EVE Online players beg CCP to address botters after gamer takes down eight botter ships

Is there a quota for how many sci-fi spaceship MMOs with playerbases angry over exploits we can cover in a week? Because if so, Elite Dangerous already met it. If not, EVE Online requests a moment of your time.

The EVE subreddit is smoldering with post after post on what players characterize as a serious botting problem, exacerbated by a recent post in which a player claims that in a brief span of time, his group was able to easily take out eight Nyx capital ships allegedly belonging to a single corporation well-known among gamers for botting.

One redditor summed up the community dismay that cheaters and cheater money rules the game, quoting another’s estimate that bots pull in a tremendous amount of ISK (in-game currency) monthly and lamenting the perception that CCP lets the botting go on (or even encourages it).

“I feel completely worthless as a customer,” Loroseco writes. “I feel like my effort over the years has been for absolutely nothing. I feel that I’ve been cheated out of making a fortune because I felt compelled to obey the ToS that I agreed to when I started playing.”

“I feel that I am completely unappreciated as a customer because, CCP, you’d rather rake in the cash than make our efforts as honest players feel worthwhile. I feel that you are ignoring this issue because you wish to take advantage of an already-diminishing player-base in order to squeeze as much cash out of us as possible before you inevitably kill the game with one of your terrible decisions. You know that there are a lot of us out there committed enough to continue playing despite the gross disrespect you show your customers; I hate to admit it, I’m one of those people. But for fucks sake, please at least explain yourself. Come out here and tell us why you’ve chosen to forsake your playerbase in return for one last payday. I thought this game was CCP’s passion? Where did that go?”

Worth pointing out is the fact that CCP Games recently slashed its community team down to almost nothing following what was apparently a forced pullout of the VR industry and the sale of a pair of its studios building other games. While it’s not certain that those layoffs have affected bot-hunting efforts in the land of internet spreadsheets, it’s clear from player reports that the suspected botters have been operating with impunity for quite some time. We’ve reached out to CCP for comment.

Source: Reddit. Thanks to Anon tipster! MOP’s Brendan Drain contributed this piece.
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48 Comments on "EVE Online players beg CCP to address botters after gamer takes down eight botter ships"

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Sunken Visions

How long until become so advanced that they’re indistinguishable from human players? I can see game developers using them to artificially inflate the population. Yeaaahhg, I got a nasty shudder just thinking about playing with a group of bots, and not knowing it.

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Nathan Aldana

we.come to capitalism 101. The only winners are the guys who cheat their wsy to victory.

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John Mynard

Based on what I’ve been reading and have intimated from a few actions they took recently, I am suspecting that CCP is much closer to the razor’s edge financially than they might be letting on. Having said that, that might be why they are letting the larger botters alone. Especially when they are paying subs to be able to fly the fleet level ships like the Nyx.

All that said, what’s the difference between botting and multi-boxing? If there are individuals using bots to simplify their multi-box experience, how is that harmful? We had this same discussion in the WoW community some years ago and it basically boiled down to it being rare enough to not waste brain cells on. As a matter of fact, I haven’t seen a multi-boxer on WoW in at least a couple years.

rolder
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rolder

Botting doesn’t require the player to be at the computer, and bots can generally prevent themselves from dying. So what you have is accounts printing money 23/7.

Now why is this bad for CCP? Because the people botting tend to do so to sell the in-game money for actual money. Sure they pay for subscriptions, but every time they sell the ISK for dollars, thats less money for CCP because the buyer is buying from someone that’s less PLEX sales for CCP

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Schmidt.Capela

The way Plex works, it shouldn’t change the amount of Plex that (non-botter) players purchase, since no in-game activity generates Plex.

It can muck up with the in-game value of Plex, though. I believe the end effect of botters is to make Plex less expensive to purchase with in-game credits (while the existence of Plex makes selling in-game credits for money less profitable for botters).

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John Mynard

Fair enough, I keep forgetting EVE has a very complex economy that is highly interwoven with real-world money.

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Melissa McDonald

Sounds to me like they addressed it by wiping out those bot ships. If that keeps happening it will be too expensive to use bots. The system would self-correct.

panther_x
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panther_x

No, CCP has done anything BUT address it. This is what has been going on for some time. We as a community keep trying to force CCP’s hand in addressing the issue, but they continue to OPSEC anything to do with bot hunting, and don’t allow us to help them police it. It’s a difficult place they are in, but they need to make changes sooner rather than later

rolder
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rolder

Keep in mind that the 2.6 trillion figure they pulled is for the 8 bots destroyed, not across the game as a whole. This is over the course of a month. The ships destroyed cost ~30 billion each; they pay for themselves in a day or so. Now, if CCP banned the characters, the cost would be much higher, but, well…

utsukushishi
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utsukushishi

While CCP certainly has work to do, there are many of us who reject the idea that the current events reflect the imminent demise of EVE. Reddit tends to spool up the hate machine a few times a year over whatever takes its fancy. In reality, botting, while a problem, is not as big a deal as say citadel proliferation and connected vulnerability timers.

EVE has a long history, and with that comes a lot of people who are mad at it for one reason or another. When an event like this occurs they tend to come boiling up to rage post on various mediums. Sometimes that helps get things changed and thus is a net positive. A lot of times though it sadly just adds to an unfortunately negative impression of EVE that really is not accurate to a lot of us.

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John Mclain

Sadly everyone who actually plays eve, truly knows the game is starting to circle the drain, even though not all will admit it. CCP has for some reason decided to let Eve slip slowly into the night while milking it for all they can. The question is… why? Eve is the only success CCP has ever known, or likely will ever know, and once Eve is no longer profitable, CCP goes bankrupt and closes, as they are incapable of making anything else worth playing. So again, why kill your only golden goose after strangling as many eggs as you can out of it?

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Alex Js.

CCP knows about that, they know that many people use various bots to “farm” minerals, “farm” Incursions, “farm” Factional Warfare areas and so on. They just don’t care anymore. Just like they don’t care about many other things that many people have complained about, such as already overwhelming amount of ships/modules (which means some of them are always in the state of “irrelevance”, until they’re temporarily “boosted” by some patch, which in turn makes a bunch of other ships/modules “irrelevant”/undesirable) or don’t care about trying to expand gameplay past “flying in ship or staring at bunch of market/inventory/corp managment overlays while docked in station” with something similar to current VRChat (just with more appropriate “copyright-friendly” avatars) or with something like a properly done (by more competent developers, with PC as primary platform) “Dust 514”-like FPS “expansion”.

Really feels like CCP has reached past their “prime” and are in permanent state of decline now, only capable of keeping their game in what is essentially a “maintenance mode”… Which is unfortunate but oh well, time to patiently wait and see who will take their place in this genre.

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squidgod2000

“I feel completely worthless as a customer,” Loroseco writes. “I feel like my effort over the years has been for absolutely nothing. I feel that I’ve been cheated out of making a fortune because I felt compelled to obey the ToS that I agreed to when I started playing.”

^Basically why I don’t last more than a few months in most MMOs anymore. I see a bot and lose all motivation to play.

Bluxy
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Bluxy

bot or AFK mining :beer:

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Nosy Gamer

I think I can safely say that the cuts to the community team had no impact on bot catching activity. Bans are left up to the security team and the game masters.

As for the changes to the UI, specifically the introduction of chat bubbles, causing issues, we don’t know that in this case. The change in the UI impacted at least one bot, but we don’t know if this affected the botter who lost 8 Nyx-class supercarriers.

It does look like our intrepid bot hunters got at least one more from either the same botter or his corpmates.

https://zkillboard.com/kill/67242902/

There are another 3 kills that may or may not qualify. I don’t know enough about supercarrier fits to be able to tell.

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Elizabeth Norn

At least one security/IA dev was let go though.

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Nosy Gamer

And I really wish a certain someone would write the dev blog he promised.

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Sally Bowls

BTW, it is traditional to show the $RL equivalent for any EVE shenanigans (dear editor, I realize “EVE shenanigans” is redundant but let it slide this time.)

So a monthly income of 2.6T ISK is about 780,000 PLEX. Legal PLEX are nominally 110/$4.99 but using 2860 PLEX for $99.99 means an annual income – or at least street value – of $327,000 ($27,270/month)

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Nosy Gamer

For these valuations, CCP traditionally uses the $19.99/1 month’s game time, or 500 PLEX today. However, the 2.6 trillion ISK estimate is wildly inaccurate. CCP’s automatic detection scripts would have triggered if someone was botting 24/7. Botters have had a rule for years on how much they can safely bot. Please excuse me if I don’t disclose the techniques here. From what I’ve seen, there are a lot of new botters in EVE.

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Sally Bowls

CCP is $.04/PLEX which makes it $374K per year.

But whether the 2.6T is accurate is not as relevant. The people online, forums, Reddit, are reacting to the reported number. Whatever fraction of that is the actual number does not seem to me to much affect the drama about the reported 2.6T.

I did use “street value” above. If 1g of the drug sells on the street for $X, then the 100kg of confiscated drugs in the police press conference are valued at 100,000 X even if that is not what 100kg would sell for.

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Nosy Gamer

Well, it is r/eve. They don’t provide the most accurate information in the world. Especially since according to the monthly economic report for December, the amount of bounties collected in Omist was 1.6 trillion ISK.

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Paragon Lost

So why don’t players band together and repeatedly go after the bots and take them down? Seems like they’d profit from it, or am I not recalling correctly how EvE works? Seems that they should have gotten some gains from the eight ship bot they took down?

Brendan Drain
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Brendan Drain

So why don’t players band together and repeatedly go after the bots and take them down?

Some groups do hunt them if it’s possible, but people will typically bot the most profitable gameplay that they can do in absolute safety so the bots are super cautious and extremely difficult to catch. They can watch for people entering the system and warp to stations for safety, for example, and the worst you can often do is stalemate them by staying in the system and wasting your own time.

In this instance, the bots were reportedly caught only because of a bug in the bot software that the hunters could exploit. The ships destroyed do drop some loot and it’s a high-value kill, but killing the bot doesn’t do an awful lot to deter them. They farm so quickly that they can afford to replace the ship after a few hours or days, so everything after that is profit even if the ship gets eventually caught.

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Paragon Lost

Thanks Brendan, that was a detailed response that filled in my missing information. Ah well, that bites and it does sounds like the bots are indeed a serious problem then.

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Alex Willis

There was likely some immediate gain for the attackers, yes. But the greater problem of botting is one for the economy: the inflation of the game currency (ISK) can be pretty severe depending on levels of botting. So it’s not a 1:1 loss:gain once the botters are taken down. In fact, when you’re at the level of botting where you can afford to lose 8 supercapital ships in the name of botting, you are likely in a position to do immense damage to the game economy.

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Elizabeth Norn

No one thinks or cares about that happening. Also, it’s unlikely that a for-profit botter/RMTer is going to do something like that because it’d use their stock (ISK), waste their time, and bring even more attention to them.

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Bryan Turner

So basically if Eve players through legit PVP cause enough damage to botter fleets that it costs them thousands to in real world currency to recuperate they would lash out in some economic pull out from Eves cash shop?

It would be an interesting thing to see the Eve security team ban the players following the the rules to protect their bottom line.

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Elizabeth Norn

The botters are very likely to be selling their gains which are in direct competition with PLEX sold by CCP. The only way that botters contribute to CCP is by the PLEX they buy with in-game currency which is used to pay for their subscription. Botters probably contribute less (and don’t directly give CCP any income) than the average paying customers as they have no need to buy PLEX or cosmetic.

The security team couldn’t get away with banning innocent players to protect bots, it would without a doubt blow up in their faces as the playerbase can be very vocal when it wants to be. There have been a few false positive bans that lasted far to long due to perceived involvement with RMT. In one case I handed a letter from the banned player to a dev at Fanfest and a few days later they were unbanned.

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Paragon Lost

Thanks for the reply/info Alex. My dips into EvE haven’t ever been deep enough to really get a strong grasp of the ins and outs of the economy.

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Sally Bowls

I think the location is a big part of it. Flying anything around a semi-public part of null space will get it attacked. But legitimate humans and bots prefer to do their PvE in some remote system where you have to pass through multiple watched/protected gates to get there which involves time and risk. If someone does make it to the remote ratting/mining system, the legitimate humans and bots prefer to dock up until the threat is killed or goes away.

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Sally Bowls

IDK, the rumors are it was some recent changes and bot software bugs that caused the bots to easier to kill.

“While it’s not certain that those layoffs have affected bot-hunting efforts ” remember the comments a couple days ago about what CMs were and were not? I can’t see how some public facing employees, handling meetups and social media would be involved in back end security work. Botting and complaints about favoritism towards botting null-sec organizations were going on for long before the layoffs.

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Armsbend

Eve is still the only game I ever used a bot in. I felt that the mining mechanic was so inherently boring and CCP did in fact want people to bot. I know the industrialists did. Eve is the only game I know of where cheating is a big job well done.

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Melissa McDonald

I think that’s part of the appeal of the game, honestly. a galactic economy free of regulation. Star Wars fans in particular should like this, as that sci-fi universe often centers around the underworld/things beyond federal control.

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Schmidt.Capela

The issue with this is that, for many, this kind of lawless setting makes for interesting stories while not exactly being fun to play. It’s likely a big part of the reason so many people find EVE very interesting to read about, but would never play it.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

Just in: Game filled with those whom all play long con with actual people’s trust upset when people play short con at their expense. Film at 11.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

Let me get this straight; it’s cool to screw each other over playing within the rules of the game, but it’s not ok to screw people over by cheating? You can earn someone’s trust by forming a friendship knowing full well you are going to break it in a few years by emptying the coffers of their corp., but running a bot program is taboo?

Take another wheelbarrow full of petty pebbles into your glass houses sirs and madams.

panther_x
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panther_x

Space is dangerous, yes, and they encourage theft, scamming, skullduggery, spacemurder and chaos on a colossal scale. But you have to be IN GAME to do it, not have some script or bot taking over for you.

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Elizabeth Norn

Do you get mad when someone steals your mob or resource node in any other MMO? Sure. But do you try to get the developers to outlaw or ban offenders for doing so?

I’m against scamming in the context of the game for various reasons and have built a reputation for being trustworthy partly due to that. However, I’d never want CCP to ban that aspect because it’d take away from the Wild West sandbox feel and that’s one of the few major things the game has to offer. I’ll call out scammers whenever I see them, I’ll warn investors that they’re probably throwing their money away, I’ll even report rule-breaking behaviour that contributes to a scam (sometimes scams are reversed if it’s deemed that they were outside of the game’s rules such as impersonation of players or employees), but I’d never go to CCP and ask them to water down the game by forbidding things that lead to interesting emergent gameplay.

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johnwillo

I can see a difference. Like any other MMO, EVE has a set of behaviors that it allows, and some it doesn’t. In this case, they allow behavior that we see around us in reality: pyramid schemes, market manipulation, unfair combat. They prohibit behaviors that do not have analogs in the real world: creating unlimited, zero-cost doppelgangers to collect resources, violating laws of physics for battleground advantage, etc.

Obviously, EVE’s world is a science fiction setting, so their world has capabilities that ours doesn’t (and their laws of physics differ!), but I think that they are trying to maintain an analogous environment.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

My point is that just because it’s allowed it doesn’t mean it’s right. So people doing the allowed thing are still doing things that are hurtful to others which isn’t cool in any way, shape, or form in my book.

It’s basically wrong people pointing their finger at other wrong people and in the end I guess we are all hypocrites in some fashion pointing our fingers wrongly at other people doing things wrong instead of pointing the finger at ourselves and fixing the one person we have any iota of control over: Ourselves.

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johnwillo

I guess that I am kind of missing your point. Do you kill sentient beings in MMO’s? Is that okay, and market manipulation isn’t? If killing people is okay, that makes hacking the game in violation of TOS okay?

It seems like you are using morality as an absolute rule, and equating characters’ in-game shenanigans to real-world hacking of the game and violations of TOS. Forgive me if I am misunderstanding your point.

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Sally Bowls

I see the point as

There are people who gank others in unfair ways, that require little skill, not for their benefit but just to cause pain and suffering to another human being.

One type of people do it with mismatched ship/economic power.

Another type of people do it with RL-legal but against the TOS software.

There is a distinction between these two classes; but is there much of a moral difference?
.

Aelzen
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Aelzen

Of course there is. It’s an issue of consent. No one goes into eve without knowing it is largely a PvP game; the golden rule is “don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose”.
Even though people may not like getting ganked, it is a natural part of the game, and by playing you’re giving consent to have PvP inflicted on you within the agreed bounds of the game and tos.
People who bot/hack are stepping outside the bounds of that agreement. There is no expected consent for PvP against folks who have a game-illegal advantage; there is an expectation that the rules of the game will be followed.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

^This is exactly my point put much better than i ever could put it. it’s people on perceived higher wrong ground crying foul at people on perceived lower wrong ground.

Wrong people whining at other wrong people is funny to me.

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Alex Willis

My point is that just because it’s allowed it doesn’t mean it’s right.

Welcome to EVE!

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Sally Bowls

Which is why I am confused that a lot of EVE players are against the botters. For some high-level Alliance people that is just a facade to cover their dealings. But for most, it is legitimate.

Whereas, I would think a more EVE attitude would be “HTFU. One should run whatever RL legal software you can to be competitive. The crybabies can GB2W and if CCP does not like it they can quit being lazy and make some design changes and get more effective security procedures and software.
Everywhere else in EVE, it is not about the perpetrator needing to show restraint, it is about the victim needing to be stronger. Yet for botting, a number of people are calling for the players to not bot rather than the victims to HTFU.

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Elizabeth Norn

Bots are often used to generate resources to sell for real life money, RMT, as are less scrupulous methods such as account and credit card theft. By buying from black market RMT websites you’re contributing to an industry that benefits from real life criminal activities.

In-game the harm done is due to bots being able to farm 23/7 and cause inflation of resources and currency. On the EVE world server (Tranquilty/TQ) we’ve got items called PLEX that are used to extend your subscription by a month per 500, they cost around $20 per 500, and sell in-game for ~1.6b ISK which would take around 30 hours to farm using basic menial labour type activities. On the Chinese server (Serenity) where botting is completely unpoliced and rampant 500 PLEX sell for well over 20b ISK. Currently we’ve got an influx of Serenity refugees who are sick of the climate on their home server where almost, if not entirely, all the residents of player owned space are allied together leading to stagnation.

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Alex Willis

This is actually a very good distinction.

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