Devblog - New Year Security Update!


(Old Pervert) #91

Yes, adding fuel to the fire is indeed not the same as a controlled burn. But truly, would adding punishment to those who aid and abet botters, really be the same as adding fuel to the fire?

If one harbours a criminal in real life, for any reason, is it not a crime? The exploit in that case is “I commit a crime and trick you into harbouring me”. The counter is quite simply a matter of a trial. There aren’t exactly a lot of powerbloc alliances. An in-depth review of the exact circumstances is not at all infeasible in a game where CCP can (and SHOULD) be judge, jury, and executioner.

Think about it. CCP says “there’s a 30 day grace period where you can report bots. At that time, we’ll review the details and if we decide to, we’ll met out punishment like it’s the coming of the apocalypse. At our sole discretion.”

Eve != RL, we all know that. But the concept that aiding, abetting, or benefiting from crime begets a punishment is far from a novel concept.

(Anderson Geten) #92

You are not.
You are doing the opposite.
That’s why I said your idea is dumb. The only way to make your idea NOT help botters is to NOT use it.

nope. Get your IRL comparison out of here especially when they are so wrong.
You are saying that prison watchmen are ciminals.

And in all those cases there must be a judgement. But whatever, your idea is stupid. Get over it.
You cannot ave your idea implemented and at the same time prevent people from abusing it.
So your idea is intrinsically making bot users gain an advantage over non bot users.

(Drago Shouna) #93

You’re joking right?

Comparing a prison guard to someone aiding and abetting a criminal is just ludicrous.

99.999999% of players know what he means, guess which part you are.

(Nevyn Auscent) #94

Aiding and abetting involves active knowledge. Not simply working at the same company.

(Drago Shouna) #95

You don’t think the Alliances or Corps within them know what’s going on?

I disagree, I think they know exactly what goes on.

Just look at the major alliance that had massive botting fleets that were uncovered recently.

(Nevyn Auscent) #96

Some will. some won’t.
Now work out how to tell the difference with the resources CCP can access, as opposed to a full police investigation with warrants and a jury trial.

(Drago Shouna) #97

I would sincerely hope that CCP can tell who they are. What’s most worrying is what they are, or aren’t doing about it.

It’s all well and good going after the bottom of the chain and solo players in mainly solo corps, but CCP must be able to see the links that lead further up the chain.

But getting what amounts to a slap on the wrist the first time you’re caught isn’t really a deterrent.

(Nevyn Auscent) #98

CCP can follow the isk sure. And if it was huge amounts to an individual maybe ban. But when it’s just 1 donation amongst 100 to the alliance coffers or just a sensible corp tax rate… you can’t prove a thing.
Even if it flagged in a review of the corp account… how many CEOs actually sit down and do a full accounting. And why should we expect them all to be accountants just to play a game.

(Drago Shouna) #99

Perhaps they need to look at PIRAT and think hmmm, maybe we need to pay more attention.

Heck I don’t even know what happened to them as I ain’t been on here for months.

(Infinite Destruction) #100

CCP isn’t serious about getting rid of botters and they know it.

Which is why you can watch (even on places like Twitch), fleets of a dozen or more mining ships, even a dozen Orcas, warp into a belt, pop mining drones and start strip mining the ore and you KNOW that they are all controlled by one person.

Or watch some loser from Code warp 20 Coercers into a belt to gank a lone mining ship. (They don’t like their other alts having any competition for the ore apparently.)

Or the market bots posting scams in Jita (and other systems) and seemingly running automated programs to buy/sell stuff on the market.
(You don’t really expect people to believe that there are players with 30-40 monitors showing multiple windows at the same time so they can actively track every open order they have and make .01 isk adjustments almost instantaneously after an order has been transacted.
Or do you ?)

Getting new players into the game was not the real purpose of creating “Alpha” accounts and, judging by the numbers of people logging in, free “Alpha” accounts haven’t made any noticeable increase in numbers.

In fact, for as long as I have been playing, there has been hardly any significant increase in the numbers logging in (based on the last 10 years at least).

Like right now. There are less than 17,000 logged in, on a weekend. I usually see 20-24,000, maybe 26,000 on a good day and it’s been like that for years.
By rights, we should have 75-80,000+ people logged in all the time.

I bet if CCP actually did get serious and really did start booting bots, the number of “players” logged in would be a lot less (and it would be a lot more fun to actually play the game).

(Vincent Athena) #101

CCP did look at CAPTCHA type stuff for mining. For example: miners have a drilling beam and a harvesting beam. The drilling beam causes alot of debris to fly off. The harvesting beam collects it. You actively move the harvester about to collect the ore, which visually looks different from other debris. Or: just leave the harvester centered, and you passively gat about half the ore. That way passive players still get something, but active play is rewarded.

(Old Pervert) #102

Perhaps it’s not the idea that’s dumb, but rather a certain reader?

Except prisons don’t harbor criminals. They contain them. Criminals are not being sheltered from the law in prison, quite clearly. Are you sure it’s the idea that’s dumb?

Yes. There must be a judgement. And I’m saying that there should be a judgement. I’m saying that if alliances were to actively seek out and destroy the botting within their own space out of a pure interest in self preservation, they would. They know damn well that it happens, and sufficiently motivated to keep their space clean, they would.

And we all know that it’s a condoned activity by alliance leadership. Not just Goons, not just Test, not just NC, not just BOT, take your pick. They all know it happens in their space, and they’re only too happy to turn a blind eye to the risk-free income they tax from it.

The difference between this and a police investigation, trial, etc, is that CCP isn’t bound by basic human rights. This is their game, there’s no need to suss out the truth from a crime scene, there’s nothing but data. They’re free to look at that data, interpret it how they wish, and act accordingly. Like I said, it’s not like there are a lot of powerblocs out there. After the first one is hamstrung for cheating, the rest will fall into line.

(Acac Sunflyier) #103

I see a lot of focus on botting. What about Ebay based RMT? I’ve seen people offering Keepstars on there.

(Nevyn Auscent) #104

You mean the first one set up by their rivals…
Yes, I’m sure a lot of alliance leaderships do condone it. But which ones condone it and which ones got set up by rivals who then reported their own bots they had running via VM & VPN.
Without investigation beyond the powers of CCP you can’t tell.

(Nakaara Adahsa) #105

I think this is the strongest part of your argument: (1) it’s not a legal investigation, so normal judicial standards don’t apply, (2) making messy object lessons of the worst and largest offenders should motivate a lot of the others to police themselves.

To deal with the evidence issues and the problem of some corp/alliance getting framed by a few bad actors, I suggest taking a data-mining approach. Whatever metrics CCP is using to identify botters could be applied via either a wholesale monitoring and/or data sampling approach to player activity. Once enough of this data has been gathered over time, it should be comparatively simple to identify the worst-offending corps and alliances. They will show up at the far tail of the data distribution in both absolute numbers and percentage of players involved.

The detection metrics don’t need to be perfect for the above to work. The goal is not necessarily to nail each individual botter but rather to identify corps and alliances that have too much suspicious activity, however “suspicious” is measured or defined.

With the above outliers identified, I think one can assume guilt. The odds of alliance or corp leadership being ignorant of the issue are probably low. Moreover, how one goes about enforcement also makes a difference as to whether the issue of absolute guilt even matters or not. If one takes the list of “guilty” alliances/corps and tells them to “reduce or eliminate botting by your membership or else face punishment in 30 days”, that should provide sufficient motivation in most cases to purge their bad actors as best they can.

Whether it is by booting suspected/known offenders (known by the group that is, not CCP) or the members just stopping botting, the effect and benefits to the corp or alliance would be the same. They would get themselves off of CCP’s radar. If they don’t reduce their botting activities sufficiently (i.e., they are still showing up as outliers in CCP’s metrics), CCP could start applying penalties as they see fit.

At first the botters would probably just try switching to another corp or alliance, but their activity would then tend to put their new group on CCP’s radar. Eventually they would start to run out of good places to hide: there are only so many alliances that control the most suitable systems in nullsec (or perhaps even lowsec in some cases) for botting. Additionally, to the extent that botters get driven into smaller corps or alliances, it will probably become easier to identify them because of the impact of their activity on CCP’s metrics for the new group.

The effectiveness of the above enforcement system would depend on:

  • How good the detection system is for “suspicious” activity. It doesn’t have to be perfect at all, but it does need to be good enough to help identify outliers in the data for corps and alliances. It needs to find them, and the data needs to be good enough that guilt is much more likely than not across the breadth of overall player activity, i.e., “high confidence that there are bad apples somewhere in this group of players”.

  • How enforcement is applied to the worst corp/alliance offenders: the targeted groups probably need to be given a reasonable chance to get their groups off the “most wanted” list so as to reduce the risk of player alienation. Ditto for the penalties: too heavy and too many players will get turned off, but if not heavy enough then there won’t be enough motivation for the leadership to clean house to the extent they can.

  • The degree to which botters can find places to hide: I think the key to this is closing off access to the best botting systems. The latter are defined by some combination of: (1) corp/alliance leadership willing to turn a blind eye at the risk of getting caught, (2) the degree of control the group has over a given system to keep out opposing groups, random fleet roams, and lone interlopers, (3) the network structure of stargates between systems as it affects use of alts as advance warning beacons (with or without the aid of software automation), and (4) the technical capabilities of whatever software tools the botters are using. There may be more factors, but these are among the most important I can think of.

I have no doubt that holes can be found in the above approach and my reasoning around it. However, I think the basic principle of using data-mining to identify the most likely suspect corps or alliances is viable if CCP is willing to put sufficient resources into it. It would probably take a few iterations to get it working well, but I think it could be done with a sustained effort. What I don’t know is whether CCP is really fully committed to this or not.

(Old Pervert) #106

You’re approaching it in a black and white way. Add in the grey that we all know Eve is. It would not be hard at all for them to monitor a bot farm, and see how many people are not reporting them. It would be easy for them to watch a fleet of mining barges/rorquals and follow the minerals. It’s easy for them to see a track record of reporting bots, or not reporting them.

With just a basic application of human intelligence, they can very quickly determine whether they believe the alliance is condoning the effort, or whether it happened without their knowledge. Every last one of us is capable of that and CCP is too. And at the end of the day, Eve is their game. If they want to dole out punishment, they’ve every right to do it.

The mere threat that CCP can and will come down on them with a powerbloc sized hammer will make them watch their membership. Make no mistake, they know about the vast majority of it now. ■■■■, you can even give the leadership analytic tools to help identify unusual stuff. That info isn’t really useful to the botters so there’s no harm in providing it.

The endgame of the idea is that leadership will go from shrugging and being glad for the extra taxation to actively telling their membership “if you see ■■■■ happening, report it. Now.”. A powerbloc that has a history of reporting botting in its space will undoubtedly earn them goodwill from CCP when an unreported botter is discovered.

And consider the alternative metaplay out of this. We’ve spoken of botters intentionally getting caught, what about spies infiltrating alliances purely to collect bot information and mass-report it to punish a legitimately offending alliance?

(Anderson Geten) #107

that’s BS.

When you judge you have to make a black and white decision. That’s why it’s so hard.

I believe you are making up an idea to increase the bots usage, thus you are yourself a bot :avocado: . You should have your account banned.

(Brewlar Kuvakei) #108

Well at least you finally banned Marshy. Please also include bans for input brodcasting in your next update. We also need to know the type of bans you are giving.

CCP is infamous for perma banning rmt’rs while only temp banning botters. Such action just shows utter disdain for the playerbase and game. Their cheating is equal and should be equally persecuted.

A good start would be to move every botter who recived a time ban at any point to a full all account perma ban. This would also inspire nullsec sov war as those with the most cheaters are left wounded with open gaps to attack.

(Vincent Athena) #109

CCP, you make this statement

" We’ll keep hammering this point home, as it can’t be overstated enough - Don’t RMT, and don’t get involved in botting."

but then don’t do it very much at all. The only time you “hammer this point” is a couple of times a year in a blog, or at various fan fests. New players most likely don’t go to fan fests, and might not even know there are developer blogs.
I think you need to make the “no batting, no RMT” message overt, continuous, and persistent. For example, in the launcher you have the massages “upgrade to Omega” and “like us on facebook”, but nothing on botting and RMT. Yon need something there. Maybe a summary of the latest bans and ISK removed from the game. Something so everyone is reminded that this is an issue, and offenders do get caught and banned.

(Old Pervert) #110

The outcome is binary (although even then the exact punishment is variable), but the logic used to come to that decision is not. Rule violations are often allowed to slip, and often times interpretations that favour the player are used. Assuming players were permitted to discuss GM actions, a thread asking “what have you gotten away with?” would likely turn up some very interesting things. At the end of the day, GMs and CCP follow the rules they set at their own discretion. They know what they want in their game. And their judgement is the only judgement that matters in this case.

I guess it’s a good thing that the data doesn’t support that. It’s an even better thing that CCP doesn’t believe that. Because if they did, they’d definitely ban me. But realistically, if CCP said “we think you’re botting, we’re going to punish your alliance”, I’d be able to dispute that.