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jusadbellum

Officially Sanctioned Chatbots

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When I played Anarchy Online and Eve, one of the things I liked most about it was that folks had set up bots that could perform various functions like making item links, storing raid points, taking notes on corporation (guild equivalent) members, respond to certain phrases in official channels, and more. This was in the days before the likes of projects like Hubot. Nowadays, with projects like Hubot, we have the potential to integrate the good kind of bots into our games, making them that much more fun.

 

I'd like to see the ability to, with a paid account, access a limited set of chat features and perhaps an API (e.g. if ACE made an item database publicly available on the main site). Making it a paid feature does two very important things:

 

1. Disincentivizes abuse: if your bot gets banned for bad behavior, you're out of an account and have to pay for another set up fee (whether that's another copy of the game or some other purchase mechanism that ACE decides on).

2. Adds another, albeit small, revenue stream that I'm sure many guilds and/or alliances would gladly pay for given the functionality it would bring.

 

Another benefit would be that it's a project that can bring together the community, making it possible for Guilds and Alliances to coordinate in ways that they would not otherwise be able to absent such tools.

 

If ACE officially blesses efforts such as this, then they can lay down the ground rules and give the community official guidance as to what's cool and not cool. It also gives them the opportunity to make official APIs, secure things with auth tokens, rate limits, etc. and generally just make the bots' behavior more site-friendly. Heck, they could even put out an official Hubot-Crowfall module that plays well with the Crowfall APIs and chat, making it that much easier for the Crowfall community's players-who-are-also-programmers to integrate. :)

 

What say you, Crows and ACE Devs? Do you think this a good idea, great idea, or not-so-great idea?

Edited by jusadbellum

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Pandora's Box.

 

Lets open that one or two years out after launch, assuming ACE thought the idea was worthwhile at some level.


“Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards--and living up to them--is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it." - Seth Godin

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Interesting.....

 

I'm not sure whether people wouldn't abuse it, I'm afraid people would abuse it for gathering and pvp especially... 

 

But in the way you described it would certainly be very useful and in fact I would set one up for my guild.

 

How do you believe it would be abused in a way that Discord, IRC, or even a WhatsApp group couldn't be used to muster forces? And what's wrong with getting people to log on for a fight? In a PvP game, in a sense you are the content for other players and vice versa.  ;)

 

 

Pandora's Box.

 

Lets open that one or two years out after launch, assuming ACE thought the idea was worthwhile at some level.

 

You dismiss my idea out of hand and assert this without any example of the trouble it could/would cause. Please elaborate what you mean by Pandora's Box.

 

1. These will be paid accounts, so any demonstrable abuse results in a loss of whatever money has been paid into that account should ACE decide to permanently ban that account. I am not proposing that this feature be free nor that it be unfettered.

 

2. People already use outside applications like Discord, IRC, guild websites, and the like, and nothing is stopping them from coordinating this way or writing their own non-sanctioned bots apart from the difficulty of reverse engineering the parts of the game dealing with chat. This is asking for something officially sanctioned by ACE, which in turn makes it easier to police bad behavior. If everyone is using the official system with limitations like no reading/writing to non-private channels, then any bad actors stand out and can be more easily caught and punished.

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I see no reason to integrate this into the game.

 

I'd much prefer they spend time with a public-facing API so we could make our own.

 

You are missing the point. Officially sanctioning such a thing primarily involves creating an API to program your bot against. That is literally what I am asking for. If they want to create an official Hubot module or whatever down the line, that's fine. The main ask is to make an API that exposes the limited feature set that I talked about and authenticates and/or links to a paid account of some sort.

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How do you believe it would be abused in a way that Discord, IRC, or even a WhatsApp group couldn't be used to muster forces? And what's wrong with getting people to log on for a fight? In a PvP game, in a sense you are the content for other players and vice versa.  ;)

 

 

 

You dismiss my idea out of hand and assert this without any example of the trouble it could/would cause. Please elaborate what you mean by Pandora's Box.

 

1. These will be paid accounts, so any demonstrable abuse results in a loss of whatever money has been paid into that account should ACE decide to permanently ban that account. I am not proposing that this feature be free nor that it be unfettered.

 

2. People already use outside applications like Discord, IRC, guild websites, and the like, and nothing is stopping them from coordinating this way or writing their own non-sanctioned bots apart from the difficulty of reverse engineering the parts of the game dealing with chat. This is asking for something officially sanctioned by ACE, which in turn makes it easier to police bad behavior. If everyone is using the official system with limitations like no reading/writing to non-private channels, then any bad actors stand out and can be more easily caught and punished.

I didn't dismiss it out of hand. I indicated I felt the feature, if ACE thought there was value there, would be better served if looked at 1 to 2 years out when the profile of in-game "abuse", be it from Gold Seller Adverts in chat channels, to careless SPAM of guild invites and what have you in chat, etc., can be understood.

 

If I would have dismissed it out of hand my answer would have been something like "the idea sucks, no."

 

I could care less about Discord or other out-of-game vectors for communication, because those vectors do not impede my in-game experience.

 

The example here comes from Archeage where, early on just after release, Gold Sellers had so much freedom and control over abuse of chat channels they were actively Griefing both Trion and the legitimate player base: The abuse of the channel was so bad it literally rendered channels unusable . . . by a damn Gold Seller.

 

And lastly:

 

I don't care for Botting of ANYTHING in MMOs. I personally believe players should pony up and play the game, which includes working communication channels in-game yourself. If that's a problem, then by all means engage out-of-game services for your personal truck-full of buds.

 

And opening the door by "sanctioning" some things does not guarantee "it makes it easier to Police" said things. It could as easily negate the ability to Police the issue without inflating, drastically, the pain / drama that WILL come with "The Man" picking on some "innocent little tyke" who's simply misunderstood.

 

Kiddies nowadays (that's ages 5 to 40 - humor intended)LOVE to prance on the dance-floor of "me-so-clever-you-long-time": Rules Lawyering and Loop-Hole Fishing.

 

Full Circle to my answer to your reply:

 

Botting isn't a good thing (IMO) - and I don't care it's been slid in the direction of chat channeling.

The game needs to be out one to two years first (IMO) so that a clear historical picture can be had in regards to exploiting, gold seller intrusion, etc.

 

Nothing particularly scary in the opinion I think.

Edited by Bramble

“Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards--and living up to them--is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it." - Seth Godin

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It seems like you have not actually read what I am proposing and are simply reacting to a word that has bad connotations to you. Bots can be good or bad, and these bots, with the limitations I am proposing to be on them, will fall squarely in the first category.

 

It would be literally impossible, under the rules I am proposing, for a bot to be used to openly spam for gold-selling in any server-wide chat that isn't moderated. Only private channels, such as guild or alliance channels, would be accessible by chatbots, and then only with the permission of whomever is moderating the channel.

 

Example scenario: Guild leader Alice of the AHHH guild wants to set up a chatbot for her guild and the Blargh Alliance, but she doesn't have the technical expertise to do so. Luckily, AHHH officer Bob has that know-how and Alice has set the guild permissions to allow officers to moderate chat. Bob logs in to his account and creates a unique API token for both his bot and the guild channel. Bob can only create tokens to join channels where he is a moderator, and he isn't a moderator of the Blargh-Alliance chat, so he has to contact Charlie of the Blargh Leadership Council guild (who is a moderator for the Blargh-Alliance chat) to get a token for his bot. 

 

Now, even if Bob's bot were to run amok (unlikely), anyone with moderator access can quickly revoke the bot's access token and shut down the spam. If AHHH guild leaves the alliance, Charlie can easily remove Bob's bot's access just the same as if he was using it to spam the alliance to hawk his wares against the alliance rules.

 

-----

 

Automation is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. If it were, all of the helpful WoW raiding add-ons would have been decried by WoW's community and the use of those add-ons banned. Making it easier for people to coordinate let's players focus more on the actual gameplay and less on the administrative work required to effectively coordinate.

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I hear you.

 

A year or so down the timeline from release is the place to eval this type of thing.  My guess is ACE is going to have their hands full with a lot of things significantly more baseline within that first year.


“Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards--and living up to them--is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it." - Seth Godin

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I'd like to see the ability to, with a paid account, access a limited set of chat features and perhaps an API (e.g. if ACE made an item database publicly available on the main site). Making it a paid feature does two very important things:

 

1. Disincentivizes abuse: if your bot gets banned for bad behavior, you're out of an account and have to pay for another set up fee (whether that's another copy of the game or some other purchase mechanism that ACE decides on).

2. Adds another, albeit small, revenue stream that I'm sure many guilds and/or alliances would gladly pay for given the functionality it would bring.

 

Another benefit would be that it's a project that can bring together the community, making it possible for Guilds and Alliances to coordinate in ways that they would not otherwise be able to absent such tools.

 

I've read through your suggestion and what it really comes down to, bottom-line, is restricting some form of functionality behind a paywall. 

 

While I support good ideas to coax players into the optional subscription to help ArtCraft maintain revenue (and improve/fund the game) I cannot help but see your suggestion as an unhealthy one for the game.

 

 

-----

 

Automation is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. If it were, all of the helpful WoW raiding add-ons would have been decried by WoW's community and the use of those add-ons banned. Making it easier for people to coordinate let's players focus more on the actual gameplay and less on the administrative work required to effectively coordinate.

 

This is where I truly disagree with you. Automating portions of gameplay or letting players simplify the game as a whole is generally always bad for its depth and its longevity. (IMHO) When games cease to challenge players, even in little ways, players become bored and move on. 

 

It makes it harder for genuinely talented players to shine when less skilled (player skill) players are able to compete at an artificially high level through the use of add-ons and scripts. (This includes leadership roles, as you cited an example of tracking guild & raid statistics)

 

Full disclosure;

I don't like bots or addons of any kind that impact direct gameplay. (I'm okay with RP addons, because they only add fluff which players must devote effort into.)

 

I really don't like add-ons that simplify the game and give a player any form of advantage or ease-of-play over other players using only what the developers have provided. (Healbot & other raiding addons from WoW for example.)

 

Some of my best raiding memories were in vanilla & BC-era WoW before the addons became commonplace. When players had to actually know the fight, their specific role in it and how best to work with their guildmates. When guilds needed genuinely talented leaders who knew how to actually lead 39 other players to victory. Who knew when and how to best use the resources that they, collectively, brought to the field.

 

I cannot fully express to you the sense of satisfaction in seeing a boss go down after struggling to come together as a cohesive raiding force nor the sense of accomplishment at having overcome the struggle of failed attempts while seeing success inch closer with every wipe. For me and a large number of friends I've raided with throughout the years, addons serve only to cheapen the game and water it down so that the player need not work so hard.

 

Once upon a time, WoW was a hard game long before players ever hit the endgame and that's what I enjoyed the most about it. 

 

I want Crowfall to be even harder.

 

Since we're fighting against rival players, I want guilds to struggle and fail and grow stronger as they rise again and again. I want players to have to fail and learn from their mistakes and learn to value those that are beside them in a group and raid. I want truly talented players to stand well above the mediocre and have their names recognized whenever they set foot on the field. 

 

 

So to that end; no bots please. (or addons :( )

Edited by Rhast

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I've read through your suggestion and what it really comes down to, bottom-line, is restricting some form of functionality behind a paywall. 

 

While I support good ideas to coax players into the optional subscription to help ArtCraft maintain revenue (and improve/fund the game) I cannot help but see your suggestion as an unhealthy one for the game.

 

Make it free and available to all players. No functionality behind a paywall. API limitations and auth/permissions as described above limit the potential for abuse.

 

This is where I truly disagree with you. Automating portions of gameplay or letting players simplify the game as a whole is generally always bad for its depth and its longevity. (IMHO) When games cease to challenge players, even in little ways, players become bored and move on. 

 

It makes it harder for genuinely talented players to shine when less skilled (player skill) players are able to compete at an artificially high level through the use of add-ons and scripts. (This includes leadership roles, as you cited an example of tracking guild & raid statistics)

 

 

What does tracking imaginary points and statistics have to do with skill? What does letting people know when a raid is have to do with skill? You mistake tedium and artificial barriers to communication for actual mechanics that make a game easy or hard. If players became bored because it's easier to coordinate and simpler to play, then I suppose WoW is dead due to its inclusion of a guild calendar, thorough API for add-ons, quest UI that tells you where to go on the map, and external item databases that make it easier for players to find out what loot drops from what enemies. Oh wait, no, they have millions of subscribers, even after the WoD mass exodus. It just doesn't appeal to you, because you don't like it. That's fine. It doesn't appeal to me either. But that doesn't mean that the mythic raiders are any less skilled just because they have raid warnings and HP bar UI add-ons.

 

Full disclosure;

I don't like bots or addons of any kind that impact direct gameplay. (I'm okay with RP addons, because they only add fluff which players must devote effort into.)

 

I really don't like add-ons that simplify the game and give a player any form of advantage or ease-of-play over other players using only what the developers have provided. (Healbot & other raiding addons from WoW for example.)

 

 

 

You are mistaking a lack of actionable information with a measure of skill. If the developers provide an API, then by definition they are providing you the option to use particular information and functionality that they built in to the game. It doesn't make you a better player for refusing to use the information being offered to you.

 

If the developers provided no way for support classes to see the hp bars of their teammates, that would be bad game design, not adding a layer of difficulty. Even WoW's basic raid UI lets you see peoples' hp bars. You just have to typically click on them to target them instead of mousing over like some add-ons let you do. You still have to do the button-pressing and decision-making as to who you'll heal.

Some of my best raiding memories were in vanilla & BC-era WoW before the addons became commonplace. When players had to actually know the fight, their specific role in it and how best to work with their guildmates. When guilds needed genuinely talented leaders who knew how to actually lead 39 other players to victory. Who knew when and how to best use the resources that they, collectively, brought to the field.

 

I cannot fully express to you the sense of satisfaction in seeing a boss go down after struggling to come together as a cohesive raiding force nor the sense of accomplishment at having overcome the struggle of failed attempts while seeing success inch closer with every wipe. For me and a large number of friends I've raided with throughout the years, addons serve only to cheapen the game and water it down so that the player need not work so hard.

 

Once upon a time, WoW was a hard game long before players ever hit the endgame and that's what I enjoyed the most about it. 

 

I want Crowfall to be even harder.

 

Since we're fighting against rival players, I want guilds to struggle and fail and grow stronger as they rise again and again. I want players to have to fail and learn from their mistakes and learn to value those that are beside them in a group and raid. I want truly talented players to stand well above the mediocre and have their names recognized whenever they set foot on the field. 

 

 

So I take it you never used voice chat. I was in a top guild on my server in Vanilla that dominated the world bosses. And we used an external voice chat program. That gives an advantage "over what the developers provided" or at least it did until Blizzard implemented it (poorly) in-game. Does it make you "more skilled" if you can't communicate effectively with your teammates except by text that you manually typed in? No, it simply adds an artificial barrier to communication and coordination. Even EverQuest raiding guilds use voice chat programs, and there pretty much aren't any add-ons for that game.

 

Having a chatbot will in no way, shape, or form affect how good someone is at playing the game. Having a chatbot will not magically transform people who are bad at PvP into PvP gods. It will not elevate poor leaders over good ones. The best will still rise to the top, and the baddies will still get stomped.

 

Having a chatbot will, however, make it easier for players of all skill levels to coordinate and share certain bits of information in limited fashion. If a chatbot can give you an item link or a raid time that the guild leader set without you having to go look it up on an external site somewhere, that doesn't give you an unfair advantage -- it keeps you inside the game, immersed in its content!

Edited by jusadbellum

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