MMO dev forced to respond to player hoping to dodge anti-bot rules by using their own amputated toe to grind through the night: "Technically it’s a part of my body"

 Old School RuneScape quest trailer
Old School RuneScape quest trailer

In one of the strangest rule appeals in MMO history, one of the devs at Old School RuneScape developer Jagex started this week with what I can only assume was the most bizarre player-submitted question of their career: "Can I use my amputated toe for the Duke mining method?"

Just to hammer it home, Reddit user planting_shade even added "[serious] [j mod reply please]" to their post, which proposes skirting the OSRS botting and macro rules in the most gruesome way I've ever seen.

As they explain, they lost one of their toes to a diabetic foot infection last year. The affected toe sadly had to be amputated, and planting_shade asked the doctors if they could keep it for themselves. With approval from lab pathology, they held onto the toe and preserved it in formalin (or formaldehyde liquid) before eventually giving it "some mummification (I’ll spare you guys the details) so that it’s hard and I don’t need to keep it submerged any more." With their very own mummified toe now exhumed, they were wondering if they could, you know, let it play OSRS for them while they sleep.

"Since technically it’s a part of my body I’m genuinely wondering if I can use it for six hours of beautiful mining experience with the spacebar held down. It’s my toe. It’s heavy enough to press my laptop spacebar. Me personally, I feel like it’s valid; I sleep just fine at night knowing my toe is working hard for me in the salt mines."

There are two important points of context here. First of all, "Duke mining" is a newly discovered method of training the Mining skill while totally AFK. All you have to do is press down your spacebar while standing in the right location at the game's newest mining area and your character will rack up six hours of XP before the game's auto-log kicks you out. Dev mod JagexLight has previously addressed the pseudo-exploit, recently assuring players that it will be discussed in a news post coming tomorrow, September 13.

Let us also turn our attention to the code of conduct for OSRS, which prohibits "macroing and third-party software/hardware" or "botting" that involves "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." Jagex specifies that these rules "are written in clear language so that everybody can understand them easily," but I don't think the developer ever planned on the counterargument of amputated digits.

Planting_shade might have a point. Their toe isn't software, hardware, or a third-party solution. Duke mining is technically just part of the game, and it doesn't get more first-party than your own flesh and blood. But this method does involve automating the game in some way, which probably breaks Jagex's rule to "play the game yourself, making sure you are in control of everything."

More recently, JagexLight responded to planting_shade ahead of the forthcoming news post and shared some sound advice. "I'm glad you have retrieved your toe back and that you are getting a good night of sleep," they said. "You can expect some news about this topic in the game update news post (Wednesday) where it will be addressed more officially. In the meantime please do take care of your remaining fingers and toes - they're very important!"

JagexLight notably doesn't say Duke mining is a punishable offense, so maybe don't cut off your toe to do it, but enjoy what may be the final days of the skilling workaround.

The neighboring RuneScape community recently won a big battle against an unpopular pay-to-win battle pass, with Jagex quickly admitting "we messed up."