Monday, October 8, 2012

CCP's War On Bots: Accountability

"We will continue to expand the scope of this to include asset seizure in the coming days which will include reclamation of supercaps and actions against alliances if need be."

CCP Sreegs, April 2012

Eve Vegas was held this weekend and amongst the Eve developers speaking at the event was CCP Stillman.  Those who thought the event would provide little news did not forsee the bombshell tacked onto the end of CCP Stillman's presentation.  I missed large portions of that section of the talk but Sugar Kyle blogged from on-site and filled in the blanks.  CCP will now hold alliances responsible for some botting that occurs in their space.  According to the video which I didn't get to see, POS utilized by botters and illict RMTers belonging to alliances are subject to destruction.

CCP Stillman's presentation surprised many in Las Vegas, but CCP Sreegs for months signaled that he might consider holding alliances to account for their members' actions.  At the beginning of March CCP Sreegs wrote the following responses to comments to his dev blog announcing a new offensive in the War On Bots:
Q. What is the current policy with regard to ISK and assets on a proven botter's multiple accounts? Do you seize all their ISK, or some of it, or none? Do you asset strip them?

CCP Sreegs: "Today, as in like right now, assets aren't touched but I don't see it staying that way."

Q. If the decision is made to begin confiscating assets, will this include Supers and Titans bought with botting ISK?  And how soon will this begin?

CCP Sreegs: "I would say that however this is implemented the size of assets won't matter, but I can't speculate on time frames or even 100% guarantee it today. I'll just let you guys be pleasantly surprised if it happens."
CCP Sreegs went further in a dev blog on Team Security's anti-RMT operations in April, stating:
"Using the initial operation we enacted last Friday the procedure was to permanently ban all isk sellers and suppliers. No warnings given. People caught purchasing ISK found themselves with negative wallet balances due to the ISK being reversed back into the closed accounts which will eventually go into some magical space ISK burning facility or if you want to be really technical, be deleted from a database. We will continue to expand the scope of this to include asset seizure in the coming days which will include reclamation of supercaps and actions against alliances if need be. All actions will be retroactive to at LEAST February." [emphasis mine]
For observers of CCP's campaign against illicit RMT and botting, the question wasn't whether CCP Sreegs would begin "enlisting the help" of alliances, the question was when.  CCP Stillman's presentation provided a rough outline of the plans, although those plans are not finalized.

The questions raised were expected.  How do we stop botters if we have no tools?  Is CCP changing the EULA to allow corp and alliance leaders receive information on who is botting?  What are alliance leaders supposed to do if they find one of their members botting?  Policing the EULA is CCP's job so why do alliances have to do it?

Amongst all the people trying to argue that holding alliance members accountable for the actions of their members and/or renters, one man got up and asked if CCP had considered making botting legal.  That attitude that botting and illicit RMT are acceptable activites is unfortunately reflected amongst some alliance leaders.  At the CSM 7 Spring Summit, UAxDEATH pressed CCP about trying to track down alliances that rent null sec systems for real money.  And some CEOs go to botting forums to recruit botters.  I found two recent examples on the H-Bot forums.

Offering POS, logistics support to botters in null

Notice that one of the selling points to botting recruits in both posts is the availability of a POS to operate from.  Wonder why the video showed POS blowing up?  Because bots need a place to hide when a neutral or red show up in the system.  Without a POS, a null sec system is much less attractive.

CCP Sreegs has angered many players for what they consider a lax policy toward botters.  While many players wish to see a permanent ban upon a first offense for botting, the current penalties are 14 days for the first offense, 30 days for the second and a permanent ban for the third.  Of course, other penalties include confiscation of isk and revoking the rights for a banned account to trade characters.  But CCP Sreegs only implemented those penalties after his initial plan did not have the desired effect.

I don't believe that CCP Sreegs wants to bring the hammer down on any alliance that wants to follow the rules.  I can see the reasons for CCP Sreegs trying a cooperative approach working with alliance leaders first.  The job of Team Security is to enforce the EULA without banning or causing half the players to quit. Or, in the case of alliances, without causing sovereignty to change for significant portions of null sec.  But something tells me an alliance is going to test CCP to see just how serious the company is in fighting botting and illicit RMT. 


  1. your screenshots brings up the question: How did u get into a restricted forum area? :)

  2. Would love to see the vid of RMT POS's being removed