Monday, June 30, 2014

Circumventing The Cap

An interesting development happened in that forum thread in the Assembly Hall section of the EVE Online forums arguing about the use of ISBoxer.  Supporters of ISBoxer started to note, correctly I may add, that opponents of ISBoxer didn't have reasons for banning the use of ISBoxer except for "I don't like it."  One opponent of ISBoxer, in the usual way of butchering logic of EVE Online forum trolls everywhere, pointed out that users of ISBoxer could circumvent the design mechanics of EVE.  The "example" he used, once deciphered, was drone assist.

In the Rubicon 1.3 point release, CCP instituted a 50 drone limit for drone assist.  That is, one single pilot could only control 50 drones at one time.  Before the point release, a single pilot could control as many drones as a fleet could launch.  Needless to say, a Dominix or carrier fleet can launch a lot of powerful drones.  In a dev blog, CCP Rise explained the reasoning behind the change:
"We have two big motivations for making a change to drone assist: improving gameplay and improving performance. As drone assist grew in popularity, it quickly became apparent that while it’s a very powerful tactic, it isn’t much fun, especially at large scales. Having hundreds of ships' worth of drones assigned on one trigger pilot relieved an enormous amount of people from almost any responsibility in fleet.

"Now, EVE may not have the twitchiest gameplay around, but drone assist goes too far and testimony from frustrated pilots has been pouring in for a while now from all over. We feel that by limiting drone assist we significantly improve the chance of pilots feeling invested and responsible during fleet engagements (even if it means they don’t get to watch quite as much TV).

"The second big incentive to make a change is that drones are relatively taxing for our hardware when compared to other weapon systems. That means the recent surge in popularity of drone assist has had a tangible, negative impact on server performance in some of the battles of late. While the balance between design goals and performance goals can be tricky, this is one of those nice opportunities where we can have a positive impact on performance without any design cost at all."
CCP actually wanted to do away with drone assist entirely, but CSM 8 convinced the game developers that enough legitimate use cases existed that a 50 drone limit was justified.  But a drone bunny using ISBoxer can get around the design limit of one pilot controlling 50 drones.  An ISBoxer users running a small gang of 5 fast-locking ships can, with one keystroke, simultaneously attack a target with 250 sentry drones.

In the past, CCP has come down hard on those who used software to circumvent game mechanics.  In April 2013, Team Security banned 2,350 accounts guilty of using an autopilot warp to zero hack.  That hack did violate the EULA in other ways than just circumventing the game mechanics, though.  Of course, ISBoxer also violates the EULA, but CCP has stated that, "the multiboxing application is not something we plan to actively police at this time."

CCP, however, did put in this caveat:
"However, if any third party application or other software is used to gain any unfair advantage, or for purposes beyond its intended use, or if the application or other software violates other parts of the EULA, we may fully enforce our rights to prohibit such use, including player bans. Please use such third party applications or other software at your own risk."
Given CCP Rise's explanation of why the drone assist cap was put in place, using ISBoxer to get around the cap would seem to violate the section about intentionally placing additional load on the servers (section 6A1 of the EULA).  I don't know how widespread the practice is, but if anyone is using ISBoxer to circumvent the cap, I'd suggest they stop.  Who knows when a spy might turn up and start turning people in to CCP.

19 comments:

  1. Said it before, will say it again. CCP cannot afford to kill off ISBoxer. In one tiny example, in the past 3 days, I have encountered 10 Paladin, 12 Vargur, 12 Legion fleets in the Vanguard sites one Incursion area. That is 3 separate examples right there. I have also seen Wiz's 50 plus mining fleet. (they are numbered up to 80, but have never seen that many on grid).

    You seriously think CCP is going to wipe out that kind of income? Further, with the huge gifts in null industry with Crius, there will be MORE reason to bot mine or ISBoxer mine with fleets of alts. CCP is banking in players grabbing more alts, not less, at least in null sec.

    No, they will continue to ignore ISBoxer, because CCP cannot afford to ban it, and watch the PCU drop, what, 5% on any given day?

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    1. "CCP can't ban ISBoxer, because the high-sec cartels will no longer be able to farm materials/NPCs any more in perfect safety."

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    2. Why would you need isboxer to mine other then just laziness?? I assure you with the giant ore holds they added semi afk mining is just as easy as ever. and yeah tbh i think we could take a 5% PCU hit but lol it wouldnt happen. You dont NEED isboxer to multibox you only NEED to to gain a giant advantage while multiboxing. I got 10 accounts I dont use it. I dont need to cheat. basically you seem to think banning the 10 ppl that actually fly 50 things at the same time would matter. You really think these guys pay real money for their boxxed accounts? hell the only thing they paying real money for is isboxer, yeah i dont think the plex market could handle these assholes not buying 1k plex a month.....Like really you think ppl have more then 10 accounts and cant farm plex for them......thats a stretch even for you man. Im sure that even tho i could make enuf to plex my accounts with 10 miners back when thats what i did that the wiz just does it and then pays for all 80 of his accounts......or the guys running incursions.....yeah im sure they just keep all that isk you know cuz the extra 750 per month per toon is totally not the reason to multibox in the first place. IMO CCP could ban ISBOXER and see very little fallout cash wise, the users are a vocal minority not really any better then botters imo. Hell most of them pry bot as ISboxer is notorious for being the base a lot of bots are built on. At lot more easy to just code for 1 actions thats copied I'd guess.......but you know it provides no advantage lol thats why they NEED it so bad.

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    3. @Fire Brush.

      I am not sure I understand half of what you are stating. Of course the ISBoxers don't pay real cash for their accounts, and buy in-game plexes. But like it has been stated a zillion times, SOMEONE had to pay real cash for that plex, so CCP loses big time.

      And btw, ISBoxer gives some huge advantages in many situations, especially where alpha strike is important, or where warping to station to get out of trouble is important.

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    4. And without the ISboxers those plexes dont get into the game? No, only prices would drop for plexes. And without the 100man solo mining ops mineralprices would rise and give incentives for corps to treat their miners better and for casual miners there was a reason to dualbox.
      So it´s easy to get a scenario where no isboxers could lead to higher subscriptions.

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    5. I'd have to agree with Anonymous there, insofar as I don't see an Isboxer ban leading to a dry-up in RL Plex sales. If anything it'd help bring prices down (a touch)

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    6. Anonm and hiram got it. Dis you say ccp cant afford 5% pcu drop and im saying they wouldn't even know it happened from the money end. the ppl paying for the isboxer guys accounts are still gonna buy plex. CCP makes the same amount and if anything the isk price of plex drops slightly.

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    7. Actually, CCP would *gain* income by banning those multibox fleet. These fleets outcompete the casual players who quit. Instead of having 10 subscription of the multiboxer, they could have 100 of actual players.

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    8. I dont think so gev. Of all the reasons ive heard of ppl quitting not just eve but any mmo "i cant compete with multiboxers" is a new one. I get the feeling these same ppl would quit cuz they cant compete with goonswarm. (or any multiplayer entity in a massive multiplayer game) I mean in every game the "hardcore" out preform "casual". I'm not even sure where this competition you speak of is happening. And this all supposes there is gonna be a huge dip when tbh I doubt other then the few really hardcore 50 box guys its not gonna have that big of effect. I can still 4-10 box no problem w/o ISboxer. When i was an indy noob and saw someone with 5 accounts I didnt quit. I learned how to make enough isk that I could have 5 accounts. The most software ive ever had to use to multibox was synergy and tbh that's just because I had 4 monitors I wanted to use back in the days b4 SLI/Crossfire. I will unsub 10 accounts right now if u can get 100 people to play eve and stay lol.

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  2. This reminded me of a completely off topic thing. I love my rattlesnake, have since before the changes were announced, I wonder if the drone limit will make them more popular? 2 drones putting out as much damage as a 5 drone domi means you can get 25 pilots worth of drones rather than 10 pilots on a single button.

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  3. I'd be quite interested in your source for "CCP actually wanted to do away with drone assist entirely."

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    1. Hey Jester. I for one have had conversations with CSM members who stated that was exactly what CCP wanted to do.

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    2. That was the impression I received from listening to some CSM members, although I checked the Winter Summit minutes and Rise proposed a 50 drone cap. I'll have to go back and see if I can find a source if it isn't buried in a podcast or 2.

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    3. Rise brought it to CSM8 as a (obviously non-binding) vote, that much is public knowledge. But I've never heard that anyone at CCP wanted to do away with it entirely. I did, but I'm not CCP. ;-)

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    4. Here's a blog post from Mike that gives the impression.

      http://mikeazariah.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/droning-on-and-on/

      “Didn’t say it was yer turn yet but yeah. Y’all know I fight the Sansha on a regular basis. Most times I fly a scimi but I like being the drone bunny as well. Hell, who do you think argued them up from the zero they started with. WE did, the folks you voted for. But it is a discussion, not a buncha folks yelling at each other. It is absolutely NOT us saying ‘do this’ and it is done.”

      Now, perhaps I misunderstood. But it seemed to mesh in pretty well with this article from EN24.

      http://evenews24.com/2014/02/06/rubicon-1-x-drone-assist-change/

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    5. Yeah, the position I personally came to that discussion with was "kill sentry assist dead, leave the other assists alone." Mike will confirm I was thinking about incursions and small gate-camping gangs when I said that. I specifically referenced the fact that you can't assist EC drones and asked that the same code be applied to sentries to make it easier to implement.

      I just don't remember anyone from CCP wanting to kill drone assist entirely. Maybe the other members of CSM8 remember it differently.

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  4. Yeah pressing 1 button and having it copied to 50 clients offers mo advantage.....id say this to the isboxer users.....if its not giving u an advantage why is it so important its not banned???

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  5. I would argue that by using isboxer you are negating the key feature of the game - that is risk vs reward. Within a (human) fleet you exposed to another player's error or another player's betrayal. But I don't have a pony in this race.

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    1. even if you are multiboxing the fleet u could misclick on one of your 50 clicks. this removes that possibility

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