Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back To The Future Part 2?

Last night I stopped by Big Country's EVE-Radio talk show for an hour or so and wound up talking about both SOMERblink 2014 and, surprisingly enough, ISBoxer.  Yes, apparently 2013 was such a good year in EVE history that we need to revisit all the issues.

I don't blame anyone on the show for bringing up the subject as ISBoxer keeps getting talked about in the community.  But if anyone just starts shouting, "It's against the EULA!", I'm just going to whip out the link to EVE's Third Party Policies and quote this paragraph:
"We do not endorse or condone the use of any third party applications or other software that modifies the client or otherwise confers an unfair benefit to players. We may, in our discretion, tolerate the use of applications or other software that simply enhance player enjoyment in a way that maintains fair gameplay. For instance, the use of programs that provide in-game overlays (Mumble, Teamspeak) and the multiboxing application is not something we plan to actively police at this time. 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." [emphasis mine]
The multiboxing application is ISBoxer.  I also highlighted the last sentence as a reminder to ISBoxer users that CCP can change its mind about ISBoxer at any time.  Basically, this paragraph basically states that CCP will allow players to use ISBoxer as long as they don't act like major dicks when using the software.  At a certain point, banning ISBoxer could prove a better business decision that allowing the use of software that, in a dev blog from 2013, was described as "powerful enough to count as 'client modification' if used for that purpose."

Some players are claiming that ISBoxer users are acting like major dicks.  But calling someone names is not going to sway CCP.  At this point, considering some of the things I've heard, name calling will have me trolling people by quoting CCP's public statements and policies.  What I'd like to see are some questions asked and answered.  Here are mine.

1.  Are ISBoxer users monopolizing content?  I've seen the screenshots of the massive ISBoxer-powered ice mining fleets.  I also heard Mike Azariah state on BC's show that he doesn't like seeing big fleets of Nighthawks monopolizing some incursion sites.  Are there other examples?  And are these just isolated cases or widespread problems?

2.  How does the game need to change to accomodate the capabilities of ISBoxer?  If CCP is going to allow players to use software as powerful as ISBoxer, what mechanics do CCP need to change to make the game fairer for those who don't use ISBoxer?  I know that cloaked ships need to decloak others again to counter the ISBoxer bomber meta.  CCP already changed the way ice belts act; do they need to iterate on that?  I'm honestly curious because I don't see a lot of ISBoxer fleets in low sec.

3.  Is the objective to have more actual players, or increase accounts?  Ideally, having more players should increase the number of accounts.  I've gotten the impression over the last year that CCP would like to cut back on the number of alt accounts people have.  However, people running large numbers of ISBoxer accounts goes against that impression.  So when push comes to shove when making design decisions, does CCP want to cater to the largest amount of players possible or just treat all accounts equally?

4.  How many people actually use ISBoxer?  Are people blowing the whole ISBoxer issue way out of proportion?  Or is this a growing thing?  One thing that could turn people off from trying EVE is if the game gets a reputation as needing additional paid software in order to compete.  Since the ISBoxer extension runs in the EVE memory space, CCP could set up some monitoring to check to see just how widespread the use of the multiboxing software really is.  If anything, such monitoring will freak out bot developers, which is always a good thing.

5.  What is the effect of ISBoxer on the PLEX market?  I think everyone assumes that ISBoxer users PLEX all of their accounts.  I wonder what effect that has on the price of PLEX.  Has an assumed increase in the use of ISBoxer driven up the PLEX market?  If so, is the effect quantifiable?  Perhaps a more interesting question related to my third question is: If ISBoxer users go away, will the price of PLEX drop enough so that all the people who had to cancel accounts because they could no longer afford the price be able to reactivate those accounts?  If the answer to that question is yes, then the loss of ISBoxer accounts wouldn't really affect CCP's bottom line.

I'll admit, I don't know the answers.  What I do know is that I'm getting tired of hearing the same complaints month after month.  Worse, I keep reading the same really bad arguments month after month.  If people are going to complain about ISBoxer, at least do so intelligently and bring something new to the table.

1 comment:

  1. Running gas harvesting fleets of ventures in WH space, literally sucking all the gas in under the 20min it takes the rats to spawn. Netting the isboxer almost 400m isk for less than 20min of work. Then moving onto the next site they can find, not needing to clear rats of any kind and the more accounts they use, the less space taken up in the ore bay - resulting in more site being able to be cleared even faster.

    Just does not seem right....