I honestly think there is a “reasonable” limit that can be placed on the amount of sales and purchases in a 1 hour period. I think we can extrapolate what the most prolific LE player (thinking pro-streamer) would be able to farm up and sell in 1 hour, double it, and put a buy and sell limit on the AH. This would at least make a small dent in botting. (I get that they make so many accounts that they can bypass such a limit, but at least make them pay that extra $ to buy those extra accounts!)
I also think you can add even more pain to bots, like, you can’t use the AH until you reach the End of Time. This still lets you (an account) buy on a higher level character and Stash items for their newbies, but makes it harder for bots.
Next, and this one is tough, but I think doable. (Warning: technical)
Bots use scripts to move characters through games. These are automated. I’ve heard they can even add things like random delays in between each “action” of the script, so that they take different amounts of time. But the actions are still performed the same “way” each time they are performed. Yes, they might even randomize the order of the actions. But the action itself is always identical (kinda has to be, its a script.) I will once again turn to a heuristic here and say that Dev could code for the same action “DNA” (same action imprint, or pattern) and when detected, simply place a block on AH transactions which match that imprint.
I know that’s a lot - here’s what it means. A player buying or selling items won’t do it precisely the same way (at a code level) each time. Their character will be in a different spot. They will search for different items. They will post things on the same character (because, why wouldn’t a legit player do that?) The heuristic can record each AH interaction and try to see if it detects any such “scripted” patterns. It then blocks that pattern from interacting with the AH. Note, it doesn’t block the account. It doesn’t block a character. It doesn’t block an IP address. It blocks a PATTERN. So, if a bot company is running a script on 100 PCs, all 100 will suddenly be prevented from interacting with the AH (the scripts will fail).
I’ve had this idea a long time - attack the root cause of bots - scripts. Detect and block the pattern itself. Force them to constantly rewrite and re-deploy the scripts.