RSBot versus AutoHotkey (AHK)

Written by _Rick on 09/12/2020

A recent development in the Old School RuneScape world has been the rise of AHK scripts, also known as AutoHotkey scripts. In today's post we want to explore the differences between these AHK scripts, and a bot client like PowBot (RSBot).

What is AutoHotkey (AHK)?

AutoHotkey is a program for Windows that allows you to write simple scripts that automatically move your mouse and type on your keyboard. Scripts can search for a particular image or colour on the screen, grab the position in pixels, and then move the mouse there and click it, repeatedly.

Sounds good, in principle, and it's easy to build simple macros in this way. That being said, there are a few downsides to this approach:

  • The AHK script takes control of your mouse and keyboard, preventing you from doing other activities on your computer while the macro is running
  • When using AutoHotkey for games like OSRS, even the slightest shift in colors or position can throw the script off causing it to misbehave.
  • As AHK scripts cannot read any data from the game such as your hitpoints or levels, there are a lot of tasks it cannot be used to automate

How does it differ from RSBot / PowBot?

The biggest difference between AHK macros and a bot client like RSBot is in game awareness. Bot clients like RSBot integrate deeply into the game, allowing the bot to make decisions based on a lot more information. Bot clients are aware of:

  • Your levels, experience, and hitpoints
  • The items you have in your inventory
  • Your characters position in the game world
  • Which Objects, NPCs, Players and other entities are around you
  • Which interfaces are showing in the game
  • How to navigate from place to place within the game

And much more.

Added on to that, bot clients have some benefits for farming purposes:

  • It doesn't take control of your mouse and keyboard, allowing you to continue using the computer while you're macroing.
  • It's fully minimizable, so it continues to work in the background while you do other things.
  • You can run multiple bots on multiple accounts at the same time, giving you the potential to gain more levels/GP quickly.

Are bot clients more detectable than AHK?

This is difficult to answer accurately. In theory, it's easier for Jagex to detect bot clients than programs like AutoHotkey. This is because bot clients typically count as a 3rd-party client, loading the game in a specific non-official way. At least, that's how it used to be. Modern advanced bot clients like PowBot make use of the official RuneScape client installed on your computer, making it impossible to tell that you are using a 3rd-party client. This technology has not been available for long enough to conclusively say that ban rates are lower (mostly because we haven't had any reports of bans with the new client).

If the client is not detected, bans can only be based on a combination of the following:

  • Mouse/keyboard input (click timings, movement speed, things like that)
  • Reaction times (bot clients can react a lot faster than humans!)
  • General behavior (play times, repetitiveness, success rates)

By default, these conditions don't actually differ between AHK and modern bot clients. That being said, bot clients make it a lot easier to macro for extended periods of time because they can operate in the background, and this typically leads to people botting for hours on end rather than for a few hours. Because AHK bots take control of your mouse and keyboard, you're less likely to keep running them for hours on end, which could be one of the key differences resulting in bans.

So, are bot clients safe to use?

Bot clients like PowBot that utilise the official game client installed on your computer are generally considered safe to use, but only if you bot responsibly!

If you want to learn more about botting responsibly, you can click here to read our tips for avoiding bans.

Thanks for reading - and consider joining our Discord if you have any questions