An unnamed player was banned recently from EVE Online by CCP's security team for being suspected of running a bot on the marketplace. The practice of market botting involves running a script that can create buy and sell orders very quickly -- in this case, 30 orders per minute. Using any type of automation like this is against EVE's terms of service, so the account was temporarily banned from the game.
Kelduum Revaan, CEO of EVE University (a very large, well-liked corporation) and a member of EVE's player council (CSM) that the player was a part of, has tried to petition CCP about the issue. They are disappointed with the response received from the developer, so they have taken to public forums to out EVE's Security team for having a lack of oversight and transparency.
Kelduum Revaan doesn't believe that the suspected player, who is being called "John" to cover his identity, was at fault. In a post on their forums Kelduum states:
That's updating an order every two seconds, which to me seems really shady, but John denied botting and decided to try and escalate the the issue and he submitted the process he used to trade on the market for consideration. According to Kelduum:
This ban, which John believed to be in error, caused him to leave EVE for good. Before he left, he donated 317 billion ISK to EVE University. EVE University wanted to make sure it was OK to use this large sum of money so they checked in with EVE's security team:
The security team responded by confiscating the money in question claiming that it was related to a security matter. I don't have the exact reply available at this time, as it's against EVE's EULA to post any response from a GM on a public forum.
Kelduum submitted his own petition on the matter:
All of the above quotes are taken from this post on EVE University's forum. On EVE's official forum, a thread was started on the subject, and CCP Sreegs (an EVE developer) replied with this in the thread:
The forum post is filled with people calling for more insight and transparency into the decisions being made by CCP on matters of in-game security. No one wants to play with cheaters, but people also want to know that they are being given a fair shake. CCP is in the position of being asked to disclose private messages and information, which is never a good spot to be in as a company. They aren't Congress, and it's really intense that people are being this aggressive about the issue. The have to consider the privacy agreement that CCP has with customers; they can't just put everything out in the open.
The other thing players are pointing out is that if this happened to some terrible corporation like Goonswarn, no one would bat an eye about them being called out for possibly cheating. Since EVE University is widely regarded as a good corp, it's hard for people to think that one of their members would cheat. Of course, CCP has to handle the issue the same way no matter who is involved.
The post goes on for a while with people accusing CCP Sreegs of failing to provide sufficient proof of botting in this instance; that CCP needs to do a better job of communicating why players are being banned, and if they have hard evidence, to back up their judgements. CCP Sreegs responded to these growing allegations in the same forum thread:
Finally, in another post CCP Sreegs tries to clarify their current position:
Look, people -- it's not real money and we're not talking about issues of national security. Yes, EVE is hardcore and people take it very seriously, but it is just a game, and a product. The developer has an obligation to customers to not disclose every bit of information about customers. It's unrealistic to think that they can just have full disclosure over an issue like this. They decided what John was doing was wrong, and they banned him for 14 days -- which they have every right to do.
They don't need to explain every little detail about why they decided he was going against the rules. I can understand why people would get upset over this. It would take me a very, very, very, very, long time to get together 317 billion ISK. Years, probably. It's a big deal, and if I was that player, I would want to know what was going on. John isn't posting on forums about the issue, though -- it's just other players crying foul. They don't really need to know what's going on.
I was able to get in touch with CCP to comment on this issue, and this is what they had to say:
In the end it seems like CCP has everything together, and they know what they are doing with their own game. It's unfortunate that some players are upset over this issue, but if CCP did decide to say what someone did wrong, it would be easier for another player to emulate that practice. It might suck to not know all of the details, but if it makes the game better for everyone I'm all for sensitive information being withheld.
What do you think? Is CCP right to keep some things a secret to protect the game's weaknesses and player's privacy, or should players have access to all the information when it involves them or their corporation?
The EVE-UNI botting controversy [The Mittani]
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