Ruby: "Which item, currency, or object is being acquired at an accelerated rate?"
NG: Whatever the user of the market macro is trying to acquire, so the answer could range from ISK to veldspar. The key phrase is "accelerated rate". That phrase seems obvious to me, but I've immersed myself in coverage of the War on Bots for so long maybe I need to explain. Let's say that a player wants to log in and play .01 ISK games for three hours. How many market orders can a player effectively monitor if the player only manually opens the market window? 100? 150? If the player has 1 account or 5, that is a fixed number depending on the player. Now let's look at a market trader using Eve Mentat that has three accounts. I think that is fair since Eve Mentat supports up to 5 different cache locations. If each character has 75 market orders, Eve Mentat can gather the information for 225 items in 3 minutes and 45 seconds. I'm not a market trader, but I think that is faster than a human can check manually. And every time a check is done the player running the macro can get up, take a bio break, get a drink, etc., while the player doing things manually is sitting chained to his keyboard trying to keep up.
My numbers are probably off but the theory is that the more items a player can have on the market, the more ISK the player brings in. The additional capacity a market macro allows represents the "accelerated rate" to which the EULA refers. That is pretty standard logic when examining why bots violate the EULA.
Ruby: "If you're claiming that 'data' is an in game object (the only objects that the EULA can cover), how is that different than using the API dump to build your manufacturing spreadsheet instead of going through every BPO in game manually and entering its information that way?"
NG: Comparing the acquisition of data using the Eve Online API out of game to gathering information in-game is like comparing apples and oranges. My concern is with what happens within the browser. My belief is that one click doing multiple actions in game, which is what market tools like Eve Mentat and Eve Metrics do, violates the EULA and is no different from someone programming and using macros in a G15 keyboard. I actually support making the market data available using the CREST API.
Ruby: "Define 'normal gameplay.'"
NG: Normal game play consists of playing with the inputs coming from keyboard and mouse. No input of commands is generated by code. AFK mining qualifies as "normal" game play as long as no actions are performed by code and the AFK behavior does not last longer than a human can reasonably play the game. I am specifically referring to the AFK complex farming exploit from last summer. Once an action is performed by code, or the action runs for hours, that is not normal, at least in Eve Online. The definition is different for games like World of Warcraft that allow 3rd party mods.
Ruby: "My definition is 'using the tools CCP has designed and made available in the manner which CCP intended them be used.' The fact that CCP had to intentionally insert the hooks into the IGB and the fact that they rate limited the use of the hooks indicates pretty strongly that they intended the hooks to allow this."
NG: As I said in the comments to the article on TMC, I respectfully disagree. Perhaps my opinion is influenced by the fact that I didn't pay much attention to the IGB changes in Dominion that introduced objects like ShowMarketDetails that enable the macros that run today. When I started playing in Quantum Rise macro use was considered bad and I don't remember CCP ever announcing that this had changed.
That said, CCP has a history of introducing features subject to exploits. Does anyone remember the POS exploit that went undetected for years? Or if 2009 is going back too far, how about last summer's faction warfare exploit? And I've already mentioned the AFK complex farming exploit that involved performing no single prohibited action, but the sum of the parts called players' actions into question.
I should add that my experience in other MMOs had led to the belief that just because a dev may say something is okay on the forums doesn't necessarily mean that is official policy. Back in 2009 when I played EverQuest 2 I participated in something called gray shard running and documented my experiences when SOE declared the practice an exploit after launching it live in The Shadow Odyssey expansion four months earlier. Finding out I participated in an exploit when I thought the devs had specifically allowed the activity was shocking. The fallout from that announcement wound up shattering my guild and contributed to my leaving the game after playing for over three years. After that I vowed to myself I wouldn't do anything that seemed shady where the rules of a game were concerned because that would not only cheat the game but cheat myself as well.
I think I need to make one final point. My solution to the situation is to, as I put it over on TMC:
"...make market data available via a CREST API while at the same time changing the way information is cached for use by the market window and removing the functionality within the in-game browser that allows massive looping to open market windows. Such a solution ideally would result in little if any loss of current functionality and would hinder market bots that rely on the built-in functionality of the IGB."I'm not calling for bans. I'm not calling for asset seizure. I just want Eve turned into a player vs. player game, not a player vs. macro or macro vs. macro game. Winning in Eve should not turn on who is using the best mod in-game. That's what I turned by back on when I left Azeroth.