Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ISBoxer Isn't That Important

I wrote a little throw-a-way post Monday that probably will wind up one of my most popular posts in 2015.  Considering how much I write about botting and illicit RMT, I almost have to write about developments surrounding ISBoxer.  Which is a shame, really, because the campaign for seats on the 10th Council of Stellar Management will officially kick off on Friday and that, in my opinion, is much more important than ISBoxer.  Then again, people don't like reading about the CSM, as traffic to the blog drops 20-30% whenever I write about the organization.  Perhaps that's just a product of not writing an EVE-specific blog.

ISBoxer, on the other hand, is used in a multitude of games, including World of Warcraft.  I think hatred for ISBoxer extends throughout the MMORPG space, much like hatred for Goons extends into Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen.  Which is probably a contributing factor for why someone posted Monday's article on bans associated with ISBoxer on Reddit.

For me, ISBoxer is only important for two reasons.  The first is whether CCP is serious about enforcing the EVE Online EULA.  Enforcing the section that, in my opinion, always banned input broadcasting and input multiplexing is a good first step.  But even then, ISBoxer is just a vehicle to discuss a more important issue. I wish that CCP would post the clarifications of CCP's rulings on multiboxing, input broadcasting, and input multiplexing someplace other than the forums.  One of my pet peeves is when companies rely on forum posts for rules clarifications.  Honestly, why should players have to search the forums for rules clarifications, especially since some of what is still out on the forums is outdated.  All the rules clarifications should reside on an FAQ page in the same location as the rest of the EVE Online policies.

The second issue is the use of Inner Space in EVE Online.  Inner Space is a powerful platform designed for use with games that, according to Lavish Software:
"Inner Space can run .NET programs and other custom scripts inside of the game for you, with a wide range of functionality available. Inner Space is 'unlocked' and does not limit the types of programs you can use with it!"
I've always read Section 6A2 of the EULA to disallow any mod, including those possible using Inner Space.  The only reason that ISBoxer doesn't violate that section is that ISBoxer is not an EVE-specific product.

A request for an Inner Space powered bot developer
CCP has demonstrated in the past the ability to detect the use of Inner Space in the EVE client space.  If ISBoxer is banned, I imagine that Team Security could write a detection system to automatically ban users of the software.  However, with ISBoxer allowed, such routines are much too dangerous to use, as I don't like innocent users getting banned.  And yes, as long as ISBoxer users obey the rules, including on input broadcasting and input multiplexing, they are innocent users.

EDIT: The thing about too dangerous is relying on just detecting Inner Space.  I'm sure that Team Security has come up with something.  However, the solution probably isn't as effective.

Sometimes I write a post just to get something out of my system.  This is one of them.  People, despite the efforts of some ISBoxer users to make the input broadcasting ban the most momentous event in EVE Online history, ISBoxer is just not that important!


  1. Well said. The biggest issue in the ISBoxer debate isn't even ISBoxer. It is the EULA and how the EULA is interpreted and communicated.
    It's almost kind of funny that there is actually common ground between the pro- and anti-ISBoxer sides. Both may be trying to argue points for or against third-party applications such as this, but both are also calling for clarity and better communication. It shouldn't be so difficult to know the rules.

  2. CCP needs to keep their fingers out of my kernel code.

  3. The the EULA clarifications in the forums enforceable? Do we ever agree to abide by them? I know we agree to the EULA when we install.

    Or does CCP just have a generic catchall "we can do whatever we want" and then enforce the forum announcements under that?

  4. The problem with forum statements is they can become stale. Players can't think that a dev or GM statement made 3 years ago or even 3 weeks ago is valid forever in light of more recent statements or changes. A p[rime example would be: you can bind F1-F8 keys to a single keybind on your keyboard. Is that still valid after they implemented the ability to stack weapons? Forum responses is a kooky way of communicating stuff about the EULA. They really should use a FAQ page or some such separate document that can be amended or deleted.