Thursday, February 5, 2015

Greater Clarification On ISBoxer

Over the past 2-3 months, users of the multiboxing software ISBoxer have scrambled to understand how CCP would begin enforcing the EULA beginning on 1 January 2015.  For some, the rules seemed pretty clear.  But those people didn't tend to use ISBoxer.  ISBoxers themselves tended to divide into three groups: those who wanted to do everything possible to skirt the input broadcast ban, those who planned on playing it safe and not use any feature that strayed close to breaking the EULA, and those who just used ISBoxer for windows and computer resource management.

Those wanting to play fast and loose with the EULA received a rude surprise on the official EVE Online forums yesterday.  Someone on an alt account published a letter from CCP Peligro (Eve Search link here). In the letter, CCP Peligro wrote:
"The key part is really this one: '2. You may not use your own or third-party software to modify any content appearing within the Game environment or change how the Game is played.'
"Whether input broadcasting is used, video 'overlays' or other features are used does not really matter. These are third party programs which change the way the game is played. This also includes round robin."
An ISBoxer user who had received a 30-day ban reported on the ISBoxer forums of receiving similar correspondence.  Joe Thaler, the creator of ISBoxer, made the following post last night on the ISBoxer forums in response to the banned player's quoting of CCP Peligro:
"Sorry, what Peligro stated is nothing new. With regards to being reported, that's exactly what I told people in November -- anyone with multiple accounts is a suspect, and other players have the motivation to report you just as they will do any other underhanded trick.

"You quoted a specific part of what he said, but left out part of the code of conduct which was also explained more than a year ago in a dev blog that specifically covered multiboxing software.
'We do not endorse or condone the use of player-made software or any other third party applications or software that 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. However, if any third party application or other software is used to gain any unfair advantage, or is used 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 player-made or other third party software at your own risk.'
"They have to say this because he did not specifically tell you not to use any of those features. In fact he made that clear at the end when he said it 'does not really matter'
Anyway, the only thing Peilgro was really trying to say, is 'With regards to 'round robin' or other features of specific third party programs; We will not authorize or otherwise sanction the use of any third party software. The End User License Agreement and Terms of Service are clear on this subject', the rest is fluff.

"It's like I said before. Look guys, if you don't want to get banned, don't try to find dubious ways around the rules. They ban Input Broadcasting, so all these guys think they're just going to work around it by setting up round-robin or programmable keyboards and whatnot and the reality is, CCP and other players cannot reliably determine the difference between any of those methods. Other players generally don't care one way or another, and CCP doesn't want to get into the nitty gritty of the subtle differences or technical cleverness of your setup and why you're so great for out-smarting them.

"My best guess is that a player who doesnt like you reported you, CCP looked at you briefly and saw that you were doing things fast while multiboxing, and decided to temporarily ban you. This is backed up by our conversation."
Now, I'm not sure Thaler is correct about how the bans are dished out, and he doesn't sound all that sure either.  I found the following from the forum alt on the EVE Online forums interesting:
"My discussion with them continues. And I'm also learning about their little spy method and how it works. Quite simple and effective, to the point where if you get caught using the software, you can't deny using it after they even tell you what version of the software you're using. LOL"
From covering some of the botting ban waves, I know that CCP can tell if someone is using an Inner Space extension like ISBoxer.  In fact, during the Summer Summit, the minutes showed that CCP kept track of ISBoxer users and recorded their activity.  So the possibility exists that CCP learned a lot about the software.  Enough to detect everything?  Well, I believe in KISS: keep it simple, stupid.  The EULA states the following:
"You may not use your own or any third-party software, macros or other stored rapid keystrokes or other patterns of play that facilitate acquisition of items, currency, objects, character attributes, rank or status at an accelerated rate when compared with ordinary Game play."
If input broadcasting is considered operating at "an accelerated rate," and violates the EULA, then any other software solution that works just as fast as input broadcasting probably violates the EULA as well.  Hopefully with this information leaking out, people will wise up and stop doing things that get them banned.


  1. Of course, "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" is not exactly the clear rule on what is or is not allowed which many people have been asking for.

  2. They are not going to give any 'clear' rulings on specifics, ever :P

    They are basically stating that ANY third party software that relates to EVE might get you banned. If you want to be super duper safe, don't use anything that is not included in the EVE client, though I don't think they'll be banning you if you use EVEmon to make a skill plan and or fiddle in EFT :P

  3. If you want a clear answer. the only possible way to be relatively sure you don't allow cheating would be to create a whitelist of things allowed. This would severly cripple the development of out of game tools and would be far worse than the current state, imho.

  4. Durk and rischwa - Oh, I know; I have made the same arguments myself.

    It's just the last time this topic came up, a significant bone of contention was that it was 'unclear what is or isn't allowed' (paraphrased), and that hasn't become much clearer.

    Though, now that I'm writing this, maybe it has: Peligro is saying "Touch the game client in any shape or form, and you're on thin ice. Play unfair that way, and you break through". It could be asked though that CCP publishes when they decide to un-tolerate a 3rd party application.