So I’m aware that at first glance this is going to get immediately shot down but hear me out. There will be no TL;DR…
I think CCP ought to remove or restrict our ability to use certain ESI endpoints.
Ok, but why?
I fully understand that ESI and prior to that, API have been super helpful for all sorts of reasons. I also know that being given access to develop tools with this kind of open-ended information has been detrimental to certain aspects of the game.
Can you elaborate on why ESI can be detrimental?
First and foremost I’m 100% in support of content happening and 100% against content dying in the cradle before it’s even a possibility.
Secondly I firmly believe that information about what’s going on in-game should only be accessible while in-game. (Will expand on this later)
So to expand on these points, first I will bring you back to a time when we had the Mobile Siphon Unit deployable. This was a deployable like the Mobile Tractor Unit or Mobile Depot, that when placed within range of a POS setup to do reactions and such, would siphon out a bit of the end product and place it into the deployable. This siphon was a genius way to conduct guerrilla warfare on even an industrial level! It punished laziness and being unaware because of left unchecked the siphon would take a decent amount - enough to make it worthwhile. Sadly this deployable became garbage because of API… by simply looking at a 3rd party tool or spreadsheet a reaction POS owner was able to tell if a siphon had been placed at his POS because he know how many units of end product he should have vs how many they are getting.
Killboards are another tool that while neat, is detrimental to content. The level of Intel that is provided all while not having to be in-game is disgusting. I wonder how many fights have been prevented because of it? How many gate camps dodged instead of having to actively scout?
If you own structures or are involved with them at any level, I’m sure you’re aware of tools that will report to you the state of a structure (low power etc.) as well as if the fuel is low. Imagine having to actually login to check on the state of your structures! Imagine having good to login to check the fuel! Now I know that the UI for the structure browser is lacking but i can’t help but wonder what kind of fights could or would breakout over structures IF a structure owner didn’t have access to this information out of game and failed to manage the structure(s) properly.
For the same of the length of this, I’ll leave specific examples up for others to brainstorm and consider, but I want my primary point to be understood: Having access to develop tools using ESI kills content AND automates too much!
But I can think of many examples where having access to ESI generates content!
Yeah I can think of examples too and I think it’s terrible that you can go from sitting on the couch, digesting all sorts of Intel, then hop straight on and into content. I know that sounds crazy but the primary example I will use isn’t ESI but the old log server paired with the old watchlist. You guys remember that? Groups like Rekking Crew (or specifically them, I’m not 100% sure who all abused this) were able to see the exact moment a known super or titan pilot would login. They could go from grilling in the backyard to loging in their Onyx within moments without even having to be logged into that system or even the game. CCP removed our access to that part of the log server and forever nerfed the watchlist instantly despite years of complaining about its power as an instant Intel tool.
So while that example doesn’t involve ESI and as far as I’m aware impossible now, the fact still stands that just because something generates content doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
I would much rather have to play the game actively and do my own scouting and Intel rather than having some bot or notification scraper tell me when to login or do a thing.
So you’re telling me that you don’t take advantage of Intel or tools like this?
Of course I do… and I absolutely hate that I feel the need to in order to be competitive. Some examples of this are even some tools I use… such as getting discord pings anytime someone dies in the abyss with a ship / pod worth over 1b ISK. While this is useful to me as a Highsec ganker, there are other ways for this kind of hands off Intel gather can be useful to others.
What about a discord bot that scrapes notification ESI and tells you the results of a locator agent? So now you can have your buddies run locators and YOU get that Intel while sitting on your couch.
Wanting to catch that pesky neighbor of yours smartbombing the gate in his Machariel, but your wife has you doing chores around the house? Well setup a discord bot to report when that pilot is actively smartbombing and getting kills, then you can login your Arazu and be ready!
My point is that just because this distanced level of automated Intel results in content, doesn’t mean it’s good for the game.
Are there any innocent uses of ESI? What about those?
Yeah I think MOST industrial uses are good. I can pick out some specific endpoints that I don’t like but that isn’t the purpose of this really. My intent is to get you, the reader to think about which endpoints negatively impact gameplay when it comes to actual content.
For a long time Eve Online has been a game that you can play without even playing it. It’s spreadsheets in space. It’s… whatever. Honestly while it has that weird niche about those memes, I would kinda be embarrassed if I was CCP to know that people would rather automate content instead of actually playing the game.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. I will edit this post in a few hours with some specific screenshots on tools I use to abuse Intel gathering.