Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alts and the ToS change

The EVE blogs and forums are exploding with the new ToS “not”-change where impersonation of other players and organizations were banned – even if it’s true.

I’ve protected the ToS change and still do. But it needs clarification, explanation and maybe more changes. It clearly needs accepting the fact that changes have been made.

Many people claim that the ToS change is an attempt to decrease scamming. I don’t think it’s the case. The case is about a fundamental MMO-problem: alts. In theory if you do something in game, you suffer the consequences in the game. Practically it can be avoided by alts. You do something with a character, who will suffer the consequences, but you, the player don’t care as you are enjoying the benefits while playing another character. Despite EVE is marketed as a living world, it’s not. Pilots come out of nowhere with money and knowledge no newbie can posses, do things and disappear in the shadows forever. For example, I (the player) gank miners. The game says that such actions are to be penalized by low security status and kill rights on me. However I, the player can safely haul billions around – as another pilot. There is absolutely no way for the ganked miner – or rather the white knight fighting for him – to retaliate. Me, the player could hurt his progress in game, he can’t do the same to me.

Alts are both unavoidable and necessary. CCP income comes from subscriptions, they can’t just ban alts. Even if they did, players would avoid it by proxies and virtual machines – like botters do to protect their main accounts from banning when the bot account is found. Sure, CCP does some alt-hunting in bot ban cases, but they often fail to find them all. If you can’t enforce a rule, you shouldn’t make the rule, or you instantly reward those who can break and get away with it.

I suggest the following set of rules to achieve what CCP tries to achieve:
  • an official alt-following page on character sheet. Call it “family” for roleplaying reasons.
  • same-account alts are automatically listed. It’s not really a change, as CCP already provides account-wide API keys which every corp recruiter will ask for anyway. Also, this is easy to enforce by CCP.
  • accounts can be linked by the player on the management site, upon linking, all characters show up on the “family” page of each other
  • you can’t un-alt an alt except for open character bazaar sale, where it’s automatically done
  • watchlists, chatroom and personal bans affect all alts
  • you are not required to connect all your accounts (CCP couldn’t enforce if they’d require it), but claiming to be an alt of someone without your family page supporting it is bannable. The GM first warns you to fix your page by linking accounts in case the claim was true, if you can’t, you get banned. Temporarily if the lie was casual, permanently if it was used to scam/spy (so “I’m very rich, because I’m actually Chribba” is temp-ban, “trust me with this business, as I’m Chribba” is permaban).
  • even claiming to have an unnamed alt is bannable. If you say “I have a highsec missioner alt to get ISK” or “my nullsec main will hunt you down” and someone reports you, the GM will request you to add an alt fitting the description to your family page, and bans you if you fail to.
  • These rule applies to in-game chat, forums, and any third party media that you call your own in-game, so I can’t claim on my blog that Botslayer Goblin and Gevlon Goblin are both my pilots without the in-game family page representing it.
  • kill rights and security status is shared by all family members
  • family members must be in the same corp (NPC corps count as one). This would make a player unable to dodge wardecs by out-of-corp alts, except by leaving the corp for the NPC corp completely. When one family member is accepted to a corp, all of them automatically follow. When one kicked or leaving for NPC, all do.

The above rules wouldn’t outlaw having secret alts (that can’t be enforced), but would ban you from mentioning their existence. You always have to watch your mouth. If you slip just once and reported, the GM will warn you to add the alt to your page and if you are unable to – because you lied – bans you.

Sure, I could roll new ganker pilots to prevent my main getting security status hit and kill rights, but I couldn’t blog about their adventures, couldn’t link their kills to anyone. Or I could roll new secret trading pilots but then I couldn’t blog about trading. One way or another I, the player, would have only one in-game identity: the upstanding trader who generates GDP by mutually beneficial trades and cutting down margins or the ganker who kills anything that isn’t tanked.

This change wouldn’t disallow spying and scamming, there are spies and scammers in real life despite lack of throwaway alts there. You would have to build up an identity from scratch and be very careful not to slip once, mentioning your outside connections. Similarly, if you join a corp, all your listed alts join, becoming wardeccable. You can’t be a “nullsec PvPer who doesn’t give a damn” and run 4 Retrievers on the other screen. The corp recruiter will ask why do 4 non-listed pilots send you ISK. If you answer “they are my alts”, the recruiter can report you if you turn out to be a bad recruit, forcing you to make the Retriever pilots linked, therefore wardeccable if your main is in a player corp. You either have to fully commit yourself to the corp joining with all alts or you have to find a corp which doesn’t care why do 4 non-listed pilots are sending you ISK.

My point is that in EVE you can be an upstanding citizen, a warrior of a cause or a pirate looking for booty, but you should have a singular in-game identity. Your actions (performed trough one pilot) should have consequences on your whole in-game existence and not just on that throwaway pilot.



Another non-hate mails from miners:

26 comments:

Foo said...

Due to broken Pos implementation, the one all alts in one corp would require me to close 2 corps, and boot active players from corp. I can only provide semi secure storage to 7 real life players per corp.

As I am turning wh corp membership into a business, I would be opposed to any "one corp per player" change until corp /pos / pi permissions get
fixed.

Gevlon said...

@Foo: that's independent. You have several corps for technical reasons which need to be fixed.

Provi Miner said...

I am curious why do you want to reward morons? Joe the moron does the risky transaction and gets scammed. under you rules not only is joe rewarded by seeing an entire family be marked as scammers he most likely will be lauded for exposing the scammer's family rather then be trolled to rage quite for being an idiot.

Bo said...

Well i think the logic behind this is sound, but I still think it is too hard to implement. Too much coding and a lot of monitoring, and all of it will depend on player petitions which is finicky at best.

The main issue with the tos (from my point of view at least) is that they blatantly lied about it. If they came out and said we didn't like things are and we want to change then that could have been acceptable. It is their game after all and we can only say our opinion. But they treated the player base like idiots and refused to back down when called upon it multiple times. Saying that a character is your alt is a banable offence when he really is, is just plain stupid.

Gevlon said...

@Provi Miner: because currently there is no "risky" transaction, just suicidal. If you trust in anyone, you are a moron.

Similarly, there is no way to become a respected entity, unless you put inhuman amount of effort in it, like Chribba.

So the current implementation of rules, there is no such option as "being a nice guy" in EVE, despite in a sandbox you should be able to be one.

Anonymous said...

Since nobody would be forced to show their alts, what's the point of this change really? If a scammer (or a ganker) doesn't tell publicly about his alts, there would be no consequences and the game would proceed as usual. Recruiter example is pretty bad since he doesn't have neither the obligation nor the motivation to turn someone in. In the end it will only hurt players,like the first commenter.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if I'm entirely convinced by your idea, especially everyone in one corp point, but it sounds logical enough to me.

No fucking way it will ever get implemented though, the rage a change like this would cause would make the current shitstorm pale in comparison.

Anonymous said...

I like modt of your ideas except the one where you need everyone of the family to join the same corp.
It would exclude you from doing other things. You woudn't be able to join a faction warfare side with an alt while doing null sec, trade/industry, ... on an other alt. Restricting the way many veterans play. Having all the alts known is engough.

Ra_Jackson said...

It will be alot of effort and still not help with anything.
So if you see a character that has no family - do you trust him because he is new? Or do you trust no one without a family because surely they are unlinked alts? Will you only trust characters with a legion of linked alts? And how do you know they don't walk away with your stuff anyway?
In this game you gain trust by playing with people. Those that I trust already know my alts. It is a social game after all. You shouldn't need indicators to tell you who to trust.

Anonymous said...

Alts always were a fundamental problem in EVE and the game will never reach its full potential as long as you can make throwaway characters for whatever reason to avoid personal/character responsibility.

Unfortunately CCP gets far too much money from multiboxing to even consider doing something like this.

Anonymous said...

I would not say Chribba has put "inhuman" effort into it, and there are plenty of Trusted Parties in eve, and people who are told "I was told people like you couldn't exist in Eve".

If people buy into the "Everyone in eve is nasty" then I suggest they change who they hang around with.

Anonymous said...

Why is that even needed?

P1 - "Hey mate, I'm an alt of Chribba, I will do your supercap transfer"
P2 - "Cool, would you mind having Chribba sent a confirmation?"
P1 - "Erm, I, oh, uh, ah look, behind you, a three-headed monkey"

If you aren't a complete idiot you can't get scammed.

If it's indeed Chribba that scams on an alt, the mail can be used to proof that Chribba is scamming (Mails exposed via API can't be faked).

Gevlon said...

The problem with Chribba is that he can only be Chribba because he was here at the start and had a choice to become Chribba. If a new player would never-ever scam, he would still be completely unable to become trusted partner.

Limiting the various ways to play is the very point of the change. You need to choose a way and live that way or be a very careful scammer. The main problem with the alts is allowing you to be very different AT THE SAME TIME, getting away with your actions.

Anonymous said...

basically you want gw2 account based implementation of contact, guild etc.

it works for arenanet. also if I block someone I block his account not his char-name(s)

Fengrar said...

I disagree with your statement that every one of your alts should be in the same corp together, when in any other game has that been implemented? There is nothing wrong with having a PvP alt and and PI alt and a market alt in 3 different corps, they are different play styles that florish in different environments. I think a good solution similiar to your 'family' idea can be taken from WoW with something similiar to the Battle.net ID. If you trust someone give them that code and they can see whatever toon you are on.

Lucas Kell said...

Firstly, Any of you that think this is a good idea:
Please can I have some of the crack you are smoking. It must be amazing.

This idea renders a lot of legitimate alts (such as my high sec industrialist who require her own corp so she can anchor a POS) completely useless. So boom accounts gone.
Then you are banning anyone for lying and/or not linking alts. Boom, more accounts gone.
You are also forcing players to pick only 1 area, or somehow try to split a corp, so If i want to do WH stuff, and null stuff, I can't. Boom, more accounts gone.
Basically what you end up with is a game with a massively diminished population that can only lie to each other if they completely lie to everyone, causing each account to be run completely independently. API keys would be an absolute NO, since anyone catching an idea that perhaps this random player you gave some isk to is you could get you banned should you not be able to link them to your main. CCP has no way to prove its you or not, so if you transferred them isk, and they aren't you (I've helped out random noobs in the past) you would get banned.

And all for what? There was no change to anything. The ToS was just putting rules that have been in place for years into a single place to make it easier to read. They've even clearly stated that GMs are operating on exactly the same rules as the operated on pre-change.

@Gevlon:
"Limiting the various ways to play is the very point of the change. You need to choose a way and live that way or be a very careful scammer. The main problem with the alts is allowing you to be very different AT THE SAME TIME, getting away with your actions."
You still will be able to. I run 2 spies. Neither are in any way linked to my main. If the rules changed the way you wanted to, they would remain that way, I simply wouldn't refer to them out of game either.

And speaking of out of game, you say CCP would see someone saying out of game "I have an alt" then force them to add that alt. How would you stop that being faked? If I run a website, and I make an account called Gevlon Goblin then post saying "hey, I have an alt in SOLAR, he's amazing!", how can CCP tell if that's real or fake? They can't see the identity of the poster, only the name it's posted under. So should they ban you for not linking your solar alt?

"The problem with Chribba is that he can only be Chribba because he was here at the start and had a choice to become Chribba. If a new player would never-ever scam, he would still be completely unable to become trusted partner."
Yes, they can. Third parties have to start small though, and prove themselves. There are several third parties on the marketing forums, some growing, some pretty big already. By being honest and working from the ground up, they build a reputation. You can never be 100% sure about anyone, not even Chribba, but you can hedge your bets. I'd quite happily run a transaction though Grendell for example, another trusted third party.

Gevlon said...

@Lucas: yes, those alts and accounts would be gone and SHOULD be gone. They are the reason why the game isn't a sandbox world but a complete anarchy.

What are you? A WH player? A null player? A scammer? A missioner? A miner?

You have no identity in the game.

@Fengear: there is everything wrong with those alts. If I want to hunt you down, I can't because your highsec alts are protected by concord, and your nullsec alt never flies anything he'd care to lose.

Lucas Kell said...

@Gevlon:
"yes, those alts and accounts would be gone and SHOULD be gone. They are the reason why the game isn't a sandbox world but a complete anarchy."
Firstly, they are a huge portion of CCPs income. Secondly, people would STILL scam, they would simply do it with an alt they tell nobody about. I would still run a high sec corp, I'd just have to keep it quiet that it was me.

"What are you? A WH player? A null player? A scammer? A missioner? A miner?
You have no identity in the game."
Primarily a null industrialist and trader, but I have a high sec industry and mining wing, a missioner, a high sec ganking squad, 2 spies and up until recent had a C2 wormhole (I liquidated it to focus on the war, and null trading).
I don't like limiting my options to a single thing, I like a bit of everything. My null guy comes first, but I like to vary my play.

Also, you seem to have avoided the whole out of game banning thing. With that out of the way, I'd pretty much have to tell you in game or on the forums that I had an alt. Out of game I could tell people and not be able to be punished, or they would open up a method to get people banned.

Anonymous said...

Horrible suggestion!
I do like the idea of alt trees. I liked your first few points.

Your idea of enforcing your rules just doesn't make sense.
It would be a horrible decision for any business!

These rule applies to in-game chat, forums, and any third party media that you call your own in-game, so I can’t claim on my blog that Botslayer Goblin and Gevlon Goblin are both my pilots without the in-game family page representing it.
>>
Hmm. No one can trace my ip/identity on this website. Neat! I hate x. I am going to pretend to be him (scam some people). Lets get him banned!
>There is no way CCP van verify IP's.


I am really against this!
Saying "I have a highsec missioner alt to get ISK" is social banter. It might alienate a part of the player base! If the reportsystem works as you good as you intended they would get a lot of positive verifications.
This would use up so much manpower without any real benefits. It seems like horrific business decision! :)

Anonymous said...

post 2

* an official alt-following page on character sheet. Call it “family” for roleplaying reasons.

* accounts can be linked by the player on the management site, upon linking, all characters show up on the “family” page of each other

* you can’t un-alt an alt except for open character bazaar sale, where it’s automatically done

* watchlists, chatroom and personal bans affect all alts

I do like these points. They would provide a choice which allows players to make their characters trustworthy (or openly linked for whatever reason). I do believe it should be optional!

Your ideas of enforcing these rules are just horrible and would not work in practice! I do like the (optional!) functionality that you described.

Anonymous said...

This is a bad idea. If it was implemented I would roam the galaxy in a throwaway alt saying I'm the alt of Gevlon Goblin, which would get both of us banned. What will there be to save you? I can't see how people could find it appealing. A single person could in fact get anyone in the game banned.

Gevlon said...

No, it would only get you banned. I never claimed to be your alt.

Anonymous said...

"No, it would only get you banned. I never claimed to be your alt."

Therefore, your idea would lead to players not disclosing their alts ever. And people would still scam, since you cannot distinguish a player who hasn't an alt from a player who wishes to keep their alts secret. This in turn would lead to either blind faith that it is really an alt (from some untraceable "rumors") or showing no trust at all. Given that some level of trust is required, scams will just go on.

Gevlon said...

I don't want to ban scams. I want to ban using throwaway alts.

Anonymous said...

"I don't want to ban scams. I want to ban using throwaway alts."

I understand and in that you have my full support. But your idea just doesn't solve this problem and introduces new ones. It may be a starting point, but for the time being, it's just a terrible idea. At the moment we have bad TOS decisions and we have to wait and see how it turns out. Maybe CCP/CSM has some ideas about it.

Fengrar said...

Your response to me can be reworded as such: 'If I feel like harassing you I should be able to do so on any of your toons and you should have no way to play a game to relax'

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