Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Life Under the Bus

This Eve University scandal seems to be the event of the day. I'm going to assume that if you're here, you've already read Kelduum Revaan's Posting on the Eve University forums. If you haven't, please read that first.

All done? Excellent! Now some advice for Kelduum:

Stop. Quit while you're ahead buddy, because there's only 2 ways this ends. Bad, and worse.

Over the years, I've seen quite a few people kick up a fuss about getting banned, or getting all their wallet thrown into the negative for RMT, claiming innocence the whole time. Once in a blue moon, the fuss is so great that CCP breaks the code of silence and lets drop exactly what happened.

This is the result. Every...Single....Time.

It's understandable that Kelduum wants to defend his buddy, there's something to be said for loyalty to a friend. I also think he's right about something not adding up. The problem is that the only people who know exactly what went down are "John" and Team Security, and I have a strong suspicion that "John's" version of events are a little skewed in his favor.

Ok, the guy was helpful to Eve Uni. He did some great things for the noobs, he updated the wiki, he was a class act. I can see why his mates would think highly of him. Being a class act doesn't give you a free pass to break the rules though. If anything, it makes it worse when you do, like watching superman punch an old lady in the face for no reason.

This much I do know: No human being can check and update a market order every 2 seconds, the interface lag ALONE between opening the order and updating it is at least half that time. That means that something other than your hand on your mouse and keyboard is helping you out, whether it's a script, a bot, a macro, or something running off a igb web page, in my opinion, that's all one and the same. An automated process is helping you play, that's it, end of story, good day sir.

So "John" gets butthurt, liquidates, gives away all his stuff, and biomasses. Eve Uni obviously has some suspicion about the money, and petitions to make sure it's legit. CCP says "nope", takes the money, and now Kelduum wants to know why? How about your buddy just got caught botting his market orders (regardless of what he says)? They've been known to take money from people MONTHS after their gains were gotten illicitly, 3 weeks isn't that long by comparison.

I'm not CCP, but there's every chance that they were still investigating and deciding exactly how much to ding John's wallet when that petition from Kelduum rolled in. Since John quit eve and biomassed, maybe that made it easy. Just take it all. Done! There's also every chance, since the guy was a market trader, that every last ISK in his wallet touched the sales of goods he put up "using" his "tools", who are we to say?

That brings us to Kelduum's last concern, "who watches the watchers?" In cases of botting, macros, etc, CCP has a system of detection. They do not disclose how this system works for the simple reason that if you knew, and you were smart, then you would have an easier time evading it.

This system detects suspicious activity, this activity is looked into, and actions are carried out as a result. There's no escalation because this is ones and zeros, either you did it, or you didn't.

"We will not provide you with details about the detections, we will merely verify that they worked. When we determine that they have (and you'd be the first case where they haven't) we will repeat to you that you are banned for x amount of time. Unless you're botting or running a botting application you haven't been detected. By botting application I mean an application used for botting, nothing else." -CCP Sreegs in response to a guy caught botting that complained on Eve-O he was innocent.
I've actually seen worse than that in the past. I can't find the link at the moment, but I can recall once on Eve-O some guy starting a thread in General about how all his money was taken away from him unfairly, he'd never done RMT in his life, all his money was legit, but CCP took it and left him with a negative balance. The GMs popped in at one point in the thread, mentioned that they usually don't discuss such things in the open, but since the chap was so eager, they would oblige this one time. The GM then laid out the large isk transfers recieved by this guy, from known RMT characters who had at this point been caught and banned. The story they laid out was detailed, harsh, and could be summed up with one word: pwnd.

EDIT: Found it, thanks to CCP Masterplan on twitter for the assist.

Quite possibly the most public bot banning in Eve history occurred just this past July, when a botter was debugging his bot while streaming it on own3d. CCP showed up for a bit of bot bowling and banned the guy on live TV.

There's no escalation system, no court of appeals in these cases, because there's nothing left to talk about. "John's" ban is between him and CCP, it's none of Kelduum's or Eve Uni's business. There is *some* precedence for CCP coming out and explaining themselves in some of these cases, but it's always been directed at the perpetrator kicking up a fuss. In this case, where the people putting up a fuss are not the guy that broke the rules, it's probably unlikely we'll get any sort of official response.

The best thing that can happen for all involved at this point is for CCP to keep the silence, and Kelduum to back off of this. If Kelduum gets what it appears he's looking for, an official response from CCP about what happened here, I don't think he's going to like the answers he gets.  John's "spotless" record is likely going to go from "possibly tarnished" to "definitely tarnished" in that case. Not the best legacy to leave behind.


  1. "There's no escalation because this is ones and zeros, either you did it, or you didn't."

    And what about the fellow who was banned for RMT, when in fact he had been buying ETCs. He was ignored by GMs. His petitions not allowed to escalate.

    He was lucky to find a CCP employee not associated with Team Security to take interest, and only then was the matter properly resolved.

    Your claim that the system is fullproof is ridiculous.

    1. I can't say much about the RMT system, and I don't know that case specifically.Certainly no system is fool proof, and I didn't say this one was.

      However, botting is a bit different than RMT, and even going strictly with "John's" version of events, it looks like some scripting magic at work. There's a big difference between something like EFT that simply pulls info from the API, and something that helps you update your market orders.

      I don't think we're looking at an overzealous banning here, and if the ISK was gained while using this "tool" whatever it was, it would seem that the ISK is also forfeit.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I can see where you're coming from, but in cases of botting, this simply doesn't work. Game developers guard the way their bot detection software works very closely, and will NOT disclose how people were caught, only that they were.

      This isn't the people's court. Tens of thousands of bots have been banned from Eve, and I don't want to even THINK of the manpower that would be needed to adjudicate every last one of them to see if it was legit or not.

      The simple fact is, the bot detection software is pretty damn good, it points out suspicious activity. The activity is looked at, and action is taken. To date no one has ever come out saying they didn't bot after getting caught and been exonerated. "John's" own words incriminate him, regardless of how he wants to spin it. "tool" "macro" "bot" "script" it's all the same. Pulling information from the API or game client = ok. Using a "tool" to do something in the client itself, not ok. Don't need a jury for that.

    2. As a second thought, it's also worth pointing out that a 1st offense is never the end of the world. RMT people get the money jacked and a warning. Botters typically get a ban for X number of days. It takes repeated offenses (and some stupidity) to get things escalated to the point where you're about to get thrown out of eve on your ass. At that point, we're beyond some kind of simple glitch in the system.

      In John's case, it was only a 2 week ban, and it was made plain that his market tool was definitely not ok. He could have come back and played without it, but he chose to take his ball and go home on his own after that. CCP didn't biomass his character, he did.

    3. One correction on the bot bannings. I know of at least two that were overturned and I briefly met one of them when he and Sreegs talked after the security presentation at Fanfest last year.

    4. Do you have any more information on what happened? I'm genuinely curious as I was unable to find anything regarding false positives and eve botting.

    5. You know... this would be so funny... 'cept it's so not.

      (1) CCP is an independent, PRIVATELY owned, FOR PROFIT corporation.
      (2) CCP is the sole OWNER of the code, servers, trademark, licensing, etc. for "EvE Online".
      (3) "EVE Online" is an Internet Massively Multiplayer Online (Role Playing) GAME.
      (4) As such "EVE Online" is a PRODUCT.
      (5) CCP creates real world INCOME by selling 'access only' to "EVE Online" to the public via the World Wide Web (AKA the Internet or the Interweb, etc.)
      (6) No where at any point in time has CCP given up ANY of their rights to do as they DAMN WELL PLEASE with their product.
      (7)Judges are people who are given legal powers to interpret and apply the laws of a sovereign nation or state when aliens or citizens of that sovereign nation or state have been properly accused of transgressions or illegal acts.
      (8)EVE Online IS NOT A SOVEREIGN NATION OR STATE in ANY way shape or form and therefore does not have government or laws as such and therefore does not require judges etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum...

      ITS A FREAKING GAME PEOPLE. Now it just may be the greatest game ever invented my the mind of man to date, IMHO... But by the Gods people its a GAME... and so many act Like CCP is a Government and New Eden is frakkin REAL.

      I thought acting like EVE was REAL was a carebear failure Poe? Gettin all ragequitty over yer poor assploded 'picture of an Internet Spaceship'...

      Sounds as bad to me as whining and raging over some numbers being changed in a computer screen that represents IMAGINARY 'money' inna GAME huh?

      CCP can do as they damn well please with THEIR VIRTUAL 'VERSE... and you just hate that dontcha? =P

  3. I am disappointed! Not a single comment yet about your awesome pr0 paint skillz! *ahem*
    Now back to the serious business.

    1. The worst part is, I didn't even make that. It was the only picture I could find of Superman punching an old lady in the face though. Guess he didn't do it too often. :S

  4. Hahahaha epic drama here. Liked your post.