Friday, December 5, 2014

Raw Intelligence Dump On How An Iz Boxer Thinks

Last night I spent way too much time watching Lazarus Telraven broadcast the battle in HED-GP that escalated from a fight between Pandemic Legion and HERO Coalition into a supercap fight involving PL, Black Legion, NCDot, and a few other players.  When over 30 titans and 100 supercarriers are on field firing at each other, that's news.  A lot of those two week old players who were drawn into EVE based on the This Is EVE trailer got to live the dream and participate in probably the biggest fleet fight in the post-Phoebe era.

However, my specialty is the darker side of EVE, and I spent a lot of time listening to the words of a man who makes The Mittani sound like Pope Francis.  An ISBoxer user, ShadowandLight, decided to go out and defend ISBoxer from the unreasonable demands of CCP.  Actually, he just wants CCP to reverse itself on input broadcasting and input multiplexing.

I subjected those who follow me on Twitter to a running commentary on two podcasts he made an appearance on, the PraiseBob podcast and Lost In EVE.  What I haven't subjected anyone to is ShadowandLight's ramblings on a post he wrote, "In defense of multiboxing in EVE Online."  I'm not sure if I am going to write on the subject, but I think his thoughts will speak for themselves.  In other words, not too logical with a lot of misdirection and outright falsehoods.  I should add, however, that I don't know if the misinformation he is spreading is due to ignorance or maliciousness.

Go ahead and listen and read for yourself.  The PraiseBob podcast is 2 hours long, but if you're a fan of EVE-Radio's (and sometime TMC contributor) Dirk MacGirk, you may enjoy it.  And the interview on Lost In EVE is only 1 hour of a 3 hour podcast.  For those asking, Jade is back, so you may want to listen just for that.

For those wondering.  Yes, I think ShadowandLight showed himself in such a bad light that all I have to do is link his work and let his words make the argument against input broadcasting/multiplexing for me.  If I come back to the subject, I'll do so just to prove that The Mittani is not the most arrogant player in EVE Online.


  1. One argument against the Input Replication ban I read in multiple places is that instead of banning Input Replication, CCP should redesign the game such that Input Replication is no longer the advantage it is now.

    I think that is a false choice: both needs to happen. Redesigning a game mechanic is harder than banning IR, so it's not surprising that the ban comes first. But even with perfect game mechanics, the core of EVE's game play is in the interaction with other players - and that can't happen if all you encounter are remote-controlled drones.

  2. Except of course that banning input broadcasting will have so close to zero effect that's it's not even worth the time the GMs will spend looking for it. The problem that they have is that multiboxing - even manual - allows a player to fulfil multiple roles (or the same role multiple times) because certain gameplay mechanics are far too simple and require nearly no interaction from the player, allowing them to do the setup once then just cycling round doing the biits that need to be repeated.. Consider gameplay mechanics like probing down and running exploration sites. Mechanics like this are more complex and require a certain level of thought and individual attention from the player, and so things like that can't really be multiboxed in any beneficial way, not even the probing part.

    At the end of the day they are using input broadcasting as a scapegoat because they know the uninformed masses will be cheering for it, like has been happening. For most ISBoxers other than the 100 character guys this change is pretty much irrelevant. I've resubbed ISBoxer and already got a non-broadcast setup up and running which is as efficient as the broadcast one and will still allow me to platinum Sleeping Dogs while I'm at it. The question becomes though: when January rolls round and all of the cheering players suddenly realise that multiboxing didn't go away, and that their ice belts are still being stripped in an hour by fleets controlled by single players and they start foaming at the mouth more than usual, what will be the next step?

  3. Let me commit an Internet Sin by partly agreeing with you: banning Input Replication is indeed not a panacea - it is merely raising the bar and blocking the most egregious abuses. But even so, that is not enough reason to /not/ do the ban now - while it's only a start, but you have to start somewhere.

    Obviously, we have to keep reminding CCP to alter those game mechanics which incentivize Input Replication.

    Another thing which occurred to me: even if this ban doesn't change anything in-game, it does put CCP on a firmer legal ground in regards of client modifications. For CCP, that alone might be reason enough.

  4. Have you watched the latest South Park episode?

    This post seems a bit deja vu of that episode... lol

  5. Lucas, you seem to have fallen into the trap that ISBoxer is involved in all multiboxing. How about those that have 6 mining accounts set up and use something like AutoHotKey to do their broadcasting? Same thing.

    Or are you trying to goad me into taking up the ban Inner Space call again?

  6. No, what I'm saying is that the "worst" of the multiboxers, the ones that the highsec players complain about stealing all of their ice, they are the ones that tend to use ISBoxer, and they will be relatively unphased. So they have to chuck in a few more clicks, they are still able to do exactly the same thing as they used to still with pretty little effort. Even if they had to do it manually, they'd still do the same thing.

    I've manual multiboxed far more than I've used ISBoxer. I had to resub ISBoxer following this change just to try out new non-broadcast techniques so I was sure I knew what I was talking about. The problem really is gameplay mechanics, not the method of controlling clients. They could ban all of InnerSpace altogether, and it still wouldn't fix the problems people complain about. Sure, it might make a bit more of a dent, but purely through shrinking the size of the community by losing players who quit over such changes, not by actually fixing the problems at hand. Treat the cause, not the symptom.

  7. Sure it is. Starting to fix a problem by ignoring the actual problem and just kicking a handful of players with the most subs in the face isn't really fixing anything, it's just creating more tension in the game, and undoubtedly will lead to solo players with no idea what multiboxing is reporting every single mining fleet they come across.

    As for their legal ground, that's irrelevant. CCP have always and will always do whatever they want regardless of what the EULA says. If they decide they want to ban you for liking the colour purple, they can. They don't need a webpage stating that.

  8. Answer me this, then: what does banning input-replicators hurt? CCP has stated in the context of the jump range changes that they are willing to take hits to their subscriber base if they think it benefits the game, so the subscriber count is not an argument.

    EVE's PvE is horrible - we all know that. Which means that the true draw of EVE is to get actual people to cooperate resp. fight each other. One person input-replicating a fleet of 10 or more goes against that.

    If you have an argument why input-replication is a good thing, or why this ban would make things worse, I'd like to hear it. I may even be convinced by it.

    But so far, I have not read or heard such argument. Nor an argument against going for the low-hanging fruit of input-replication when its possible.

    (I'll skip on the legal argument because I'm not a lawyer. It was my layman's interpretation, which I think has plausibility even if I didn't get the terms right, but I'll keep it at that.)

  9. For one it hurts legitimate multiboxers, and to be honest, the community in general. CCP starting up this thread has got people foaming at the mouth on both sides and attacking each other, and for what? So that a handful of the multiboxers with the most accounts are forced to stop (and lets face it, seeing 40 mining barges get smartbomb ganked was epic, and will not happen again), and a few of the angriest choose to ragequit. Gameplay won't be improved by this, it's not like suddenly: "Tada! Game fixed!".

    Like you say, they are happy with hurting the subscriber base if it benefits the game, but how does this benefit the game? For any reasonable amount of benefit to be seen from kicking ISBoxer in the teeth, a hell of a lot more than just input broadcasting would need to be banned.

    And sure, I'd love to see players working together. I'd be leaping up and down shouting "HELL YEAH!" if they were looking at actually bringing in more PVE content that encouraged individual players to work together. But taking away the 1 man-10 char fleets doesn't bring that in. It simply means that on top of there being very little PVE content worth working with others, there's now some people who used to do that stuff solo on grand scales not doing it.

    I guess to me, I just don't see a point in getting the community attacking each other and losing a bunch of subs for what seems like no real benefit. Maybe I'm wrong, and come January we'll be looking at a brand new EVE, but I honestly doubt it.

  10. Fair enough. I don't agree (mostly), but let's see what happens next.