Thursday 25 July 2013

More on Input Lag

Pursuant to my Input Lag post a few days ago, I entered a reimbursement ticket regarding market order input lag.

My Ticket

I'm getting tired of getting ripped off due to input lag when entering buy orders.

It happened again today, I entered the numbers for a buy order... I double checked the numbers and realized a zero was missing so I fixed it, checked the numbers again and hit enter.

Then the game sort of freezes for a few seconds, the missing digit appears, the order goes through and I wind up overpaying by about 3 billion total for 10 sisters core probe launchers.

Fixing the order system would make order entry errors due to input lag like this a non-issue.

Make it so when you enter a buy price higher than highest sell order it gets filled from sell orders at the sell order price. And just the opposite when entering sell orders, low priced sell orders should be filled at the price of higher priced buy orders.

The way it works now isn't just stupid, unrealistic and annoying, it also rewards cheating bots who reap most of the benefits of such errors since they usually have the lowest sell / highest buy orders and never have to worry about similar input errors themselves, while punishing honest players for not cheating.

That's the 3rd time now this has happened to me for significant losses (the latest 2 were in the billions).

Please fix this crap!

CCP's Answer

After an initial answer which basically said to post in the suggestions forum without addressing reimbursment. I asked about that and got this response (names removed to protect the innocent).

Hello again **** ****,

Our reimbursement policies are very strict and we can only reimburse if we are able to verify that a bug or server error caused the loss. Any losses attributable to errors in the EVE client may not be eligible for reimbursement nor any losses attributable to problems with a player's system (i.e. computer, internet connection, etc.) or any system owned by a third party. You can find a copy of our policy here.

We hope that you understand our position and that you will recover swiftly from the loss.

Best regards,
GM ******
CCP Customer Support | EVE Online | DUST 514 

My Response

Thank you for taking the time to consider this issue so thoroughly.

You support mechanics that favor bots over real players. Mechanics that punish honest players for playing by the rules and reward cheaters for breaking them.

Should we take that as a hint on how the game is meant to be played?


1. I will never post on the official forums for any game again. I learned my lesson on that long ago and stay out of the troll infested flaming cesspools known as "official" forums.

2.  I actually composed my sarcastic response before receiving CCP's answer because I had a pretty good idea what their answer would be.


  1. I've been burned by input lag once myself to the tune of about 3.5B. I feel your pain.

  2. I can sympathize with input lag woes, but to contend that this 'encourages' botting is simply childish.

    If the botters were 'usually' the ones with the highest buy/sell orders, as you maintain, then how would you or Gevlon or any other trader (me included) ever make any money against them? The fact is that it's just as likely (especially in the market of an item that someone like you is trading in, operating not on the basis of the 0.01 ISK war) that the person on the other end of your blunder is another non-bot.

    It sucks, much in the same way buying or selling to a low-ball order on valuable items does, but the solution to both is the same- if you know that it's something that happens, then double and triple check, wait a bit, then check again. Getting snippy with CCP over a system that is broken is justified, getting snarky and accusing them of encouraging botting isn't.

    Go throw a suggestion up in the CSM's Reasonable Things initiative about this. Far more likely to get fixed that way, if you can stomach venturing on to the 'official' forums.

    1. I didn't say it encourages botting. I doesn't, however fixing it to NOT favor bots might discourage botting a little bit.

      I said it favors bots and that CCP is supporting mechanics that favor bots over honest players (not intentionally of course, but simply by leaving said mechanics in and not changing them to NOT favor bots). Both of which are true.

      The bit about "Should we take that as a hint on how the game is meant to be played?" was obviously sarcastic.

      As to how we make money in spite of the bots, as I'm sure you know there are many factors involved:

      1. Bots eventually run out of money or stock or hit their configuration limits, then our orders start going through.

      2. We often work with smaller margins than the bots really like working with. When margins get low enough, most of the bots drop out, the ones that stay eventually run into #1 above. Note there's a big difference between how low or high a bot will go over the short term / in low volume in an attempt to chase competition away and how high or low he'll go over the long term / in bulk volume.

      3. We use large cuts and sell for reasonable amounts (for the most part anyhow), bots mostly just price gouge and mindlessly chant the "always cut by 0.01 ISK to maximize profits" mantra.

      4. We move stock between stations and regions to take advantage of price differences. Bots generally just station trade.

      5. Nobody, not even a bot, can modify any one order more than once every 5 minutes.

      6. The longer you fight against the bots, the better you get at fighting them. I've been fighting them for years (not just in Eve). I don't know about you but so has Gevlon.

      There are other reasons too but those are most of the major ones.

    2. That's precisely my point though- nothing specifically about input lag favors bots. It's an instance where it penalizes the person it's occurring to, but whom it rewards is entirely arbitrary. If it's an item a skilled market trader is workign in, the odds are just as good that you're going to be buying/selling those few extra billion to that person.

      The mechanic you believe favors botting appears to be the aspect of the market that makes selling something go to the highest buy order, and buying something come from the lowest sell order. That's the entire basis of the market in terms of how trading works, and nothing in the mechanics I feel 'favors' bots.

      In examples 1-3 of your above points, all are designed to ensure *you* have the highest buys and lowest sells. And, if number 5 were not true, then botting would be far more rampant than it is. However, it isn't, they have just as many exploitable flaws as you list, and so I have to re-iterate my stance-

      Input lag penalizes the person conducting the transaction, but does not inherently 'benefit' or 'favor' any group of market traders any more than any other single transaction. Otherwise, by your logic, the entire market system is designed to favor bots, not just what happens when input lag is a factor.

      Unless that is your point, in which case I'm debating the wrong thing and apologize. :)

      Love the blog, by the way, and don't want to come across as a naysayer- just happen to disagree with you here.

    3. Input lag does favor bots for 2 reasons.

      1. They are always there always undercutting so yes they do have the lowest buy order and the lowest sell order more often than others. In fact, that (having the lowest/highest orders most often) is *precisely* why they bot in the first place.

      2. They don't get burned by input errors (whether due to lag or not) because they don't make input errors.

      The problem is the mechanic is making buys at prices far higher than the lowest sell orders and sales far lower then the lowest buy order.

      It should work similar to real life stock and commodities markets. If you place a buy order for 10 of an item at 1 million each and there are 100 for sale at lower prices you should get your 10 at the lower prices. If you enter a sell order when there are buys orders higher than the price you entered you should get the buy prices.

      Just like stock market and commodities purchasing systems work in real life.

      Glad to hear you like the blog. I don't have a problem with your comments, it's good feedback and that's a big part of what blogging is all about.

    4. Another way of looking at it is when you send your stock broker a buy order he doesn't just blindly send the seller the highest amount you're willing to pay. He fills your order with the lower priced sell orders first.

      If your buy order isn't completely filled with lower or equal priced sell orders then it gets listed in the system as a buy order waiting for sellers to meet your price.

      That's how the market in eve should work. The way it is now is unrealistic, silly and it does favor bots.

  3. By the same token though, those kind of 'real life applications' can be taken and applied to buying/selling at all- if I gave my stock/car/widget to someone to list it, they won't just sell it at whatever the highest current offer is unless it's reasonable. So why does selling something default to the lowest buy-order in range, allowing things like low-balling? By the same token, when buying things, why doesn't this fictional broker realize that the items available are marked up by 500%, and instead set a buy order at the regional average?

    Applying 'real-life' logic to the market is a slippery slope, and I still maintain that if you feel that the way orders being filled now favors bots, then the entire market system favors bots, which is entirely true- but then that's the whole shebang, and not just this particular instance.

    The point on them not *making* input lag errors is entirely valid, but again, that just means that they don't fall in to the 'penalized' group. But that's just as applicable to mission bots -they never forget to turn on hardeners the way, say, a drunk player would. There are many systems in Eve that are in place to 'punish' players not paying enough attention/jumping the gun, and the fact that bots don't make those mistakes is a problem. But not being liable to be punished by a system doesn't inherently make that system 'favorable' toward one group in my book, just unfavorable to others.

    Am sure we can agree to disagree though, though 'the way it is now is unrealistic [and] silly' I can get behind wholeheartedly. :)

    1. "So why does selling something default to the lowest buy-order in range, allowing things like low-balling?"

      I missed that earlier.

      It doesn't, selling defaults to the *highest buy order in range... As it should.

    2. Entirely right, was a typo on my part- but the question still remains regarding the 'stock broker' example- if your broker is supposed to be smart enough to not sell/buy something for 10x or 1/10th the price when it's an input lag error, why isn't he ALSO smart enough to not sell/buy something when it's because of a low-ball/incredibly marked up order and instead put up a reasonable buy/sell order for the regional average?

    3. That's an entirely different thing. It defaults to getting you the best available price, it's up to you to figure out if that's a decent price or not.

      If you tell your broker to sell pork bellies in alaska, he's not going to ship them to russia for a better price... He'll sell them in alaska for the best price available in alaska.