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Macros for pvp, respecing, grabbing huttballs. Legal?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > PvP
Macros for pvp, respecing, grabbing huttballs. Legal?
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Phillip_BW's Avatar


Phillip_BW
06.21.2013 , 12:21 PM | #181 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  

So a number of people have asked about text macros. A couple of others (even on reddit!) have mentioned 'colour detection to determine which action to take' systems. I even saw a questions about sequence clicking... I even saw claims that we can't detect anything and won't do a thing about this issue.

I'll address all four...

Text Macros
Strictly speaking, text macro's are against the ToS. If its for emotes etc and isn't being used as a way to advise others of an impending attack in a Warzone (inc snow! for example), then we will turn a blind eye to an extent. If you fire off emotes too many times in quick succession of course then you will get evaluated for if you are spamming.

One click 'enter chat, type 'inc snow!', hit enter' text macros designed to warn others is completely against the ToS. You need to make a decision - do I take the time to type 'inc snow' to the ops group, or do I just keep fighting this person... Think of it as an evaluation on if you are using a tool that gives you an unfair advantage over somebody not using that same tool.

Colour detection and evaluated action macros
The very act of determining a colour of a pixel on screen and as a result then using a specific action is one of the easy to understand examples of what we call automation. As soon as you have two things happening based on one key press, then its against the ToS.

Sequence clicking
If you have a system set up so that if you hit the same key 4 times likes so: '1, 1, 1, 1' and instead of just firing off whatever 1 is bound to it fires off '1, 2, 3, 4', then as long as you keep it to 'one key == one other key hit' its in that grey area of not true automation. There is a caveat - you can't have the macro determine a minimum time between clicks to work around the global cool down timing and only fire the next button in sequence if the GCD has expired.

If you instead have a system that when you hit 1, it fires of 1, 2, 3, 4 in quick succession or all at once (i.e. one click == many actions) in order to try and fire something that isn't currently in a cool down state then yes, that is against the ToS. Again, one click must always equal one action and only one action within the game.

Detection of abuse
There are many claims based on guesswork that we can't tell when a person is running automation for systems like field respeccing within seconds. Every time you interact with the server we log either the specific event or an aggregate of similar events firing multiple times. We can (and do!) look through those logs using analytic engines. If you want to know more about the concept, look up 'big data' in google - we strive to make all decisions on making changes to the game based on the data we have, and we have a lot of data.

We also use that data for game forensics - we may not react in a real-time manner for most things, but as people foolish enough to speedhack know, we can and do act based on irrefutable data.

Now, all that said, what are we going to be doing going forwards now that this issue is very much in the limelight?

Expect changes to the ability to field respec in Warzones. We were already working on this as part of some upcoming PvP updates (Bruce detailed some of that this week I believe), and we may bring the field respec changes forward - or we may just keep them where they are so to not impact the game update schedules and instead update our existing Warzone game forensic reporting to include inhumanly fast field respec events. Either way my advise if you are currently macroing within Warzones is to stop.

Phillip Holmes
SWTOR Head of Security

bsbrad's Avatar


bsbrad
06.21.2013 , 12:34 PM | #182
Thank you Phillip for explaining the situation in detail, hopefully there will no longer be any ambiguity around this issue.
N'abi
Begeren Colony
The answer is easy the question is not....oh who am I kidding!!!.

Groncho's Avatar


Groncho
06.21.2013 , 12:42 PM | #183
Good...i have seen some guys taking the ball from mid in hutball so fast (while the toon animation was other)....lol...they might find another way to do it tho
Ch
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Maelael's Avatar


Maelael
06.21.2013 , 12:43 PM | #184
Thank you for the detailed answers! Hopefully this encourages people to start reporting again and some visible action is taken.

Glzmo's Avatar


Glzmo
06.21.2013 , 01:02 PM | #185
Quote: Originally Posted by Phillip_BW View Post

One click 'enter chat, type 'inc snow!', hit enter' text macros designed to warn others is completely against the ToS. You need to make a decision - do I take the time to type 'inc snow' to the ops group, or do I just keep fighting this person... Think of it as an evaluation on if you are using a tool that gives you an unfair advantage over somebody not using that same tool.
Playing devil's advocate here, but perhaps the following is something to think about:

Are people that use third party Teamspeak/Ventrilo/Skype/etc. to gain an advantage over other players also in violation of the TOS as well (some may remember that there was anti-voice-communication code in place during beta)? People using voice communication don't even have to press a single key when fighting to tell their team "Incoming Snow" and they can even use longer sentences, like "Five people Incoming at Snow, three Marauders, one Sorcerer and one mercenary. Possibly a Stealther, too!" which takes zero downtime away from fighting for them. For a regular player, typing this up would mean he's dead before he can finish the sentence. But with voice communication he may just be able to hold them off long enough for reinforcements to arrive.

On the same token, what about people that sit in the same room (on a LAN party or whatever) while playing and actually talk to each other without any lag?

Also, is copying and pasting text into the chat window not allowed either? If one that guards snow copies the string /ops Incoming Snow! into their clipboard and pastes it into the chat window, would that be a violation of the TOS as well? Copy & Paste is an OS function and technically "third party" as well since the OS isn't published by EA/Bioware. Also, once you have written it down, you can always use up or down cursors to bring up the text again and quickly re-submit it in chat.

How can pick up groups/random warzone groups possibly get even with premades that use Teamspeak/Ventrilo/Skype/other VoIP programs? There is hardly enough time to pass voice server data around at the beginning of a warzone. If premades would never be matched against pickup groups, this wouldn't be as much of a problem, but nowadays you even get premades of guilds with voice communication in the sub-level 30 warzone brackets that most often go against random groups which completely kills the fun as they just waltz over any random groups with ease and also cause those players in random groups that get their first taste of PVP to never enter a warzone again in disgust.

Also, some people with certain disabilities that don't have as many fingers may have to use macros with multiple keystrokes in order to even be able to play the game and get somewhere near competitiveness. Will they be punished as well? It certainly wouldn't surprise me if they would, since you have even neglected to implement the long-promised color blind mode, gamma slider, brightness and contrast controls (which were present during beta and some even until Game Update 1.4 in the live game), the in-game macro/scripting system, chat bubbles, built-in voice communication and other accessibility options so far...

Again, just playing devil's advocate on the topic of techniques that enhance communication and playability here. But it's certainly food for thought.

Anzel's Avatar


Anzel
06.21.2013 , 01:05 PM | #186
Quote: Originally Posted by Encima View Post
Yeah anyone holding their breath for this to be enforced, RIP!
I mean really. Weekends are the WORST. Just about every WZ we go into it's painfully obvious that this is happening. There are several very well known web sites and communities dedicated to just this.

Has anyone ever seen anyone report about action taken over this? I call Shenanigans...
ANZEL - Master Bounty Hunter - Corbantis Galaxy - 06/23/2003
ANZEL - Bounty Hunter / Mercenary - The Corbantis Legacy - 12/13/2011
ANZEL - SWG EMU - CORE 1 Developer - 06/2006

Jadescythe's Avatar


Jadescythe
06.21.2013 , 01:10 PM | #187
Quote: Originally Posted by Glzmo View Post
How can pick up groups/random warzone groups get even with premades that use teamspeak/ventrilo/other VoIP programs then? There is hardly enough time to pass voice server data around at the beginning of a warzone. If premades would never be matched against pickup groups, this wouldn't be a problem, but nowadays you even get premades of guilds with voice communication in the sub-level 30 warzone brackets which completely kills the fun.
Are people that use Teamspeak/Ventrilo/etc. to gain an advantage over other players also in violation of the TOS?

Also, some people with certain disabilities that don't have as many fingers may have to use macros with multiple keystrokes in order to even be able to play the game. Will they be punished as well? It certainly wouldn't surprise me, since you have even neglected to implement the long-promised color blind mode, gamma slider, brightness and contrast controls (which were present during beta and some even until Game Update 1.4 in the live game), the in-game macro/scripting system, chat bubbles and other accessibility options so far...
Wait... what?

Are you saying that you need a macro to type 1 inc snow to keep up with premades? Cause you are either going to see the guy coming, or he is stealthed and you're about to be CC'd for at least 2 seconds to type.

As for the handicapped, while I do sympathize with the issues they face in attempting to play a game, there is no handicapped sign to hang on your dashboard in this game. BW would have to require those who claim this to submit medical documentation to prove they should be allowed to use macros. Then they would have to establish a standard for what would and wouldn't be considered a necessity to play. And that sure as hell ain't happening.

No macros, ever, is the best line to set.
I have opinions and stuff

AdrianDmitruk's Avatar


AdrianDmitruk
06.21.2013 , 01:18 PM | #188
Quote: Originally Posted by Phillip_BW View Post

So a number of people have asked about text macros. A couple of others (even on reddit!) have mentioned 'colour detection to determine which action to take' systems. I even saw a questions about sequence clicking... I even saw claims that we can't detect anything and won't do a thing about this issue.

I'll address all four...

Text Macros
Strictly speaking, text macro's are against the ToS. If its for emotes etc and isn't being used as a way to advise others of an impending attack in a Warzone (inc snow! for example), then we will turn a blind eye to an extent. If you fire off emotes too many times in quick succession of course then you will get evaluated for if you are spamming.

One click 'enter chat, type 'inc snow!', hit enter' text macros designed to warn others is completely against the ToS. You need to make a decision - do I take the time to type 'inc snow' to the ops group, or do I just keep fighting this person... Think of it as an evaluation on if you are using a tool that gives you an unfair advantage over somebody not using that same tool.
...
So does this also forbid pre-typing incoming calls manually? For example typing "inc snow" in ops chat right after taking a node, when it is still clear, then clicking away from the chat window to save the incoming call in the window, ready to be used simply by hitting enter (and maybe adding a number) at will. Planning ahead would certainly seem to convey the same kind of "unfair advantage" of not having to fight and type inc calls at the same time as a text macro might.

Just sayin.'
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Sine_Nomen's Avatar


Sine_Nomen
06.21.2013 , 01:32 PM | #189
Quote: Originally Posted by Jadescythe View Post
Wait... what?

Are you saying that you need a macro to type 1 inc snow to keep up with premades? Cause you are either going to see the guy coming, or he is stealthed and you're about to be CC'd for at least 2 seconds to type.
No, he didn't say macros would solve the issue. He suggested that VOIP fails the test set forth by Phillip:
Quote: Originally Posted by Phillip_BW View Post
...Think of it as an evaluation on if you are using a tool that gives you an unfair advantage over somebody not using that same tool
Voice comms are a tool external to the game that enable faster responses - that's why they're used, right? If anything, I think he's written a verbose feature request (add voice comms to the game itself).

Sine_Nomen's Avatar


Sine_Nomen
06.21.2013 , 01:35 PM | #190
Quote: Originally Posted by AdrianDmitruk View Post
So does this also forbid pre-typing incoming calls manually? For example typing "inc snow" in ops chat right after taking a node, when it is still clear, then clicking away from the chat window to save the incoming call in the window, ready to be used simply by hitting enter (and maybe adding a number) at will. Planning ahead would certainly seem to convey the same kind of "unfair advantage" of not having to fight and type inc calls at the same time as a text macro might.

Just sayin.'
You're not using an external tool that the other parties don't have access to. It's no more an unfair advantage than using a stun or interrupt against some poor sap who isn't smart enough to do likewise. He's got the tools; you can't force him to use them (or be blamed when he fails to use them).