Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Bot Bans In Gicodel And Illinfrik One Week Later

The latest security dev blog came out last Wednesday, so I decided to see if the distribution bots had returned to running the level 4 missions for the Sisters of EVE in Gicodel and the Trust Partners in Illinfrik. I didn't have time to run out myself to check in person, so I conducted a map exercise using the statistics supplied by Dotlan.

The semi-good news is that the activity levels indicate low level botting activity in Gicodel, if any exists at all. But if history is any indication, that situation will only last another day or two as the system of Vattuolen as of 0000 today EVE time was experiencing over 400 jumps/hour. The bots that wind up in Gicodel level up their standings first in Vattuolen, where the Sisters of EVE station contains both level 1 and level 2 distribution missions.

SoE Bots - Level 1 & 2 distribution bots
SoE bots - Level 4 distribution bots not active since ban wave

The bad news is that the bots have returned in force to Illinfrik. Following the bot bans that occurred after downtime on 10 December, the botter or botters laid low for about 36 hours before cautiously reemerging from the shadows. A bot farm, although smaller, came on line around 0100 on 13 December and the activity level rose from around 100 jumps/hour to over 400 jumps/hour in the system. Illinfrik saw a pretty steady rate of traffic until shortly after downtime on Monday, when the activity jumped from 400 jumps/hour up to over 600 jumps/hour.

Last week I pointed out the path bots interested in Sisters of EVE loyalty points take to develop into destructive bots in Gicodel. In the interest of completeness, I will now do the same for the bots who wind up active in Illinfrik.

Thukker Tribe bots - Level 1 & 2 distribution bot activity

Thukker Tribe bots - Level 4 distribution bot activity

In the middle of Derelik are two systems containing stations owned by Trust Partners, a member of the Thukker Tribe. Nikh is home to a level 1 distribution agent while Agha houses not only a level 2 agent, but a storyline agent as well. Because the only way into and out of Agha is through Nikh, monitoring the activity in Nikh is a good way to detect the increased activity caused by the operation of a bot farm running distribution missions. Once the botting characters reach standing of 5.0 with Trust Partners, the bot farm is moved to Illinfrik.

The distribution bot farms designed to farm pirate faction loyalty points in high sec have a distinguishing characteristic that separates them from actual players sitting at the keyboard watching Netflix. I mean besides operating longer than a normal player would sit running distribution missions. That key difference is that the bot farms skip the level 3 distribution missions found in Arnon (SoE) and Tanoo (Trust Partners/Thukker). Actual players would not pass up the higher payouts associated with doing level 3 missions, especially in Tanoo which is on the route between Agha/Nikh and Illinfrik. Bot owners don't care, because they are looking at the payout of level 4 missions, and the bots don't care what level missions they perform. Also, by skipping the level 3 missions, the botters have one less setup to perform.

Back in the days before Alpha clones, botters at least had to have a little caution when operating their bots. With the switch of EVE to a free-to-play option, botters can operate sizable farms with little to no cost if they are caught. Only the cost of a few day's income while a new bot farm spins up and levels up its standings. Of course, if CCP keeps banning the bots, perhaps the aggravation no longer becomes worth the effort.

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