Friday, May 9, 2014

Botting vs no-life: the core problem of botting and RMT

Nosy gamer reported a funny exchange during Fanfest: "One player wondered why not just go after the people running level 5 missions and other high value content who don't buy anything and just transfer the ISK to other characters. One of the PL guys shot back that he's run 30 level 5 missions in a day, does that make him a bot?"

If you think about it, it's not that funny after all, rather a design problem. Whatever way you make money, you already paid its fixed costs: you have the account(s), skills, ships, structures, group membership, capital, whatever needed to get your income running. For example the miner has mining and boost account, skilled and equipped with ships. These are upfront costs, you have to pay them before you make a single ISK. However after you have them, you have very little running costs, besides your own time. This means that the more hours you run your ISK making operation, the more efficiently you make ISK. Again the miner example: you have to pay 700M/month for the account running. If you mine with 20M/hour, than your income for the first 35 hours is zero. If you mine 70 hours a month, you get 10M/hour. If you mine 10 hours a day, you get 17.7M/hour.

The above scheme makes no-life playing the optimal way of getting ISK. Since others recognized it (like the PL guy in the example), they can easily market you out, to the point when you are better off not setting up an ISK making scheme, just convert PLEXes. With the example: a miner who doesn't mine 35 hours a month (more than an hour/day) can't even pay for his mining account. If your competitors are no-lifers, than your options are "go no-life", "pay with real money" and "be irrelevant".

Obviously mining, missioning, ratting or even updating market orders for 10 hours a day is anything but fun. But you have to do it to remain competitive. The solution? Get a bot! For the Monday post I ran a farm for lot of hours. Despite the farm was designed exactly for as little human interaction as possible, I very much wished to get a bot do it for me (I didn't of course as I won't lose my account for one-time farm). The mentioned farm also made it clear how repetitive and simple EVE PvE is and how horribly easy it would be to program a bot to do it.

Botting cannot be defeated as long as it's the only way for people who don't have 10 hours a day to farm or several hundred dollars a month to spend on a video game. My 40-50B/month translate to $1000-1200, you have to pay that to be able to do the stuff I do. Or you can rat 4-500 account-hours a month, because learning to trade is "not fun".

The solution of the problem is that the honest answer to the question of the PL guy is "yes, you are a bot and this must stop". Several MMOs faced the same problem and solved it with lockouts. You can't farm the "Siege of Orgrimmar" raid in WoW all day to get the best available gear. You can run it once a week and that's it. This places a limit on no-life farming. The same could be implemented in EVE. I suggest an account-wide pool and daily replenishment rate for the 5 forms of PvE:
  • Mining: 21 hours pool, 3 hours/day replenish. While any mining or gas harvesting module is active, your pool is depleted. When the pool is empty, you can no longer activate miners.
  • Shooting NPCs: 21 hours pool, 3 hours/day replenish. While any offensive module is cycling or drones are in combat against an NPC, you are depleting your pool. When it's empty, killing NPCs yield no bounty, finish no mission and gives no wreck. You can manually lock your pool to prevent belt or gate rats eating it, but of course you get no rewards for killing them with pool locked. The lock-unlock has 15 minutes delay to prevent "smart" players pick battleships and then lock out low-bounty rats.
  • Exploration: 280 items pool, 40/day replenish. Whenever you start the hacking minigame on a new container, you use one item from the pool. If the pool is empty, you cannot activate relic or data analyzer.
  • Trading: 2100 orders pool, 300/day replenish. Whenever you create or or update a market order, your pool is depleting. When it's empty, you can't create or update orders. Buying an existing sell order or selling to a buy order does not affect the pool.
  • Courier contracts and distribution missions: 700 jumps pool, 100/day replenishment. Every session change count as one jump if you have mission or contract package in the hold. If you are autopiloting, the pool no longer decreases after the first 5 jumps, as autopiloting doesn't need you to run a bot or be a no-lifer.
With such changes, no-life playing would become impossible. As no one else is playing no-life, you don't have to either to remain competitive. In the absence of no-life playing, there would be no activity worth botting. Also the game would become much-more casual friendly as the profits of a normal playing session would no longer be pocket change compared to no-lifers and bots. But above all, the ISK making aspects would become a competitive game instead of a grind. Finding the best asteroids would matter for a miner, instead of just "can't care less, I mine all day anyway".


PS: I knew it's not a waste of time looking up smaller CFC members. Special thanks to Marlona Sky for the list!
Update: evidence that loot fairy is a CFC supporter!
Finally a small, but symbolic kill.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm leaning against this idea as it would limit gameplay options for some folks.

If your miner scenario wants to mine 5 hrs/day, he can't, and the reason he would uncover (we do this to protect against RMT/no lifers) would seem flimsy.

One of the draws of the game is the attempt to support as many types of gameplay styles as possible, and this would create an immediate invasiveness from the developers onto the players.

I would think a more behind the scenes approach to catching RMTers/botters would be better than a blanket net restriction on all players. In EVE especially, why would the developers try to define the player's gameplay?

Anonymous said...

The big issue with your suggestions - and where the World of Warcraft analogy falls short - is that you're advocating a hard limit on any form of income, rather than a single or a few form(s) of income.

Sure, you may only be able to run the Siege of Orgrimmar or whatever once per week, but that hardly prevents you from pursuing other forms of revenue such as going off to skin boars or grind on random mobs for valuable drops. Enforcing all of these would be an exercise in futility, which is why it hasn't been (or wasn't, back when I was still playing World of Warcrack) implemented.



I agree that there's a bot problem that must be investigated, but this is hardly a feasible recommendation.

Provi Miner said...

Irrevelent? meh not so much. I do none of the "no life" things you talk about. Yet I have ammased biilions doing a bit of ratting (say 2 lvl 4s a day on average) a bit of mining some ABC each week maybe 1 or 2 skiff loads a week. Yet the isk rolls in. And I still pew pew nearly every day. Fun is the name of the game.

Anonymous said...

Limiting gameplay is almost always a bad idea. It will not stop botting, it will only hurt players. A bot could simply run all possible daily activities while the player is afk. The only effect would be less possible gameplay when the player actually decides to play. In short, the problem remains while playerbase suffers.

Gevlon said...

EVERY game rule and rebalance limit players. For example the HAM nerf limited the players from excessive usage of Drakes. The drone assist nerf limited players from AFK sentry fleet usage.

Devs should limit players from overpowered strategies or the game becomes that one strategy.

No-life farming is an overpowered strategy and should be limited.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately, any sort of balancing in EVE will fail as long as you are allowed to sidestep all rules and limitations with alts.

Anonymous said...

EVERY game rule and rebalance limit players. For example the HAM nerf limited the players from excessive usage of Drakes. The drone assist nerf limited players from AFK sentry fleet usage.

But these nerfs were highly targeted and focused at areas which were deemed to be broken. Your suggestions are extraordinarily broad.

For your drake analogy to work, CCP would have to do something like:

"Drakes are overused and overpowered, THEREFORE we need to put a hard cap on the amount kill mails a person can be on each day - after that their guns wont activate".

I do also often wonder whether the bot problem is overstated. It is very easy to "blame bots" but CCP (rightly) doesn't give out numbers on this stuff so it is wild speculation. Only CCP could answer if there is an actual problem with the level of botting going on today - and any fix should specifically target that activity without curtailing the general gameplay of an individual "real person", no matter how much of a no-lifer he is.

Arrendis said...

EVERY game rule and rebalance limit players. For example the HAM nerf limited the players from excessive usage of Drakes. The drone assist nerf limited players from AFK sentry fleet usage.

No, the Heavy Missile nerf (NOT the HAMs) and the drake rebalance in general discouraged people from fielding massive fleets of drakes for all occasions, but they certainly didn't limit players from doing so. People can still form up a drakefleet... it just won't be terribly wonderful for them.

The same with the drone assist changes. We can still field fleets of sentry drones - Ishtars still do it all the time. Carriers still do it. It's just not the singularly-effective system it was: again, players now have an incentive to do something else, but they're not limited when it comes to using that fleet composition.

A limit is a point where you're told 'you cannot do that now'. Yes, the mechanics change means the players are limited in how many sentry drones they can assign to one person, but that's shown no signs of limiting their actual use - only in ensuring the people at the keys have to actually be at the keys.

Which would mean it's exactly the sort of solution the botting problem needs: something that doesn't limit someone's options... only the unintended exploitation of them.

Woody said...

This sounds to me like the 24/7 1c human-bots on the WoW AH or the nolife/bots that mine 18 hours a day which drives ore prices down to pointless gold per hour. I've always felt there needed to be some kind of daily transaction cap on the AH.

Nothing would stop them doing daily quests or solo'ing old raids once they had used up their allowance.

It is funny that restrictions to preventing no-lifing distorting a game are accepted on certain activities E.g. Raiding and even in something as irrelevant as Raid Finder, yet if you propose a similar restriction on trading everyone is up in arms and claiming "I pay my subscription and its my hobby" - but surely raiders could argue the same.

I have no interest in EVE but you have raised an interesting topic for a Tolbold type blog about whether and how games can prevent no lifers degrading the game experience and value of activities to others and which activities should be restricted.

Gevlon said...

OK, then how about "crew exhaustion"? After every 5 minutes of mining/ratting the ships mining yield/DPS on rats decreases by 1%. This way you can still keep mining after 3 hours, it just won't be terribly wonderful for them as their mining power will be 36% below normal.

You are evading the question here. The question about Drakes was "is it OK that for every PvP problem the solution was throwing more Drakes on it"? And CCP said no and did something about it.

The question here is "is it OK that for every ISK problem the solution is throwing more hours on it"?

Karan Garsk said...

You can't farm the "Siege of Orgrimmar" raid in WoW all day to get the best available gear.

There you go, best available gear.
you can't farm officers so you have your problem solved.

I believe you can farm in WoW so you can gain gold? and buy this best gear? that is what everyone is doing farming lesser things than officers and x-type gear so they can buy it.

the games are the same in this aspect.

Gevlon said...

@Karan: in WoW, the gear is soulbound, you can't sell it. You can only trade low level (about T2) gear for gold. So you can farm gold in WoW all day, but there isn't really any point to do so.

In EVE you can buy anything and everything from titans to X-types for ISK.

Arrendis said...

You are evading the question here. The question about Drakes was "is it OK that for every PvP problem the solution was throwing more Drakes on it"? And CCP said no and did something about it.

Personally? I kinda like the crew exhaustion idea, myself. Of course, then you just swap ships and keep going...

But as for this assertion? No, the question wasn't 'is it OK that for every PVP problem the solution was throwing more Drakes on it'. The question was: 'We have 8 racial battlecruisers. One of them is seeing significantly disproportionate use. Why? What can we do that will make the other ships comparatively more competitive?'

That's why there were no hard limitations put on the Drake, the Drakes (and to lesser extent, the Hurricanes) were brought back into line with the other BCs, while the other 6 were given a little bit more spit and polish on their own.

Once that happened, then there were viable counters for the Drake - and since everyone knew exactly where the Drake's weaknesses are (big sig radius, missiles take time to apply damage, missiles can be firewalled), at that point, their very ubiquity was a strike against the Drakefleets. Everyone had 'em, so everyone knew how to kill 'em.

By comparison, for PvE, the Drake is still the premier passive-tanked battlecruiser. It's simply outshone by the Ishtar in its passive shield/speed tanking build - but that's an AHAC, and let's face it, as things stand right now, Battlecruisers on the whole are utterly outclassed by AHACs - especially Ishtars.

Arrendis said...

Also:

The question here is "is it OK that for every ISK problem the solution is throwing more hours on it"?

For every ISK problem the solution is not throwing more hours on it. As I said in the reply you didn't post, running a reaction farm isn't time-intensive, and makes a metric boatload of cash.

So, here's my counter-question:

Why shouldn't there be ways for people with a lot of time, but not necessarily a lot of available focus, to make decent isk?

Cathfaern said...

@Karan Garsk
In WoW gold is meaningless. You don't need any to progress in the high end game. It's just used for vanity items mostly. You need gold for eg. repair but thats only pocket money compared to how much money you get from almost any activity. The "currency" what means anything in WoW is your characters gear. Wich is as Gevlon said soulbound, after you get it, you can't sell it to another player, only to vendor. You can buy low level gear but those are similar to what are starter ships and civilian miners in EvE. And you can only get worthy gear from limited ways:
1. Raids which have weekly lockout
2. Dungeon which have daily lockout, but you can't find as high level gear in them as in dungeons. And in WoW gear level is everything, it's not like EvE where a T1 ship is almost as good as a T2, and where even if you have Titans you need lower level ships. In WoW if you have too low level gear for the content you have no chance and there is no need for low geared people in the newest content
3. Valor points. These points also soulbound (you aquire them, and you can't sell them), and you can only get 1000 points a week (which can be achieved in 1 or 2 days)

And thats all. There are some crafted gear which can you buy, but most time they're not best in slot and there's only a few of them (only 1-2 type of crafted gear and you have 14 gear slot).

So yes, you can do other things in WoW after you finished the raids, but they doesn't yield any worthy items. They are just for fun.

Gevlon said...

Simple: because the ways for people with lot of time but little focus are benefiting more the "people" with lot of time and perfect focus.

Let's face it: in the current PvE meta, the optimal strategy is botting.

Reaction farms, factory planets and station trading aren't strictly farming as you need the materials provided by other players. They choose to sell the materials instead of reacting themselves. They can choose not to sell you and others can choose to compete you. There is nothing other players can do to a ratter besides ganking him. The ratter will always make ISK from time. If lot of others rat, the ISK will inflate (Serenity, 3B PLEX), but it will be still a positive income.

Anonymous said...

problem would be the nature of a cap, some people would then feel that doing the max is what you are suposed to do, ever day/Week.

see daily caps in WoW, or the VP Cap, both has unintended consequences.
Though to be honest when they dropped the cap of dailies (Quests) people complained about that, but that was mostly due to there being power to be had in the reputations.
Also Gold in WoW is effectively worthless.

Smith said...

I think the biggest flaw with your solution is that it fails address a problem. You've not established what the problem is. People making ISK from doing the same thing over and over? Is that a problem? If you think it is, explain why. And while you are at it, explain why people should have to do different things. Explain it to me, please.

Forcing players to do different types of activity would require them to be more skilled (SP) than they probably are, engage in activities they hate. Like me trading. Or mining. Or doing missions.

Gevlon said...

@Smith: the problem is simple: the optimal way of getting ISK is being an unhealthy no-lifer and player with healthy life - but equal player skill - has no chance to be competitive.

Smith said...

Ah.

" the problem is simple: the optimal way of getting ISK is being an unhealthy no-lifer and player with healthy life - but equal player skill - has no chance to be competitive."

So your measuring success by getting ISK? Or the other way to inturprate your words: you are measuring success/health in real life with lack of ISK?

Or is it "the successful make a lot of ISK by the minimum play time"?

I think I grasp what you're saying, but I think the whole premise is flawed. We must respect each and every individuals right to play in her/his own way. I know people who jyst go from fight to fight in LoSec and PLEX their way through. Others mine endlessly and have loads of ISK. Having ISK to them is a good, but uninteresting side effect.

Sand boc, remember? We all build our own castles. The way we like them.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea.

Slight alternative: diminishing returns.

Gevlon said...

@Smith: shall we also respect botters? They are just another playstyle then.

Anonymous said...

I love the diminishing returns / exhaustion idea being thrown around here. iirc there was something like this in place for China a few years back to limit computer addiction but I don't know how that turned out.

Personally, I think that the bigger problem is the high usage of alts cause it allows a single player to bot much more effectively

Anonymous said...

I like your idea.
in other games this helps a allot. gw2 prevents boring play with DR. so players may chose to do something else.
But I guess this idea strugles with the EVE philosophy to specialise early to be nearly as competitive like a vet in the same field of play. It would hit starting pilots hard, their initial burst of enthusiasm-timesink would be hit and they would have to generalize to eraly to have two or three pools. It could be done, sure, but it has to fit not only the multi million SP pilots.

Smith said...

Straw man argument much?

Botting are not a play style allowed therefore I'd like to keep that out of the discussion of the solution you put forth.

Anonymous said...

I don’t agree with limiting what people can do, but I would say make it more engaging, and harder to bot.

Make it so that your mining lasers require calibrating every now and again, a pop up appears and you have to do a mini game (like exploration) otherwise the lasers shut down, makes botting harder, and makes mining a hands on job.

Gevlon said...

@Smith: I argue that no-life should not be allowed either.

To avoid looking straw-man: why do you agree to banning bots but don't agree stopping no-lifers?

mugg said...

Botting is not a play style, it's quite the opposite since you are not playing when botting.

Gevlon said...

And how about AFK "play", without a bot. Parking a drone boat to an anom and leave it running is playing?

Anonymous said...

And how about AFK "play", without a bot. Parking a drone boat to an anom and leave it running is playing?

The only EFFECTIVE way to do this is to run a RR drone boat, RR'ing your drones..and this has been declared an exploit.

if someone wants to just release drones and walk away their drones are going to agro the next wave and get killed, then your defenseless drone boat is going to die while you drink coffee.

tl;dr: this is not actually a problem.

Chanina said...

Deleted my wall of text to get to the essential in short:

Playing a game is about having fun. The prime currency is fun / (playtime available).

If I need more isk to have the fun I want I need to find a fun way to get this isk or buy another plex to have fun instant. (That doesn't mean some parts of game play could use an overhaul)

mugg said...

I think that having your character do stuff while you are AFK is also not playing, whether that's AFK mining, ratting or whatever activity you're avoiding doing by (clever) use of game mechanics.

Smith said...

I'd say that 'no-lifers' (which is a derogative term and in itself is an ad hominem attack)are playing their game as the want and that them getting ISK for it is no problem. You've yet to explain what the problem is. Are they, in your opinion, getting to much ISK for to little work? Agreed there should be a risk-reward ladder, but thats not what we're talking about here, is it?

How about people getting more ISK than them for LESS work. See your PI and trading guides for instance?

Gevlon said...

The problem is that the outcome of the game is not depending on HOW you play, but how much time you spend on it.

You can't beat a no-lifer by playing better. Extreme example: I'm making very good money by risking 200B capital and putting lot of thinking in it.

Yet a no-lifer running 10 veldspar mining accounts 10 hours a day without any risk or skill can get more money.

Smith said...

I see your point, but I fail to see how that is a problem. Why should your trading skill be more worth than the others dedication? What you call 'no life' others see as passion.

Get into some small scale PvP. There is a arena where skill really matters. And skill to some degree comes from experience, so again people with passion might have more.

Some use brains in trading, some PLEX, some play a lot...

Andreas Moog said...

@Anonymous 13:09

AFK Ishtar/VNI ratting is the de-facto norm in Gurista 0.0 space. You warp in to the anom, orbit a structure, turn on AB, launch heavy drones (set to aggressive) and go away. You come back 15 minutes later to collect your drones (or wake up in a station if some random roamer gets to you first), warp to the next anom and do the same thing again.

https://goonfleet.com/index.php/topic/187641-afk-subcap-anomaly-ratting-afktar-ownzone/ has fits and more info (if you are in the CFC).

You don't need to RR your drones, since even elite cruisers don't consider heavy drones as a target as long as your Ishtar/VNI is on field.

You can check to countless dead Ishtars/VNI in gurista 0.0 space to see that this is THE most common ratting setup and not an exploit.

Rammstein said...

@smith: "Straw man argument much?

Botting are not a play style allowed therefore I'd like to keep that out of the discussion of the solution you put forth."

This isn't a reasonable request. If botting were allowed, Gevlon wouldn't have a problem with 'no-lifing'. When the discussion is about which playstyles should be allowed and which shouldn't, banning the mention of those playstyles which are already disallowed is circular logic. Defending your circular logic by calling Gevlon's argument a 'straw man' is itself a straw man fallacy, it's the 'straw man squared gambit'.

Rammstein said...

@mugg: "I think that having your character do stuff while you are AFK is also not playing, whether that's AFK mining,"

This is meaningless semantics. This discussion isn't about what words to use to describe the ice miner with 10 accounts mining 10 hours every day, it's about the fact that there is no way to outmine him without either botting or no-lifing yourself, and possible solutions for this problem.

Arrendis said...

The only EFFECTIVE way to do this is to run a RR drone boat, RR'ing your drones..and this has been declared an exploit.

No it's not.

And Gevlon:
And how about AFK "play", without a bot. Parking a drone boat to an anom and leave it running is playing?

This won't make you unending streams of money. If nothing else, you have to come back and change anoms - just like if you're in a Mackinaw and you're mining, you have to change rocks (in highsec) or dock up and drop off your ice.

Yet the ship is explicitly designed to do this - 35,000m3 ore hold, and a max yield of 2,000m3 every 40ish seconds. That's 1 click every... call it 25 minutes for rounding purposes.

That's what they designed the ship to be.

They designed the ship specifically to facilitate low-effort, long-term operation. The Hulk produces better throughput, but takes more focus and effort because the ore hold is smaller.

So what you're arguing is a problem is an intentional decision by the devs.

So, no, I don't think it's a problem. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that the guy who's willing to risk his 200M isk ship getting blown up because he's not paying attention to it is allowed to make money by dangling it out there as bait for every ganker in highsec - or every red in low/null.

If you want to find ways to make the AFK-miner less attractive... WELCOME TO MINILUV (so to speak).

mugg said...

@ Rammstein: "the fact that there is no way to outmine him without either botting or no-lifing yourself, and possible solutions for this problem."

You could use more accounts. Of course if someone has more miners and time than you they will mine more than you though, what's the problem?

Arrendis said...

This discussion isn't about what words to use to describe the ice miner with 10 accounts mining 10 hours every day, it's about the fact that there is no way to outmine him without either botting or no-lifing yourself, and possible solutions for this problem.

Why should you be entitled to out-mine him? One way or another, he's putting $150-ish a month into CCP's pockets - either by paying for his account, or by being part of the demand for PLEXes.

He's investing more into it than you are if you're running 1 or 5 accounts. He's putting more of his assets at risk of destruction if he's leaving 10 hulls unattended, and you're not.

What you're decrying is akin to saying 'Stupid birds. Why do they get to fly just because they've got a relatively low cap on their body mass, hollow, fragile bones, and highly-specialized keratin-developments. That's not fair!' While you sit there at a machine you're only able to use because you have a larger brain, opposable thumbs, and the capacity for extensive abstract language skills...

If you want to be better at something than the people who've adapted their playstyle for the optimal performance at that one thing, then you have to adapt the same way. If you don't want to adapt that way, do something else...


... or simply accept that no, you're not going to sprint as fast as a cheetah... but you also aren't going to have to take fifteen minutes after sprinting in order to get up enough energy to eat the ham sandwich you caught.

Overspecialization (which, I'd argue, is exactly what these afk-fleets risk) is a death sentence in the long run. Sure, you're really good at doing this one thing... but eventually, that one thing might not be there anymore.

Anonymous said...

Wow doesn't have a limit on time, it has a limits on results. You can wipe on bosses for 20 hours a day all week, and indeed this is what top guilds do during progression

The equivalent in eve would be that rocks stop spawning after you'd mined a certain amount, which obviously doesn't work unless you have instanced mining, which would be absurd

As for 'there is no way to get more ISK than the guy mining 10 hours a day with 10 accounts except by spending more time', that's trivially false. Your trading plus 7 hours a day would do it. Or 20 accounts and 6 hours. Or ratting with 10 accounts for 5 hours a day, etc etc.

Gevlon said...

@Arrendis: The problem is that playing result should demand from... playing. Instead, the results depend more on time spent playing.

Also, accounts are open to everyone but useless to anyone but no-lifers, as you first have to make ISK for the PLEX. An ice miner (10M/hour) must mine 70 hours a month (2:20 every day) just to be at zero.

Being better player or even having more friends is inferior to simply having no job and no school.

Von Keigai said...

Let me agree with Smith up there, and Arrendis. What's the problem with playing a lot? I see no problem at all. In fact, quite the opposite.

What is CCP's product? It is not a solo space-game simulator. Simply on the basis of its PVE, EVE is hardly a game worth talking about. No: CCP's product is us, the players. CCP offers you a space full of the most superb and lifelike AIs ever created. That is what people are paying to experience. Each other. They are paying to play a game with skilled and devious enemies.

So again, what's the problem with playing a lot? You are out in space. You offer a fat target to anyone who wants to come interact with you. You are doing your role as the bottom of the food chain. You are the content. As such, CCP wants you there.

And that is why a "no-lifer" should earn more than a person with a life. Because the no-lifer is there, in the game, flying his pixel spaceship. He is providing content to the other players. In other words, the no-lifer is creating value for CCP, and you're not.

Gevlon said...

@Von Keigai: absolutely NOT. The no-lifer and the bot are anything but content.

They run an safety-optimized farm. They must, as their performance depends on repetition. If you can catch him once, you can catch him 100 times!

But you can't, because the bot/no-lifer is safeing up as soon as you enter local. The highsec mining bot/no-lifer is using cheap T1 ships with empty clone.

Who can you catch? The casual player who cluelessly enters a wormhole or lowsec. Or hauls his PLEX in a T1 industrial. Or spends 15B on a "full epic" mission boat. Or comes to Jita in a wardecced corp.

Let's face it: the "content" are the dumb people. And the bots/no-lifers are anything but.

The no-lifer is killing the content by making the "content-people" unable to replenish losses. He can't re-farm his lost cruiser because his farming hours are greatly devalued by no-lifers/bots.

Rammstein said...

@mugg+arrendis:

You guys aren't very good at reading comprehension. I'm trying to help you out, by describing what the discussion is about, and your response is to assume I'm taking Gevlon's side?

Why is it a problem? It's a problem because someone finds it a problem. That's what being a problem means. In this case, that person is Gevlon.

Other games do exist with activity per day limits. It was a common feature back in the day of BBS's, as only one person per day could login with that old technology. It had the side effect of promoting skill over time, with the unfortunate side effect of making alts a prime way of cheating.

This is a method of fighting bots and/or no-lifers. Any and every method of fighting bots and/or no-lifers will have negative consequences; the question is, are they worth it? Another question which has been raised here, is, should we regard no-lifing as a strategy to be limited as well? The answer to this latter question is pretty simple--an efficient marketplace should deliver games with and without this feature, and supply and demand will dictate its relative prominence. I would play a game with that feature, but it's not being offered, since most games just copy other successful games and don't bother to try meaningful changes. Most of the comments in this thread don't address these grey areas, but exist in some fantastical black and white realm of their own imagination, and so don't really mean anything at all.

One last point: even if one doesn't agree that "no-lifing" should be limited in EVE as a goal in itself, Gevlon's solution is still a reasonable suggestion with the sole goal of limiting bots; it would then limit no-life play as a neutral and/or undesirable side-effect. Judged in gameplay terms I would be for this proposal, under those conditions; although I think that CCP wouldn't consider it because of the likely player backlash.

Rammstein said...

@von keigai:

Gevlon has answered most of your points, and quite well. I just want to point out something you said specifically:

" CCP offers you a space full of the most superb and lifelike AIs ever created."

Ok, great...unless someone is botting. So based on your statement above, we see what the problem is with botting, it ruins that space. But why connect "playing a lot" with "botting"? That's the fundamental question here, right?

Look at the quote above from Nosy gamer: "One of the PL guys shot back that he's run 30 level 5 missions in a day, does that make him a bot?""

The no-lifers acknowledge that their behavior while farming ISK looks like botting. If it looks like botting, then it doesn't look like superb and lifelike AI, right? Hence, the similarity that people have been decrying in these comments is clearly seen, from the horse's own mouth.

Gevlon has his own reason for decrying 'no-lifing', based on fairness. My argument for liking his suggestion is based not on fairness, but on good game design. I want to emphasize and reward skilled gameplay instead of doing something for 10 hours with 7 accounts while watching movies on your third monitor. Gevlon's suggestion hits bots hard, and also provides a step on the path towards rewarding people for acting more like superb and lifelike AIs (or humans that are engaged and paying attention, I think we've hammered that analogy into the ground) and less like simple bots.

Sugar Kyle said...

I'm pretty sure I qualify as a nolifer now with as much Eve as I do.

Anonymous said...

"The no-lifer is killing the content by making the "content-people" unable to replenish losses. He can't re-farm his lost cruiser because his farming hours are greatly devalued by no-lifers/bots"

Simply not true. It's true that bots/farmers devalue the goods they are producing, but that just makes other activities relatively more profitable. They are an overall net positive on the production of the economy which makes things easier, not harder, for other people to attain.

Anonymous said...

There's a pretty good connection between time invested into something and "skill". (Assuming an intentional desire to get better at whatever x you are doing)

I wouldn't want to take that away from a legitimate player who is willing to put in the time.

In that light, arguing that my play time for 3 hours should not be beaten by someone else's 10 hours of play time seems silly.

Botters should be targeted and removed, but I (as a casual player, less than 30 minutes/day in EVE) would defend the player who plays 10 hours/day.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some good ideas, maybe not... But you argue from false premises.

What does it mean to be "competitive"?? You never do define the term.

I imagine a lot of folks don't give a crap about competing no matter the context. I, for one, don't have the time for serious trading or fleet ops or anything, for that matter, that requires voice comms. But I do enjoy trying new ships, trying new play styles and crunching numbers (e.g. figuring out for myself why *exactly* the Machariel is the king of PVE). For me, all of this is fun, but absolutely none of it requires comparison with another player or competing with them in any sense. If I'm missioning or exploring, of course, I may be subject to PVP. But I know how to mitigate the threat, and no amount of bot-earned ISK is going to undercut such mitigation. So whatever, let em bot...

Arrendis said...

An ice miner (10M/hour)

Wow, you think that's all I'm pulling in mining ice? Multiply that by... I dunno 4? 5? Per Mack - and I don't run a large mining fleet.

But again: Let's take a look at that guy running 10 Macks in a mining fleet: That's 2B isk on the field, where it can be blown up.

He's risking his investment, why shouldn't he profit?

The problem is that playing result should demand from... playing. Instead, the results depend more on time spent playing.

So? Look, bottom line, you're not going to change that. After all, if you do limit it to say, 3 hours, and I'm a guy who's got 8 accounts dedicated to AFK mining, then after 3 hours, I switch to a second set of alts on the same account. 3 hours later, I switch again.

No-lifers always have an edge - just the same as the guy who can muster the most manpower always has the edge. It's the same exact math: The guy who can bring more man-hours to an activity has the advantage.

Now, if you want to make it impossible to AFK-mine, or AFK-rat, by changing the mechanics of those systems to require constant attention, then go for it. Lobby to have auto-repeat removed from mining lasers, maybe.

Just don't expect anyone to support that change.

Though, like I said, I do like that 'crew fatigue' mechanic. If anything, I think it could open the door to some additional fitting options - a 'lounge' module, for example, that offsets crew fatigue... but of course, it takes a slot up that means you're losing either performance or tank.

That's got potential - that breeds adaptation, instead of just feeling like objecting because someone else is doing something you don't like.

Because ultimately, that's what it comes down to: they're being successful in ways you don't like.

Now, we opposed the massive-scale of drone assist on the basis that AFK-gameplay isn't fun gameplay. And I think that point here is totally valid: if the best way to do these things is by going AFK, then CCP needs to overhaul the system and figure out what makes the activity generally not-fun.

But just saying 'you can't do that for a long period of time' is just patently ridiculous. I used to raid 6+ hrs a day. Was that somehow wrong?

Arrendis said...

Ramm:
Why is it a problem? It's a problem because someone finds it a problem. That's what being a problem means. In this case, that person is Gevlon.

Right. I totally agree that Gevlon feels it's a problem. But the game devs clearly don't. That's what they designed the Mack to do. Therefore, attacking the problem of AFK gameplay from the direction of 'it's too much like botting' is clearly a non-starter. Gevlon's complaining about something baked into the game design. It's not something that was an oversight, like the effect of Drone Assist + Sentries.

Nor do I think there's much traction to be gained from 'it's not fair' - EVE's not fair. At no level is EVE fair, other than 'you could be doing that, too' - again, by design. So again, I think trying to address AFK gameplay from that angle is a non-starter.

Instead of trying to disincentivize AFK play, we should be pushing them to incentivize active play, play that's distinguishable from bots. But the problem there is the same one that PvE runs into in every single game:

There are a limited number of hours the devs can put into coding NPC AI and behavior combinations. This means eventually, you've seen ever one of them. If they've all been seen, they all become stimulus that can be responded to in a formulaic manner ie: botting.

That's why the answer to AFK gameplay right now is PvP. It's also why AFK-PVP like motionless sentry-drone fleets (Ishars, after all, are in motion around their drones - not a huge improvement, but it's something, and the individual pilots need to target now) was eventually curbed.

If something's a problem, understanding it beyond 'this is why this is a problem' is necessary to devise an effective way to convince the devs to change it.

Gevlon said...

@Sugar: you do the SAME activity for 10 hours a day or different stuff?

@Anonymous: in most games the time is limited. You can't win in football by waking up earlier and scoring while the other team is not on the field yet.

@Arrendis: You seem to ignore that no-lifing is the reason of botting.

Since no-lifing is profitable but repetitive and boring, let's get a bot do it. If you remove no-lifing in any way (better AI, time limits, resource limits) you removed botting, since bots aren't at the level to do content that needs player (there are no PvP bots)

Arrendis said...

You seem to ignore that no-lifing is the reason of botting.

No, not at all. What I'm saying is that automation has progressed to the point where botting is a feasible means to simulate most of the activity in EVE. Market activity, included.

Should we remove market-trading, because you can bot it? That's silly.

The PL pilot in your example is no-lifing because he can, and because the money is as good or better than it is doing more engaged things. Now, you can look for ways to limit peoples' activities, sure - but that's not right answer here. That won't change that simple premise:

The money is as good or better than it is doing more engaged things.

Change that. Don't just make me keep coming up with ways to get around your limits. Because I will. The no-lifer will switch alts. The botter will switch alts. The guy who's doing highly-engaged stuff that isn't fun... will simply quit doing things he doesn't enjoy.

EVE is often described as a job you pay to work at. It shouldn't be. There should be no activity in this game that is not a)engaging, and b)enjoyable.

Change that.

Artificial constraints and limitations will just encourage people to find ways to get around them.

CCP needs to create engaging, enjoyable gameplay that is competitive in terms of time/reward to the things that as so un-fun, most people who do them, don't want to pay attention to doing them.

Mining in a Mackinaw is not the way to make the most money mining. Mining in a Hulk is. But that increase in throughput means you need a hauler, and you need to pay more attention to what you're doing. At that point, everyone needs to be at the keys more or less every 90s or so - the hold is small enough that it fills fast. And if they're there, and doing things, then what right do you have to say they can't do it for hours on end?

Believe me, I am not going to tell you 'Gevlon, you have no right to resent people who are afk-money-printing' - they're afk. They're not actively playing. Are they allowed? Sure. Are they putting their asse(t)s at risk? Sure. Am I ok with that? I am. Doesn't mean you have to be ok with it.

But if they're at the keys? If someone has the time AND is willing to focus on what they're doing?

If they're doing that, then who are you to claim to dictate others' play? What gives any of us that right, other than feeling upset that someone who is willing to do what we're unwilling to do is benefiting from that willingness?

They're really even more 'no-life' than the guy AFK-mining.

Gevlon said...

@Arrendis: yes, I want to limit market order updates. This would force people to think about their price instead of just 0.01-ing all day.

The limits should be account-wide, so you can only bypass them by setting up more accounts, which has PLEX cost.

Obviously making everything engaging would be better. But that's HUGE programming effort. My limits could be implemented in an afternoon. I never said they are perfect, but better than no-lifers/bots farming 15 hours a day.

The "risking their assets" can't be defined at a farmer. For a farmer there are no risks, just operational costs. If you lose your Macks once a year, you just factor it in. "Risk" is when you can fail instead of succeed. Losing a bunch of Macks isn't a fail, just a bump on the road. Look at the untanked Retrievers in highsec. They are ganked for years and they aren't going away, since the max-yield fit can earn 2M/hour more in highsec, paying for the Ret in 15 hours. Unless you are losing Rets more often, you just don't care.

Every game change starts when someone says "let's dicate others play". The CSM is elected for that very reason. This statement is a strawman.

Arrendis said...

I disagree. I think the good changes, the ones that wind up being successful and enduring over the long-term, are the ones where they say 'let's find a better way to encourage this style of play...'

As for the impossibility of failure and operating costs... eh. That's really true of every money-making method in EVE.

Woody said...

@anony - in many games (say counterstrike) the more you play the better skilled you will be. So time invested can relate to skill.

No lifing in an MMO is usually done on an activity with a low skill cap (hence why a bot can do it).

I see no value to allowing it. Putting in more time to practise and better your skills is a virtuous activity whereas attempting to win because you have absolutely no life and just use a brute force application of spare time is not.

I often wonder why people who no life would even bother as what possible feelings of pride and accomplishment would you get from it?

No one should have their total playtime limited but rather playtime should be limited per activity and in particular on skill capped activities.

E. G. In most mmo's you can attempt a progression boss 24/7. Knock yourself out, play it all day and night as you improve your skills.

But once mastered you are restricted to one kill per week.

This is why I call Dark Souls a no lifers game. At the start of Dark Souls 2 most people will die for the first time after running through an empty sewer system for five minutes, taking out some large knights the other side and then either dying on three of them in one room or the following boss. The game then resets you way back before the sewers such that you must spend twenty minutes walking through empty sewers and re-killing those knights that you already mastered. A large time investment with no skill gain.

All that time wasted with no self improvement, no feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment and no story progression. Who could enjoy that but a no lifer who has such a lack of a life that there was no opportunity cost.

Same type of guys you see farming or trading 18 hours a day.

I don't understand why any normal healthy person would gain pleasure from no lifing but it is not something other players should feel compelled to do to compete or participate in a meaningful level. Otherwise it leads to a loss of players or botting.

Esteban said...

Maybe it's foolishly sentimental of me, but these limited allotment counters would bother me for aesthetic reasons.

While I would never come close to hitting the caps, they would exist at the back of my mind as a factor and chip away at the whole sandbox immersion feeling, where I can go anywhere and attempt almost anything.

Anonymous said...

Botters are just another playstyle. Just because you are too risk-averse to engage in botting yourself doesn't mean that bots have to be nerfed, in fact it only shows that botting has a real risk vs reward decision attached to it that doesn't make it automatically the best choice for everyone.

Botting successfully does require non-trivial skills and constant innovation (as public bots only get you banned), does require a rational mind that can deal with variance (sometimes you will lose a lot in a single day, even if you are profitable in the long run) and does require several/many accounts.
Seeing how few people have these prerequisites it's only natural that botting pays well.

You are the last person I would have suspected to be in favor of increased regulation just to bring those who are smart and risk-neutral enough to run bots back in line with the morons and slackers.

jstk said...

While your idea isn't bad, the implementation of a hard-cap on daily revenue is the wrong way of doing it. Instead, the game should either disencourage or make it extremly difficult to rat endlessly (this is where endless anomaly spawns in nullsec comes in).

For example, while things such as incursions and c5-c6 capital escalations provide a ton of isk, they have soft caps or highly diminishing returns of availability after some point. I feel the same should happen with the main botting sources of the game. How that should be implemented I have no idea, though.

Anonymous said...

"the PL guys shot back that he's run 30 level 5 missions in a day, does that make him a bot?"

only if he does it the next day and the day after that.

this is where gevlons system is elegant. a pool of x hours refreshed by x/7 hours per day. the pool refreshes while you are offline and is reasonable for a non-bot. if you hit the cap you go do one of the many other activities which has a separate cap

Anonymous said...

Woody: dark souls no lifer game

well Dark souls is that game that the "old folks" grew up with. games that forced some sort of skill. To play only on one coin for your stay at the arcade, so you had enough money to play the coming weeks.

Dark souls hit the nail on that nostalgia. but throughout gaming history we don't have "coin" as a way to force players to get good at something. So in DS case they use TIME.

So. If someone was smart and skilled enough at the arcade they didn't lose their money. That's not no-life that's active and engaging play to sustain a hobby without going bankrupt on back in the day kids allowance.

Arrendis said...

this is where gevlons system is elegant. a pool of x hours refreshed by x/7 hours per day. the pool refreshes while you are offline and is reasonable for a non-bot. if you hit the cap you go do one of the many other activities which has a separate cap

It's not elegant. It's brute-force, which is pretty much the axiomatic 'inelegant'.

Create engaging gameplay. Make that engaging gameplay something that offers as good, or better, returns over time. And if people want to do that for hours on end, it's their life, you are not their dad.

Anonymous said...

"@Von Keigai: absolutely NOT. The no-lifer and the bot are anything but content."

Not true. Who did you kill when doing your miner ganking? Who does the new order consider their primary target? The afk miner (and bots though I am not advocating bots) are the prey. Their existence provides the content for others too kill.

And if the miner was limited in time, there would be less targets for gankers to hunt as they would be docked more time than not.

Also, you set a low limit on mining, but a huge one on trading. 300 orders a day? I could adjust my 15 orders 20 Times each per day. That easily let's me play a .01 isk game in Jita with ease. Why are you favoring your current orefered income so heavily?

TheHolm said...

Only way to beat boting is to make game complex to degree when bots need to be too complex to be feasible. But in this case game will loose many players as many can not perform as good as average bot.

Petr Deák said...

I have a question. How would you explain this in terms of EVE lore?
Every thing has to have some explanation. like industry teams using inferno booster, so they last only 1 month and then they are gone for ever.

Anonymous said...

Dark Souls 1 or 2 is not a hard game. They are fairly unforgiving of mistakes but the challenges generally aren't difficult.

DS1 did have a few hard parts but virtually everything in that game except the Ornstein and Smaugh boss fight can be cheesed with some trick (and that fight is farly easy with 2 co-op phantoms). It is a game for OCD numbers people with the patience to get over the sharp learning curve.

Kot Cool said...

I've got an other suggestion. Perhaps CCP could make a sort of mining minigame. Not as the hacking one. Let's say, there will be some mad asteroids, or comets flying through the belt at random times and random directions, that the miner has to avoid or take some decent damage.The evoiding mechanism should be in a special interface, where you will have to compute the avoiding trjectory on in a 3-d scanning-mision like manner. Or some other way, that will be hard to get botted. In terms of lore: those ateroids are "mad" in terms of phsics (or driven by space parasites or launched by space pirates or whatever billion of reasons), so the autopilot can't avoid it by themselves.

I like the parasite asteriods version most since it can explain why the damage dealt to the ship is not absorbed by shilds or armor, but hits on structure and modules. And damage scaling % from ship size, so ventures don't get oneshotted and some tanki stuff couldn't ignore.

Botting rats can be solved in an even better way. Once in a while rats will call "an armada" for help. Lot's of heavy armed ships that can whipe everything away. Or just one mysterios killa-ship. That event would be completely random and the only way a player can know about what's coming is reading an intercepted local chat message. Once called for help the killa arives in about 300 seconds, so the pilot has time to flee to safety and return a couple of minutes l8r. (Yep, killah is really bussy and leaves in about 30 seconds after he arrives). This way "not paying attention"/botting might cost one all his fleet of alts or just one ship.

A painfull, simple to execute and eefective for changing minds of da playas pill (or should I say injection?)) )

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