Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Little more conversation, little more action

Another quickie, this one a follow-up to last night's post about the EVE University.

I've mentioned how much respect I have for The Nosy Gamer's coverage of botting issues -- he does such a good job that anything I write about it most of the time would be superfluous.  And he has caught something interesting in his latest post.  Go give it a read; it's worth your time.

The short version is that one of the ways in which "John" was helpful to E-UNI was in his frequent updates to their wiki articles.  One of the articles on the E-UNI wiki is a the "Third party tools" page, which is partially duplicated on the corresponding page on the official EVE Online wiki.  NoizyGamer points out that one of the website tools listed is the website for Jitonomic.(1)  He then implies -- without evidence -- that John might have edited both pages with this link.

I wasn't familiar with this website, but on review it looks like an interesting combination of EVE Central and some of the stuff available on Grismar's site.  In particular, it features a fairly typical database of prices of items for sale in New Eden with frequently updated prices.  I don't particularly object to this, of course; I use EVE Central myself all the time.  But the problem comes because Jitonomic apparently uses a bot to gather its market data instead of asking players to download and run a client to pull that data.  NoizyGamer finds it ironic that E-UNI is endorsed a website that admits to botting.  In the five hours or so since he wrote his post, the link to this website has been removed from the EVE University wiki (but not the official EVE Online one).

That said, in and of itself, this link proves nothing.  In particular, it's not a smoking gun.  Kelduum Revaan even points out that the link to Jitonomic was added to the E-UNI wiki a year before the blog post about botting that NoizyGamer references.

At the end of 2011, I mentioned that botting had gone from a cancer upon the body of EVE to something that was just accepted by both players and by CCP with a shrug.  Things didn't change on this front significantly through 2012.  But with this issue coming unexpectedly back to the forefront of the conversation about security, it'll be interesting to see if CCP pays more public attention to the issue.  Because God knows the bots are still out there, in enormous numbers.


(1) He incorrectly identifies it as "Jitatronic".

11 comments:

  1. I'll be making the corrections to my post when I get home. This is why you should never write a post in 30 minutes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aww, no headshot? Bummer.

    Based on the outcry from market warriors on the EVE Online forums (e.g.: Allowed or Not Allowed), there are a lot of people with remarkably well-automated (though not necessarily EULA-violating) tools to help them keep their sell orders up to date.

    Who knew that the reason for a lot of the 0.01 price undercuts was not necessarily pure bots as it was traders hurriedly pasting in prices and then ticking their mousewheel down once? (Well, besides market PVP veterans.)

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  3. I've been keeping a 3rd party developer perspective log of the scandal here: http://eve-prosper.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-gray-space-part-deux.html

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  4. "But the problem comes because Jitonomic apparently uses a bot to gather its market data instead of asking players to download and run a client to pull that data."

    In other words, distributed botting is fine, as long as other people tech savy enough to create an excel that pulls from the API are able to share in the ill gotten gains.

    Hyperbole? Who the fuck knows? If I have to connect my spreadsheet to some sort of hoodoo to automatically pull prices, to maintain my margins, then fuck this game. I shouldn't need a degree in computer science to be a market trader.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I shouldn't need a degree in computer science to be a market trader."

      Well, you don't. It helps though...

      The same as you don't need to have a degree in maths or business to be a market trader in real life. It helps though.

      Delete
  5. there's no need to bot market scrapes, the eve IGB has a special function (like the ones that open chat windows in game, or player profiles, etc) that looks for a specific item in the market window.

    this function is allowed to be called ever 5 seconds max. so all you have to do is log in the client, open the IGB, load that page and go to work.


    that's the EXACT same way eve central does it. and there's plenty of people who keep 3 or 4 clients open 24/7 scrapping the market.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Repeating the comment I made on The Nosy Gamer here: "I am the person that added the link on the EVE University wiki to Jitanomic, way back in 2010. At that time, there was no mention of botting on their site, and it looked like an interesting and helpful tool for EVE players. I hate botting in any form and would never have added the link if I thought it was in any way a violation of the CCP EULA. Your assertion that this proves that the UNI is now a supporter of botting is spurious, at best. Shame on you. By the way, I'm not "John" and am still very active in EVE."

    By the way, this is my favorite EVE blog and read it faithfully. Keep up the (usually) good work!

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  7. Collecting data in such a manner is not botting. You can run javascript though the in-game browser to automatically cycle though all items on the market, using the showMarketDetails command from CCP's in-game browser API. As you cycle though the items, the price/volume tables are cached on your machine, and you can extract the numbers from there. A few years back somebody directly asked if it was OK to do such a thing, and a CCP Dev confirmed that it was.

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  8. Ah, there's more.... The Nosy Gamer has added an update to his original post. I think he's set the record straight now.

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  9. "In the five hours or so since he wrote his post, the link to this website has been removed from the EVE University wiki (but not the official EVE Online one)."

    lol proof Eve supports botting. I hope Sreegs bans EVE wiki

    ReplyDelete
  10. Spend 60 seconds or less in Jita local and you'll be bombarded by at least one or two spam bots. Try to sell something and just watch how long it takes for "someone" to beat your price by 0.01 isk. Bots are bad and need to go away.

    Not all price changes on market orders are bots, but sure would be nice if there were a way to report market bots. The only way I know of identifying and reporting a market bot is to buy something from the bot, the check the journal for player name.

    ReplyDelete

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