Thursday, January 29, 2015

Internet Spaceship Rules Is Serious Business

Last night while reading the tears of someone who had violated the EVE Online EULA, a question popped into my head.  Has anyone warned the new players that CCP is a little more serious about enforcing its rules, especially those that touch on the subject of RMT, than other companies?  What came to mind was a post I wrote about a ban wave Blizzard implemented last January.  Besides the opportunity to post the tears of a lot of botters and hackers, I was struck by the lax rules that Blizzard apparently has for World of Warcraft compared to CCP.

Blizzard has something they call the "penalty volcano" to explain their ban policies.

The Blizzard Penalty Volcano
One point that struck me as I read through the tears of the WoW cheaters was the belief that even though someone receives a permanent ban, the ban is on the account, not player, level.  Indeed, when I take off my EVE Online goggles, Blizzard's policy on "License Closures" definitely looks like that is the case.  The WoW hackers even talked about creating new WoW accounts on the accounts.

To all the newbros out there who just started playing EVE, CCP is not Blizzard.  When someone at CCP thinks about a volcano, they worry about whether the volcano will delay flights out of the airports.

Eyjafjallajokull Eruption, 2010, photographer Ragnar Th Sigurdsson, Arctic Image

For CCP, hacking, botting, and RMT is serious business.  Back in the beginning of EVE, the game was pretty vulnerable to hacks, as Greg Hoglund, the founder of HBGary and author of a bunch of security books, describes in the video below is from when he was promoting his book, Exploiting Online Games: Cheating Massively Distributed Systems, back in 2007.

To combat the problem, not only did CCP implement things like PLEX and improve the security of the EVE client, but they cracked down hard on those engaged in client modification.  If CCP detects any type of client modification, like python injection, CCP will issue a permanent ban for all of the player's accounts.

Let me emphasize that last point.  ALL. OF. A. PLAYER'S. ACCOUNTS.  Unlike Blizzard, CCP believes in banning the player, not the account.  If a player doesn't receive a ban on all accounts, that means that CCP was unable to find all of the player's accounts.  CCP also has implemented a digital fingerprinting system, so when a player is banned and tries to create a new account, oftentimes that account is immediately banned also.  The professional RMTers have ways around this and are willing to pay the additional costs involved, but CCP makes the process as difficult as they can.

So when I read the tears of someone who is banned crying about CCP banning all of his accounts even though he only did bad things on 1 or 2 accounts, I shake my head.  Folks, I know most of you are EULA-abiding players.  But if you do think about doing something stupid like bot or purchase ISK from shady RMT sides, ask yourself: do you really want to risk getting ALL of your accounts banned?


  1. There are a couple of differences between WoW and Eve though.

    1. Multiple accounts is much less common in WoW. It's easier to have multiple characters on a single WoW account, so there's not as much need to have multiple accounts.

    2. WoW has a lot more couples, parent/child, or siblings players than Eve does. (Eve skews older and male, so more likely one Eve player per household.) For all intents and purposes these WoW accounts will look like they come from the same person. Banning or suspending both accounts would be unfair.

    Basically, if one household has 2 WoW accounts, it is more probable that they are played by two different people. If one household has 2 Eve accounts, it is more probable that they are played by the same person.

  2. Perhaps, but that doesn't change the main point, which is that someone who has a WoW account banned can go ahead and create a new WoW account, even on the same account, which I believe is supposed to be locked to a single individual. Blizzard bans accounts, CCP bans people.

  3. Not a fan of banning people instead of accounts myself. I firmly believe in 'second chances' (or third, or fourth even). Specially considering the claims of unrightful bans recently and CCP's lack of willingness to say what goes and what doesn't. They condone third party tools that violate the EULA (cache scraping tools like EVEmon) but can change their mind at any time and hide behind the EULA. "It's against the EULA, we don't have to warn you if and when we start enforcing."

    Even if they do issue a warning, chances are I or someone else might miss it resulting in a first temp ban. From that point on, you're balancing on a razor's edge cause of a simple mistake. So at this point, I'm not even feeling safe anymore using ANY third party tool. Hell, with CCP's strict banning rules, I do not even feel safe using a copy-paste keybind I've been using for years to help manage my market orders anymore.

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