End of an Era: Powerbot / RSBot shut down

After years of facing legal proceedings from Jagex, Powerbot has finally thrown in the towel and agreed to shut down unexpectedly. RSBot (the product) was by far the longest lasting public bot out there, with an impressive age of 13 years. In this post, we'll dive deeper into the history of RSBot and the people involved as a tribute.

The beginning

Free Games For You: Rsbot Free runescape bot (Latest Version)
Early RSBot user interface

The year is 2007, and there are two main players in the RuneScape bot market, iBot and Ares. iBot was a complex minimizable color bot developed by Impsoft in 2006, and was an established popular player at the time. Ares was a precursor to RSBot developed by Ollie and one of the first bots of the style we see today (minimizable with virtual mouse, and directly reading data from the game). In a strange turn of events Impsoft (the people behind iBot) managed to buy Ares and integrate it into their bot client, to the dismay of original Ares users. Ares became a paid offering, putting efficient botting out of reach for many people. As a result, someone by the name of Speljohan started development of RSBot as a community project with the aim of providing a free alternative to the now-paid Ares.

Fast forward to January 2008, Speljohan publicly announces that RSBot is now available and ready for use. Being the only free bot of it's kind, it became hugely popular and attracted a lot of developers willing to invest time and effort in making scripts resulting in an unparalleled script library.

RSBot 2

RSBot 2 brings a tabbed client

Not too long after, RuneScape releases a big game engine update that temporarily breaks RSBot, resulting in the development of RSBot 2. The new version of RSBot supports running bots in tabs, allowing you to bot multiple accounts in a single instance of the client. It also features a low-CPU mode, making it more viable for gold farming.

The takeover

Some time goes by, and all is good in the world, until Paris/ins3 stages a hostile takeover of the RSBot website and project. The original developers are gone at this point, and new developers are brought in, one of them being Jacmob who would later go on to develop RSBuddy. This sets the stage for the heavily commercialized version of RSBot we know today. Under Paris's rule, we saw the introduction of Premium Scripts, VIP subscriptions and restricted usage for users that weren't paying for the client.

At some point, the RSBot.org domain name got seized by Jagex for trademark infringement, resulting in the now well known name Powerbot. To tell you the truth, not much has happened between the takeover and the demise of Powerbot. It's closed-source nature meant there was less room for community contributions, and It's widely considered that the development pretty much stalled. There was a huge amount of brain drain from the community due to the new, commercial nature of the bot, resulting in a massive decline in popularity and numerous competitors gaining market share.

OldSchool RuneScape and the subsequent shutdown

In February 2013, OldSchool RuneScape was released, and after some time Powerbot introduced a version of the bot designed to work for OSRS. For a while it was pretty big, but as with most projects originating from here the development stalled and it was overtook by competitors. I believe this played a large role in the final decision to shut down Powerbot.

Ending notes

To be honest, I find it hard to believe this is the end. Although RSBot user numbers were tanking towards the end, it still had some dedicated community members. Looking at the history, we can see the community behind RSBot has a tendency to resurrect itself.

EDIT: Powerbot community has changed to PowBot, with a new bot client and the same scripts as before - https://powbot.org/