Monday, July 29, 2013

CCP's War On Bots: Odyssey Changes

On Friday CCP sent out an interesting graphic on its official Eve Online account.

A drop in auto-detection bans
I was a bit surprised that CCP would promote a drop in botting bans.  Usually game companies only promote ban waves. CCP Stillman soon clarified what players should take away from the graphic along with another, more detailed graph.

The automatic bot detection numbers for 2013 so far

I've long maintained that just catching bots isn't enough.  When CCP Sreegs first appeared at Fanfest 2011 one of his goals was to make botting and RMT unattractive.  If you give someone less incentive to do something, you get less of that activity.  And in the end I want to see less of the activity, not just see gaudy numbers for Team Security.  If CCP Stillman is correct, the developers are getting into the anti-botting/anti-RMT act.

But are the design changes really making an impact.  Botters on the forums I visit see Odyssey as an opportunity to get low sec ores without having to visit low sec.  But the botting community isn't just one big community and I'm visiting the forums of the more advanced bots.  Judging by the amount of tears on the official forums, I'd say that ice botters were definitely impacted.

Caution, ISBoxer At Work

If the official forums are reliable, then the ice sites don't stay active for very long before players drain the ice away.  If a site only stays up for 30 minutes, its hard for a bot to remain active long enough to be detected.  The more advanced bots whose forums I visit have worked this out, but for the personal bots?  I bet the reports of pods attempting to ice mine have gone way down over the past two months.

The null sec ratting changes are harder to judge.  Sure, the changes to add scramblers to the really good null sec ratting sites potentially gives bots fits, but many bots already had ways to prioritize which rats to kill first.  Needless to say, the tears generated were poor

My guess is that the feature that really impacted null sec ratting were the changes to moon goo and the wars those spawned.  Bots dock up with neutrals in the system, and I'm pretty sure that the rival parties are attempting to disrupt the ISK generating activities of their enemies.  I know that Noir Mercenary Group deployed to Delve in order to shut down the activites of TEST renters.  I'm sure that similar campaigns are currently underway against the renters/carebears of all the warring parties.  So before evaluating the claims that the ratting changes made an impact against ratting bots, I'd like to see a slowdown, if not end, to the wars to see what the bot banning activity looks like during peacetime.

Some people will argue that CCP should not make design decisions to take botting and RMT into account.  I disagree and hope to see more efforts from the game designers, even if not incredibly successful.  After all, every little bit helps.


  1. Bottom line, CCP turns a blind eye to botting when it comes to ceratin power blocs. Do you seriously think that soundwave just made all those null sec ice belts and null sec ore belts so rich just to have them ignored? No. That vast transfer of wealth was made so the null sec bot fleets of the likes of goons and other blocs can make a ton of money, fast.

    To suggest that CCP is going to piss off the most influential subscribers, and their close friends, (name the last dev or game designer that was NOT a null sec player), is just wrong.

    This game is being changed more and more to explicitly enhance RMT operations for the null sec cartels.

  2. And they're still ignoring the worse problem of market bots.

  3. don't confuse bots with multiboxing please, you are smarter than that.

    1. I'm not confusing the two. The complaint on the forums is that multi-boxers are scooping up all the ice so fast that no one else has a change to get more than a cycle or two. That includes bots. And since I'm guessing that a lot of the ice bots were made by people who don't have the skills of a Slav2, Da Teach or civan, those bots are probably limited to a single system.

      The picture in the article is an example of a multi-boxer in action. A high sec ice belt holds 2500 units of ice. So how long does it take a Mackinaw to mine 50 units of ice? Because my Procurer can do it in under 42 minutes. I ask because that screenshot was of a 50 Mackinaw fleet with Orca support. I wouldn't be surprised if it only took 30 minutes.

      So in a way, the multi-boxers are killing off the ice botters.

  4. "Some people will argue that CCP should not make design decisions to take botting and RMT into account."

    Oh, I argue that CCP should do that. Not to the detriment of gameplay. But usually *interesting* gameplay is more difficult for bots to match. So it's a win-win situation. Less bots, more interesting gameplay.

    Even if it's only a mini step, the ice mining changes show exactly that, IMHO.