The recent Reddit article on bots has made me wonder about how I could be doing more to tackle the issue in-game. I’ve never had cause to use the “Report Bot” function before because I’ve never known what to look for. CCP’s Reporting Suspected Bot Users doesn’t offer any guidance on the suspicious or telltale behaviours that a bot may exhibit.
Furthermore, the function stipulates that “abuse may result in action being taken against your account”. As a deterrent for abuse, this makes sense; but if you’re ignorant of bot mechanics then the likelihood of false flagging will be high.
So I’m looking for some education.
Have any of you encountered bots in the past? What were they doing? What are some of the ticks they exhibit?Are there any in-game anti-bot groups that can offer practical advice? Any third-party tools?
Yes, most of us have seen or encountered bots. Many of us even reported them. Absolutely ■■■■ all was done. CCP’s efforts to deal with bots and cheating are laughable. My advice is to play the game on your terms; CCP currently rewards cheaters.
Simply dont stress about the warning.
As long as you are reporting in good faith you won’t be punished for a false flag.
The warning is there for abusing it to spam reports on an enemy Corp you just don’t like and that sort of thing.
I’ve encountered countless types, forms and methods of organisation of bots since the dawn of EVE. It’s always been a struggle.
There isn’t much you can do against it as a player. CCP’s focus is on a largely symptomatic selection of the problem, largely unaware of matters. Their focus is that of the individual player, while organised botting is much more prevalent, persistant and damaging in terms of ripple effects of influence.
Why? Because of two cornerstones of EVE: behavioural psychology and economies of scale. Pure and simple.
CCP’s challenge is the insistance of detecting / selecting based on technical analysis, ignoring the organised forms of botting and its network groups.
By all means, report a suspect bot. That is what the function is there for. But do not expect CCP to readily process such reporting, there’s less than 2 people on that giant task.
By all means, report to other players on it, there is a lot of experience among us on these matters. And from time to time we get together and put initiatives together to do spring cleaning.
That said, any such focus can by its nature and limitations only engage on individual player EULA-violations of botting. There is an enormous perception problem in that challenge, and how any focus geared towards exactly this challenge also means that there are no resources, nor any experience base, in engaging on the organised forms of botting.
Which is prevalent in many forms. This isn’t just a case of market bots. Or Gila bots. Or Hel / Nyx bots. It’s couriers for standings. It’s the entirety of NPE automation in a templated manner for the creation of required characters. It’s a big portion of null’s footprint in passive income methods such as skillpoint farms or buy orders of reprocessable items below break even point suitable for refactoring (margins mean nothing in EVE as volume trumps all). It’s automated intel on anomalies, signatures, players in system and cyno networks for point-to-order jump logistics.
In many ways there’s less of it nowadays. To give an example, people used to bot fitting fleet ships in volumes. These days we have the Multifit tool. But there’s also new things that get botted. And things CCP didn’t even consider to be possible, like detecting and rolling wormholes or running exploration bots.
There isn’t much you can do against it as a player, other than being a part of processes of awareness. For example, CCP spends a lot of resources on attracting a lot of new players via sales and advertising focus, retention being a different topic. A lot of those new players come from other games and gaming experiences. And let’s be honest, EVE is a different beast than most of what is out there. Explaining people how one doesn’t grind for xp here is an important part of what players can do to keep things lively, as an example. Equally discouraging botting is another thing. It is still a bit of a taboo to put a mark on it, to discourage it, to engage it.
A big portion of causality there rests with CCP, unfortunately. The cleanup focus, if you do the math and put the timelines together, inherently follows tresholds not based on bot activity, but on PR risk scenarios from attention on the problem. This, I should mention, isn’t a deliberate decision of some sorts, it’s perfectly explainable from CCP’s statistical and technical focus on the matter. It limits perspective, insight, but also communication on the challenge.
Keep in mind, this is not a new thing for CCP. And they do appear to realise that this is a war which can never really be won. It is much more an ongoing race of mitigating potential stimuli for players to adopt botting behaviour, whether it be individual or organised. Abyssmal Space is in terms of mechanisms much better designed than any PVE content prior to it, as the treshold to enable automation of it is much higher than ever before. It is also a somewhat more engaging niche which provides less triggers to rinse and repeat mindlessly, which decreases the stimuli for automating it.
This Reddit case, keep in mind there that a big part of that is also interpersonal drama, and while that alliance has been an open secret for a long time, a secret of diversion essentially because it draws attention away from people’s own backyards, it is but one example. But it is an example of organised and economically integrated botting which in terms of statistical analysis has no stress impact on EVE’s applications and integrations of economies of scale. Trouble is, it does have effects, ripples, consequences. Yet it falls outside of CCP’s scope. Well, other than certain specific derivative conditions and boundaries related to what is CCP’s domain, the commercial operability of the product EVE Online. That falls outside the scope of player discussion.
Now all this may be as it is, it is utterly pointless to discuss such matters on EVE’s official forums. CCP has a lot invested in fractured community information / communication streams due to ancient trauma’s as well as reasoning from a level higher than product management. While on Reddit you might see interaction with devs, it is very much limited to specific ends and purposes. Which is only logical, because CCP has commercial interests
The only thing which makes CCP as an entity gain momentum on anything sufficient to influence vertical communications internally, in order to punch through perception problems, little kingdoms as well as normal business organisation challenges like dogma and vested behaviour is a focus which touches the PR triggers.
Nothing more, nothing less. But not in variations or iterations of the now ancient summer of rage type of thing. Because CCP at its old hearts and minds is touchy for such things, and averse to it. They will go to great lengths to take such types of engagements for a ride. Look at what was made of CSM, or how the Monocle became F2P.
As to false flagging, yes that happens. CCP’s technical analysis and methods is by no means close to perfect. On the contrary. Particularly when triggered by PR stimuli their reactions tend to be, well, rather a blanket approach with lots of issues. On the bright side, while correcting such matters takes even more time than the average petition CCP does admit when it is wrong, and compensates where applicable. They do know they are human, they do value human players. Individual players within the established focus of their anti-botting efforts. Which, as may be a little more clear after today, is but a small subset - even if an important one - of the entirety of the challenge.
In order to actually spot a bot, or partial bot there is not a single thing you need to be familiar with but quite a few of them.
1st of all because of the unfortunately lame game mechanics we have the most common bots are not even bots but actually just timed macros that almost anyone can do. Because game has a lot of auto functions such as auto orbiting, auto fire, auto targetting, auto piloting, etc. all anyone really has to do is use the macro functions built into most gamign device driver suites nowadays or even Microsoft Office macros. This is very difficult to ban too because if CCP was to ban everyone that has MS Office (or some parts of it, or insert your office suite here), or the more advanced Logitech device drivers for example loaded up in memory, well, that would be a huge chunk of game population + a lot of innocent people in there that have these things on their comps but don’t use them to bot in the game.
2nd I can’t post detailed or direct answers or links here because it would violate the forum rules. But you can very easily google it. Just use the advanced search type appropriate stuff and then filter it out, discard unwanted result criteria and sort by date so you get the fresh ones, most current at the top and you will be quite amazed at what comes up.
The 2 things above will give you the familiarity of their capabilities and what they can do. then you can actually start looking in the game. Starting up a convo is kinda useless because this is Eve. A lot of us do not answer convos from people we do not know, at all, or very rarely. Likewise local.
From my personal experience the easiest kinda bot to find and track in the game are market bots. Most of them don’t even bother switching and remain online 23/24/day. To catch them you need to start doing some trades and .01 ISK their orders by single item. Watch them put their entire orders to match and surpass in less time then it takes you to manually move your hand and do the same even after you develop some actual muscle memory for it. On top of that, log onto the game just for a few minutes at a time (maybe 5-15 min) before you go to work/school, after, and before you go to sleep. Try it at various times. They are always there and always doing same exact thing in same exact manner. Do this over a course of some time, a month, 2 or so, so you have some persistant data.
In NS try to set up a bubble trap for cap ratters and observe, see if they even attempt to get out of it or anyone shows up to help. Just sit off a bit cloaked up. Also you can make alts and join various alliances, corps. Many of the botters, especially in NS large alliances are open about it because their alliances / leadership greatly benefit from botting, especially mining for building caps. So eventually (note this can sometimes take a while) they open up about it and offer you a way to make easy ISK and make some alts to join their fleets. This is actually the best way to 100% identify them, from within. However, even if you report it do not expect action. CCP is scarred and lacks the balls to go up against those guys so do not expect action to be directly taken against them, only the small patatoes that are kinda “associated” but not officially part of main corps.
I think about half the active ratting in my region is done by bots.
How do I know they bots?they don’t reply in local to hails they don’t react when you warp into their anom,they just keep on ratting albeit less efficient than a player.
Most are Gilas a few systems have nightmares and some ravens
Switch to a neutral alt and bubble them if they’re blue to you and just observe what they do. This is better anyways cause if they are blue, then reporting them on your neut alt won’t cause you issues. Also, if it makes no attempt to get out or anything, just keeps on shooting its targets, then wait until it starts on a larger target then out DPS it a couple times. See what happens.
Really though, what’s the point? The time it takes to report this to CCP is lost income - especially since they won’t do anything anyway. Want to incentivize players? Have a dedicated team for bot reporting and give players 50% of the proceeds seized from bot players.
Well, CCP’s ‘battle against the bots’ seems to have been put on hold since the GM week, maybe they think they’ve done enough. We as a corp have a system next ddor to us that has about 15 bots, ratting 23 hours of the day, they’ve been reported multiple times over the last month, and not a word from ccp. Right now they have an ‘account’ where the script has broken and theres been a ship docking and undocking every few seconds for the last 3 hours, but hey, thats not a bot right? The so called ‘fight against bots’ is either painfully slow, or just fake news. P.S. just because you banned the ceo of fraternity, does not mean the fight is over, thats just the tip of the iceberg.
Did you record video of this and send that in to help them as well?
Yes it’s not players job to do so, I’ll agree with that, but it doesn’t mean we can’t make their life easy, especially if we want to berate them for ignoring things.
They may also be playing follow the money to try and smash the entire ring in one go, or catch the bot writer in the situation as well, not just the users.