CCP's new war on bots - revisited and some other suggestions

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crazysonoran
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CCP's new war on bots - revisited and some other suggestions

Postby crazysonoran » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:41 pm

Many years ago I was dead set against bot mining and used to play lots of pranks on bot miners but never reported them because if they got banned I wouldnt have anyone to play my pranks on. I learned a few ways to detect if they were a bot and got to the point where I could tell if a miner was using a bot to mine or actually sitting there manually mining in a short amount of time.

The fastest was watching their lasers and how long each one was on, and the delay between when they were turned off and back on. Even now I can tell a difference between when I mine and when I run TM. Repetition was the second way I could tell. Bots tend to do the same thing over and over and over. Human run ships vary in everything we do. I'd bet lot of isk I can go into any popular mining system and pick out the bot running and human run ships in a matter of a few minutes. If the ship turns off both lasers with a second or so delay between each switching off then pauses a couple seconds and restarts them turning each one on with a full second or more delay between them I instantly know thats a guy running TM. When I mine I hit F1/F2/F3 really fast in sequence to turn off all 3 lasers then turn them back on relatively fast. It probably takes me a half second delay between when I turn off the last laser and when I restart the first and I can have the 3 lasers all restarted within 2 seconds after that by clicking each targetted roid and hitting F1/2/3 in rapid succession.

Another dead giveaway is having Mr Mackbot warp in and promptly start mining the same rocks I am. When I am mining manually if I warp to a belt and there is someone mining already I at least see if they are mining the same type of ore I am and if not I warp to the next belt. If they are mining Veldspar and I am mining Scordite I will stay and mine around them because they get mad I am 'stealing' their rocks.

Last but not least is the way people and bots deploy drones. Manually mining I tend to not launch drones and do something for a few seconds then start mining. I warp in, launch my drones and start mining immediately. TM will warp the ship in, launch the drones then go warp the second pilot to his belt and launch his drones then come back to the first and start the mining cycles etc. Watch a guy warp into a belt and if there is a delay between drone launch and mining starting there is a really good chance it is a bot.

This leads me to my suggestions to help all of us stay in the game and not get banned. First, give us the option to vary the cycle lengths. Instead of a field to tell TM how long to mine, let us plug in 2 numbers for shortest and longest cycle times we want. Sure, sometimes we might end up with a short trip and other times we might end up with an over-full ore bay but that happens now, it will all average out in the long run.

Streamline the reset sequence. If I can sit at a keyboard and mouse and reset 3 lasers on a Hulk in less than 4 seconds then TM should be able to do the same. Put in some reset variable so we as users can adjust it based on lag we may or may not be having. Have tiny miner hit F1, F2, F3, etc almost together and then use just a short pause (user setable perhaps) then shorten the time between lasers as they are reset. This will close the most glaring hole in our ability to remain undetected by other players in the game.

Add a feature where TM checks a second Overview tab for ships when the miner either gets to the 200km bookmarks or to the belt. if ships are found warp to another belt. This has been suggested before and I think it would be a great feature.

Change the order in which 2 pilots are handled when they first arrive at a belt so the one pilot doesnt sit there idle with drones out while pilot 2 is warping and setting up his drones. Perhaps warp pilot 1 then 2 then while 2 is still warping launch pilot 1's drones then switch to pilot 2, launch his drones then start 1 mining then 2 mining.

Two other suggestions I have that wont really effect the war on bots part are related to looking at the station mining feature and approaching rocks while mining.

When I mine I try to set my "warp to" distance big enough I dont get caught in the belts when I go to leave the belt, however this causes issues with warping to the stargate and jumping through to the next system. If the warp to distance is set big enough the ship will warp to the gate at 5000m for example, and start moving toward the gate and TM will get all confused thinking the ship has jumped already and its a big old mess. EvE now has a "Jump through Stargate" menu option what could be used with us setting the wap to distance far enough out. Instead of setting destination then telling the ship to warp to the gate then setting autopilot just to go to the next system TM wouold simply have to select the Jump through option on the one line in the list, one step, not 3. Then if we have out warp to distance set far enough out it wont matter either.

Second suggestion is many times I warp to a belt at 200km it picks the closest rock, warps to it and I am faced with a situation where the first rock is 1200m away and the second one is 26km away then there are 20 more 26-45km away. TM proptly locks rock 1, 2 and 3 and can only mine rock 1 which lasts a cycle. It then sits there and plays around for a while finally deciding it cant mine rock 2+ and it warps back both miners back to the stargate, does it's 3 steps to get through and then docks up both ships and restarts the whole thing over again. This is a total waste of a lot of time that could be avoided by simply changinng the way TM approaches the belt from our 200km bookmark. I know there is an orbit feature that would allow us to approach that second rock but I have had more ships stuck in belts trying to use that and as above its a dead giveaway that we are using a bot. No human pilots ever orbit the asteroids that I've seen. My idea is give us a setting to tell TM which rock to warp to using our EvE 'warp to' setting so we could tell it to warp to the 5th rock at 10km for example. When I am mining manually I use the 200km BM's I made for TM and you guessed it I warp to one of the middle rocks at 10-20km. This puts a lot of rocks in range not just those that are close to one end of the belt. An approach option would be nice as well but being able to warp to a middle rock not the end rock would at a minimum double the rocks in range.

I am sure a lot of us would like to see some refining of the process the bot uses and anything to help one player not get banned is worth it. If any of my suggestions can be implemented it could save somem of us the ban-hammer. TM stilll is the best bot out there, I have tried the others and they arent even close. Lets see if we can make it even better.

jacknxbox
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Re: CCP's new war on bots - revisited and some other suggest

Postby jacknxbox » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:41 am

Agreed...

There are some good points here and I'm sure there tons of work to implement too but, they are needed not to get busted. I would like to add a option for drone salvaging/container opening while mining.

Thanks and great app

Pickles2012
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Re: CCP's new war on bots - revisited and some other suggest

Postby Pickles2012 » Sat May 18, 2013 3:44 pm

Excellent suggestions. A variable setting on length of laser use would be excellent. Streamlining the reset sequence as mentioned by the poster is right on point.

Amun-Ra
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Re: CCP's new war on bots - revisited and some other suggest

Postby Amun-Ra » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:36 am

I hear one of the first thing CCP looks for when they're checking to see if you're a bot is if your lasers always turn on and off at exact times. Exact thirty second intervals? Probably a bot. Random times between 15 and 45 seconds? Probably not.

A way to select a time range for your lasers to turn off will help reduce detection. It shouldn't be too hard, either.

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VanGoghGaming
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Re: CCP's new war on bots - revisited and some other suggest

Postby VanGoghGaming » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:56 am

You're right, it wouldn't be too hard to implement but I have some doubts about the usefulness of such a feature because I am pretty sure there is no way for CCP to check when every one of their hundreds of thousands of players activate their modules. It's just not feasible. Also if you leave the lasers mining on their own, they do cycle at precisely the same interval (default is 180 seconds for strip miners and 60 seconds for regular lasers)...

It wouldn't help you anyway if you were mining 24/7 regardless of how randomly or regularly you would activate your lasers... The key is "mine with moderation" and switch characters often!
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