Devblog: Security Update - Q4 2018


(zluq zabaa) #41

I don’t know about the cases you cite, but “being banned because being mass reported” is not the same as “being banned because your response times and rhythms are deemed unnatural”. While IF the former happened without any other proof, it would be really really bad, the latter is a completely different pair of shoes. As someone who has reported bots in the past and seen how long it takes, I would be very surprised if anyone at CCP would issue a botting-ban just from hear-say.

It’s important to consider the difference between someone being really good/fast at coordinating their multiple chars and someone creating input that is unnatural, the details of which I’m not sure wether to speculate about it publically. I’m guessing if someone is found to have unnatural rhytms of some kind, they’ll be flagged for a more in-depth check and that’s how some botters are found.

(zluq zabaa) #42

That’s too much guessing right there and also one wrong assumption. You can tell apart input logs from real players and bots not by how efficient they are, but by their patterns. While bots can possibly evade such detection, depending on how good the bot detection is, players can’t successfully immitate a bot in their patterns. Not even in environments where a rhythm is enforced by outside mechanics (think conveyor belt), humans can produce machine-like rhythms.

The guess that CCP would ban solely based on a flag and a lot of complaints, seems a bit defensive and a lot of guessing to me. You don’t know what steps they are taking and seeing that most complaints today are about how slow the banning goes, I’d rather think they check with a certain amount of scrutiny to avoid banning the innocent.

(Stalter Arjar) #43

@CCP_Falcon I’ve reported ice mining bots and distro mission bots, I’m happy to do that but of course u can’t always be totally sure it’s a bot rather than a multiboxer with superpower clicking ability. Biggest prob with the bot report mechanism is that there is no feedback of any kind. CCPlz look at addressing this. Thanx.

(zluq zabaa) #44

I had similar situations, including the issue of how to even report them. Regarding the level of randomness, I am not sure what to think of it. I’ve come to think that theoretically a player could use input automation on alts while they are active on their mains and that this is maybe some of what I’ve been seeing on the market. There is not other way than CCP running checks in the background, really. A part of market PVP is endurance to set these orders up and work them again and again. This frustrates a lot of players and it could lead to a bunch of reports of people who are just more resilient than you at this point. But of course at the same time, this is the perfect environment for bots, because this part of market PVP is asking you to show unnatural levels of enduring repetetive tasks.

So my guess is that the very stupid market bots can be found easily, once CCP really has a go at it. The ones that I’m theorizing, will be much harder to detect, not only for players but also for CCP. If those exist, they should really be the main target for Team Security, as these will be the ones who cause the most damage to the game over time. I guess the challenge is for CCP to think like a player, who decided to do botting, but also understands basic detection mechanisms and tries to evade them.

All that being said, the fight against well developed or very low profile market bots will be very hard, since CCP provides a major interface that could be used for all kinds of automation around markets: the API. It’s the API data that makes all these market tools possible and they deliver the perfect base for bots. It’s the same data and tools that turn the market less into a thinking effort and more into one of repetition and grind. I’m not generally against giving out market data through the API, but really not a fan of near live updates.

(Herzog Wolfhammer) #45

Why not just go the other way?

Make all mining, courier, hauling, something done by bots. That’s right: actual NPCs do it. You buy the ships. You pay the crews. Heck make crews matter: the longer the crew is in service the more efficient they get.

Seems easy enough, right? Oh noes… 'Hurrr durrrrr it’ll be nothing but bots!"

Yeah. But if every NPC ship can be targeted and blown up, even in highsec, and the only protection is the player(s) who own them, it won’t be so easy.
“Reeeee some players will just have so many ships they’ll still be space rich and not care! reeeee!”
OK if you don’t defend your fleets then the crews demand more payment - if they can even be motivated to work for someone with a bad reputation (hint hint) , your insurance goes up, and a fleet crewed by greenhorns is not going to be the ISK machine one could expect.

“Hurf blurf! What about bots in nullsec?”

As if there aren’t any now… .but it’s nothing really good rats can’t cure.

Yeah I’m talking to the wall here. So what. Should have gone the other way instead of playing whackamole with illegal bots. Could have made every player a PVPer…

(Zachri) #46


Curious question however, has Team Security been provided with increased (human and other) resources?

(Masuhari Yakimoto) #47

They already have. eBay was one of the main places that people were selling PLEX. I once made a search on eBay to buy an EVE Collectors Edition CD original with the code and for months eBay spammed me with listings for PLEX, Skill Injectors, and structures. I was very surprised to see the RMT (Real Money Trading) was so active on eBay even though that was not what I had searched for.

Some time in the last few months all of the RMT listings on eBay disappeared.

It should have been simple for someone at CCP to just buy one of the PLEX packages on eBay, take delivery of it and then trace the IP address of the account being used to RMT and bust the whole RMT gang / network.

As an eBay seller I have been aware of the fact that they have what is called a VERO (Verified Owner) program, where if someone violates your trademark and/or intellectual property rights you can do a DMCA notice to the eBay Registered Agent and they will take the listings down. I always wondered why CCP elected to or neglected to use this free legal service. It appears as if they have finally done it. Years late but finally.

Great job Pearl Abyss / CCP !

Masuhari Yakimoto

(Grievious Maximus) #48

Provide players incentive to find, document, and report bots and you will increase player bot hunters 1000 fold.

Achievements, skins, and share of the botter’s loot, etc are examples of ways that would
greatly incentivise players to make bot hunting a key in-game content generator.

Heck, create an in-game lore item/event where there is a push to clean up “organized crime” or “purge players that have become infected with nano-bots that force them to farm,” etc.

(Sylvia Kildare) #49

Or just set up a day of the month where they teleport botting supers and titans to Yulai again as they did a couple months back, and let the masses descend on 'em. Should be a regular event!

(Old Pervert) #50

There’s no feedback mechanism that would help you here. Though, even through their lack of answer, you’re still getting an answer. They read your report and either:

  • Identify/agree that it’s a botter and deal with it
  • Disprove/disagree that it’s a botter and let it be

Ergo, if the dude you reported isn’t at some point banned, he wasn’t a bot. If he was a bot and they just haven’t deleted it yet, it’s probably part of the larger picture (data gathering to follow the isk / banwaves).

Treat their action (or inaction) like a canary in a coal mine. If the bot dies, you were right. If the bot doesn’t die, it wasn’t a bot. Either way, keep reporting, because feedback doesn’t really change anything.

(Old Pervert) #51

I don’t understand it myself, but some players actually enjoy these activities. You’d be shitting on a lot of different in-game activities… cutting off your nose to spite your face as it were.

(Peter Yurgin) #52

They already have NPC mining and hauling bots in systems. You can attack them. Courier bots, not yet.

(Herzog Wolfhammer) #53

Well that’s just like, my opinion. The non-combatant player roles are so ingrained into the game there’s no changing it now.
Unless the bot problem becomes too much. If I could go back in time and tell CCP that these roles are going to be botted to death they might have thought to do it the other way.
Now it’s too late.

(Old Pervert) #54

True, but they aren’t player run, nor do they contribute directly to the mineral markets unless you destroy them and loot them.

Yea, that I get. Although, honestly, I think they could have designed it differently from the outset to make it less bottable. But meh. We are where we are.

(Sugar Smacks) #55

CCP when I look at distribution bots I don’t think they are doing it at all for the isk. To me it seems they are trying to “farm” Storyline missions.

Some things to consider about storyline missions
You can get significantly higher rewards in them, in fact, the reward seems to be pure random where not even standing has any effect on it. Meaning there could be very large rewards given to them.
Mission rewards like standing increases can be shared to other players so not just one account can benefit from 1 persons botting.
It is highly unlikely any bot is going to do any kind of Security Storyline mission, meaning he obviously has an accomplice account that should also be banned.
Sharing rewards should provide some sort of record with ISK payouts in the wallet function. However because the missions are so infrequent 1 in 16 that you will probably have to do some real digging. Assume you are not even going to see a Security mission at least 4/5 of the time or 1 out of 80 missions.
Because the far majority of rewards will be implants anyone with a sudden increase of implants (stat implants) should probably be looked in to.
They are not botting these for the isk reward, I used to run them for HOURS at a time, it is not the payout of immediate ISK they are looking for.

(Masuhari Yakimoto) #56

I have two comments on this Mr. Falcon and since I am being long winded and opinionated lately why stop now right? LOL! :slight_smile:

  1. Finding what my legacy corp called “Russian Miners” was our main objective. Basically a group of Hulks and maybe an Orca mining, and flying off and returning like clockwork. Well, not clockwork, bot work. We would then Wardec this corp and then the next day blow up all their sh*t and pod them. Salvage their ships, take their ore and offer to sell their corpses back to them. The tears were great, broken English Eve-Mails (once the humans woke up) full of insults and anger. So, so much fun. But guess what? We can not wardec bot mining corps anymore unless they have a structure anchored due to some brainiacs ruining the wardec system, what was it, yesterday? Thanks a lot.

  2. ******************************** MARKET BOTS*****************************************

In 2006 I trained my first character to be perfect at market trading. Grinding out missions for weeks to raise my standings, waiting patiently for months for my skills to train, investing in stuff at Hek, Rens, Dodixie and Amarr that would (SHOULD) sell well at Jita, moving all of it … and then BAM! It was like a punch in the gut to learn the truth. You could not market trade because it was all being botted. @Jita. So all of my time was wasted. I have seen little change in the last 12 years. There has been some and we will get to that. But first;

Anytime you list a popular item (like skillbooks) within just minutes it seems like somebody lowers their price by .01 ISK. Well, it’s not somebody. It’s someBOTy. Someone cheating and running scripts to do automated market price adjustments to just below the lowest sell price. No way a human could be that fast and be online 23 hours a day. Then with the Citadel expansions the bots moved to Perimeter as well as Jita.

I have been watching this activity for 12 years and my legacy corp would find these script running cheaters, wardec them and then use locator agents to track them down and execute their asses, and then offer to sell their corpses back to them. But guess what? Again, can’t wardec anyone anymore unless they have a structure anchored which is just stupid.

The problem with catching market bots isn’t how hard it is to find them. Humans do not typically have the time or patience to be so greedy as to edit a market order by a fraction of 1 ISK such as .01. So that’s the real telltale sign that I am sure CCP is already fully aware of. Yet for us pilots to get their character name, we have to buy something from them and then look in our transactions to see whom is running a script. That can run into a lot of ISK doing purchases to reveal the bot toons name. If they are selling Catalysts @ Jita for 1m ISK no biggie but when they are selling Leopards for $100m, that’s a lot to have to spend to get their name and then report them.

Is CCP going to refund the ISK we have to spent to buy something to get a botters toon name after we report them, for doing something that CCP should have already put an end to some time in the last 12 years?

Yeah, I am frustrated about market bots because it has devalued what I have paid for my subscriptions. For years! But I am glad to see CCP at least admit for the first time that there are market bots and make a commitment to stop this. Manipulating the market at Jita (and elsewhere) undermines all goals and activities of the honest paying subscribers.

Now after this venting I have to say that yes, I have noticed that CCP has apparently done something in the last few months. My market alt is entering sell orders again at Jita and instead of 100% of them all being undercut by XXX.0X ISK in just minutes, some orders now remain for a few hours. before an actual human player makes their own adjustments. That would indicate that there are no longer bots on those sell orders and I have never seen that happen in 12 years.

So thank you for that, But they are still active and need to be 100% removed.

Is there a link to report market bots?

Thank you.

Masuhari Yakimoto

(Sugar Smacks) #57

Not sure why people feel the need to buy their corpses back.
I have died to people like 9 times on alt it doesn’t mean im botting. Those same alts probably have never killed anyone. Still not botting. When I play faction warfare its in a venture and I warp away when people are warping to me, still not botting.

By the way when I run market orders I try to make my activity as bot like as possible (meaning quick price changes) since it tends to drive away competition better than anything I know.

What I am trying to say is many peoples behavior may look like bots, it isn’t, because it tends to be easier nowadays to imitate a bot to make nuisance people go away.

(Sylvia Kildare) #58

But while agent/corp standing is shared across a fleet from regular missions, the faction standing increase (and decrease to other factions) from a storyline mission is single-character-only, so…

(Sylvia Kildare) #59

I collect corpses. Some I helped kill, but mostly just random ones I see in HS (or occasionally NS or WHs). I’ve probably got… oh, about 1000 total by now across my 3 main toons.

However, I don’t have any of my own corpses (and no, I’m not gonna pod myself to get one). I tried to go back to a nullsec gate where I was in a big NPSI vs. NS corp brawl and get my corpse back by ceptor but it was already gone by the time I reshipped and got back there. Aside from that one time, I haven’t tried all that hard, admittedly.

Those 3 toons have been podded only a total of like… 15+12+1 time, though, give or take, so there aren’t that many copies of my corpses available, either. No one’s ever tried to sell one back to me as of yet.

(Masuhari Yakimoto) #60

I’ve actually never had anyone buy a corpse back. I just think it’s a funny gesture. The person that introduced me to EVE used to do it so the trend is carried on. It tends to piss people off more than anything so maybe that’s the only real value?

So when you adjust your market orders do you do it 23 hours a day? Certainly not. The market bots do. Sounds like you might have been adjusting your market orders trying to compete with bots.

Hopefully CCP does actually put and end to it. I’ve seen a lot of promises never met (like the door in Captains Quarters actually opening). Let’s just hope and pray to Bob that they are actually going to do something about market bots now that they have FINALLY openly admitted that they exist.

Here’s to 2019 and a fair marketplace for the first time in over a decade!