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View Full Version : Do you think Shop Bot prevention is necessary in the AH ?



Bells
05-06-2014, 01:39 PM
We all know this is a natural progression with this stuff... where you just have several Bots pretty much running the AH and the first ones in with the big loads usually hit the ground running and just... stay there.

But, would this undermine the proper usage of the AH? Could this harm the community, game economy, or the players enjoyment of the AH and the game itself?

How do you guys see the AH being populated with Bots? Could be a problem? Should Crypt take extra steps to make it at least harder for bots to get any traction in the AH ?

Yoss
05-06-2014, 01:45 PM
Is it a problem in real life stock markets? There are tons of bots trolling every profitable online market, yet humans can and do still trade there and make money.

I'm not saying to promote bots, but given that you can't stop them, I don't think it's the end of the world.

Niedar
05-06-2014, 01:46 PM
I don't care about bots, just like I don't care about HFT in the stock market.

Kami
05-06-2014, 01:49 PM
Is it a problem in real life stock markets? There are tons of bots trolling every profitable online market, yet humans can and do still trade there and make money.

That's not entirely true. 'Bots' are used frequently in real life stock markets because they react faster and more efficiently than humans.

In fact, they even spent an absurd amount of money ($300m) to bolster the fiber optic networks of an exchange just to increase response time by ~6ms for traders that use such systems.

Bots can definitely be a problem because any user that can't keep up will always be at a monetary disadvantage than someone using 'tools' to assist them.

Yoss
05-06-2014, 01:52 PM
Your statement and mine go hand in hand, not contradict.

Westane
05-06-2014, 01:55 PM
Not going to lie, I hope there's shop bots. When I log on at 3am looking for that last Angel of Dawn, I want to be able to just get it taken care of.

THAT SAID!!! Given the unusable state of MTGO's classifieds I would much rather have the AH separated into player auctions and "Store Fronts" to consolidate all the bots. For example, using MTGO again, it would be nice to have an MTGO Traders store front at the top of the list where once interacted with would display all available MTGO Traders bots.

I want to have the option of automation, but it would be nice to have it without ruining the player run market completely.

GatticusFinch
05-06-2014, 01:56 PM
Your statement and mine go hand in hand, not contradict.

It actually is a problem in the stock market though. When the HFT bots go crazy, weird shit starts to happen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-frequency_trading#May_6.2C_2010_Flash_Crash

Yoss
05-06-2014, 01:57 PM
When bots are around, the humans do not try to compete with them. The bots generally make their money on high speed arbitrage. All that means is that the bots are enforcing market efficiency and taking a small profit for the service.

Meanwhile, the humans do things that the bots can't do, like more thorough analysis and pattern recognition, checking the news, valuation against external influences, and so on. When a rules update hits a crap rare and turns it into Tier 1 must-have, it is the human intervention that will make the profit. A bot isn't going to recognize that.

Tinuvas
05-06-2014, 02:04 PM
Bots can definitely be a problem because any user that can't keep up will always be at a monetary disadvantage than someone using 'tools' to assist them.

And yet the tools are available to all who wish to take advantage of them. Yes it requires more resources. Yes it takes more time etc. For some, most in fact (me included), it's just not worth it. And so those who do feel that it is worth it will FIND and take advantage of those things that will get them ahead. That is life. Personally I would rather things be done without bots, but not for this reason.

Bells
05-06-2014, 02:08 PM
When bots are around, the humans do not try to compete with them. The bots generally make their money on high speed arbitrage. All that means is that the bots are enforcing market efficiency and taking a small profit for the service.

Meanwhile, the humans do things that the bots can't do, like more thorough analysis and pattern recognition, checking the news, valuation against external influences, and so on. When a rules update hits a crap rare and turns it into Tier 1 must-have, it is the human intervention that will make the profit. A bot isn't going to recognize that.

That certainly is true... i surely do hope the regular ''mom & pop'' stores find a way to exist happy in Hex too, with player run stores that are actually worth a damn and not just y'know... ''fighting the machines'' because the snap everything faster at the lowest cost for themselves and sell high...

I suppose trading is the Communal way to go... but then again, you have Trading Bots too... dunno if those would work on Hex though.

Yoss
05-06-2014, 02:22 PM
It actually is a problem in the stock market though. When the HFT bots go crazy, weird shit starts to happen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-frequency_trading#May_6.2C_2010_Flash_Crash

Real life markets allow bots by law, and the bots are therefore able to plug in directly. In Hex, bots are not legal. Therefore the bots that exist in Hex will have to be working much differently than HFT bots. The Hex bot will have to work through the normal human UI, it will just do it much faster. But any user account that's suddenly making 100 trades per minute is going to get banned before they hit the end of that minute, and 100 per minute is nothing for a real life HFT bot.

blakegrandon
05-06-2014, 02:26 PM
Is it a problem in real life stock markets? There are tons of bots trolling every profitable online market, yet humans can and do still trade there and make money.

I'm not saying to promote bots, but given that you can't stop them, I don't think it's the end of the world.

That's debatable. Most people end up losing money on the stock market or whenever they're competing against bots.

Very few people in Hex will make any amount of money playing the market manually because the bots will drive down the difference to be had buying/selling to the point where the "margins" will be razor thin.

Supply of people selling will always outweigh the amount of people buying.

Yoss
05-06-2014, 02:31 PM
There's an implied "some" in what you quoted ("some humans can make money"); it's obviously not an implied "all" as you seem to suggest. Just because "most people" are bad at trading doesn't mean that trading isn't profitable for savvy players.

In any case, to the OP, I say "yes". CZE should actively persecute botters in all forms. Meanwhile, there will still be bots, and it won't be the end of the world.

chromus
05-06-2014, 05:06 PM
Obviously, bot prevention is necessary and I hope they ban & confiscate all accounts caught using them straight away. Why are some of you comparing Hex and MTGO here? MTGO never had an official Auction House tool so Trade Bots actually served a purpose. They are simply not needed in Hex.

Cotton
05-06-2014, 05:16 PM
Bots ruined MTGO. There was once a time where that game had a community, and a player run Auction House. That has all disappeared.

chromus
05-06-2014, 05:19 PM
I remember the player-run Auction channel days...sigh. I think Leagues still existed back then heh. It was soooo long ago though... :/

Bells
05-06-2014, 06:01 PM
anything towards holding back bots is going to be another step for the player, you have to consider convenience too...

Would you accept doing something like a captcha each time you confirm a buy or a sell?

Niedar
05-06-2014, 06:19 PM
I would hate it and captchas don't work.

etern4ever
05-06-2014, 06:33 PM
The trading system in MTGO is what ruined MTGO. The fact that you had to be online to buy/sell was bad (causing bots to exist in the first place). And they haven't done anything to that trade interface at all.

I really hope Hex does everything they can to stop bots. If they let players set a buy order (when the system see a card at a certain price, it auto-buys), I would be ok with that.

Bells
05-06-2014, 07:50 PM
I would hate it and captchas don't work.

Captcha was just a word point to make with something everyone would recognize...

What else is there?

saying ''Oh i hope they do everything they can'' is all brilliant and wonderful but if asked ''what CAN they do?'' if people can only respond with ''uh i dunno'' that's bad.

Nobody wants a system that would displease players and no developer wants to work in a system that they don't know would be acceptable by their player base.

So... Sure, Captchas? No. Okay. What then?

Lawlschool
05-06-2014, 08:26 PM
Captcha was just a word point to make with something everyone would recognize...

What else is there?

saying ''Oh i hope they do everything they can'' is all brilliant and wonderful but if asked ''what CAN they do?'' if people can only respond with ''uh i dunno'' that's bad.

Nobody wants a system that would displease players and no developer wants to work in a system that they don't know would be acceptable by their player base.

So... Sure, Captchas? No. Okay. What then?

Just because we don't know how they go about banning / preventing bots doesn't mean they don't have a way to do it.

Yoss
05-06-2014, 10:33 PM
If they let players set a buy order (when the system see a card at a certain price, it auto-buys), I would be ok with that.

Yay buy orders!

Bells
05-07-2014, 05:53 AM
Just because we don't know how they go about banning / preventing bots doesn't mean they don't have a way to do it.

This is the whole point of this thread though... isn't it?

Should they prevent/ban ? Does allowing bots harm the game and the community? Is controlling them viable? banning them? What systems are in place to prevent abuse? Should there be extra systems in place to prevent abuse?

These are all things we have to speculate because we just don't know... by raising the thread on the matter, we can discuss how it matters to the community at large, see if people are engage with the subject, trade ideas, and maybe help the game development out...

So, yeah... just cause we don't know doesn't mean they don't have a way to do it... do they have a way to do i though?

Thrawn
05-07-2014, 06:17 AM
Would you accept doing something like a captcha each time you confirm a buy or a sell?

Absolutely not, this would send me straight to buying/selling 3rd party outside of the game AH.

Zomnivore
05-07-2014, 06:26 AM
I like buy orders because the automation is similar to general bots and I think puts more people on an even kilter with bots...although thats not really accurate.

Also to the earlier post mentioning high frequency trading in the stock market....ya thats absolutely 100% bull, and screws the market into being a bigger shell game with even more limitations on the little guy.

Maybe it was sarcasm though. So in total w/e.

HFT has caused a lot of problems for people who aren't buying in...and in general I dislike that sort of thing.

Lawlschool
05-07-2014, 08:03 AM
Should they prevent/ban ? Does allowing bots harm the game and the community? Is controlling them viable? banning them? What systems are in place to prevent abuse? Should there be extra systems in place to prevent abuse?

So, yeah... just cause we don't know doesn't mean they don't have a way to do it... do they have a way to do i though?

Should we ban bots? Yes. The problem with bots is they give a huge competitive advantage to people who use them, which will create a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" situation and then we have an AH run by bots. Why is that a bad thing? Personally, I think competing with bots is a very unpleasant experience, and seems like it would be a deterrent for any new player. If you can never sell anything because you'll be viciously undercut seconds after you post, or can never find a good deal because they're bought out by bots seconds after posting, there's not much reason to use the AH. Allowing bots adds an unnecessary layer of complexity to the game.

How do we ban bots? I don't know specifics, but I'm assuming CZE has some ideas in mind. Some games use background programs to detect / prevent botting. There's also the ever-present fear of the ban-hammer. Diligence from players and admins could catch botters in the act, and allow CZE to respond accordingly.

Yoss
05-07-2014, 08:53 AM
Repeat: Yes, CZE should kill bots as much as possible.


If you can never sell anything because you'll be viciously undercut seconds after you post, or can never find a good deal because they're bought out by bots seconds after posting, there's not much reason to use the AH.

This is blown out of proportion a bit. Even in the extreme HFT case (which won't happen), if you ask at a tick below TMV, then your item will sell. Similarly, you will always be able to buy at a tick above TMV. The only thing the bot can do is squeeze the spread. In other words, bots can make it so that the market is hyper efficient to the point where a human cannot play the role of market maker (which is the part to be annoyed about). However, the market is still the market as far as all normal users are concerned; you buy and sell cards at market value no problem.

Ju66ernaut
05-07-2014, 09:05 AM
For anyone like me, I'll save you the web search. TMV means true market value...... or possibly ToastMaster's Vision. I prefer the latter, but I'm sure Yoss meant the former.

Thrawn
05-07-2014, 09:44 AM
If you can never sell anything because you'll be viciously undercut seconds after you post, or can never find a good deal because they're bought out by bots seconds after posting, there's not much reason to use the AH.

Well, except for having cheap cards available all the time due to a bunch of bots competing with each other. Oh, and also being able to instantly sell your extra cards or whatever to these same bots any time day or night.

Turtlewing
05-07-2014, 10:09 AM
The question of bots largely comes down to your priorities.

If you view an efficient market as the highest priority (like Yoss seems to), than bots don't really do anything bad unless they get into shenanigans like posing then canceling orders to trick other bots into reacting to the fake order and offering your bot a more favorable price. That behavior should be easily detected and the offending account banned.

If you view "playing the market" as a mini-game than having bots squeeze the margins such that a human can't make a profit off simply buying at slightly below average and selling slightly above average is pretty obviously a bad outcome as it means you can only "play the market" by engaging in speculation (buy cards that you think will increase in value and sell cards that you think will decrease in value).

As Hex is a game that includes an economy you can make a reasonable argument in either direction (games exist for the fun of people not bots, but the economy should also be efficient).

Yoss
05-07-2014, 10:23 AM
That about sums it up, though I'd say that I actually do like to play the market. When I played WoW I spent about 50% of my play time working the AH with the Auctioneer add-on.

Vorpal
05-07-2014, 10:25 AM
Is it a problem in real life stock markets?

Absolutely.

Market bots are a big problem and should be addressed.

The issue with bots is you pretty much have to have a bot yourself to compete with them - AND they don't really add any value.

HFT is a scourge of the market, with vast costs but creating no real value for the economy as a whole. HFT doesn't make money by correctly evaluating currently misvalued stocks, but by being 'faster' than anybody else. But this benefits no one but the HFT. To everyone else, HFT simply increases volatility in markets and increases stresses on toubled markets. HFT make their profits at the expense of other, slower, investors, causing these investors to leave the market. They are also responsible for flash crashes.

If you haven't read the book Flash Boys I highly recommned it.

http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Boys-Michael-Lewis-ebook/dp/B00HVJB4VM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399483524&sr=8-1&keywords=flash+boys

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/opinion/krugman-three-expensive-milliseconds.html?_r=0

http://www.thestreet.com/story/12616225/1/fours-ways-high-frequency-trading-harms-investors-and-the-economy.html




At this level, humans are out of the game. Instead, investment banks, fund managers and traders put all their trust on complex algorithms run by computers to buy and sell shares, with varying degrees of human involvement. And the fastest players of all are a new and evolving breed of market participant: the high frequency traders.

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/09/16/robot-wars-how-high-frequency-trading-changed-global-markets/

http://blog.themistrading.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/RTL-HFT_Bibliography_2013.pdf

http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0113/has-high-frequency-trading-ruined-the-stock-market-for-the-rest-of-us.aspx

I'd rather not have an AH were humans are out of the game. EVE started out with a market that was great for humans, even if you didn't have much time to devote to constantly updating orders, if you understood the long term trends and dynamics, you could make some nice in game money from the market. The 0.01 bots ruined all that.

Yoss
05-07-2014, 10:29 AM
As I said in a previous post, HFT has nothing to do with Hex. In real markets, HFT is legal and fully enabled with direct market access (bypass the human UI). In Hex, bots are going to be aggressively attacked and banned, and will have no direct access (bots will have to click through the human UI, not send server commands directly).

EDIT:
As for the Flash Boys book, I've read the reviews. It sounds like an interesting read, though many of its "facts" are perhaps not so accurate.

Bells
05-07-2014, 11:07 AM
Clicking the UI is not really a stopping point for Bots... you can still create macro engines to simulate mouse inputs. Since the UI doesn't change, it's just a matter of define coordinates in a screen and set the macros...

Now i'm speaking outside of my ''pay grade'' sort to speak... but if i recall correctly, you can do this entirely within a virtual machine scenario... so a player can create a ''shop account'' and run it virtually on the background of his PC while playing Hex in his own regualr account... or any other game...

Zomnivore
05-07-2014, 11:15 AM
People botted the fairly complex WoW ah, I don't see why that tech wouldn't carry over here.

Turtlewing
05-07-2014, 11:16 AM
Clicking the UI is not really a stopping point for Bots... you can still create macro engines to simulate mouse inputs. Since the UI doesn't change, it's just a matter of define coordinates in a screen and set the macros...

Now i'm speaking outside of my ''pay grade'' sort to speak... but if i recall correctly, you can do this entirely within a virtual machine scenario... so a player can create a ''shop account'' and run it virtually on the background of his PC while playing Hex in his own regualr account... or any other game...

I think Yoss's point was more that the UI can trivially include things like a half second delay, which would prety much trash HFT in the sense that the term is used in the stock market, and that accounts which trade too quickly will get flagged as potential bots by the anti-bot monitoring software CZE is expected to run to help enforce their "no bots" policy. A bot that is meticulously mimicking human speed trades so as not to trip the anti-bot software is going to be hard pressed to make any efficiency gains over an actual human as those gains will give it away as a bot.

This is a completely different scenario from the "sure we'll give you a special API for issuing automated, and let you rent the floor below our server room for your trading system, and run your fiber connection directly into our network so your trades go though faster" that is how most real world exchanges have reacted to the used of automated trading.

Yoss
05-07-2014, 11:24 AM
Turtlewing interpreted me correctly.

Bells
05-07-2014, 12:29 PM
That would actually help quite a lot it would seems.

But isn't all this attached to a variable of Volume of tradings?

Just for anecdotal numbering... let's say 100 trades a week is Low volume and 1000 trades a week is high volume (''trades'' in this commentary being any exchange of values within the AH) .

If bots are calibrated to operate optimally on the 1000/wk level, and you add the delay, and now they are not as effective as humans...

But if they are operating in a 100/wk trade level, is that delay still that much of a difference? Bots are still faster and there is less volume being traded around... with a large volume of bots in place, the Lowest purchase and highest sells would still be mostly dealt by Bots... because the offset of the delay is compensated by the fact that they are already designed to operate with much larger volumes than what is readily available... as the AH grows that should even itself out... but while HEX does not reach that level, we should see an early dominance of Bots that could keep player operators away at first... no?

Or am i understanding this wrong?

kingneb
05-07-2014, 05:51 PM
I just read through this thread. Can someone show me where CZE said they won't allow bot trading on Hex?

Thanks!

Xenavire
05-07-2014, 05:52 PM
I just read through this thread. Can someone show me where CZE said they won't allow bot trading on Hex?

Thanks!

I don't have a link, but I can say with 100% certainty that Cory has a no tolerance view on all forms of botting.

YourOpponent
05-07-2014, 08:16 PM
I'm against AH bots, but it will definitely be a constant battle to fight against. I also like the buy out feature for players like they have for GW2. It helps minimize the damage bots can do. Also I think some people underestimate how many transactions some merchants do in the AH without bots. On GW2 I'd be doing 50-200 a day depending on how much free time.

ossuary
05-07-2014, 08:22 PM
I'm against AH bots, but it will definitely be a constant battle to fight against. I also like the buy out feature for players like they have for GW2. It helps minimize the damage bots can do. Also I think some people underestimate how many transactions some merchants do in the AH without bots. On GW2 I'd be doing 50-200 a day depending on how much free time.

True, but you're still searching and clicking at human speed, interacting in human ways. A bot has a very specific behavioral signature that is nearly impossible to mask without just becoming as inefficient as a normal human. Software security has made big leaps forward in the last couple of years... if they're working on their network security from the ground up rather than using an older existing model (which companies like Blizzard still do, because their code has already been written), they will be at a big advantage and have a lot of additional tools at their disposal to detect and deal with botting. Since they are going to have targeted item tracking, deletion, and targeted player rollback capabilities, it won't take long for them to hit the bots where it really hurts - the wallet. As soon as CZE can show the botters that it's a dangerous game with money to be lost, they'll move on to other games with lower caliber protection.

Gorgol
05-08-2014, 04:12 AM
True, but you're still searching and clicking at human speed, interacting in human ways. A bot has a very specific behavioral signature that is nearly impossible to mask without just becoming as inefficient as a normal human. Software security has made big leaps forward in the last couple of years... if they're working on their network security from the ground up rather than using an older existing model (which companies like Blizzard still do, because their code has already been written), they will be at a big advantage and have a lot of additional tools at their disposal to detect and deal with botting. Since they are going to have targeted item tracking, deletion, and targeted player rollback capabilities, it won't take long for them to hit the bots where it really hurts - the wallet. As soon as CZE can show the botters that it's a dangerous game with money to be lost, they'll move on to other games with lower caliber protection.

I hope so

wolzarg
05-08-2014, 07:53 AM
The main problem i see with bots is that they can be set to just bid snipe anything moderately under market value and resell it. This actually does very little for the average person as you shouldn't casually see many of these over a day. But as i know from having played various games and AH style additions to those games it can make or break some players. I made some sums of money doing this and that has made me able to play for a lot longer in other games that require regular monetary infusions to keep up. Sure this doesn't matter for the person selling but it can mean the world for people trying to inch some value and bots kill that instantly for all non bot users.

Miwa
05-08-2014, 08:59 AM
Since there's only 1 AH, there's not a real comparison to what the 'bad' HFT traders are doing, which is front-running orders.

The emphasis on speed is because there are multiple exchanges a stock trades on, and when a broker attempts to place an order for a stock on them, the HFT traders running on the 'closest' exchange to the broker see the order hit, and then go buy the stock to resell it on the other exchanges before the broker's order hits them.

If the AH has buy and sell orders, you don't need a bot to do temporal arbitrage, you just set your buy orders below market, and your sells above, and wait for dips in availability. The 'got to have it now' buyer will buy at whatever price something is, instead of a 'TMV', and traders will be there to provide that liquidity.

That said, there does need to be a listing fee, as that prevents any incentive to have a bot, since repeatedly re-listing something wouldn't be free.

Players would probably hate it, but I like double-blind AH systems, as that also prevents constantly re-listing items since you don't know what the bid prices are. You have to set your ask and pray. :P

Bells
05-08-2014, 09:25 AM
Yeah i'm not too keen on Fees for AH... it would make the trading between regular players go down, it would just be more incentive for a side market. Which in turn is the same thing that would happen is bots where everywhere... The whole point is to make the AH functional and active...

If you want to track bots, all you have to really do is track and log Auction creation times and hour stamps.... if someone is making 30 Auctions in under 30 seconds that's probably not a human...

Also, if you really want to put a barrier... make e-mail autentication. Each time you create an auction, you need to validate it by clicking a link in your account e-mail. Nothing overly fancy i would assume, and it's a safety step that would put a break in a lot of unwanted activities.

Yoss
05-08-2014, 09:30 AM
Also, if you really want to put a barrier... make e-mail autentication. Each time you create an auction, you need to validate it by clicking a link in your account e-mail. Nothing overly fancy i would assume, and it's a safety step that would put a break in a lot of unwanted activities.

I very much dislike this idea. I want to be selling my stuff fast, not be bogged down alt-tabbing for every item I list. Goal is to be playing the game, not slogging through authenticators for everything. I'd rather have bots than this.

Bells
05-08-2014, 09:48 AM
i'm not a fan of it either, just think it's better than paying fees for each listing...

Yoss
05-08-2014, 09:48 AM
i'm not a fan of it either, just think it's better than paying fees for each listing...

How about neither?

EntropyBall
05-08-2014, 10:45 AM
Since there's only 1 AH, there's not a real comparison to what the 'bad' HFT traders are doing, which is front-running orders.

The emphasis on speed is because there are multiple exchanges a stock trades on, and when a broker attempts to place an order for a stock on them, the HFT traders running on the 'closest' exchange to the broker see the order hit, and then go buy the stock to resell it on the other exchanges before the broker's order hits them.

If the AH has buy and sell orders, you don't need a bot to do temporal arbitrage, you just set your buy orders below market, and your sells above, and wait for dips in availability. The 'got to have it now' buyer will buy at whatever price something is, instead of a 'TMV', and traders will be there to provide that liquidity.

That said, there does need to be a listing fee, as that prevents any incentive to have a bot, since repeatedly re-listing something wouldn't be free.

Players would probably hate it, but I like double-blind AH systems, as that also prevents constantly re-listing items since you don't know what the bid prices are. You have to set your ask and pray. :P

I would hate the double-blind system, because I just want to know what cards cost to know if I want to buy/sell them, but the rest of this seems really spot-on to me, particularly the point about listing fees. I'm surprised no one else had mentioned that. They haven't announced them yet, but I expect there to be some sort of listing/selling fee. This limits how much the bots can do. Personally, I'm fine with bots constantly searching the AH for "mis-priced" items and correcting the market. They are going to be competing with each other to sell the things they bought, and I'm content with an AH that is basically a store with real-time prices. Playing the D3 AH showed me that I don't actually want to spend my gaming time trying to save/make a few cents.

From all the reading I did in these forums pre-alpha about bid/ask, that does seem like a pretty good system though. How does a typical bid/ask handle it if there are 3 buy orders for $1.90, $2, and $2 and someone lists a card for $1.50? First $2 order placed gets it?

Shaqattaq
05-08-2014, 11:14 AM
The harm that bots create is that there's this faith in the auction house and with players that every player is basically operating within the same set of "rules." When I'm looking at the auction house, I make the assumption that all other players have the same chance of catching that desired item. A bot is not playing by the same rules as players, and that's not fair to everyone else.

ossuary
05-08-2014, 11:55 AM
From all the reading I did in these forums pre-alpha about bid/ask, that does seem like a pretty good system though. How does a typical bid/ask handle it if there are 3 buy orders for $1.90, $2, and $2 and someone lists a card for $1.50? First $2 order placed gets it?

Generally speaking, yes. First it fulfills by highest price, then by oldest offer at that price in the case of a tie.

Werlix
05-08-2014, 01:24 PM
From all the reading I did in these forums pre-alpha about bid/ask, that does seem like a pretty good system though. How does a typical bid/ask handle it if there are 3 buy orders for $1.90, $2, and $2 and someone lists a card for $1.50? First $2 order placed gets it?

Generally they wouldn't list for $1.50 in that case because they'd have a giant "sell now for $2" button, or a "place a sell order" button to set a price higher than $2.

Yoss
05-08-2014, 01:27 PM
Generally they wouldn't list for $1.50 in that case because they'd have a giant "sell now for $2" button, or a "place a sell order" button to set a price higher than $2.

Yeah, if CZE is smart about the UI, you'd never get an Ask Limit Order posting below the Bid. Here's an example UI:
http://forums.cryptozoic.com/showthread.php?t=26789&p=281507&viewfull=1#post281507

Bells
05-08-2014, 02:04 PM
The harm that bots create is that there's this faith in the auction house and with players that every player is basically operating within the same set of "rules." When I'm looking at the auction house, I make the assumption that all other players have the same chance of catching that desired item. A bot is not playing by the same rules as players, and that's not fair to everyone else.

That is actually good to know.. i'm glad this is the mentality since early on. Feels like the AH is being built as a comunity tool not as a milking farm... i just hope you guys can protect it!

Turtlewing
05-08-2014, 03:05 PM
Also, if you really want to put a barrier... make e-mail autentication. Each time you create an auction, you need to validate it by clicking a link in your account e-mail. Nothing overly fancy i would assume, and it's a safety step that would put a break in a lot of unwanted activities.

Wouldn't work, a bot could monitor the email address and follow the link in emails that come from CZE.

zadies
05-08-2014, 03:20 PM
They could require authenticator authorization every random number of auctions though that would seriously kill botting

Turtlewing
05-08-2014, 03:42 PM
They could require authenticator authorization every random number of auctions though that would seriously kill botting

Only if the bot can't read/spoof the authenticator.

I'm not 100% on how authenticators work, but it's unlikely that they work as an anti-botting device as the creator of the bot has the valid authenticator for the account and worst case scenario they could build a robot that pushes the button and OCR's the code with a webcam (and chances are there's a more elegant solution than that given most authenticators that I'm aware of have a mobile app equivalent).

Werlix
05-08-2014, 04:21 PM
Only if the bot can't read/spoof the authenticator.

I'm not 100% on how authenticators work, but it's unlikely that they work as an anti-botting device as the creator of the bot has the valid authenticator for the account and worst case scenario they could build a robot that pushes the button and OCR's the code with a webcam (and chances are there's a more elegant solution than that given most authenticators that I'm aware of have a mobile app equivalent).

If it popped up a captcha when the number of buy/sell events exceeds a certain limit that would help. A decent captcha is almost uncrackable except by some extreme measures probably not worth the time/effort of a Hex bot.

katkillad
05-13-2014, 02:05 AM
There are some terrible opinions on how to combat botting in this thread. Look at Diablo 3 and see how great it is to wait for "authorization" before you get the item you want then and now, only to receive it hours later or the next day. I don't want to check emails, get special authorization codes or use captcha just because I want to buy a card on the auction house.

The best way to combat botting is a limit on search queries in a given time period with a balance that the limit will never be an issue with normal usage. For example, If i were to create a simple script maybe I try to buy a card at below value. In order to have the best opportunity to buy that card, I need to search for that card at the desired price as many times as I possibly can per minute. Depending on how the UI works and taking into consideration the time it takes to run the search, maybe I can run 40 search queries per minute. Maybe a person could do that, but they would go insane after a while...so maybe you limit search queries to 10 per minute.

This doesn't eliminate bots, but you could obviously keep track on who is hitting that limit and how often. If someone hits the limit 1000+ times within 24 hours congratulations you found someone botting and you can crucify them or whatever the appropriate punishment is.

Kroan
05-13-2014, 07:31 AM
There are some terrible opinions on how to combat botting in this thread. Look at Diablo 3 and see how great it is to wait for "authorization" before you get the item you want then and now, only to receive it hours later or the next day. I don't want to check emails, get special authorization codes or use captcha just because I want to buy a card on the auction house.

The best way to combat botting is a limit on search queries in a given time period with a balance that the limit will never be an issue with normal usage. For example, If i were to create a simple script maybe I try to buy a card at below value. In order to have the best opportunity to buy that card, I need to search for that card at the desired price as many times as I possibly can per minute. Depending on how the UI works and taking into consideration the time it takes to run the search, maybe I can run 40 search queries per minute. Maybe a person could do that, but they would go insane after a while...so maybe you limit search queries to 10 per minute.

This doesn't eliminate bots, but you could obviously keep track on who is hitting that limit and how often. If someone hits the limit 1000+ times within 24 hours congratulations you found someone botting and you can crucify them or whatever the appropriate punishment is.
(Multiple) alternate account(s) can just negate what you're proposing. You can just limit the search requests per account to 80% of the allowed numbers and switch between accounts.

You keep searching with your alternate accounts, and if you found an item, you buy it with your "buy" account (could be your main account, or another alternate account)

The best way to prevent bots is giving players the same abilities a bot would have and basically make bots useless. If the gain is too low or nothing, bots won't be a problem.

I also want to note that for some people, AH is part of the game. Playing the AH is fun, and I would find it sad if CZE build in virtual walls that make it harder for a person to do extensive search on AH's. Especially when they're easily worked around for a bot.

ossuary
05-13-2014, 07:41 AM
I also want to note that for some people, AH is part of the game. Playing the AH is fun, and I would find it sad if CZE build in virtual walls that make it harder for a person to do extensive search on AH's. Especially when they're easily worked around for a bot.

That's one option. It certainly seemed to work okay for MapleStory (to some extent). But that still leaves the problem of allowing a small percentage of players with the resources to spend being able to control the market and push/drive prices. If only the player-bots are able to grab cards on the outlier and make margin, it still eliminates the ability for a "normal" player to come in and find a good deal in the short term - all the fringe cards still get snapped up by an automated process. Letting EVERY player do this actually makes it much, much more of a problem than potentially having a few not-yet-caught bots doing it.

Rather than letting all players script, even in limited amounts, they need to actually prevent automation. Harsh penalties (mainly financial loss for the rule-breaking botters) are the only real way to go.

Kroan
05-13-2014, 07:48 AM
I disagree completely. I rather have them implemen something like that you can set a buy-order. This way everyone can get a chance of buying an item instead of them trying to stop bots with weird constructions. Especially the harsh penalties, which never will happen anyway b/c of alternate accounts (that can freely be created) and proxies, except for people who are not to blame but got caught in a system of rules and regulations.

Moreover, take the following into account: Apparently it is ok for "big" fan sites to make external stores to sell and buy cards for real money. They too have an advantage of the normal players that try to sell or buy their cards.

ossuary
05-13-2014, 08:43 AM
We're not talking about buy orders, we're talking about straight-up scripting. Those are entirely different scenarios. You might remember from our conversations about the AH several months ago, I am strongly in favor of a bid/ask system with buy orders and whatnot. That's totally not the same thing as letting people set up bots though.

Also, for the record, your comment on alternate accounts aren't really valid either, because even with multiple accounts you will have a funneling effect where cards or money are consolidated in a recognizable pattern. If someone is distributing cards to 10 different accounts, selling them, and then funneling money from those accounts back to a single account, that's an AH bot (simplified example, but you get the general idea). The beauty of a targeted rollback system is you can take away those accounts' money without harming the players who bought from them. So the player who purchased their stuff on the AH gets to keep the cards, but the accounts with illegal activity lose all their profit AND their cards. All of this activity is invisible to legal players following the rules, but those who are breaking them suffer extremely stiff penalties that make it not worth their time.

Kroan
05-13-2014, 08:56 AM
We're not talking about buy orders, we're talking about straight-up scripting. Those are entirely different scenarios. You might remember from our conversations about the AH several months ago, I am strongly in favor of a bid/ask system with buy orders and whatnot. That's totally not the same thing as letting people set up bots though. You're entirely missing the point. If a bid/ask system would be implemented, the gain of having a bot would decrease. It's a much better way of handling things than actually going to punish people.


If someone is distributing cards to 10 different accounts, selling them, and then funneling money from those accounts back to a single account, that's an AH bot (simplified example, but you get the general idea)
No. You're searching on your search accounts and buy on one account. There is no pattern here other than a normal user buying cards. If you think you can outsmart people making bots (without impairing regular users), you're wrong. Better to give everyone the same chance on buying a card then sticking to a system where bots can take advantage of.

ossuary
05-13-2014, 09:13 AM
You're entirely missing the point. If a bid/ask system would be implemented, the gain of having a bot would decrease. It's a much better way of handling things than actually going to punish people.

No, I'm not missing the point at all. I am agreeing with you that a BAS is a good thing. I have been clamoring for a BAS since the very beginning, for this among many other reasons. My point is that allowing scripting, which was being discussed in this thread, is not the same as a BAS, and would be a very bad thing.


No. You're searching on your search accounts and buy on one account. There is no pattern here other than a normal user buying cards. If you think you can outsmart people making bots (without impairing regular users), you're wrong. Better to give everyone the same chance on buying a card then sticking to a system where bots can take advantage of.

An account always searching / browsing directly to a card that is on sale for well below the going market rate is also a recognizable pattern. No human searching for a deal at random would know to go directly to the on sale item. For every possible scenario you can think of to automate an electronic system, regardless of how many accounts you use to distribute the load, you're still leaving behind distinctive non-human behavioral patterns that are possible to look for and counteract.

I'm a programmer, a designer, and an engineer. I "outsmart" humans trying to script their way into systems all the time. Sure, there are hackers out there who are smarter or better than I am, and there's a certain amount of "arms race" to the equation, but it's not insurmountable.

Remember, we're not trying to make it IMPOSSIBLE to run a bot, we're trying to make it not worth the risk / opportunity cost of botting THIS game versus another, easier target. That puts us at a major advantage over the enemy, because they have to outsmart and outmaneuver us every single time, without knowing what the rules are and without being able to monitor the data coming through the system, whereas WE only have to catch them once to break their system and take their stuff.

Another thing to keep in mind is that we don't have to catch someone right away, either. There's great advantage to be had in allowing a small amount of fishing, to let someone think they're figuring out and breaking the system, so we can catch them with even more money on the table. Let them make $100 and minorly inconvenience a few players looking for a specific item (assuming the players even NOTICE a couple of items being snatched off the AH quickly), and you'll get them on the hook for several HUNDRED dollars or more once they think their methods are working. Once you cost them that money, I promise you, they will wash their hands of it and move on to easier prey.

Kroan
05-13-2014, 09:19 AM
You're a programmer. God I hate that argument. Let's just say we disagree on the part that you think you can outsmart every part. I have arguments to counter your logic, but we're just going to run in circles and apparently you're a programmer, designer and engineer, so therefor my argument is not valid ;)

Bottom-line is that in my opinion they either should make sure they have a system in place that brings users up to the same level of a bot (or close of that) which can be done by a bid/ask system (or another system they can think of). If they can't do that, then they have to accept that the AH will be gamed by both players and automated bots. I believe firmly that handing out "harsh punishments" OR putting in restrictions will not do anything other than punishing people who want to use the AH by normal means.

ossuary
05-13-2014, 09:27 AM
It's a valid argument because I have actual hands-on experience dealing with this exact issue, rather than operating only on presumptions, feelings, or sideline experience (i.e. witnessing bot problems from the outside without behind the scenes / administrator knowledge).

I agree with you that we should have a BAS. It's a wonderful system and makes for a much richer and higher quality AH experience for everyone. I disagree with you that we should hand over scripting tools and just let all players be bots - that's like the American solution of trying to stop gun violence by letting everyone have guns. :)

Miwa
05-13-2014, 09:34 AM
You're entirely missing the point. If a bid/ask system would be implemented, the gain of having a bot would decrease. It's a much better way of handling things than actually going to punish people.
A bid/ask system doesn't solve the problem by itself. It makes it less burdensome for people, but it doesn't stop the ".01 ISK wars" where an item is repeatedly relisted by a bot at a price 1 plat lower than the lowest player ask (within reason) every time a player tries to sell something. And does the opposite for bids. Humans only have a chance against that if they bid over market or ask under, as the bots will hold all the liquidity because they won so many of the sales.

A gold listing fee (for the seller) stops all that, as you have to set your asks carefully.

I like the double blind AH system (with a price history) as it prevents players and bots from intentionally trying to undercut existing orders by the minimum. Though if the pricing is course enough, then that is hard to do, as 1 plat lower may be too high of a percentage of the total item price. :)

Kroan
05-13-2014, 09:35 AM
It's a valid argument because I have actual hands-on experience dealing with this exact issue, rather than operating only on presumptions, feelings, or sideline experience (i.e. witnessing bot problems from the outside without behind the scenes / administrator knowledge). It's not a valid argument, because it doesn't mean anything. Anyone and their mother is these day a software engineer. I've been working 12 years as IT professional, and i've seen great programmers and bad one's. People who know what they're talking about, and people who don't. Yet all will tell you that they're a programmer.

It's also not a valid argument, since obviously I am a software engineer as well, and you are still not convinced by my arguments (and neither am I convinced by yours)


I disagree with you that we should hand over scripting tools and just let all players be bots I never said that.

ossuary
05-13-2014, 09:48 AM
I disagree with you that we should hand over scripting tools and just let all players be bots

I never said that.

Yeah, you pretty much did. :)


The best way to prevent bots is giving players the same abilities a bot would have and basically make bots useless. If the gain is too low or nothing, bots won't be a problem.

Giving players "the same abilities a bot would have" is scripting. You are turning humans into bots. If they are not exactly as efficient as a bot can be, the bots still have an advantage and will not be useless. If they ARE exactly as efficient, then the players ARE bots. That is bad. If there are 10,000 bots on the AH, it will be impossible to ever find a deal for a non-bot using player. It might as well just be a CZE-run store at that point, with an enforced flat market price for everything.

If a couple or even a handful of bots manage to slip through the cracks temporarily until they are caught and their profits and cards deleted, on the other hand, nobody will even notice any real fluctuation on the market.

Yoss
05-13-2014, 09:54 AM
So much violent agreement in here. Kroan and oss are saying basically the same thing. "I want BAS!" "No, I want a BAS!"

Kroan
05-13-2014, 10:16 AM
Yeah, you pretty much did. Giving players "the same abilities a bot would have" is scripting. No, that's what you're making of it. It's a (wrong) interpretation, but it's not what I am saying. What I am saying, is that if users can for example compete on the same level as a bot (i.e.: via a bid-system) there is no gain left to make a bot and therefor you don't have to worry about bots. That's something completely different then giving everyone the ability to script them-self together a bot through easy means. (Not saying that that isn't intriguing either btw :P )


So much violent agreement in here. It's not violent (imho), and we're not discussing whether a bid/ask system would be nice.

ossuary
05-13-2014, 10:37 AM
No, that's what you're making of it. It's a (wrong) interpretation, but it's not what I am saying. What I am saying, is that if users can for example compete on the same level as a bot (i.e.: via a bid-system) there is no gain left to make a bot and therefor you don't have to worry about bots. That's something completely different then giving everyone the ability to script them-self together a bot through easy means. (Not saying that that isn't intriguing either btw :P )

Eh, if my interpretation is wrong, I blame your words. :p :) :cool:

Saying someone should be on the same level as a bot means being able to duplicate their same level of proficiency, otherwise it's not actually the same level. The flaw with saying a BAS lets humans compete on an equal playing field with bots or eliminate their advantage completely is that a scripted bot can search the AH quickly and repeatedly for ANY deal, whereas a BAS would only let a player request a few specific cards for a few specific prices. A single bot could potentially outsearch hundreds or even thousands of BAS users looking for individual cards (and even outbid all outstanding orders that are below market value by $0.01 each and take all those cards the players are asking for too, like what has happened from time to time in EVE Online's history).

The ONLY way a human can compete evenly with a bot is to be allowed to become a bot themselves; hence, scripting. :) And as I've said... that's not a solution. I've played a lot of Asian online games that use these sorts of systems, and there is NO room for a small-time player to eke out a living on the fringe of this sort of system, the player-bots rule everything. It's impossible for an individual player, new to the system or otherwise not using a proper scripting bot, to come into this system and play the market.

Tinuvas
05-13-2014, 11:22 AM
...It's not violent (imho)...
I don't know about that:


...gun violence...guns.
Based on what I read, ossuary is about to go postal on someone... :p It's a good thing he's Canadian and doesn't seem to believe in defending himself or you might have a problem. ;)

katkillad
05-14-2014, 09:28 PM
(Multiple) alternate account(s) can just negate what you're proposing. You can just limit the search requests per account to 80% of the allowed numbers and switch between accounts.

You keep searching with your alternate accounts, and if you found an item, you buy it with your "buy" account (could be your main account, or another alternate account)


My intention with what I suggested was to limit bots to the point where they can only interact with the auction house at "human" speeds. If I limit my bot to 8 searches per minute, I'm going to need to stagger 6-10 more bots on different accounts... and if you are being efficient that's just for 1 card. ( Depending on how in depth the search filters are. ) Yes, with a lot more effort you could create numerous free accounts and stagger them using VM's I guess...still it should be easy to see patterns like searching for 24 hours at a time or 8 hours at a time... Your average person isn't going to look for a card 50 plat below market for 2 hours straight. Running numerous accounts on VM's is also knowledge and hardware prohibitive. What I'm suggesting is do things in which it gets to a point where it's not worth the time to bot the auction house.

If this game is remotely popular at all and bots are on the market... You are never going to have enough time to find an item on a bot account and then purchase it on your main account.

I'm not a programmer, but I made thousands off of D3 so I know the scripting end of things. I think limiting searches per minute will immediately put off small time botters and the ones who go the extra distance and have the hardware can still easily be recognized in their auction house behavior.

BAS does solve a lot of the bot problems...but BAS is no fun.

Kroan
05-15-2014, 12:10 AM
You don't need a VM to either cerate an account or pose as a different pc :)