CCP are responding to the growing use of bots in EVE Online by making a softer ban for first offenders while retaining the permanent ban for second offenders. They’re also explained why players are starting to see an increase in botters since the game went free-to-play.
“Unrestricted Alpha access and Skill Trading have led to an increase in account hijacking issues and lowered the barrier of entry for botting,” CCP write in a new blog post.
The developers aren’t sitting idle, last month the team banned over 1,800 accounts found to be runnings bots or for being automated. “Mining bots were the largest group represented, with ratting bots coming in a close second,” the blog states. A third of those were banned permanently.
While CCP is able to detect some bot activity on their own, they also reiterate that community reporting does work and it’s both anonymous and without risk of getting anyone banned by accident. CCP can tell by looking at an account’s activity to know if it’s been botting or not.
In response to the growing problem with botting, CCP have made a surprising change to their botting policy. Your first offence will get you a three day ban. Previously, it was a 30 day ban. The reason for the change is give players caught botting “a painless chance to mend their wicked ways.”
The permanent ban for a second offense remains. So anyone who didn’t learn the lesson from the slap on the wrist “will simply get removed from the game pronto and we can all move on,” the blog post states.
This small change in policy has deserved a large announcement from CCP because the team have realised that the perception of the botting problem is worse than the affect it is having on the game.
In a call before the post went live, CCP Peligro told me that “We've been measuring bans for the longest time and we're not so sure that has any impact, so now we're trying to measure player sentiment as the true indicator of whether or not we’re doing a good job.”