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Dispute Resolution Across Platforms: Offshore Gambling Industry & EVE Online

Workshop Paper Presented at the EVE Online Workshop, Foundation of Digital Games Conference 2013.

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Dispute Resolution Across Platforms: Offshore Gambling Industry & EVE Online

  1. 1. Dispute Resolution AcrossEnvironments: Advantage Play1st International EVE Online Workshop,Foundation of Digital Games - ChaniaDarryl Woodford /, 15 May 13
  2. 2. METHODOLOGY• Whilst undertaking detailed ethnography of Eve Online,noticed that types of disputes and community norms werevery similar to one specific application of self / participant-driven regulation: the offshore gambling industry.• Thus focused on offshore industry to identify key factorswhich led to success of that mode of regulation, and thensought to establish the extent to which they were found inEVE (and other environments).Wednesday, 15 May 13
  3. 3. NORMS• Norms are “informal social regularities that individuals feelobligated to follow because of an internalized sense ofduty, because of a fear of external non-legal sanctions, orboth” (McAdams, 1997).• Many applications to Ostrom’s work -- what communitiesuse to regulate themselves -- however important tocontrast commercial vs commons environments.• But how do we cope when rules differ from norms? Canwe classify that behavior?Wednesday, 15 May 13
  4. 4. Bartle ModelLeft Image my own. Right -- IJMC: PopLicks.comReal world governmentsVirtual world adminsPlayersWednesday, 15 May 13
  5. 5. GAMBLING VS. VIRTUAL WORLDS• Many similarities; from mechanics (drop tables, completeGacha) to regulatory challenges.• But other industries are similar too: day-trading, tradingcards.• The fact that they look similar doesn’t imply what works inone will work for the other, but does warrant furtherconsideration.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  6. 6. COMMON FEATURES• Geographical Disparity & Lack of Formal Regulation• Terms of Service enforcement difficulties, conflictsbetween TOS, Community Norms and/or Code.• Potential for disputes.• Strength of community: knowledge of mishandled issuestravels fast in both environments.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  7. 7. GAMBLING VS. VIRTUAL WORLDS“when people lose their lifesavings in the stock market, itscalled bad investment. whenpeople lose their life savings insports betting, its calledgambling problem.”Genghis Khan, SBR ForumWednesday, 15 May 13
  8. 8. ADVANTAGE PLAY• Term from gambling industry, but similar concepts ingames.– Humans always seek to optimize.• Koster (“Theory of Fun”) details how players seek to optimize theirpath through games, even when that differs from designerintention. If the code allows them to do something, they will.• Gamblers (or some gamblers) seek to maximize profit. If the codeallows them to do something, they will.• In Gambling context, advantage players will always seek tomaximize EV (expected value). A standard AFL/NRL/NFLbet at 1.91 has ~-5% EV, players look to make that positive-- handicapping or tech.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  9. 9. CORRELATED PARLAYS• US/Australian Sports:• USC (-49, -110 / 1.91) vs North Carolina State• Over/Under 49, -110 / 1.91• IF USC-49 wins, P(O49)=1, P(U49)=0.• IF NCST+49 wins, P(O49)=0, P(U49) =1.• If side pushes, so does total (so we can ignore that)• The results are perfectly correlated.• Betting USC-49 for 110 returns $100 or 0.• Betting USC-49 . USCo49 for 110 returns $364 or $0.• Correlated parlays are cheating.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  10. 10. CORRELATED PARLAYS• Soccer:• Man Utd (-1, 1.91) vs Norwich• Over/Under 2.5, -110 / 1.91• IF Utd-1 wins, P(O2.5)~0.66, P(U2.5)~0.33• IF Norwich+1 wins, P(O2.5)~0.33, P(U2.5)~0.66.• The results are correlated, but the correlation <1.• Betting Utd-1 for 110 returns $100 or 0.• Betting Utd-1 . O2.5 for 110 returns $364 or $0. Instead of 52.5%chance of the second bet winning, there’s a 66% chance.• Advantage play or cheating?Wednesday, 15 May 13
  11. 11. Casibot BlackjackImages from, representative of toolsWednesday, 15 May 13
  12. 12. Line ServicesMy Images - SportsOptions & Matchbook.comWednesday, 15 May 13
  13. 13. EXAMPLE: OFFSHORE GAMBLING• “Cory Roth” vs “EasyStreet Sportsbook”– Roth played allegedly perfect video poker for 499 minutes (8.3hours) at the rate of 1,053 hands per hour, hitting two royalflushes.• Had previously shown a similar pattern at Northbet (and was tosubsequently do so at Heritage).• Casino claimed it was obvious he was botting, and confiscated allhis funds. Also alleged he had broken the RNG.• Player alleged the software had a ‘fast deal’ mode, encouragedfast play, what he had done was possible, and, even if he werebotting, the game design should have ensured a profit for casino.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  14. 14. Botting in Eve OnlineUnattributed compositeWednesday, 15 May 13
  15. 15. EXAMPLE: EVE ONLINE• EXPLOITS– An immediate permanent ban of an account may result if:• Investigation shows that a player has employed the use of an exploit tactic despite a public announcement beingmade to alert players they will be banned for using it.• A player who has been previously warned for exploiting and continues to exploit, whether using the same exploit oranother.• An account holder guilty of employing “duping” exploits. Players found to have received the benefits of this exploitmay also face reprimand, from removal of the items in question up to, and including, banning of their accounts.• A player has engaged in activity that intentionally causes others to lose connection, suffer latency issues (lag) or tocrash to desktop (CTD).• A player renders himself invulnerable through the use of a bug.• A player has created, distributed or advertised an illegal 3rd party program (i.e. macro or cheat program) thatdisrupts game mechanics, is considered unfriendly or gives an unfair advantage by misusing game features in a wayfor which they were not intended.– Severe offences may result in an immediate ban without warning; however, warnings may be given for first time offenses,followed by account suspensions of varying degree and ultimately a permanent ban if a player:• Creates a character using a name that is misleading and causes others to believe he is a fair target, such as a non-player pirate or other NPC entity.• Is discovered to be employing the use of a third party program to macro illegally. Funds or goods received from thebenefits of macroing are subject to removal from the player’s inventory.• Is aware of an exploitable bug and fails to report it to Game Masters and/or distributes the information to otherplayers.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  16. 16. Spamming, 15 May 13
  17. 17. EXAMPLE: EVE ONLINE GM RESPONSEOfficial Warning From: GM BunyipSent: 2012.10.10 21:16To: RedactedGreetings, GM Bunyip here.This is an official warning that a large number of your alliance members have been caught exploiting the chat invite system to gain an unfairadvantage in PvP.They have been confirmed as exploiting by sending multiple chat requests to characters in an effort to give themselves an advantage. This incidentoccurred on 2012.10.02, from 10:40:00 onwards, in the WV-0R2 system.Note that exploiting in such a way is against the EULA and Terms of Service, and could ultimately result in action being taken against their accounts.Additionally, dealing with these incidents takes us a great deal of time – time that could have been better spent helping players with genuineproblems.We have treated this incident with great lenience. All that has happened at this stage is every individual involved has been warned and had theiraccount marked for future reference.Future violations may not be treated with the same lenience. Please inform your alliance to cease this activity at once or risk action being takenagainst their accounts.If you wish to dispute this, do not reply to the EVE mail. Instead, file a petition.Best regards, GM Bunyip–Wednesday, 15 May 13
  18. 18. EVE COMMUNITY• Unclear:– Whether something is an exploit if the code allows it.– Whether something is ‘known’ or ‘unknown’.– Exactly what the implications of any ambiguous in-game actionwill be.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  19. 19. EXAMPLE: EVE ONLINE• Participant / EVE News 24 commentator Riverini trained a“cloaky Loki with a probe launcher to go hunt some bots”,and developed a repeatable system to identify bots withinsystems.• He “noticed a pattern in the systems which had the same #of players 13 hours later [and] consulted dotlan for thesuspicious systems. A system with bots would display aconsistent NPC kill count [...] It is relatively unlikely that ahuman would have the patience to chain belts for 13consecutive hours and produce a smooth, even NPC killcount with low volatility... [These] were surely bots”Wednesday, 15 May 13
  20. 20. Not everybody agrees, 15 May 13
  21. 21. EXAMPLE: EVE ONLINE• Norms theory would suggest that codification followsnorms, and so it was with botting in Eve Online.• Players (Riverini just one example) identified techniquesusing the interface to identify bots. CCP, with access to thebackend data, could clearly have optimized this process.• The answer was either they didn’t want to (botters paid fortheir accounts), or that they didn’t have the staff to do so.• Concerted actions by players forced CCP to take action.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  22. 22. SUMMARY• Developer Sanctioned: It’s OK, but players may not like it,and may impose their own sub-rules (see: Bartle)• Cheating: Most agree it’s not OK, but some players maydo it anyway. They can be sanctioned.• Advantage Play: This is the interesting one that warrantsfurther research. This is within the rules, but consideredcheating by somebody. This is the layer at which we definethe *actual* rules, vs. the written rules.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  23. 23. SPECULATION:OFFSHORE REGULATORY HISTORY• Offshore industry founded out of European operatorsseeking to offer services to customers their licenses didn’tcover.• In contemporary context, largely island-based operationstargeting US customers, in breach of Wire Act, UIGEA (andvarious racketeering statutes)• Forum-based regulation worked for a while, whilst internet& industry boomed. Problems started when they startedrelying on advertising.• Mediation panels lost traction after US F1 GP Dispute w /Olympic.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  24. 24. SPECULATION:SBR MODEL• Other models were also participant based, but it is theSBR model that gained traction.• Players submit dispute. SBR attempt to resolve with bookbehind scenes. Report back to community via news wire.• Has evolved over the years. Some disputes are raised inpublic first (lower % resolved). Communication nowincludes forums, video.• A negative report from SBR is enough to impact upon yourbusiness.• Similar to “Greed is Good” & Gaming Media• Reputation-based regulation.Wednesday, 15 May 13
  25. 25. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS• ARC Centre for Excellence in Creative Industries andInnovation (CCI) -• Social Media Research Group, Creative Industries Faculty,Queensland University of Technology --, 15 May 13
  26. 26. QUESTIONS• [Please insert suitable question and answer here]Wednesday, 15 May 13