Feedback - Lets get real. Nullsec botting is of epic proportions

Hello there.

I must confess I am not a nullsec pilot, rather, I am a lowsec pilot and have rarely ventured into null over all the years I have played. The only knowledge I have historically had of null is that big alliances live there, the pvp can be good if different from FW, and that there is some kind of botter problem there.

Well this week I have started to run filaments into null almost every night with a friend, and lo and behold, not only has the bit about botters stood out to me, but it is a problem of absolutely epic proportions. I believe that null is completely and utterly jam packed with botters. Automated drone boats that are connected to automated intel services and that pull in drones and warp to a tether whenever local changes.


  1. Jibberish pilot names…

They often look as if button bashed. This indicates the pilots are not real pilots earning isk but rather part of some large multi boxed system as you would expect from someone that abuses scripts. More worryingly this indicates a history of having bot accounts banned, only to be replaced with new accounts.

  1. Very young pilots…

This, similarly to the above, is indicative of what you would expect from an automation business being run by an unscrupulous pilot. Again as per the above, this is a sinister indicator that automaters just make new accounts after CCP bans them. So the current methods are not working.

  1. Instant drone recall and tethering…

Based on the timing of them leaving the anoms they are running, it is quite clear to me that their ships recalled drones and then warped the very instant (probably + random number generator time frame) local changed. While small numbers of people doing this would be in keeping with simply very situationally aware ratters manually controlling their ships and achieving safety as a result, the fact that this happens every time and with almost perfect consistency instead supports the idea that it is being driven by scripts and widespread bot abuse. It is not possible it can be this machine like absent bot scripts.

  1. All of the above, in groups…

Often they are moving in groups. So after the interval mentioned above, not just one ratter ship will return to tether but multiple, often with a theme to their button bashed names. This is consistent with a scaled up automation racket, and consistant with the contention that the anoms are too easy, or to be more precise, completely AFK farming compatible.

  1. CCP has admitted there is a problem, I just think it is far worse than admitted, to the extent of being completely rampant…

CCP have already stated that botting is a problem and seems to ban botters at a very large rate. So the problem does exist. On one hand a lot of people are reporting a lot of bots (see below image for an example), but on the other hand null is still jam packed with bots. The existing methods do not seem to be eradicating the problem. observation 1. and 2. indicate that after having bot accounts banned, botters just make new accounts somehow and continue with it where they left off.

  1. The ratting style is using AFK compatible drone boats…

These ratters exclusively use AFK style drone boats that are able to run the anoms essentially without any input at all from the players computer which is ideal for bots.


  1. Stop drones auto agroing.

This will mean the ratters must input commands to complete the anoms, and if they chose to use a bot it will cause the bot to have to be more complex and input more commands. This will stop people botting because of the bot being more expensive to produce, and furthermore, easier to detect as it is now entering a constant stream of commands rather than just screen scraping local and then using the warp hotkey when it changes.

  1. Make the rat fleets subtly more difficult to defeat.

I am proposing that the rats are made more difficult to beat in such a way as to stop automated scripts from easily being able to deal with them. This does not mean that they need to be transformed into diamond rats. Of course determined programmers will still be able to solve the scripting problem, but not without creating a more complex bot that may deter players from using them, and one that must enter more commands per time period into the game (that should give CCP’s sentinel software a better chance to score a detection). For example, having tackle rats, neuting rats, etc, would all cause a ratter to have to kill based on a priority system rather than letting AFK drones auto egress.

Feedback and counters

  1. But you are only saying this because you want to catch more ratters while hunting!

False. Overall I think that ‘at keyboard’ ratters should be able to achieve a perfectly safe state by having situational awareness and the necessary skills and techniques. This is fair in my mind. Furthermore, if botters are eliminated, then the eve market will no longer be flooded with risklessly acquired assets that are of mitigated value. This therefore means that the ‘at keyboard’ ratters should get better rewards from their investment of time.

  1. But the legacy spaghetti code stops any further changes!

This argument seems to roll out almost every time, against all topics. The fact is the CCP dev team has a history of recoding, adapting, and fixing areas of the game, so there is no actual reason to think it cannot be iterated again.

  1. But if you make some missions harder, people will just use their bot scripts on other missions instead!

This is easily countered with an iterating approach, where CCP reviews repeatedly where the automated bots are being used and adapts the rat AI (etc) in that area to lock it down.

  1. But if you make all missions harder, you are hurting real players too and they may stop running them as it is no longer relaxing and or is too stressful!

I am willing to stand by the statement that any hard activity in eve can be made significantly easier by learning the appropriate techniques and gaining experience. Essentially EVE is a learning curve game. Expecting PVE pilots to have a learning curve is fair. It is not a reasonable argument to say that ratters are only accomodated for properly if their ratting function is made not only ‘easy’ but actually literally so easy as to not even require them at their keyboards.

  1. But CCP are already fixing this issue with monitoring, it is not right for them to change the game just to disable bots!

I acknowledge that CCP is putting in much effort to fix the issue, and no doubt it is being kept under a degree of control as a result. Notwithstanding this, unfortunately the disease of botting is still completely infesting nullsec and has not been eradicated. I believe that the policy of banning reported bots is just fighting symptoms, the underlying issue is that all the null anoms are perfectly automation friendly as they can be run with nil engagement by a player. Completely AFK. And that is the perfect breeding ground for bots. The problem needs to be addressed and snuffed out at the source. The truth is, currently all an automation has to do is do a screen scrape of local (completely undetectable) and when it changes sound of an audible alarm and enter two hotkey commands (recall drones, warp to structure). You could not set these anoms up better for automation if you set yourself out to do it!


You think botters can’t program their bots to press the F key to engage drones? This will negatively impact real players more than botters.

Again, this doesn’t actually stop botting. This just changes the site and the botters will rework their bots to behave slightly differently.

Just stop.
Don’t kid yourself with this lie, it’s not funny and it doesn’t even make sense in the grand scheme of what you’re trying to do.

Just report them and move on.


no, you’re not a nullsec pilot, so you basically don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ll stop you there and counter by saying that no matter what you try and do in the backend all you’re going to do is hurt legit players - botters will bot, and they will adapt to the environment. It happens in every persistent MMO. Report them, blow them up, move on.


Roaming trigs were a great method of dispatching bots in highsec. Just saying…


They where even better at removing real players from game due to frustration. Roaming trigs was developed to bump up destruction. Players made dumb assumption that they where supposed to fight bots.


RE point 1 and point 2
I am proposing that this would increase the complexity and cost of the bot software, not eliminate it completely. Indeed good software engineers could probably go to the very most extreme lengths if need be to adapt and deliver a functioning bot under even the most troublesome circumstances. The key point is this. The operation of the bot would become more complex and this could deter so many people from using them. Furthermore, the bot must enter more commands per time frame than before, and this means the CCP sentinel system has a higher chance of scoring a detection.

RE point 3
Do not tell me what I can say.

False. What I am proposing is intended to screw up the automated scripts of bots, but leave a fully sentient and skilled player able to continue with only a small burden of decision making.

Again, dont tell me what I can say please.

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I dont really like the idea of roaming trigs, it seems too far over to the ‘randomly generated difficulty’ side of the scale. It is instead preferable to simply increase the difficulty of the missions in such a way as to ‘screw up bot scripts’ while also allowing true ratters to follow a learning curve in order to correctly run them. And they will find that fun to do.

intent and effect are two entirely different things in this case. You adjust the AI to be more aggressive against drones, all you’re going to do is create more market for drones. CCP already did that. I’m a keyboard player. I burn through dozens of drones every single day. It doesn’t bother me too much but I noticed when CCP flipped the switch on NPC AI and I could no longer solo emerging conduits in my orca. I stopped doing them, went back to running DED10s and unrated anomalies.

If you want to change how the game client interacts with the user, you’re going to have to do a ground-up rewrite to remove all avenues of scriptable exploitability. You up for the challenge? I’m sure there’re only a few million lines of code to translate… shouldn’t take you long.

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OK so the bit you said about substitute activities being bot scripted instead is a good point. The answer though to this point is using an iteration system to continually address and fix vulnerabilities until the areas where simple bot scripts can be used is wedged tightly into a corner, and eventually, wedged out. Then all that will be left will be complex bot scripts, but the sentinel system and reporting system will have to try to address that. Or further iterations of rat AI changes. It is like an arms race basically.

If you are trying to form an argument for lazy missions, claiming if they are made too engaging then people will stop doing them, I think you are incorrect. EVE is a game that involves a learning curve, and anything that is at first difficult can be rendered easy by learning techniques to apply. That is the primary counter. The secondary counter is that if giving you lazy missions means bot scripting is made possible, then unfortunately it means you cant have them.

However the bit where you tried to roll out the legacy spaghetti code defense I think is false. The CCP development team are highly skilled experts at dealing with legacy code, and writing new code, or patching code. They do it all the time and have a history of making changes related to this very topic.

Even if CCP have best devs in the world. Simple rewriting code don’t bring revenue. Issue is not fixing code but selling same thing again.

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If you are claiming that rewriting code will fail to bring in revenue, then all I need to do is present examples where rewriting code improves the quality of life of players, their in game experience/immersion, or the real value of in game assets (for which to a degree plex is bought and sold in order to obtain). Having said all that, do I really need to give examples?

CCP have seen fit to create a special team to hit the forms of in game cheating, for example botting, for example RMT, because they have presumably decided that it will increase revenue from the game. If rewriting code supports this then why not? The answer is, there is no reason why not, which is why they have re written code already to try to screw up the ability of bots to do what they do.

It is not within the scope though, for me to touch on CCP’s commercial decisions. I can but suggest how I think a problem can be fixed, and try to field the counter arguments.

So you decided not to read anything and repeat garbage.
It’s not CCP’s job to mess around with the game in an attempt to “increase the complexity and cost” (lmao, you think this ■■■■ costs anything) of botting software.

The “operation” of a bot is “turn on script, walk away”. Please get that through your head.

It won’t. But I want to live in a fantasy world like your’s where you think it’ll happen.

They already track bots well enough on their backend. They don’t need your advice to change up combat anomalies to do this. And again, it would impact so much more than just bots. It would negatively impact real players.

Don’t say garbage ideas. We all know you’re lying about the “this will stop bots!” but in reality, you just want more easy AFK kills on krabbers who aren’t paying attention.

If you’re actually serious about bots, report the bots and move on.

Thanks for the response, but you need to use some kind of calm down technique because you are clearly getting frustrated and then making the poor choice to be rude and express anger, rather than argue the point in a civilized way. I do not like it and am not willing to talk to you if you continue this way.

The whole point of this conversation is for me to highlight that null is floor to ceiling jam packed with bots, and to rigorously test solution ideas through feedback.

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Arguments are all updated in MOTD based on responses where possible. Cannot update anything related to people being toxic though because there is no logical value to countering that sort of thing.

Drone auto-aggro is occasionally important in pvp.

Tbh pve needs a rebalance, anoms weren’t updated in a decade. Make some sites runable only by a sieged dread or a small fleet, some by battleships, vni/ myrmidon ratting only for the really low paid anoms (below what can give a 6/10 escalation, since the bm for it is good isk)

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Another admirable attempt, but PA won’t care.
PA want to have full a server, and CCP has to follow.
Bots are the cheap and easy way to fulfill that.
See my post half a year agao.

Fly dangerous

The solution for you as a player, is to report them and move on.

Not suggest garbage ideas because you want to score some kills on AFK players (not bots) who don’t pay attention and fail to warp off in time.

Hi Blade. I do achknowledge drone auto agro has qualities that are used in pvp. But please see the following two counter arguments.

  1. In the Destroyer FFA it has been shown that drone auto agro - when ascended from a mere mechanic to a full blown meta - serves to irritate players. ‘Screw this algos and dragoon spam’ was the highlight of that from many. Perhaps drone auto agro is not a good mechanic?

  2. If we appraise drone auto agro in a sophisticated way, then we must not only consider what it looks like when drones become meta, but also what other negatives might be connected with it. One big negative is that drone auto agro opens a window so automaters can bring in the full coach and horses and spoil many aspects of the game.

On balance So far as the above goes I think drone auto agro can be switched off tomorrow. However I did also provide a second solution in case this one was to fail, or to compliment it for greater effect.

Hi Yers,

I appreciate your comment very much, thank you. I will review your thread and carefully consider what I can take away, and present it here as appropriate to ensure it is kept on the band wagon.

In terms of CCP having secret sinister agenders to keep the server looking good, I firstly don’t believe this, Because destroying the game is not logical And I am confident the whole CCP office are zealots for this game and love it. and I secondly would not wish to deal in a hypothetical.