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Thread: An Investigation Into Frontier's Actions on Combat Logging, Part 2

  1. #121
    Originally Posted by Sole Hunter View Post (Source)

    They we're not fake, the account they used legitimately combat logged. Therefore it should be punished accordingly to Fdev original statement on cheaters. That was the whole point of the investigation.

    Pay attention.
    Maybe Stig just doesn't understand OP's post.

    Let me try..

    Stig.. Rinze is trying to say that cheats should eventually be shadow banned.

    Shadow banning is like blocking but better!

    They you go.. as you were

  2. #122
    Originally Posted by Sole Hunter View Post (Source)
    So glad I don't play this game anymore. They probably won't bother to give us an answer.
    Can I have your stuff ?.

  3. #123
    Originally Posted by ryan_m View Post (Source)
    They weren't actually once a month, btw, that's just the average over time. First 3 were within a month, with the 2nd and 3rd logs taking place minutes apart. Logs 4 & 5 took place 5 days apart.

    They average out to one log per month. Let's see what happens if they log twice a month, once a week, 5 times in a day, with complete consistency...what is the real baseline that they are using for banning.

    What is happening here is equivalent to the BGS players looking for BGS changes...and only running 2 or 3 transactions a week to prove the BGS does not work.

    These guys need to get real, or go home. This is just noise, orchestrated to create a controversy, with poor data.

  4. #124
    Originally Posted by Sole Hunter View Post (Source)
    When it's clear the developers do not enjoy developing or interacting with a community to improve the latter then it's clear to me I shouldn't waste my time playing it.


    Did you not see the Discovery Scanner livestreams? The focused feedback forums? The weekly livestreams from Ed and Bo? The number of dev's attending community events like Lavecon? Their willingness to stop and talk to anyone and everyone at the expo? Their 24hr xmas livestream?

    In terms of community engagement and interaction Frontier are second to none.

  5. #125
    Originally Posted by Alec Turner View Post (Source)


    Did you not see the Discovery Scanner livestreams? The focused feedback forums? The weekly livestreams from Ed and Bo? The number of dev's attending community events like Lavecon? Their willingness to stop and talk to anyone and everyone at the expo? Their 24hr xmas livestream?

    In terms of community engagement and interaction Frontier are second to none.
    Yes I did.

    Half the "good" feedback was largely ignored. They'll do the same thing as they've done before, 4 weeks of beta followed by a buggy release.

  6. #126
    Originally Posted by Sole Hunter View Post (Source)
    unlike Rinzler and Ryan_m I don't have enough patience to deal with this kind of stuff. When it's clear the developers do not enjoy developing or interacting with a community to improve the latter then it's clear to me I shouldn't waste my time playing it.
    Your basic honesty of intent is why I read your stuff Sole Hunter, there is no pretence. But I just like flying spaceships, so I will carry on because one day I won't be able to.

    CLogging can be solved, and it doesn't require a 5 month investigation. However if your ulterior motive is to try to extract as much salt from the situation as possible, well sure, a 5 month investigation might be required.

    The Proposal I linked to can be implemented pretty well straight away & carries no real penalty if you play the game normally (ie you are not heavily reliant on kinda-exploity mode switching).

    It's zero tolerance, it accounts for poor connections, it would work. It only needs to be implemented. I share your frustration at the Devs.

  7. #127
    Originally Posted by Rinzler o7o7o7 View Post (Source)
    How did we get here?


    Late last year, we posted the results of our investigation into FDev’s actions on combat logging and found, unsurprisingly, that they were doing nothing. The project had two phases:


    * Phase 1 involved reporting a bunch of combat logs while providing the videos for them and seeing if they were ever watched. None of the videos were watched, but we learned that FDev can apparently figure it out using “internal methods”. This wasn’t going to cut it on its own, obviously.
    * Phase 2 included multiple SDC members combat logging on each other with video evidence and proper tickets being submitted. No accounts received any warnings from FDev


    What we found was that while telling the community they were punishing combat loggers, they were actually doing nothing at all. FDev responded to the post predictably, assuring everyone that they *totally do punish loggers*, but that they messed up and didn’t follow the process for these specific combat logs over the course of 3 months or so. Shocking.


    Obviously, we were still incredibly skeptical, despite FDev’s assurances that the process would be followed in the future, so we decided to test them again.


    Before we move on to our new investigation, I think we should go over what combat logging is, as well as why it’s bad. I’m going to shamelessly lift from the previous post here:


    What is combat logging?


    Combat logging is the act of forcefully quitting (by either program task-kill or forced internet disconnect) the game while engaged in combat with another player. Frontier has clarified this act as an exploit, and a bannable offense.
    Combat logging to the main menu/desktop via the 15 second timer is a different matter and discussion to be had entirely. Currently, this action is confirmed by Frontier as “legitimate”, and as such is not being addressed in this post.



    Why is combat logging bad?


    Aside from being classed as exploiting by Frontier themselves, combat logging is bad for the game (and gameplay experience) of both the exploiter and the victim. Not only does logging deprive both players of meaningful interaction in game that is vastly empty and void of a human element, but it stifles the rare emergent experiences that make the game more than a sterile grind.
    Not everyone considers being attacked by another player, often for no reason - and Role Play doesn't really cut it, because not everyone engages in Role Play, and not everyone desires to include everyone in their own Role Play. Calling this a "meaningful interaction" is a farce at best. If my first encounter with someone is them opening fire on me, you can bet your last breath I'm not going to desire another encounter with them. A meaningful interaction begins with Comms - send me a message. If I don't reply, then one of three things have happened:

    1. You messaged me while I was away. This happens from time to time, usually at a station. I probably got up to use the head. Sorry, but I'm not going to log off for that. You can wait for my pad.
    2. I was busy doing something more pressing than reading my comms. I'll likely reply when I have a minute.
    3. Your message was written as if by an 8-year old, in txt tlk, included numbers substituted for words, or was not in a language I speak. I will not acknowledge txt tlk or number-substitution. If you communicate in this manner, you're just not someone with whom I desire to communicate. If your transmission was not in a language I speak, I may need a few minutes to run it through a translator and find an appropriate reply.

    One person's Meaningful is another person's Annoying. But let's continue.

    Originally Posted by Rinzler o7o7o7 View Post (Source)
    Furthermore, the very nature of risk and reward is upended (a fundamental aspect of any game) because the combat logging party is never faces any risk of loss. Because the combat logger faces no negative consequences for any action, non-combat loggers must shoulder the full—and completely asymmetrical—burden of risk for any interaction: this disincentivizes meaningful PvP gameplay in a game billed as a space MMO.
    Meaningful again - but PVP is the most meaningless form of engagement Elite has to offer. There is zero reward, outside of Power Play, and even then, there are limits on this. If the target is of a completely foreign power operating in foreign space (A Duval supporter operating in Rui space) and is attacked by a Grom supporter - this earns zero Bonds, is worth zero merits, and is a waste of time. There are no stats for PVP kills. They award no cargo, no materials, nothing. It really is a complete waste of time. Now I do understand this is how some people want to waste their time - after all, that's why we play games, to waste time. But not everyone wants this, and this is something the PVP community just refuses to get. Yes, people might be playing in Open, and yes, anyone can be targeted, but that doesn't mean they want to be targeted.

    And then, we have the lowest of the low - those PVP players who "invade" non PVP Private Groups. These folk should not simply be banned from the Private Groups, they should be banned from Elite entirely. They have no business engaging in this sort of activity. They are not wanted there, their actions are not welcomed there. This is a bigger offence than Combat Logging, and will never garner any sympathy from me if someone engaging in this is combat logged upon, nor should any action ever be taken against the combat logger in this situation - instead the combat initiator should be banned for their activity. Let's continue.

    Originally Posted by Rinzler o7o7o7 View Post (Source)
    Prime examples of gameplay styles that are hard-countered by combat logging include:


    * PvP piracy
    * Powerplay undermining defense/attacks
    * Inter-faction warfare
    * Player bounty hunting
    * Hunting newbie-killers
    * Blockades
    * System protection
    PVP Piracy is certainly a legitimate play style, however it is also one with the least number of viable options to enforce, and largely used as an excuse as well. Since destroyed ships yield no cargo, actively firing on a ship with the intent to destroy it negates any possibility of piracy. Since there is no way to actually "hold" someone and hatch-breaker limpets are either countered with some reliability by Point Defense systems, or produce random-at-best results, these are not usually a Pirate's first option.

    Power Play Undermining/Defense Against Undermining: Again, a fully legitimate activity, when done within the confines of what constitutes Undermining and Defense. And not everyone who plays is involved in Power Play, and not every Power Player is interested in engaging in combat - I've involved myself in Power Play on a few occasions, but not because I care about any specific power - I'm a module tourist. I run fortification for my merits, and when I'm done I move on - either to the next power for the next module, or I simply quit Power Play and resume my regular activities.

    Inter-faction Warfare - This boarders on an Excuse more than anything else, since no one can really JOIN a faction. How many player-controlled SDC ships will show them as part of SDC when scanned? How many players will show Torval's Shield when scanned? That's right, none of them, because we cannot actually join a faction. So this easily becomes a convenient excuse, and with no way to back up anyone's actual claims - Oh, you're supporting the Peoples' Right to Choose Party of Some Obscure Sector, and shooting at anyone who opposes them? Well, I support the Peoples' Right to Choose Party too. Or do I oppose them? You don't have any way to really know, except to rely on my honesty, and I will honestly tell anyone exactly what they want to hear if it works to my advantage.

    Player Bounty Hunting - With player bounties capped, this is also a boarderline excuse. Are you really going to hunt me over that pitiful You-Shot-a-Skimmer bounty or that 400 Cr missed shot bounty? If so, you may want to rethink your career path.

    Hunting Newbie Killers - Many who cry out the loudest against combat logging are these same newbie killers anyways. They get no sympathy either. And while I certainly salute anyone who would put their time in to bringing these folks to justice, let's face facts - it's not even going to slow them down.

    Blockades - Since there are more than one mode of play, these are completely meaningless and laughable at best. And since there is never any "official" backing for these - no faction offering missions to prevent traffic from entering a station or system, this falls into the realm of imaginary gameplay and excuse.

    System Protection - See Blockade.

    Originally Posted by Rinzler o7o7o7 View Post (Source)
    What does Frontier claim to be doing about it?


    After much consternation and discussion involving the relative legality of combat logging with the devs, community, and community managers, Frontier ruled the action of combat logging to be “exploiting” and as such is punishable by shadowbanning offenders (a “shadowban” is a client restriction preventing them from accessing “open play,” which is the online mode with other players.) After this ruling, Frontier has encouraged the reporting and documenting (usually with a YouTube link and supporting chat screenshots) of CMDRs engaging in exploiting. This reporting is done via the support ticketing system, and is usually accompanied by confirmation from Frontier that they have received, and are reviewing, the case of exploiting: they have a stated response time of “usually within 48 hours” for reviewing tickets and supporting documents related to the case.


    In the previous post, some commenters brought up some great criticisms of our methods. One that stuck out in our minds was that our process was too randomized. Nearly every reported log came from a different account, so if it was the first offense for all of those, maybe FDev wouldn’t action them at all.
    I'm a bit more surprised that the very notion that setting up pre-arranged combat logging to claim "oh look, an offence (that I knew about, that I arranged in advance)" might not stick out the minds of the folks at Frontier and cause these reports to be dismissed out of hand. It's almost like calling the fire department and telling them "I'm setting my house on fire." and then getting upset when they don't show up to put it out.


    Originally Posted by Rinzler o7o7o7 View Post (Source)
    The new plan


    Given the shortcomings of our previous plans, we put the lone SDC brain cell to use to establish as fool proof a plan as we were capable of forming:


    * A secure alt would combat log multiple times on multiple different players
    * All combat logs would be recorded from the aggressor’s perspective, from interdiction through the in-game report after the combat log
    * An additional ticket would be opened on the FDev website, and a short description of the events would be provided, along with the video of the incident


    Following this procedure would ensure multiple tickets submitted for combat logging, which would establish a pattern of behavior for this account. The “logger” account was active, participating in PvE activities like trade CG’s and exploring. The account was purchased in June 2017, and was played as a normal account for this timeframe. Currently, the account has the following stats:


    * Assets: 87 mil
    * Combat/Trade/Explorer rank: Novice/Broker/Pathfinder
    * Farseer/Elvira/Blaster unlocked and upgraded to G5
    * Ships owned: AspX, Viper Mk3


    A total of 5 combat logs were recorded over the course of 5 months. We did this to simulate what we felt a real player would do. No one combat logs 10 times in a week, they space it out when they run into PvP activity.


    * Ticket from combat log #1
    * Ticket from combat logs #2 & 3
    * Ticket from combat log #4
    * Ticket from combat log #5


    In summary, what we have here are 5 different clear combat logs done from the same account over a length of time, which should be crystal clear to FDev as such. All logs were task-kills and were reported minutes after they occurred.



    What we found


    Frontier is still doing literally nothing about punishing combat loggers. An account that had 5 clear task-kills received no punishments, no account limitations, not even a single warning letter.


    This is now the 2nd time we have caught Frontier red-handed lying about their procedures surrounding this exploit, which has existed since game launch and has still not been fixed. FDev’s continual refusal to punish combat loggers is an absolute disgrace to the playerbase of this game. At this point, we can only assume that Frontier does not punish combat logging at all, either because they can’t detect it or because they don’t want to.


    FDev, be straightforward with us. If you don’t care about combat logging, say so. It will save people a bunch of time if we don’t have to submit tickets for this stuff every time we see someone cheating. Instead, what you’re doing is undermining faith in yourselves, because you’re telling people to report exploiters because you totally do punish them while taking those reports and tossing them in the garbage can.
    See above regarding the fire department. This is basically the same plan as the previous plan. Ever hear of insanity being defined as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results?

    In short, we all know what the real solution here is, but it will never be implemented - a Toggle PVP On/Off flag, one that cannot be changed in combat and requires a three-minute warm-up/cool-down period. This would solve the problem universally, as those who did not wish to engage in PVP could not do so, nor could PVP be forced on someone who does not wish to engage in such a manner.

    But Frontier isn't going to do this, and this is going to remain a PVP-only problem from now until the end of the game.

    Finally, given there are too many simple ways to cause a disconnection that even the most dogged investigation would reveal nothing more substantial than "connectivity was lost", there will never really be any completely fair way to arbitrate this. Add to this Elite's already less-than-stable intra-player P2P model, and you get exactly what we've got - a situation with no easy solution, save one: replacing the simple vanishing of a ship with a ship explosion - then no one is any the wiser as to what just happened.

  8. This is the last staff post in this thread. #128
    Hey guys,

    I've responded to this thread over on Reddit and pasted the response below as well.

    "Good evening everyone,

    I understand the concerns that have been addressed in this thread and would like to take this opportunity to reassure you all that the team responsible for investigating issues such as cheats and combat logging have reviewed and verified that their processes have been followed, and that the account was reviewed by the team as part of these reports.


    A huge number of factors go into reviewing each report and I can personally confirm, having been a part of the team that reviews these reports, that action is taken on a regular basis. However, we do not discuss the process, tools or systems for detection publically, as doing so would help people avoid detection.


    While we understand the frustration caused when met with combat logging, continuous attempts at uncovering our investigation methods is not the way to assist with this being dealt with, as any information we give could be used to avoid detection.
    As you likely know, combat logging is something that has been discussed openly with the community by our development team. There have been discussions and feedback on concepts such as a Karma system (here’s an example). This is one idea being considered in order to address such issues.


    I’m sure you can appreciate that finding a solution that allows for automatic detection against rule breakers while also being fair on honest players is something that holds a number of challenges. It is something under discussion and active consideration but we have nothing to announce right now.


    Kind regards,


    Paige"


  9. #129
    Originally Posted by Mohrgan View Post (Source)
    OP, to put it succinctly: Who cares?
    It might shock you to know that many of the terrible player killers you fear so much, actually started off playing as Pirates. Some even as Anti-Pirate groups.

    I wonder how ED might look today if they hadn't got all jaded by FDEV's lies and granted tolerance of cheating in ED.

  10. #130
    Originally Posted by Alec Turner View Post (Source)


    Did you not see the Discovery Scanner livestreams? The focused feedback forums? The weekly livestreams from Ed and Bo? The number of dev's attending community events like Lavecon? Their willingness to stop and talk to anyone and everyone at the expo? Their 24hr xmas livestream?

    In terms of community engagement and interaction Frontier are second to none.
    You wouldn't believe the hands I've shaken and jokes I've laughed at when I was on the company clock....

  11. #131
    Originally Posted by Riverside View Post (Source)
    I think when you care about this it's a sign you probably care too much
    I disagree. Cheating is cheating in my mind regardless. Just because its done in a pve environment doesnt make it any more right.

    As to caring too much, I'd safely wager my last penny that if an SDC member admitted doing any of the things I just highlighted, the usual suspects would be out calling for them to be banned, have their accounts revoked and sent to RL prison.

  12. #132
    Originally Posted by Paige Harvey View Post (Source)
    Hey guys,

    I've responded to this thread over on Reddit and pasted the response below as well.

    "Good evening everyone,

    I understand the concerns that have been addressed in this thread and would like to take this opportunity to reassure you all that the team responsible for investigating issues such as cheats and combat logging have reviewed and verified that their processes have been followed, and that the account was reviewed by the team as part of these reports.


    A huge number of factors go into reviewing each report and I can personally confirm, having been a part of the team that reviews these reports, that action is taken on a regular basis. However, we do not discuss the process, tools or systems for detection publically, as doing so would help people avoid detection.


    While we understand the frustration caused when met with combat logging, continuous attempts at uncovering our investigation methods is not the way to assist with this being dealt with, as any information we give could be used to avoid detection.
    As you likely know, combat logging is something that has been discussed openly with the community by our development team. There have been discussions and feedback on concepts such as a Karma system (here’s an example). This is one idea being considered in order to address such issues.


    I’m sure you can appreciate that finding a solution that allows for automatic detection against rule breakers while also being fair on honest players is something that holds a number of challenges. It is something under discussion and active consideration but we have nothing to announce right now.


    Kind regards,


    Paige"

    Thanks Paige.

  13. #133
    Originally Posted by Rinzler o7o7o7 View Post (Source)
    Each encounter was a real combat log from an unknown and newly bought account to facilitate support tickets that Frontier asked us to send (they said to report any further incidents with additional tickets), from a group with a history of uncovering this inaction policy from frontier once before (they said they'd be taking action in the future).

    If you have not done so, I would highly recommend reading the Reddit post from the first logging investigation we did.
    Yeah, I'd have fobbed fakers off with something sounding vaguely positive then ignored them as well.

    First rule of investigation how reliable is your information ?.

  14. #134
    Paige, that is simple.

    They provied evidence for fake account. You do not know it was fake, and it does not matter. A fact is the cable has been cut and Fdev did nothing.

    It proves FDev did nothing, as everyone expected. I am reporting few combat logging every day i am playing, and i am seeing these commanders still in-game.

  15. #135
    Originally Posted by Windscreen Smudge View Post (Source)
    You wouldn't believe the hands I've shaken and jokes I've laughed at when I was on the company clock....
    Oh me too ... except in my case it's entirely genuine. Like Frontier I love my job and I genuinely enjoy interacting with and getting feedback from my customers. It sounds like maybe you not so much tho?

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