Is IsBoxer bad for EVE Online?


Multiboxing has been growing in popularity for many years with many players choosing to multibox in order to make better profits or simply to compete against larger organisations. With many activities in EVE Online being repetitive and requiring very little attention to manage it’s not surprising that multiboxing is dominating activities such as mining which could have an impact on other miner’s profitability by increasing the supply of minerals.

Whether this is a problem or not isn’t as simple as determining the ISK lost due to the influx of additional materials but is in fact much more complex requiring you to look at other aspects on industry to draw an accurate conclusion. The impact on everyone is different if you’re a manufacturer then you may see lower material prices as good as it allows you to build more ships with the same working capital. As a miner you’ll likely see it as a bad thing unless that is you’re also doing activities that involve consumption of the same materials, this could be as simple as using ammo in missions but the point at which you’re consuming more minerals than you’re producing you actually start to win due to low mineral prices.

Another important aspect is the value of cheap materials in driving PvP, low ship prices make PvP activities more accessible and reduce the sense of loss. This helps get new players into PvP and drives player driven content in game. A PvP player who has to run missions or incursions more frequently than they get to shoot people in the face isn’t going to be a happy player cheap minerals and cheap ships go a long way to limiting the dull PvE activities that a PvPer has to endure.

With more PvE activity comes more destruction and higher trading volumes helping which actually counters the price reducing effect of multiboxers mining, effectively the EVE economy is a self-regulating system this can be seen as the price of Tritanium now is about the same as it was in 2012. The reality for mining at least is that it’s impact is fairly minimal and only the same as more players joining the game, something which we should openly encourage rather than worry about.

Where there is more need for concern is the way in which bombing runs are becoming a multiboxer activity. This shows a clear lack of complexity for a feature which can effectively wipe out a whole fleet, having your own personal squad of bombers and using IsBoxer to manage them brings us back to the days of titans and a single person pressing a single button to wipe out a whole fleet. What could be done about it? Well it’s not a simple problem to fix but a few things come to mind when I consider bombing fleets:

  1. Probing mechanics – To destroy a fleet you need a good warp in right now getting on top of a fleet is a little too easy. Personal preference but I liked it when probing was slower.
  2. Warp speed – You’re dropping a massive bomb but you’re super small and agile this doesn’t quite seem to fit. Bombers should have significantly reduced warp speed and align times.
  3. Cloaking mechanics – The way which bombers can’t decloak each over these days means there’s very rarely a need to do anything different to the rest of the bombing fleet or adapt to survive. This is bad in the case of bombers as it makes it easier to do on scale without skill.
  4. Bombing mechanic – It’s a bit too predictable for my liking, I know mini games haven’t worked out so great in EVE (hi loot spew) but I think that the launch of a bomb should have some form of manual guidance otherwise it should veer of target.

With the bombing mechanics I’m thinking something fairly basic twitch game play that requires a player to react to the bomb moving off target and readjust its course by moving the mouse or clicking direction arrows. It would only have to last 5 seconds but brings in things like suicide squads who don’t warp off after launching bomb to ensure that it stays on target compared to those who launch bomb and warp off losing a second making their bomb drift a few km off target. It’s just one way you could help balance the risk and reward of bombing, either that or bombs should have a chance of duds and misfires where the bomb doesn’t detach and can blow you up if you don’t correctly disarm it.

I just want to emphasise I’m not hating on bombing runs I’d just like to think that when I go boom thanks to a well-placed bombing run its due to the other players skill not just a well-timed squad warp and single bash of F1. With every mechanic in EVE there should be a degree of skill and a level of unpredictability it’s these random things that keep EVE interesting.

There are loads of activities that could do with some love in this way mining included being able to improve your yield by activity completing a mini game should be an optional feature. This allows multiboxing to happen but I’d say a player should lose out about 20% per character by multiboxing using a tool such as IsBoxer.

With CCP already showing a keen interest in skill based mechanics we can only hope to see this continue. Whilst I really like multiboxing myself I think that a single player being able to be as effective as a squad of real players is testament to some poor game design choices. IsBoxer shouldn’t need to be banned instead we should be encouraging CCP to continue revamping game mechanics so that they require individual pilot skill.

  • lowrads

    People will stop using bots when CCP stops designing content for bots. Multi-user accounts keep CCP in the black. Furthermore, they have no impact on the political landscape. EVE’s market isn’t susceptible to the pay to “win” worry of other games based around rankings. Most such advantages are temporary. Knowledge, and the ability to act on it is the only real commodity in the game.

    The smartest thing CCP could do would be to design more intelligent PVE content. The other clever thing they could do would be to give every player a macro or bot function. That was the solution used for the local intel tool developed by some clever goon.

    CCP should stop tracking unusual flows of isk as well, since it disrupts alliance experiments as well as third party development projects. Let the metagame develop organically, and then either incorporate the innovations of the user, or nullify their moves at the level of content. Elaborate EULAs break immersion, and the War on ___ approach is always costly in terms of personnel resources. If CCP wasn’t wasting money on having more GMs than they really need, they might not have failed at producing WoD, WiS, or Dust.