Tuesday, February 5, 2019

In Search Of Metropolis Distribution Bots

After a few days of a polar vortex (what Canadians quaintly call "spring") rolling through town and playing with plumbers, I was ready for some EVE. I woke up Sunday morning to a tweet indicating some fun in my old stomping grounds in Metropolis.
And I mean old. When I left Eve University, I took my things and set up shop in Arlek, a system 9 jumps away from both Rens and Hek. More relevant to today's topic is that I spent a lot of time doing missions with Eyfr and Co. and Republic Parliament in that area back back then in order to get the standings for jump clones. Also, when I was streaming my experience with the fancy, cinematic NPE a couple of years ago, I explored how a week old Alpha pilot could start doing level 3 distribution missions in the area. So I pretty much knew what the suspected bot operator was doing.

This bot operator wasn't as blatant about his operation as the Illinfrik botter. I was able to identify 9 bots flying Badgers with a typical distribution mission fit. Five of the bots were flying out of the Republic Parliament station in Ridoner. The other four were split between a pair flying from the Pator School station in Orduin and the remaining two flying from the Eyfr and Co. station in Elgoi.

A pretty good plan to at least spread out the activity so the traffic doesn't stick out on Dotlan. Except for Ridoner, no real chance for a traffic jam on the undock to occur, and certainly nothing on the scale of Illinfrik.

Still, the signs were all there. First, the characters were all Caldari flying Badgers in Metropolis. The race of the characters matters, because all 9 characters were created on 19 January between 13:16 and 13:56 EVE time. The two Elgoi bots were created at 13:16 and 13:20, the Orduin bots at 13:36 and 13:38, and the Ridoner bots between 13:50 and 13:56. Why would nine 2-week old characters come all the way from The Forge or Lonetrek to run distribution missions for Pator School and Eyfr and Co.? I'm picking on Pator School specifically because of its loyalty point store. I might go back and raise my Pator School standings in order to use the services of a station in low sec cheaper, but that's about it.

What linked the characters together was the dates they all joined their own personal corporations. That's right, the new big thing, now that the war dec system has changed, is for bots to form corporation named after themselves. The format of the name is [Character Name] Corporation. All nine characters joined their personal corporations on 20 January at 12:54. All nine characters. Almost like the controlling person used a script.

Of course, I did scan the Badgers, not only for the fittings but to ensure that I knew which station's agents the bots were doing missions for. I mean, I could have just sat on a gate and tag bots that way, but I figured reporting a bot at the undock of the station it is using makes the job of whoever investigates the bot report at CCP's job easier. Sure, Aden and I reported the bots hours apart, but since the bot report doesn't allow for comments, that's the best I can do with the tool.

Due to the plumbing issues and a few other things, I pretty much spent all my time in a Slasher following bots around reporting them. So I have an idea inspired by the last Security dev blog. Instead of selling police SKINs for the ships most used in botting, how about some police SKINs for the T1 frigate hulls the interceptors are based on? Like the Slasher.


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