FDevs vision conflicts with Elites features: Another win for bots.

So Fdev announced the new features coming on the 23rd, and for newbies this is fantastic. I'm sure everyone remembers their first time trying to figure out how the hell to navigate supercruise and undoubtedly this will make learning experience less daunting.

But unfortunately that's where the positive nature of these “training wheels” features ends, because undocking, and supercruise throttle where arguably the hardest parts of scripting for botters. The undetectable version of bot software we know of rely on visual cues to reference its position or it's place in a sequence of events such as undocking, lifting off, aiming for the mailslot and being out of mass lock range. Now the game does the majority of this for them, providing botters with a reliable in game solution.

The details of botting and their effects on the game we detailed here. But in a nutshell, botting has proven to be a destructive force in BGS and Powerplay. It has been the cause of a subversion of powerplays intended purpose and its enjoyable mechanics, it has caused the collapse of BGS operations across the bubble, doing damage to multiple Alliance PMFs, contributing to the collapse of Mobius' faction, and attacks which have bled over to other targets like Privateers Alliance.
And throughout this FDev has been silent. Milk-toast responses, little to no feedback and no actions on our reports.

On a personal note, it's clear to me that FDev has a vision for this game, and that vision is hindered by their previous iterations and features. BGS was put into the game to give life, and players have turned it into a gameplay feature. Powerplay was dissolved into a husk of the strategy experience it was meant to be, and with no development on it core players are leaving and the gameplay continues to stagnate. I feel the same way about multi crew, it feels tacked on and not even close to the type of gameplay FDev wants or wanted, and that shows as they try and wrestle in additional features such as exploration multicrew.

So the best solution? Just delete powerplay. At this point Fdevs clearly going for a different experience to the one we currently have. One that favours the macro experiences of a player to the broader experiences of large groups. BGS is a much larger beast, with too many player factions to attack to cause as big an upset as a focused group of 11 powers. but I wonder how long before even BGS isn't safe.

For me, the lack of foresight from Fdev before they started developing these new features is really a betrayal to the players that spent so much time trying to report and clear up their game of abusive practices. The lack of response to those fighting bots, the lack of action on bots, and now the active development of tools that benefit bots, shows me whos side FDev is really on.

So congratulations bots. You win.
 
The fix for the botting problem is simple, but the ED community will do nothing but complain about it, and it's labor intensive so FD probably don't care to implement it.
 

Paige Harvey

Community Manager
Frontier
Hey everyone, we addressed botting on a previous thread, so I'll pop the response here:

Hello folks,

Just wanted to address some of the concerns regarding botting raised in this thread. Firstly, we want to make it extremely clear that we do not tolerate botting, client manipulation or cheating and that doing so violates the EULA and Terms of Use agreed to when signing up for a Frontier account.

While we will not go into details regarding individual botting reports, we can confirm that we do investigate all reports thoroughly and take action against accounts that are found to be breaking the Terms of Use.

We'd like to assure you that we take each and every bot report very seriously and that we appreciate your continued reports and vigilance, helping to keep Elite Dangerous a fair and inclusive game.
 
If FD have no long term plans for Powerplay then I'd accept it being removed. Powerplay in its current form has no extra room to play in and without Collapse will simply be trench warfare.

But, we all live in hope (well me anyway in my padded cell) that FD will enact Sandros proposal which although not perfect would make Powerplay much better. I'm sure Paige is just champing at the bit to tell us that a Powerplay update is coming...........isn't it?

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Lets assume you're not going to stop some people from botting and therefore breaking the rules. So how to you catch them? You take the complicated and sometimes randomized portions of their bot scripts and provide more reliable, easier to implement generic game features they can use instead - thus making repeating bot scripts easier to spot in log files and via analysis.

So its not necessarily a bad thing to add auto pilots. I know it seems counter intuitive, but taking things that are complicated and turning them into simple things to do makes it easier for the game administrators to spot them. Does it promote cheating? Sure, it also makes it easier to catch cheaters.
 
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If FD have no long term plans for Powerplay then I'd accept it being removed. Powerplay in its current form has no extra room to play in and without Collapse will simply be trench warfare.

But, we all live in hope (well me anyway in my padded cell) that FD will enact Sandros proposal which although not perfect would make Powerplay much better. I'm sure Paige is just champing at the bit to tell us that a Powerplay update is coming...........isn't it?

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FDEV should just do a temporary trial of Powerplay being open only for a few months or something, see how it goes. The only way to know if it works is to try it...
 
Hey everyone, we addressed botting on a previous thread, so I'll pop the response here:

And that post was replied to with proof of the issue being bigger than you're acknowledging.

Hi Will,
This video shows 3 combat zone turret bots that have been reported multiple times over the past two years without being banned. It would be greatly appreciated if you actually stopped tolerating botting instead of just saying you don't and then protecting the cheaters with an anonymity policy seen virtually no where else in gaming.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP6PP2GMLH4


Alternatively you could make powerplay open only and just let the community handle this ourselves, since relying on community tools seems to be frontier's preferred way of making the game playable anyway.

These botters are not being stopped. So the concerns are valid. And we'd all REALLY like something a bit more definitive than "We respond to reports," as both the post I linked and the OP's own documentation shows that the responses aren't quite so vague. You have, in fact, introduced game function that will directly and unstoppably enable bots in Private and Solo. Something else has to give or Power Play and the BGS will get flushed down the pipe.
 
FDEV should just do a temporary trial of Powerplay being open only for a few months or something, see how it goes. The only way to know if it works is to try it...
A beta server with it on with the changes would be an ideal testing ground. Since we know all the weaknesses we could give the beta a robust thrashing and see directly if Open Powerplay lives up to its potential.
 
I run a bank of bots for a very popular on-line ccg. I know exactly what brings my bots down, and it isn't some ground-breaking code work-around.
If Sandros proposal is implemented, the weighting would make automation and 5C have to work much, much harder. But in the end only good design can eliminate bots, and limiting the easy hauling process with more random elements.
 
I'm sure everyone remembers their first time trying to figure out how the hell to navigate supercruise and undoubtedly this will make learning experience less daunting.
Lest we forget...

My first memories of supercruise were back when an ADS cost over a million credits, when it took over a week to earn a million credits and when fitting an ADS would have easily doubled, tripled or quadrupled the value of my ship.

I'd arrive in a new system to complete some mission, honk with my BDS and it'd reveal the orbit lines of a few planets.
I'd then follow the orbit line of the outermost planet, honking as I went, until I discovered new planets and then I'd hop across to the orbit line of that planet and continue exploring the system until I finally discovered my destination.

Yes, I could have scanned the nav-buoy to reveal the location of every planet in a system but nav-buoys were scary places where a wrong move could have seen my ship destroyed, my mission failed and weeks of progress erased so I preferred to just do my own thing and hope I didn't attract the attention of any of the "big fish" in the area, be they human or NPC.

This, to be clear, was enjoyable.

It was kind of like being told there was a valuable prize waiting for you inside a big ol' haunted house which you had to explore at night, with the lights off.
Rather than being "daunting", it was actually exciting, intriguing and interesting.
With hindsight, of course, I now know exactly what I might've expected to find in any new system but, back then, every Ls travelled in a new system was an exciting step into the unknown.

I'd much rather FDev attempted to restore and enhance that sense of excitement rather than eradicate it completely in an attempt to make flying a spaceship simply an inconvenience in a spaceship game.


Other than that, though, I agree with the OP. :p
 
These bots. I realise that such things could possibly exist and I don't dismiss everything said about them out of hand, but I am a bit sceptical. The thing is, I think they'd be difficult to set up and I can't imagine any motivation for doing it. There's no actual RL money to be gained, and winning a game by not playing it is a simply weird idea. Technical challenge maybe, but there are simpler ways to find such a challenge: write a game perhaps. There's also a strange feature in the current narrative: it's said that they started in Open and switched to Solo when people started blowing them up. I find it hard to imagine that someone capable of writing a bot wouldn't think of using Solo from the start.

Against those contrary ideas, the only evidence of bots I've seen has been people saying "We put in a lot of PP effort and still lost". Instead of bots, couldn't that have been because of other players?

Then there's the apparent lack of action by FD. Have they reviewed the evidence submitted to them and been unconvinced by it?

So, bots are possible, but what could anyone gain by using them and do they really exist?
 
Bot writers sell bots. That's how they make money. Some writers also use their own product, but not often because it's kinda skivosa to do it. Those are the cats who write backdoors, reverse update, charge for price lists, etc...

I work with a writer who probably makes over 200k a year on one product alone. It's sick money. Often It's bots that stabilize a virtual economy, so you'll find that a botter here is hated and loathed, and a botter over there is a white knight.
 
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Hey everyone, we addressed botting on a previous thread, so I'll pop the response here:
Paige, thank you for addressing this, but this is exactly the milktoast repsonse I'm talking about.

After the first wave of reports we sent to support, half the accounts we sent support went off the grid so we assumed they were banned. the other half remained and they went underground to solo play. We cannot report on induvidual cases of suspected botting if we can't see them.
This harks back to a point being made above and for years now that the lack of transparency within these systems allows for the bots to thrive. Obviously FDev is unwilling to do anything about it with the information they have from the back end.
I don't think FDev understands the severity of the situation, or maybe they simply don't acknoledge it becuase they think they have superior data to the player base.

And that post was replied to with proof of the issue being bigger than you're acknowledging.
And this is entirely my point.

The thing is, I think they'd be difficult to set up and I can't imagine any motivation for doing it. There's no actual RL money to be gained, and winning a game by not playing it is a simply weird...
Check my original post with a link to our original investigation. It details the means, the possible motives and the execution of botting.

There's also a strange feature in the current narrative: it's said that they started in Open and switched to Solo when people started blowing them up.
No this is false, AOS was the first find and report the bots. engaged with them multiple times, and every time their flight path deviated in some way they force quit the game.

What made them go into solo was the reports and subsequent bans that alerted them to the fact they were being watched.
 
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