Rich Richman here. The opinions expressed in the article are my own and do not represent any group, corporation, alliance, or entity except myself.
CCP is failing its battle against botting. Even as we speak, the botting group controlled systems regularly reach well over 600 and 1000 Combat anomaly deltas in Cobalt Edge, Branch, and Oasa. They are completely incapable of stopping them, and in my opinion are wholly incompetent in their approach in fighting botting, and by extension RMT. Botting’s root cause is RMT. Although some small scale botting operations may bot for personal gain and interests such as one operator of the KWG botting alliance, most bots operate for RMT based profit. These bots sometimes join groups that have little to no security in their recruitment procedures such as Pandemic Horde ltd or purposely set up corps within bigger alliances.
However, the majority of bots are in renter alliances. They are in present in every major alliance and coalition’s rental programs. Everyone since the beginning of time has known that EVE wealth on the highest level is linked with RMT whether that be UAxDeath or Fafer’s management. Everyone under the sun knows the connection of RMT with renters and major coalitions and alliances. These groups turn a blind eye, and whistleblowers are set up for systematic retaliation should they put the rules of the game above the interests of their alliance. Goonswarm tells their members not to “goonfuck” and Evictus leadership will have people removed from their friendly alliances for reporting it.
The most famous of the cases, KWG purchased an entire region from TEST and paid them for protection. FRT was also paid to leave them alone. Neither groups asked any questions and the botting alliance were free to bot in vast intel networks set up to ensure their supercarriers could bot in safety. The ambitions of the botters there would lead him to plan purchases of other regions before things came tumbling down.
Today, botting still occurs by rental groups. They are so numerous it is impossible to name them all. In Legacy you have Living Breathing Fuel Blocks whom possess several botting corps. Evictus had Evictus associates, and in FireCo space are the various Russian groups commonly linked to botting. Imperium botting groups can be seen in Initiative Associates, Infensus, Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere, Iron Crown, and Ranger Regiment. The latter two were known for their prolific botting in GOTG era. In Panfam space you have Brothers of Tangra well known for their extensive botting and RMT history dating back to pre-Skill Urself era. Cobalt Edge and the Dronelands once controlled by Hard Knocks Associates has been sold to VVV and MSN who’re hands of Fraternity’s military and economic powerhouse and major botting fronts. On the note of Fraternity, you also have their renter corps Sylvanas Super Mercenary and Azure Citizen. Surprisingly, they’ve been the most responsible and receptive to attempts to remove botting corporations, frequently responding to bot reports and culling entire corporations out.
My personal email possesses over 150 emails in 9 months. This is averaging more than one ban every 2 days. I have not made a single dent on the bots. Even supercarrier bots killed and reported at the beginning of my bot reporting have not been banned (check their zkill).
So, why is CCP failing in stopping botting? The problem CCP faces is two sided. They have created a system that enables bots by creating systems to protect them. Local chat is the ultimate protection for bots and it is clear the effects of blackout on the botting deltas of GOTG space. Many of the bots today will be out of the site before a Hyperspatial instawarp interceptor can D-Scan and land on site. Their reaction times are infinitely faster than even the most skilled human player hunters. Warp Core Stabilizers have been seen in quantities as many as 4 and commonly 2-3 on some botting Ishtars. This essentially prevents most tackle from bringing it down, allowing them to rat in almost guaranteed safety.
Some may ask, why not bubble it? Why not camp it? And the response is: not everyone wants to waste 30 minutes to kill 4 Myrmidons. In addition to this protection, Gila bots and Myrmidon bots (which can be injected) are supported by networks designed to facilitate ease of setting up bots that cross coalition and alliance hostilities. CCP faces an uphill battle against player groups (renters) that enable this to happen. Their no questioned asked policies and open recruitment enable botting pests to easily profit from their protected space. Coalitions are reluctant to combat bots in their own groups as they hold buffer space which by extension protects them. In addition, they receive profit and benefit.
And finally, no matter how quickly bots are reported they are not immediately banned. CCP’s system is delayed and requires investigation and manual banning. These delays ensure each bot is profitable by the time they are banned. Unless the bots are banned within the first 12 hours or less of their lifespan, the bots are profitable, and banning them becomes pointless. There have been bots continuously operating for days and weeks without being reported. Even if they’re banned on their 17th day of operation, it is too little too late. They have become profitable to the extent they can fund more. It is a hydra. A monster that cannot be killed by cutting off its head. For every Myrmidon, Ishtar, Gila, and Vexor killed is more that will replace it.
With the announcement of ESS changes, it is hoped that the botting crisis may be changed for the good. A system that forces confrontation rather than death by stagnation. It might just save us in some way, though we have yet to see.
God save us. Because the bots are here. And these bots will soon outnumber us.