Automatic Shutdown

 

It’s Monday so Forlorn is back again! This week he tackles the thorny issue of multiboxing software and its place in Eve Online

When I first moved to nullsec, my corporation relocated to a remote region called Omist, deep in the southern Eve hemisphere. Back in the day this region only had two stations and you would have to go at least 30 jumps in any direction to find hostiles. I spent most of my time ratting in a small back end system. I recognized the same players in the same systems every day as I moved to and from my destination; they never answered me in local when I asked if I could join them (this was alliance policy) so I asked my older corp mates what those guys were doing there. And that is when I learned what bots are. I quickly discovered that following these bots and looting their faction spawn wrecks was more profitable than shooting NPCs myself.

Since then I was acutely aware of the bot problem and automations like the warp-to-zero autopilot. I hunted bots, killed their ships and stole their loot. For the longest time, CCP did not seem to care about the problem. Luckily, this changed over the years with CCP building a team that developed tools to trace botting and RMT. They also tightened the EULA and enforced a more robust policy against botters. Detailed information can be found on Nosy Gamer’s excellent blog, covering CCP’s bans and RMT sellers.

In March 2013, CCP’s automatic tools were finally able to detect a bot called Questor. However both the both Questor and the multibox tool ISBoxer share the same backend software called Inner Space which handles the input to the Eve client from either the bot software or a player. The forums and Eve-related blogs covered the rules and policies as far as automation is concerned and they can all be summarised as such: ‘CCP does not endorse third party software, and if you use it you might get banned for it’. Still, CCP decided to not pursue their own policies against users of ISBoxer. Some commentators have suggested this may relate to the large amount of subscription money the company receives from users of ISBoxer due to the need for multiple accounts – of course that is purely speculative. The impact on industry and mining can’t be measured as well.

Due to current game mechanics and balancing, an ISBoxer bomber fleet is very effective and can dictate any sub-cap fight in Eve Online at the moment. A typical bomber fleet needs a probing bomber, a dictor and six bombers for damage. Additionally you need a BlackOps battleship, a covert transporter for resupply and a covert cyno bomber. Skilling those bomber alts takes as little as 40 days and after the initial training time, the remaining available character slots on the accounts can be used for other purposes.

QCErVE2

With ISBoxer you can form your own fleet that mines ice, kills NPCs in anomalies, smartbombs lowsec gates, suicide ganks in highsec, kills a random titan in lowsec, destroys ~50 Tengus in one bomb run or grinds through one of Eve’s numerous structures with supercapitals. When you move through highsec mining hubs just watch for a long list of similar names in local and you probably found an ISBoxer user. There is essentially no limit to how many characters you can run as you  connect multiple PCs to your own bot network, using software to manage the workload that multiboxing requires. An ISBoxer is able to do what a normal fleet of individuals can’t do, reacting quicker and avoiding the usual mistakes that happen when so many people are involved. In the end no matter how much money a subscriber is willing to pay to use Inner Space or ISBoxer, it is undeniably another form of pay-to-win. Exactly the same as those who bot. And with this in mind CCP should treat them identically. Shut them down!

Tags: botting, forlorn, isboxer, multiboxing

About the author

Forlorn Wongraven

PL pilot, 2013 alliance tournament winner and Eve financier extraordinaire, what Forlorn doesn't know about Eve probably isn't worth knowing

  • GrouchyOldGamer

    Are you suggesting shutting down isboxer? I’m not sure.

    • xanderphoena

      ‘In the end no matter how much money a subscriber is willing to pay to use Inner Space or ISBoxer, it is undeniably another form of pay-to-win. Exactly the same as those who bot. And with this in mind CCP should treat them identically. Shut them down!’

      Those last few sentences left you unclear as to Forlorn’s opinion on the matter?

      • GrouchyOldGamer

        Well he spends a lot of time talking about bombers, which are a bit annoying I give you. However, a lot of FCs use isboxer to run fleets. So I’m asking if he wants it banned for everything or just specific use cases he talks about?

        So to answer your question yes.

        • xanderphoena

          I’m not sure how you could ban ISBoxer for one thing and then not another. I’m not going to put words in his mouth but I am very confident Forlorn wants ISBoxer and alternatives banned outright.

          • GrouchyOldGamer

            I’m not sure nerfing a tool because half a dozen autisitic loners run one man bomber and dread fleets using it would outweigh the benefit it has as an FC tool providing content for 1000s of players daily.

          • xanderphoena

            And yet CCP have confirmed it breaks the EULA and therefore, by definition, it is ‘cheating’.

          • GrouchyOldGamer

            Yeah but they don’t ban it, most likely because they know the problems it would cause because it’s a fix that players pay a monthly fee for to overcome the piss poor fleet implementation.

          • xanderphoena

            In not banning it they allow utterly broken mechanics like one man bomber fleets (devastating in the current meta) and unparalleled ISK generation for those who partake. I strongly suspect your ‘half a dozen’ statistic is way off. (I know you weren’t being literal btw, just saying, this is far more prevalent than you realise).

          • GrouchyOldGamer

            Having just read the dev blog they don’t call it cheating, they say they only care if it’s used to cheat.

            “This extends to multiboxing software. Some of the multiboxing software
            out there is powerful enough to count as “client modification” if used
            for that purpose. Our stance on third-party software is that we do not
            endorse such software as we have no control over what it does. As such,
            we can’t say that multiboxing software isn’t against our EULA. But the
            same goes in this case, that unless we determine that people are doing
            things beyond “multiboxing”, we will not be taking any action. We only
            care about the instances where people are messing with our process for
            the purposes of cheating, and running multiple clients at the same time
            is not in violation of our EULA in and of itself unless it involves
            trial accounts.”

            Whatever the numbers I still say the benefit outweighs the case against multiboxing bombers.

          • xanderphoena

            Fair enough. Whether or not it constitutes cheating officially, I still believe it is wrong and shouldn’t be allowed. FCing or otherwise. I also don’t think it will happen for the exact reasons Forlorn stated. If this was just ‘half a dozen autists’, CCP would have done it by now.

          • GrouchyOldGamer

            It’s an interesting position, I know for a fact it would make a lot of FCs very unhappy and vocal.

            Wouldn’t a more elegant solution be to remove fleet warping, drone assist and all the other proxy mechanics in game? People could still then multibox but you’d limit the few use cases above whilst making people actually have to fly their ships.

          • Forlorn Wongraven

            I have no problem with people multiboxing. ISboxer makes it way to easy though and gives an unparalleled advantage over a fleet of individuals.

  • Rucknar

    As someone who multi boxes (4 toons) for mining I don’t use isboxer
    and neither does a corp mate (same number of toons). We have found that one way to make mining slightly less dull is to remove as much of the automation from
    the process as we can. With 4 toons each the result is that you have to actively
    concentrate on what’s going on otherwise it all goes to hell. On another note
    we have found that we’re actually more efficient ‘manually’ multi boxing than someone who isboxers.

    So ye, ban isboxer, let’s get these people actually playing
    the game, you never know they might enjoy it more!

  • Endie

    Daft article but whatever gets views, I suppose.

    • xanderphoena

      What makes you think of the piece as daft Endie? Not a troll – genuinely curious. Any constructive criticism is always appreciated.

  • Bo

    Yes I like to mention botting when it has no relation to multiboxing at all, just to make a point. Osama binladen have Barrack Obama have similar names so they must be both bad.

    Don’t get me wrong ISboxer might be bad or not t,hat is not point. But I have to automatically refuse any sort of logic you used because you clearly are using cheap tactics to convert people to your views.

    You find ISboxer bad? alright tell us why, but it is not botting at all, and if you think so you didn’t even say how. Using the same software application is just that, it is like saying both programs need windows XP to run.

    Anyways that is foxnews writing style right there.