Friday, May 1, 2009

This Blog...

This is a blog dedicated to the online game EVE Online, and one of its players (me!) I play EVE Online using a program (agent) to help me accumulate money while I’m not physically at the keyboard. This is known by many names (Macroing, Botting, Cheating, amongst others).

In this blog I will discuss a lot of topics but I wanted to lay a few ground rules down first.

1. No, I won’t help you write a bot, macro, agent etc.

2. No, I won’t help you do your programming homework. Look, I’m barely a programmer myself. If I helped you I’m sure you’d fail.

3. I’ll post every day, but that doesn’t mean that the post was actually written that day. I’m starting off with a backlog of 100 entries and posting them daily, so if/when I talk about “yesterday” I may mean yesterday, or I may mean three posts ago. Sorry about that.

I welcome discourse, but I’m not interested in judgments.

Also, it goes without saying that my online identity will remain veiled. I’m no one of consequence, it’s not like I run a corporation or anything, but if someone were to find out that I’m using an agent to help me play the game the amount of grief would probably cause me to quit this game.

That about sums it up. I look forward to sharing my EVE Online life with you, it’s been a real fun time so far and I look forward to more of it in the future!


  1. I'm sorry but you should quit. If you can't play the game the way it was designed to be played then you might aswell not play it at all. You're giving yourself an unfair advantage over the rest of the players by using a bot to do your mining, and artificaially unbalancing the ingame economy while you're at it. I know its just a game, but by cheating you render it meaningless for yourself as well as everyone else who plays it.

    If you use a macro because you don't have time to mine properly then you can always do something else. Datacore farming is a good source of income once you train up the skills ad get the standings with the necessary agents and if you get the right agents you can log in, collect your datacores and have them sold on the market and the money in your wallet in about 5 minutes. I know of players who actually use this method to fund their EVE time.

    You don't need to cheat to enjoy the game, doing so demeans yourself and the game.

  2. Thanks for your feedback, Mandrill. I really appreciate it and you shouldn’t be sorry at all; your opinion is your opinion and it’s just as valid as anyone else’s.

    It’s funny you should use the word demean because I just read a line in a book that really struck home for me: “I try to avoid a fair fight whenever possible; it’s too easy to lose.” That’s kind of my outlook and how I approach things. In a fight I want to bring overwhelming force. I don’t want to give the other guy a chance, I want him dazed, confused, and unable to fight back. I’m not going to convo the guy and tell him how my ship is equipped. I’m going to show up with 30 friends and pound him into dust. That’s how you win.

    Same same here. Yes, the designers had something in mind, and good for them, but I choose to do it my way, because my way is better. It’s more efficient. It’s more effective. It lets me play the game on my terms. And that’s how I like life – on my terms.

    I also think you overestimate my power – how can I make the game meaningless for anyone else? This reminds me of the argument I hear from people about gay marriage – “If we let gay people get married, it will harm our marriage!” Um…ok but…how? Can you tell me that, Mandrill? HOW does my AFK Gaming make EVE meaningless for you, personally?

    You’re absolutely right about not needing to cheat in order to enjoy the game. I need to cheat to replace the Hulk I lost the other day (OMG what was I thinking AFK mining in .6 space with no tank?!) and to afford the skills that cost over 30 million isk. I need to cheat to bring the game’s ease down to a level I find acceptable. Otherwise I quit, and where’s the fun in that?

    I mean, you have to admit, I’m deriving a lot more meaning and fun as an AFK player than I would if I didn’t play at all….right?

    Again, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, and fly safe!

  3. Your 'AFK Gaming' demeans the game for me because your activities are not based on playing on a level field. They give you an advantage over players which circumvents the rules of the game. Imagine playing football (NFL not soccer) where one of the teams simply loaded their team up into a tank and drove to the other end of the field to score a touchdown. Thats not playing the game, that is destroying the game.

    You want to play a game on your own terms, write your own rules, then there is only one way you can do it without cheating; make your own game. The designers of EVE made the rules as they are for a reason, and that reason is the fact that the game would not work without those rules.

    An online game like EVE is nothing like the marriage situation at all. A gay marriage cannot have any effect on someone elses marriage as the two are not connected in any way. The objection to gay marrieage which you cite is, I'll agree, complete nonsense. But as I will explain below, your gameplay in EVE is not completely disconnected from my gameplay. Everyone who plays EVE has an effect on everyone else who plays EVE. Thats the way the game works.

    I'm all for gaining an advantage over an opponent in combat, but I will do it within the rules of the game and not by using an exploit or cheating. As EVE's PvP is all encomapssing, you compete against other players even when you're just mining. The minerals you mine with your bot, cannot then be mined by another player who actually sits there and does it manually, so you win against them by cheating. The minerals you sell on the market you place less value on because you didn't spend the time to manually mine them and can therefore justify undercutting other miners, again you win against them by cheating. The lower price you feel you can afford to set, becaus eyou don't value the product of your 'work' as much as those who actually do work for it, artificially affects the prices. This has a knock on effect for the whole economy. You may say that the tiny amounts you deal in compared to the volumes traded daily on EVE's market can't possibly have an effect, but you forget to take into account that EVE's economy is a highly complex system, in which the smallest fluctuations can have long term and devastating effects for everyone involved. The butterfly flapping its wings and all that.

    The point of playing a game, any game, is entertainment. If you can't gain entertainment from playing the game as its designers intended, the solution is simple: Don't play the game. Play by the rules or don't play.

    The other thing about games is the fact that primarily you are competeing against the game. It doesn't matter if there are other people playing alongside you. You are ultimately testing your abilities against the game. Proving that you are capable of succeeding even within the restrictions that the rules place on you. By cheating, you lose the most important contest in any game, the one against the game itself. If you really want to prove yourself, don't cheat. Beat the game on its terms not yours, that will be a far more satisfying victory I can assure you.

    The best thing I've found about EVE is that you have to work to get the best out of it, and it is very rewarding work once you get the hang of it. Because you had to do grunt work like mining or running missions to make enough money to buy that ship you've been lusting after since day one, you value your accquisition all the more. The fact that there is no death in EVE means that losing has to be felt somewhere. You don't feel the loss as acutely as I do, because you can just leave your bot mining for a few hours to make it up. You're missing a big part of the game by cheating. I feel every loss, as I have to work to make them back again (either in game or out if I want to buy a GTC to sell on the in-game market), you hardly feel it at all as you can do something else whilst your bot does the work for you.

    You don't need to cheat to replace the hulk you lost, or buy the skillbooks, you just need to work at it, just like everyone else. I don't need to mug old ladies to pay my rent, but its so much easier than working for a living. (I'm being rhetorical, I don't really mug old ladies, but you see my point). If you AFK mine you deserve to lose your ship, and you should have to do the work to get another one. If you want a 30million ISK skillbook, then you should do the work to get it. You have not earned any of the things you've aquired in EVE accorind to the rules of the game, you've basically stolen them. By circumventing the rules you make the entire game unfair for every other non-cheating player. I'll say it again, if you like the game (and I suspect that you do) then have a little respect for it, the people who made it, and people who play it by playing by the same rules that they do. If you don't like the game when you have to follow the same rules as everyone else, then show some respect by not playing it.

    Admit that it might not be for you and move on to something else. EVE is not for everyone, I don't want to sound elitist or snobbish when I say this, but I'm afraid that this is how it will come across. I don't mean to say that you're not good enough for EVE, I simply mean to say that it is not to everyone's taste. Your cheating is like covering a gourmet meal in ketchup until all you can taste is the ketchup. You're not experiencing the meal as it was meant to be experienced, you're not tasting the subtlety of the different flavours and their combinations, all you're tasting is ketchup. You might as well just drink ketchup out of the bottle instead of paying for a gourmet meal. The designers of EVE know what they are doing (most of the time) much like a gourmet chef knows what he is doing. They both want you to have the best experience that they can give you. The chef's skill would be wasted on you if you don't actually like the food, just as the game designer's skill is wasted on you because you don't like the game as it was designed.

    I realise that I'm probably not going to convince you to mend your ways, as from reading your next post I see you've been doing this kind of thing for a while. You're playing a kind of meta-game where you test your programming skill against the game to see if you can beat it. I can understand that mentality. Its like game crackers not circumventing the DRM on software and games to make money, but just to prove that they can. I get that, I really do, but now that you've proved that you can do it to EVE, you don't need to keep doing it do you? The challenge is gone, you can move on to the next one. You can accept a different challenge from a different game (ie figure out a way to cheat at something else), or a different challenge from the same game (ie play the game without cheating).

  4. Wow, thanks again for another comment! I appreciate you reading my blog.

    Over the next month or so I'll probably address a few of your points (tomorrow's will be about you comparing EVE Online to football) but I wanted to address something you said towards the end of your post in this comment.

    You think that since I've written this agent for EVE that I should move on, but I can't because it's not really done. There are still a lot of ways it could be improved upon. It can't read (like, letters/words/sentences) yet and I've got a lot of code written which I think will give it that ability. Once it can read I think I may want to give it the ability to run missions. Maybe I could even have it text me when someone convos me, and then I could text it back and the agent would type that into the screen. Wouldn't that be neat?

    Those are the little ideas that keep driving me to write code for the eve agent. And every time CCP implements a new feature, they add even more challenges for me.

    Also, keep in mind that most nights my agent is not running. I haven't coded it to login for me so I can't run 23/7 yet. In fact most nights I only run it six or seven hours at the most. Some nights I don't run it at all.

    I'm not trying to belittle the impact I have on the game, I'm just being honest about how I use it. For me this is less about the accumulation of huge ISK totals (though I do want that) and more about playing the meta-game you mentioned.

    Thanks again for your comments, and fly safe!