Monday, March 10, 2014

CCP's War On Bots: Learning From Questor Tears

I know that EVE Online has a lot of new players.  Since the Battle of B-R5RB that drew them into New Eden, I haven't done a War On Bots post, mostly because I haven't had too many tears to post.  Charts and graphs are fine, but everyone loves reading bot forum porn.  Apparently someone at CCP was busy a couple of weeks ago because a discussion started on the Questor forums.

21 Feburary
Gray - "So here a banwave hits agaian... 24 chars down the drain. This time they've even managed to hit 4 "backup" chars (in training, not botting yet)... the latter thing just makes me shiver. Though, the funny part was that banwave came at about 8pm GMT and lasted till 10pm GMT. A bit of too late: most of the people buy isk for weekend at Friday evening, so most of my accounts had no isk already. Imagine: Friday... evening... lots of GMs are sitting and banning "empty" accounts, instead of drinking beer and going home. I wonder if CCP ever pays them for overtime work Flapper"
I do like this comment.  First, I'm always happy when I see that CCP is still coming close to banning the baby bot farms.  The last time I saw this happen the supply got tight and some websites selling ISK decided to get out of the business.  The significance of banning the baby bots is the nature of skill training in EVE.  If all of a botters botting accounts are banned, then that botter is out of business for a good long while.  So the big bot farm operators keep a stable of other bots on-hand as replacements when their active botting accounts are banned.  Currently the minimum is 49 days (with +4 implants) to sit in a Tengu, which many botters like to use because the ship is so fast to train for.  So that means even using a 14-day trial account, a botter has to pay for two months of subscription fees in order to start flying one.  Going without income for 50 days would really hurt if the baby bot farms were wiped out at the same time as the active bots.

One other thing about this comment.  I don't think this botter realizes that CCP has offices outside of Iceland.  That 8pm-10pm GMT time is 3pm-5pm in Atlanta.  Looks like someone was busy banning botters at the end of the work week.

27 February
sudochown - "This one raised an eyebrow for me -

"2 chars banned, both ~1 mil sp created less than 30 days. One had just PLEXed from trial to full a few days ago. Both used RG use 100% with different private proxies. Both had very liberal up-time, average *maybe* 5 hours a day. Highest was 8 hours a day, average is lower because they weren't on every day.

User * is banned pending investigation
Last login: *
Number of visits: *
Reason: You have been banned permanently by CCP Peligro. The reason specified was: EULA/TOS Violation

"No mention of 'Macro Use' or anything. No RMT obviously, but a few' feeder' trial accounts for that first PLEX. You guys think they detected Q or are those 'feeder' trial accounts easily detected and a no-no?"
RG stands for Red Guard, a software package design to spoof CCP's digital fingerprinting system.  The reason botters would like to hide their computer is that CCP has a detection system that can tie accounts together.  Also, CCP has a system that keep an account being created from a banned computer.  If CCP is targeting Red Guard again, that will cause botters some more problems.

28 February
Gray - "This is just one of their templates - different GMs use different ones. Though, the outcome is always the same: that's permban, petitions won't help. Just move on and create new toons. God friggin damn, I envy americans sooooo much for them being able to buy EVE reseller keys for $3 each on Amazon Mad

"As long as GMs fail to ban 'backup' chars in training, we shall replace banned ones with new ones in no time. As long as new accounts bring more profit than their registration price, their crusade is doomed to fail Cool

"P.S. Uptime doesn't seem to matter anymore - chars running 6h/day get banned at the same day with ones running 12h/day. The only exception are chars running 23/7 - they get banhammered real quick, before they even start to make profit. So just make as much isk as possible and sell/launder them away as quick as possible, before ban comes (it's gonna come anyway, so...)"
This comment is significant because it points out that some of the behavior that Questor botters engaged in to avoid CCP's automatic sweeps is no longer working.  I wonder if this is just targeting the Inner Space-based bots or if this is happening on a wider basis.

28 February
Gray - "Mwahahaha, read this: https://forums.eveonline...spx?g=posts&t=325793

"I can bet 3 against 1 - someone DDoSes their servers for banning too many bot accounts lately, and reverting too many RMT deals. Now I wonder: who's doing it? I think it would be good idea to join them - at least, to discuss details, and maybe blackmail CCP or smth Cool I mean, really, these bans are soooo much pointless, as we can cover the cost of account creation 5 times before they manage to ban, so WE'RE GOTTA BOT ANYWAY... just I'm growing tired of recreating accounts over and over and over again, every month..."
Finally, I like this comment because it shows some frustration at the situation.  The Questor botters and developers over the years always kept their cool while the users of other bots panicked.

Also, I should point out that CCP's aim is to make botting and illicit ISK selling so painful to do at such a low amount of profit that these people go off and ply their trade in a different game.  Which means keeping up constant pressure to discourage those not as dedicated at botting as Mr. Gray to either play EVE within the EULA and ToS or go someplace else.


  1. Bot tears best tears! :D

    Seriously speaking, the increases in Plex isk prices must be hurting the botters as well. Takes more efforts to plex the accounts and reduces the dollar value of the isk they generate...

    1. I haven't made a blog showing prices since the Battle of B-R5RB either, have I? I'm doing a research project now that will result in a blog post in April. Maybe I'll give a preview that connects to this post.

  2. I wonder if it ever occurs to the botters that it is unusual for a trial account to do nothing but train, never logging in for activity until a month or two has passed. CCP may not ban on that alone, but it's probably on a check list somewhere. Also, they've begun to crack down on trial account and referral abuse. So if these guys are doing things like that to keep their costs down, it's also hamstringing them.

    1. That's not necessarily that unusual for the people who are training dedicated alts for particular roles - especially those training a dedicated Super-carrier/Titan alt.

  3. "I mean, really, these bans are soooo much pointless, as we can cover the cost of account creation 5 times before they manage to ban, so WE'RE GOTTA BOT ANYWAY... just I'm growing tired of recreating accounts over and over and over again, every month..."

    ^ The bit about "going to bot anyway" is attempting to put a brave face on it. Reading the rest of the quote suggests to me that this botter is getting ready to give up.

  4. " just I'm growing tired of recreating accounts over and over and over again, every month "

    Which is the entire point as you said - make it a big enough pain in the ass and they'll go somewhere else. Its amusing sometimes to read these forum dumps and see pretty much every stage of denial we've seen all along when ever botting gets mentioned.

  5. This is all nice and sweet, but the botter was telling the truth: as long as they make more money than they lose, they keep on doing it.

    The ONLY way stopping it is targeting ISK buyers. Not just negwalleting, because that means "hey, try cheap botted ISK, worst case you have to rebuy it legit", but permaban at first time.

    Maybe CCP could start their own RMT gang and sell illicit ISK, under the price of other RMT-ers to push them out of business, then ban all buyers at once.

    1. What a load of crap.

      "as long as they make more money than they lose, they keep on doing it."

      Apparently you can make lots of easy ISK doing PI in w-space. So, Gevlon, why aren't you doing PI in w-space?

      "permaban at first time"

      And we should have the death penalty for any crime, because it's impossible to reform anybody.

      "Maybe CCP could start their own RMT gang and sell illicit ISK"

      But if CCP are selling it, then it's not illicit...

  6. "death penalty for any crime"

    seeing as you can always recreate a new account a permaban of your main isn't really a death sentence. its more like a prison term in newbieville until you retrain the new account with enough SP to replace your old main.

    1. Of course, you do have to do some things in order to get around the hardware ban in place for banned accounts. That won't stop hardcore botters, but the casual probably won't want to go through the trouble.