Tuesday, April 26, 2011

War On Bots - A In-Depth Look

I decided to take a in depth look on ccp's war on bots, and to see if they are actually having an effect.  The problem is how to approach this, and to see what effect it is having on the game.  There are a lot of criteria to look at, but at first lets look at the source.  Actual botting websites, and for obvious reasons I will not be listing their actual names. I also highly recommend reading Reporting from the front line of the Bot-war on the eve-online forums. 

Website 1 - Status: Appears Dead
This is the first website that popped up on my Google search., and the site appears to be pretty professional looking.  It has some pretty nice php effects, but the forums are pretty much dead.  The last post was in march.  The forums appear to be censored, and the admins might be removing all negative posts.  I find it weird that their is no discussion about ccp's announcement to fight bots, and not one complaint.

Website 2 - Status: Working
 This site is more of a discussion site, but it is well alive and functioning.  There appears to have been a few people banned for about 2 weeks.  The complaining seemed to have died down, and it is unknown if they are now just censoring the forum.  There is a new bot out that claims to be undetectable as of 3 days ago.  People are complaining it is hard to use, but no one reported being banned.

Website 3 - Status: Working
This bot seems to be a popular ratting bot, and appears to be favored by the Russians.  The site does not have very many posts in the English section, but the Russian section is very active.  There are no complaints about being banned on the forum.  There is a lot of discussion about bugs the bot has, and this makes me believe that people are in fact using this bot.

Website 4 - Status: Unknown/Working
This is another ratting bot, but it is a lot less popular then website 3 based on the amount of forum posts.  There are no posts or discussion about CCP war on bots, and no one complaining to be banned.  There is discussion about the bot bugging out occasionally, and optimizing its usage.

Website 5 - Status: Shutdown/In development
I guess this is a touch out of order, but this appears to be the most popular mining bot.  The forums have been completely taken down except for a few announcements.  The developer says that he does have a stable version that will not be detected, but it has not been released to the public.

Those appear to be the major bots out in the game. It appears that ccp is doing something, but is it really that much?  Eve-online anti-botting has been a JOKE for years, and now they are doing small things that should have been done long ago.  So far they have only gone after the mining bots, and seemed to have left the ratting bots alone.  I guess it is possible that bot sellers are doing an amazing job covering up that their product does not work anymore.  I guess it is time to look at the market.

The first thing to look at would be the more popular LP shop items. I don't want to go into a great detail listing every item I looked at, but for the past 2-3 weeks there has be a small increase in the amount of sales.  This could mean that bot users are a bit worried and have been liquidating their accumulated LP, but the increase in trades isn't really that substantial.

The other thing that needs to be looked at would be the mineral market, but that appears to have no real change.  I guess I could see a small decrease in the amount of Trit traded in Jita lately, but that could be any number of things.  Again this is not really substantial, but the price of Trit is already high, and seems to have stabilized in the 3.20 range.

I guess time will tell if CCP is going to actually win the war against bots.  I believe that they did NOT come out swinging, but just made it a bit more complicated to write a bot.  I understand that botting is a widespread problem, and they could not ban everyone permanently.  It would have drastically punished players for a behavior that sort of became acceptable.  They released the bare minimum of anti-botting technology, and it seems to only be able to detect certain things.  This could be a new approach, though, make it more and more complicated to write a undetectable bot.  I guess time will tell.

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