Players would normally not even consider "cheating" in other ways, think about giving botting a try, due to the perception of non enforcement and desire to compete.The context of the quote is a long blog entry written by Htrag regarding his reasons for allowing his three EVE Online accounts to lapse, and the e-mail conversation he had with a CCP GM about this. I'm only going to focus on one tiny portion of his list of reasons for my own blog post, but his full blog post is worth your time to read. He covers a lot of issues of interest to the veteran EVE player, and hopefully CCP will take his list and learn from it. God knows they probably lose a lot of customers from only the smallest fraction of the items that Htrag lists.
However, the botting portion of his blog entry is the portion that is most personally interesting to me. I mentioned yesterday in my Tapestry blog post that many elements of EVE Online are intertwined. Botting cuts across virtually every level of the game, particularly now, but let's focus on a few key areas. The 4Q 2010 QEN specifies population density figures for each of the six major areas of New Eden 0.0, plus the four Empire areas, plus wormhole space. Other than wormhole space at 7.53 toons per system average, far and away the least densely populated area in New Eden is Northeast 0.0, at 9.72 toons per system average, controlled by the Drone Russians and their allies, and a well-known haven for botters.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record for bringing this up again, in a couple of days, thousands of 0.0 residents will be losing their primary income source for PvPing, the ability to farm Havens and Sanctums. No matter where you live in New Eden, if you think this doesn't affect you, you're wrong:
- If you're an Empire mission-runner, expect to see more mission-runners, because some 0.0 residents are going to fall back to Empire and make up this loss of income by running missions.
- If you're an Empire miner or site-runner, ditto.
- If you live in a wormhole, expect to see more 0.0 players running your sites for ISK, and (incidentally) attacking your wormhole ops.
- If you are a solo PvPer or hot-dropper, expect your business in the affected regions to drop to nothing as the previously common ratting ships disappear.
- And finally, if you're a botter, expect to see more people trying it out to replace their lost income.
And that, of course, assumes that the botter will be caught in the first place. Most bots are never caught. And even when bots are found en masse, red-handed, the response is barely perceivable. This drives an assumption that CCP simply does not care about botting. If the botting account is paid for and current, that's what they care about. The portion of the Security video talking about an upcoming patch that will allow players to right-click on a toon and report him as a bot is fairly humorous. Sreegs casually slides right past the point that relying on players to spot bots is likely an exercise in futility. I'd bet money that more people have been reported as bots because of spite or dislike from the reporter than actual bots have been reported.
Scrapheap Challenge picked up the topic as well last week, with a long thread on botting. The thread itself is 18 pages of flames and counter-flames, and is probably not worth your time. At the top of the thread, though, is a poll asking SHCers if they'd ever try botting. A significant percentage of the respondents -- 20% -- picked the "yes" response. And several people in the thread do point out -- correctly -- that Sreeg's presentation sets no concrete goals for attacking bots, and showed no metrics. Aypse summed up one possible CCP response quite admirably.
Granted, CCP's goal here is deterrence. And also granted, they don't want to ban false positives. But this is the sort of link that I was talking about in my Tapestry post. Every topic in EVE is linked to every other topic in EVE, somehow. Take away one source of EVE player income, and EVE players are going to replace it, any way they have to. And if they have to grief CCP to do it, a significant number of EVE players will.
Assuming they don't quit and take their money elsewhere, as Htrag did. But I guess that's griefing CCP, too.