Automation and Scripting - An investigation into further abuses of BGS and Powerplay

If this is not an official and supported tool by FDev available to all then one could argue that it is not benign as it will offer an unfair advantage to those who possess it vs those who don't. The ability to progress in game (literally hours sometimes) without any player input.

Another point to make is that if we cross that line in that case, what's the next thing we automate and are ok with? In the end do we just want bots playing the game and us just looking at stuff now and then and saying.. "look how good my bot is..."

Could be a slippery slope.
VoiceAttack is not nofficial and supported tool by FD, Neither, indeed, are any of the external tools. So that lays waste to that argument. I know I use VoiceAttack to automate a lot of stuff. I'm actually almost deaf, so you can imagine, VA is pretty useless to me for anything but it's automation abilities.
 
Because your post suggested you were working together. Which made me wonder how exactly. If the botting is still ongoing then FD don't appear to be very effective so I can only assume they are helping you in other ways.
You're assuming wrong. We're providing data to Frontier. We're not even informed of what action they are taking on their end. So, perhaps "working together" was an overstatement. But we're talking, and passing on whatever information we can find/detect. I am confused what sort of help you're even thinking of.

On occasion the Alliance factions have come across on these forums as somewhat arrogant in their stance against other pmf especially new ones who are inserted in systems you claim. It crossed my mind that this attitude was the result of a close relationship with Fdev.
If being disappointed that people picked themselves home systems that are already clearly worked by others, and therefore limit themselves in their BGS goals or put themselves into a difficult position, comes across as arrogant, I am sorry... I guess? But we don't pick people's home systems. They do. They can find themselves a place with room to grow, or they can put themselves up against established player groups and pick a fight. That choice is entirely up to them. I posted some useful tips how to select a home system in the Dangerous Group FAQ subforum.

We have no close relationship with FDev. We just log support tickets, and try to get their attention like any other player group or CMDR that faces an issue in the game.

In the interests of transparency would you be prepared to say just what exactly it is Fdev have done for the Alliance as a result of their collaboration into Bots?
As far as we know, nothing. They explicitly tell you they won't inform you of actions they take. They are looking into the problem. Or so we're told. I am still waiting for an answer from the community team on a mail I sent 10 days ago. There is no special relationship.
 
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On occasion the Alliance factions have come across on these forums as somewhat arrogant in their stance against other pmf especially new ones who are inserted in systems you claim. It crossed my mind that this attitude was the result of a close relationship with Fdev.
You mean a close relationship leading to things like
"Not allowing PMFs starting in Alliance territory that is actively managed by another player group" in the first place?

Well... You are wrong.
 
As far as we know, nothing. They explicitly tell you they won't inform you of actions they take. They are looking into the problem. Or so we're told. I am still waiting for an answer from the community team on a mail I sent 10 days ago. There is no special relationship.
That must be upsetting given the amount of evidence you have provided.

I imagine it is quite demoralising, what with the amount of work you must be putting in just to stand still.

have you asked FD if they could move your factions to a less competitive area of the bubble?
 
Could always disable docking computers at certain systems just the one in 3 chance "I'm sorry commander but our automated docking system is under maintenance at the moment you will have to dock manually"would prob solve it
It's also a really nice addition to the game without the anit-bot feature.
Agreed. As a general proposition, features that make the gameplay feel less predictable and break up routine, make for a game that is both more interesting and harder to automate.

That said, so long as you can reset most scenarios with a relog, it won't help much with bots. A bot can always just relog until it gets a scenario without any complications.
 
Wow that is quite huge evidence. Much more than our playergroup was able to collect 1 1/2 years ago since they were flying always in private.
Our playergroup got also heavily punished by bots at that time. Cutters flying to a 240.000ls distant planetary port every 30 minutes 24 hours a day like a clockwork. I have experienced the problem of bots myself the hard way.

Frontier needs to do something against this automated gaming asap. The worst thing is, when they hide in private, there is nearly no way for us players to collect evidence. Only system traffic and influence changes point out on them.

Thanks from us all! Don't let the botters win!
 
While I have a small amount of admiration for the coders who have developed these bots (it still took a fair amount of effort to do), it is still abhorrent to ANY MMO game to have bots doing work that humans could not possibly achieve in the same timeframe.

Unfortunately, it is 100% impossible to stop. The ability to read a screen AND translate this to readable and actionable data by a script is unstoppable.

There is only one way to effectively block this sort of thing from happening, and that is to use system-invasive monitoring software to look for running processes that could be used to run such scripts - Python interpreters, or exe's that inhabit specific memory addresses, etc. I believe WoW and Blizzard games did (or still do) use such tools.
Based on your post above, and especially the bolded selection, I'll chime in again.

I'm no scripting expert. I don't even know how to do a macro for sending a huge pile of text, such as "Hey, Commander, you're in our territory, please leave now or you'll interdicted and fired upon." I know stuff like that can be done - I've just never bothered to learn how (yet), but I'm going to draw a few possible conclusions here:

  1. There are multiple time zones where players log in and log out.
  2. There are multiple platforms so we don't see each other that way, either.
  3. Not all of us can spend 12 hours per day grinding for our Power.
  4. Power Play can still be done in Solo, so even if there was cross-platform to work with, solo players can "sneak under the rug".
  5. It's obvious that some players run bots that give THEIR power an advantage over players that are working "legitimately" by giving their time to advance their power.
  6. Since, as pointed in the bolded quoted section above, the script and activity is "unstoppable," the best solution is to have everyone run power play using a Cutter, Type-10, or Anaconda as a bot* in Solo mode.
I think that would even the playing field nicely.

*I'm being sarcastic. I'm not actually suggesting the use of bots; just pointing out that if you can't stop them....
 
*I'm being sarcastic. I'm not actually suggesting the use of bots; just pointing out that if you can't stop them....
that is of course one conclusion some might draw. the other, and its the one I would personally draw is: why bother? The whole idea of botting the BGS and powerplay essentially kills the game for me and very many others.
 
snip...

That said, so long as you can reset most scenarios with a relog, it won't help much with bots. A bot can always just relog until it gets a scenario without any complications.
That is true but we were referring to the use or otherwise of the docking computer to aid bots and in that case it would end up complicating the bot no end.
 
Agreed. As a general proposition, features that make the gameplay feel less predictable and break up routine, make for a game that is both more interesting and harder to automate.
I disagree on this point from a general proposition perspective.

They also do not necessarily make things harder to automate.
 
Relogging everytime you get a "Sorry Commander but the automated docking system is under repair could also be used as a flag to highlight accounts trying to dodge it and I'm sure it won't be that hard to implement it a couple of times in a row as a double check my point is certain patterns of behaviour would highlight accounts for botting now one of these things might not on its own be enough but if an account is generating humanly impossible amounts of Powerplay credits and always using a docking computer always following predictable pattern then together it would almost certainly prove botting the docking computer would just be an additional flag providing lists of players visiting systems would also help spot them
You could just make them perminantly off in Powerplay systems and random everywhere else
Most Powerplay guys are experienced players and can quite happily dock unassisted
 
have you asked FD if they could move your factions to a less competitive area of the bubble?
LOL.

One of the strengths of the AEDC is that they "Play it how it lies".
Whatever gets thrown at us, we use game mechanics to solve it.

One time we did try to get something addressed, around surface ports and skimmer missions. Dav Stott's response on a live stream was: "If you want to be big, then you're going to have logistical problems with that".
Which was kinda: "Deal with it"

And so we ran a six week operation called "Stinkbomb" to fix the issue in Naitis.
But about the same time as the operation was achieving results Frontier nerfed skimmer missions because of the credit farming, and the effect was the same.


But in terms of moving, that's an impossible thing to ask.
The Primary Faction that is recognised by Frontier is present in a lot of systems, and there's like more than a hundred stations ruled by that primary faction.
Then there are other "core" AEDC factions that we have always supported and they are pretty extensive too.
And then there are a lot of Alliance factions that we grow and nurture and care for.

So moving's not an option.


And we're not as "top down" directed as people think either.
There's a lot of "well I think this is important and I'm going to plan an operation around that" and then you get a critical mass joining in and it becomes "The Thing".
So there's a lot of folks quietly working away on Alliance BGS projects, and they know they can get a big push when they need it.

[video=vimeo;266404573]https://vimeo.com/266404573[/video]
https://vimeo.com/266404573

I've gotten a bit off topic here, but I just wanted to challenge the notion that we have some special relationship that we are leveraging.

We're not even a Triple Elite Group.
We looked at it when it first became a thing, but to become a Triple E Group there's this clause that you have to run regular community events, and we're kinda background operators by nature.
 
Some powerplayers take this game too seriously to be taken seriously.
So to be taken seriously you must act silly? I'm pretty sure you wrote that as a fallacy in mind, ergo, no matter the attituded, the OP wouldn't be taken seriously

JPG and several strings of code can't advocate for anything.
Prove it.

Indeed. That was my first thought on reading this to be honest; I could understand it if we were talking valuable cash prizes or something but just how utterly tragic and devoid of purpose does someone's life have to be before this is deemed to be a worthwhile way for them to spend their time?
In the grand scheme of things, nothing that we do matters...

Captcha every time you land on a station?
 
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Relogging everytime you get a "Sorry Commander but the automated docking system is under repair could also be used as a flag to highlight accounts trying to dodge it and I'm sure it won't be that hard to implement it a couple of times in a row as a double check my point is certain patterns of behaviour would highlight accounts for botting now one of these things might not on its own be enough but if an account is generating humanly impossible amounts of Powerplay credits and always using a docking computer always following predictable pattern then together it would almost certainly prove botting the docking computer would just be an additional flag providing lists of players visiting systems would also help spot them
You could just make them perminantly off in Powerplay systems and random everywhere else
Most Powerplay guys are experienced players and can quite happily dock unassisted
I see this functionality as the same for every station and it's a persistent state of the station, not the session, so if one commander gets the out of order message then all get it at that station for a period of time, say a week. Then there's a period of time where the chance of getting it again is very low but rising as time passes until a certain threshold is reached (dependant on other factors so it not the same every time) and then the auto-docking system is offline again.

The idea is to simulate a real-time system that has a low mean time between failures. This way re-logging would not reset the docking computer state.
 
After playing PP for the 1st time I can understand (but not approve) that some cheaters would use bots. The 30 min wait to get more free materials that can be bypassed with payment is a horrible system that makes want to puke. I really cant understand how anybody who cares about their fellow humans could allow such a customer soul crushing game mechanic to exist in game.
 
Space legs.

Have the commander walk to station control to validate himself and his ship once in a while. All the bot scripts and progs are centered on existing ship mechanics which is why all the anti-bot solutions brought up so far punishes the legit commander in some way.

New game mechanics, new approach. Get a technological jump on the botters for once.
 
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