Botting, generally, is frowned upon in MMOs. Using any kind of tool to automate your play and amass experience and resources is against the rules in pretty much every major multiplayer game I can think of, but one Old School RuneScape (OSRS) player thought they’d found a loophole. As spotted by GamesRadar, they asked OSRS developer Jagex if it really counts as using a third-party automation tool if the tool in question is their literal amputated toe.
In a post that will animate university philosophy departments for decades to come, an OSRS player called planting_shade has taken to the OSRS subreddit to ask the devs if it’s okay to use their “amputated toe for the Duke mining method”. The situation is almost exactly what you think it is. Planting_shade wants a verdict on whether it truly counts as botting if all you’re doing is weighing down a key on your keyboard with a weight that was, after all, once part of yourself. Understanding that their query was a matter of import not just for the RuneScape community but for the entire field of moral science, planting_shade appended their question with the tag “[serious]”.
The “Duke mining method” that planting_shade refers to is a relatively recent development in OSRS, and to be honest, the term “method” might be a bit grand. It refers to a tactic players have been using in the game’s Duke mining area, whereby all you have to do is hold down the spacebar in order to continually accrue Mining experience until the game logs you out automatically. All planting_shade wants to do is hold down their spacebar using their formerly-attached toe instead of their currently-attached finger. What’s the difference, I ask you.
If you’re curious as to how planting_shade came to possess one of their own severed appendages, the player says it’s the result of a “diabetic foot infection” they experienced last year. That infection necessitated the toe’s amputation, after which planting_shade asked their doctor, as one does, if they could keep the lopped-off digit as a souvenir. The player has since performed “some mummification” on the toe, turning it into a pristine and grisly paperweight just begging to be put to use in 2013’s finest old-school MMO experience.
Planting_shade got a response to their query relatively quickly. Sort of, anyway. A Jagex mod responded to their thread and said they were “glad you have retrieved your toe back and that you are getting a good night of sleep,” but that otherwise planting_shade would just have to wait for “some news about this topic in the game update newspost (Wednesday) where it will be addressed more officially”.
“In the meantime,” continued the Jagex mod, “please do take care of your remaining fingers and toes – they’re very important!”
Alas, Jagex has since released the update that moderator was referring to, and it’s bad news for all Duke mining method enjoyers regardless of how many toes they have. An update today made the grim pronouncement that “Mining the Duke’s Salt deposits for more than five minutes will tire you out and cause you to stop for a breather,” making the Duke mining method—however it’s done—”unviable”.
Bit of a cop-out, if you ask me. As GamesRadar noted, the OSRS Rules prohibit “using software or hardware that can help you play the game with the software or hardware doing things for you that you should be doing yourself”. Your own detached toes, of course, are neither hardware nor software. They are wetware. By a strict interpretation of the law, that should be fine, right?