WTF? That would be idiotic and not what I said.
Ping operates at layer 3
The ESI operates at the application layer (5/7 depending on model).
Ping won’t give any sort of http response code, but could timeout. Ping doesn’t tell you anything about the status of the game, only that you can send/receive from the gateway.
The ESI might return an error message, and if not, returns information about the game that ping doesn’t provide.
Both are useful and provide different information.
If you want to talk about something being unrelated, ping is unrelated to the OPs request.
Use whichever approach works, but in relation to the OPs request about the ESI, the urls are above.
Then rate limit yourself in line with the terms (though the ESI has no rate limit and is error limited instead. Some paths have rate limits though).
The status path doesn’t require any account. You might get error limited temporarily, but not an account ban, because your account isn’t passed with the ESI request.
It doesn’t take a genius.