NGUARD+: An Attention-based Game Bot Detection Framework via Player Behavior Sequences

ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data(2020)

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AbstractGame bots are automated programs that assist cheating users, leading to an imbalance in the game ecosystem and the collapse of user interest. Online games provide immersive gaming experience and attract many loyal fans. However, game bots have proliferated in volume and method, evolving with the real-world detection methods and showing strong diversity, leaving game bot detection efforts extremely difficult. Existing game bot detection techniques mostly rely on handcrafted features or time-series based features instead of fully utilizing player behavior sequences. In this regard, a more reasonable way should be learning user patterns from player behavior sequences when facing the fast-changing nature of game bots. Here we propose a general game bot detection framework for massively multiplayer online role playing games termed NGUARD+ (denoting NetEase Games’ Guard), which captures user patterns in order to identify game bots from player behavior sequences. NGUARD+ mainly employs attention-based methods to automatically differentiate game bots from humans. We provide a combination of supervised and unsupervised methods for game bot detection to detect game bots and new type of game bots even when the labels of game bots are limited. Specifically, we propose the following two variants for attention-based sequence modeling: Attention based Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory Networks (ABLSTM) and Hierarchical Self-Attention Network (HSAN) as our supervised models. ABLSTM is keen on inducing certain inductive biases which makes learning more reasonable as well as capturing local dependency and global information, while HSAN could handle much longer behavior sequences with less memory and higher computational efficiency. Experiments conducted on a real-world dataset show that NGUARD+ can achieve remarkable performance improvement compared to traditional methods. Moreover, NGUARD+ can reveal outstanding robustness for game bots in mutated patterns and even in completely unseen patterns.
Game bot detection, sequence modeling, transfer learning, auto-iteration mechanism, attention mechanism
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