Thursday, May 31, 2012

Eve Online Bots Held Hostage: Day 8 - Questor

I believed that the one bot whose developers would work out the changes CCP made to Eve Online within a few days was Questor.  Created by the veteran bot designer Da Teach, Questor abandoned using the ISXEVE bot engine for his own creation combined with Inner Space from Lavish Software to create one of the most effective bots in New Eden.  Unlike many other bot developers, Questor has a team of volunteers that works not only on the bot, but on the engine, called DirectEVE.

Or, I should say, had volunteers.  Following CCP Sreegs and Team Security catching and permanently banning Da Teach in an anti-RMT operation in March, Da Teach announced he was abandoning his personal development of Questor and concentrating his efforts on maintaining a working version of DirectEVE.  Until now, Questor had been completely free but with his RMT operation rolled up, Da Teach is now charging for immediate release of DirectEVE after it is patched with the engine still available for free 1 week later.  Da Teach's merry band of coders get a share of the proceeds.  While Questor is open source and many independent bot developers have adapted the code, Da Teach still maintains control over DirectEVE.

The monetization efforts probably contributed to the slowness with which DirectEVE was fixed.  On Saturday, 26 May, four days after Incarna's launch Da Teach finally announced that the support subscription website was up and ready for testing.  While Da Teach continued to work on the support site, the other DE devs produced a first working version of the bot engine for release to Questor coders on Sunday.  As of right now DirectEVE still has issues connecting with corp hangers and the problem will not be corrected until next week.  And if DirectEVE has issues, that means every Questor variant will have issues as well.

Normally when I write a post like this I have some tears I can share to brighten up everyone's day.  Questor tears are usually hard to come by and over the past few days the conditions were not right for tears to form.  Usually tears form when something bad happens, like the bot breaks.  That happened at first, but then Da Teach showed back up on the scene promising to fix things.  He had disappeared for a few weeks and I think a lot of people thought that with the Inferno launch Questor was finally dead.  But Da Teach coming back was a morale boost, so people were actually happy because the bot was not dead.  The fact the bot did not work correctly was minor compared to that.  Thus, no good tears to report.

The reasons why Questor is still not fully functional 8 days after the launch is another one of those stories that draws me to Eve Online.  The butterfly effect of CCP's anti-RMT efforts led to Questor creator Da Teach being banned from the game.  That led to Da Teach making the decision to turn Questor from a free bot to a dual pay/free business model and to a reduction in support for the Questor bot itself.  Because he was busy working on the web site when Inferno launched, he could not devote time to helping fix Questor's bot engine.  As a result, Questor is still not 100% functional.  And as a side effect, those who do not wish to pay for DirectEVE will go a full two weeks without their bots.  In short, a typical Eve Online story.

I should add in one additional detail to make the story complete.  The current timelines in this post are based on CCP not making any changes to the game.  Tomorrow (1 June) CCP is scheduled to deploy further improvements to the unified inventory system.  But CCP wouldn't do anything like add "a tree structure to POSs, so the list of modules isn’t just one long list of every POS module there," right?  That might mean another revamp of the code.  Well, I can only hope.


  1. You said "Incarna" in second last paragraph when you meant Inferno. ;)

  2. I object to the fact that you never give free publicity to my tools/bots here ;) Is that because they don't produce any tears?

    1. I was actually looking at the Public Demands forums as another place to look for regular botters not specifically tied to one bot. Is yours the only bot there or are there others?

    2. PD is mainly a forum for python guys nowadays, but they tend to keep their stuff to themselves since most of it is pvp cheats. There is some more benign public stuff like a warp-to-zero hack or a ui fix for probing.