hours on one toon, switch toons, then play for 5 hours. Its an excellent idea to switch to your 'banker' toon and check your auctions before going to your next 5-hour toon. This is what a human would do.
  • Make the bot take 'biobreaks'
    Every two to three hours, just stop the bot for 5-15 minutes. This is what a human would do.
  • Make your money from auctions
    This is exactly what a human would do. But, don't be greedy and flood the auction house with your wares. Five to seven stacks of a particular type of ore is plenty—don't go dumping 40 stacks of one type of ore on the auction house.
    On the other side, humans do not sell large quantities of ore and herbs to vendors.

But even with these precautions, you should always know: If you bot, you should be prepared to lose the account.

On the flip side of my style are the hardcore HB2 botters. There are plenty of them, and their choices are completely different because of it. Hardcore botters are playing more of a statistics game—they have a bunch of accounts, and are expecting a certain percentage of them to be banned. In those situations, they'll just replace the banned accounts. They don't have time to babysit each individual toon being botted. If you fall into this camp, I've no advice for you, you'll have to ask one of them how to "be safe".

So… back to the main point of preferring questing profiles to grinding profiles, I point you to Fpsware's experiment. It is only one data point, but a scientific attempt at obtaining it. The results imply that accounts that quest are much less likely to get banned than accounts that grind.

References:

So many Profiles to choose, how do I get started?

In all candor…
Most of the grinding profiles you will find should work great—other than the dangers of level-by-grinding as discussed previously.

On the other hand, HB2's Questing facilities are beta quality, and have gone through a number of rapid changes. HB-1.9.5.5 introduced "QuestOrder", and failed to support the pre-1.9.5.5 "ForcedQuest" profiles. This broke almost all the existing Questing profiles, and the community scrambled to produce QuestOrder profiles. HB-1.9.5.7 reintroduced capabilities to execute the older "ForcedQuest".

In short, the Quest profile support is sketchy at the moment, but does work. At this writing, support for Horde is considerably stronger than the support for the Alliance side.

The HB2 Community is working very hard to create a set of working new QuestOrder-style profiles, but it will take some time before the new Profiles arrive. You will need to dig through the Profile sources listed above and just try to find things that work for you. Be prepared for many of them to not work well—especially the older "ForcedQuest" profiles.

The design of profiles varies widely. Writing good ones is not an easy task and requires a bit of research. A Paladin can wade into a camp of five mobs, and wear them down without dieing. A rogue pulling the same camp gets squished at breathtaking speed. Conservative profile writers write their profiles for all classes. They do this by pulling the outlier mobs over a large area, rather than assuming everyone is wearing platemail. On the flip side, platemail-wearers would find such a conservative profile extremely 'boring and slow'.

We strongly recommend you seek out the conservative profiles (usually identified by their author). Because, even Paladins can get in "death loops" if there were six mobs in the camp instead of five. Its the bot's time, not yours, that it takes to level. Look a little human, and don't be in such a hurry. :)

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