The Digits Hidden in the Virtual World: Approximate Estimation Applying Capture and Recapture

Da Mi Hwang, In Seok Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In general, game players want their own characters that project themselves to have stronger power and honor in a virtual world. Their aspiration is achieved by pulling up character’s level or accumulating wealth in game. Some players, thus, cheat at games in a variety of ways to skip the repetitive and tedious process of gaining experience and wealth that consumes a considerable amount of time and effort. Cheatings are regarded as harmful behaviors toward both game producers and players in good faith, and if the rate of the cheating players exceeds a certain threshold, the game producers will not be able to provide fair and successful services anymore. Therefore, the game producers make various efforts to detect and impose a sanction on the cheaters. In this paper, we propose a method to estimate population size of the cheaters more quickly and accurately, in a relatively shorter time and lower cost than traditional methods, by using the method which is used frequently by ecologists. Among the various ecological estimation methods, Jolly-Seber estimator, based on capture and recapture method, was selected to estimate the characteristics of players in virtual world. Moreover, the video footage recorded for estimation is expected to become a legal evidence for game producers to impose sanctions such as permanent account suspension. Based on the estimated population size, the ratio of the cheaters among ordinary players can be estimated, and this ratio is expected to help the game producers to make swift decisions on the timing of sanctions. In this paper, we estimate the population size of cheating players in Blade & Soul, a popular MMORPG game. The total number of cheating players was estimated to be 274,639 players in four selected areas. In 2012, according to official press release of the game producer (NCSOFT Corporation), Blade & Soul had 230,000 concurrent users at every second. The number of active users is approximately estimated to be 2,300,000. Using the method proposed in this paper, the rate of cheating players in the game is approximately 11.94%.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation Security Applications - 18th International Conference, WISA 2017, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsBrent ByungHoon Kang, Taesoo Kim
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9783319935621
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event18th World International Conference on Information Security and Application, WISA 2017 - Jeju Island, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 2017 Aug 242017 Aug 26

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10763 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other18th World International Conference on Information Security and Application, WISA 2017
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
CityJeju Island

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.


  • Blade & Soul
  • Capture and recapture method
  • Estimation of cheaters population
  • Jolly-Seber estimator
  • Online game security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The Digits Hidden in the Virtual World: Approximate Estimation Applying Capture and Recapture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this