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View Full Version : Alt-Account Smurfing - Time to make some pie.



Black Wyvern
07-03-2017, 09:21 PM
Ok, so, a big point of discussion lately seems to be around how Trion is handling Alt-Accounts by making absurd changes to the Shadow Tower. Rightly, people are a bit miffed.

It's not going to stop the problem, and if anything, shuts down progression for new players, makes the game too time-consuming for casual players, and significantly increases the effort required for people who do stick around to do anything.

While this isn't a thread about the horrific progression schema of Trove, suffice it to say, that having all of your character progression past ~3500 PR RNG-locked is a terrible, terrible idea.

Adding a grind wall to the time game that holds back the RNG gate is not the solution to anything, and in the long term, will hurt the players, and hurt the game.

So, lets talk about some ideas that Trion could reasonably implement to curb some of the smurfing. (Besides committing sudoku. :rolleyes:) I'll give some of my own thoughts and perhaps add to it if people have constructive thoughts of their own.

========== Account Verification:

PROFILE VERIFICATION
Add personally identifiable information to accounts, and prevent multiple accounts from being made with the same information. Verify as much as possible. Disable logins for all players until this verification step is completed, and deny login to any account that has matching information.

COST:
Database [0]
Backend [0]
Hardware [0]

PRO:
TRION: Collects a huge amount of demographic information.
TRION: Already partially, if not almost fully implemented currently.

CON:
FLAW [FATAL]: Easily bypassed without something more substantial to prove identity.

-----

EMAIL VERIFICATION
Disable trades for accounts that do not have their email verified.

COST:
Database [0]
Backend [1]
Hardware [0]

PRO:
TRION: Can already use existing account information.

CON:
FLAW [FATAL]: Easily bypassed, doesn't actually stop anyone from making a trash email account.

-----

IP Verification - Type I
Log the IP address of each account on login. Silently prevent trades between players with matching IP addresses. (Do not explicitly state the block was initiated by IP flagging.)

Database [1]
Backend [2]
Hardware [0]

PRO:
TRION: Requires little additional database management to implement at a basic level.

CON:
FLAW [FATAL]: Easily spoofed.
FLAW [SERIOUS]: Players in dormitories or shared housing that have a single IP address.
FLAW [EDGE]: Players on proxy services.

-----

IP VERIFICATION - Type II
Log the IP address of each account on login attempt. Prevent login of accounts which share the same IP address. Release IP addresses that are not currently assigned to an account, or have not been used for a previous login attempt in the last 30 days.

Database [4]
Backend [2]
Hardware [0]

PRO:
TRION: Requires little additional database management to implement at a basic level.
OBJECTIVE: Disables clients from using proxy servers outright.

CON:
DESIGN: Would require significant database management to implement PROPERLY.
FLAW [FATAL]: Easily spoofed.
FLAW [SERIOUS]: Players in dormitories or shared housing that have a single IP address.
FLAW [EDGE]: Players on proxy services.
FLAW [EDGE]: Releasing 'cold' IP addresses reliably in case of ISP IP rotations.

-----

MAC Verification
Imprint accounts with the MAC address of the web adaptor accessing the account. Silently disable trades from accounts with matching MAC addresses. (Do not explicitly state the block was initiated by MAC flagging.)

Database [2]
Backend [2]
Hardware [0]

PRO:
OBJECTIVE: Disables multiboxing on the same system.

CON:
FLAW [SERIOUS]: Less easily spoofed than IP, but still spoofable.
FLAW [EDGE]: Players on public or shared computers.
FLAW [EDGE]: Proxy servers. (Shows proxy MAC unless MAC forwarding is enabled in code.)

-----

PHONE VERIFICATION
*Prefered method
Require a valid, unique, -non web- phone number to be registered to account before that account can participate in trade. One-time SMS activation. Phone numbers can be changed once every 15 days, but the same number cannot be used on the same account again for 30 days. Retired numbers cannot be used on any account within 10 days of it being released. If an account has not been active in the last 30 days and a new account is registered with that same phone number, a text will be sent to that number for confirmation. Acceptance will unregister the old account and prevent its login and transfer the number to the new account initializing the 15 and 30 day cooldowns.

Database [5]
Backend [5]
Hardware [3]

PRO:
OBJECTIVE: Is a single-step solution to alt-account farming.
DESIGN: Disallowing web phone services prevents players from making burner phones.

CON:
DESIGN: Requires a significant amount of hardware for SMS rx/tx verification.
DESIGN: Requires a significant amount of database management to implement.
SUPPORT: Increased user support requirements for cases of phone loss.
FLAW [EDGE]: Younger players registering with parental support in the same household.
FLAW [EDGE]: Players who legitimately do not own a cell phone.
FLAW [EDGE]: Players who are assigned a 'hot' number that is still in the cooldown phase.

========== In Game Methods:

MECHANIC ALTERATIONS - Type I
*Currently in use.
Change base mechanics of the game to make it a generally more unpleasant experience for players to attempt to level an alt account.

Database [0]
Backend [0]
Hardware [0]
Sense[0]

PRO:
???: Makes the ultra-whales whale harder. (If you can even call that a pro)

CON:
FLAW [FATAL]: Makes the game a generally more unpleasant experience for ALL players.
FLAW [FATAL]: Does not fix smurfing.
FLAW [FATAL]: Can shut down, or significantly alter the progression for new players.
FLAW [FATAL]: Can turn the game into an even more casually unfriendly title.
TRION: WILL invariably damage the player base regardless of the actions taken.
TRION: WILL damage your company image with players, making them less likely to return to, or play other games in the studio's portfolio.
DESIGN: Does NOT, in fact, encourage the rest of your player base to become whales, or P2W.
DESIGN: Drives off customers that would otherwise have considered paying into the system, but now will not.
DESIGN: Whales who would have previously whaled may leave due to not being able to whale their way past a third layer of mediocrity in their quest to become best waifu.

-----

MECHANICAL ALTERATIONS - Type II
Remove the need for players to use alt accounts to bypass or cheese your artificial restrictions.

Reduce the timegame and RNG factors associated with progression until the extreme late game with your ideas of gem precision and whatnot.
Implement a way to RELIABLY get the upgrades and gem rolls we need for our class and build that we can access smoothly and naturally by failed attempts to get them through the RNG system. (If we can't get lucky, we aren't entirely hosed for months on end.)

Gem rerolling is a great start.
Removing unfavorable rolls like HRegen was AMAZING.
Limiting the damage type on gems to the class that opens the box would be another huge step in the right direction.
There NEEDS to be a way to say 'Here's x number of failed gem box openings, I need a gem with Mag Damage, MaxHPBase and Crit Chance.'
(You can still keep some randomness to things, like the type of empowered gem received, or the color of the gem itself, to promote progressive iterations, but when a player is literally locked out of power gains for two months due to RNG saying 'You're a magic DPS class. Here's Phys Damage and Health Regen' it's enough to discourage someone from playing more.)


Database [1]
Backend [1]
Hardware [0]
Sense[10]

PRO:
OBJECTIVE: Kills, or severely limits the need for smurfing.
TRION: Player base will appreciate the changes. (In the long run)
TRION: Player retention will go up significantly.

CON:
DESIGN: Will be incredibly difficult to get right, and will be a severe divergence of your current mentality of RNG ALL THE THINGS! .o/
TRION: WILL invariably damage the player base regardless of the actions taken. You can't appease all the people, but shoot to make it the best experience for as many as you can, not just the whales. You can't live on them when there's nothing else around them to whale on.

-----

TRADE RESTRICTIONS - Type I
Enforce a strict trade limit or prevent trades entirely with users below a specified cumulative level or mastery rank.

Database [0]
Backend [2]
Hardware [0]

PRO:
OBJECTIVE: Prevents easy gearing of alt accounts by high level feeding.
OBJECTIVE: Delays the time in which people can set up new accounts.
DESIGN: When coupled with some of the above strategies also would prevent power leveling to bypass restrictions.

CON:
FLAW [SERIOUS]: Doesn't actually prevent smurfing, just delays it.

-----

TRADE RESTRICTIONS - Type II
Track trade statistics and disallow more than one trade valued at more than a specific value of flux to each player within a 30 day timespan wherein items of similar value are not traded in response. The restriction would need to be personal, rather than global. So you, as a player could not do one-sided trades to another player more than once, but could do so to another player.

Database [5]
Backend [3]
Hardware [0]

PRO:
OBJECTIVE: Cuts down on how frequently smurfs can be interacted with.

CON:
DESIGN: Requires SIGNIFICANT database management to implement.
FLAW [FATAL]: Very unfavorable results.
FLAW [FATAL]: Disincentivizes giveaways entirely.
FLAW [FATAL]: Disincentivizes cooperation between club members and friends.

SlyRam
07-04-2017, 08:55 AM
I do not see why another thread needed to be made about this, you could have put this all in the thread I made on the cost of keys and what the heck? you want trion to have everyones unique phone numbers? Are you out of your mind? preferred method??? NO. Nothing here will fix the problem, if anything everything on this list is going to make it worse and make hundreds to thousands of people quit.

"EMAIL VERIFICATION
Disable trades for accounts that do not have their email verified."
Why is this even a suggestion? You literally cannot log on if you do not verify your email address on the glyph client.

Profile verification? Personal info? Are you telling me Trion needs to turn into facebook? No, again, no, so much NO is in this thread that it's just....NO.

FlashExe
07-04-2017, 12:42 PM
Phone verification is actually what a lot of sites do for their logins. It's the simple "we sent a verification code in a text" sorta deal for creating an account. Really surprised why something like that hasn't been done. My best guess would be cost and/or effort to implement that in but... if that's not the case then I see no reason not to do so.

KoBeWi
07-04-2017, 12:47 PM
MAC Verification
Imprint accounts with the MAC address of the web adaptor accessing the account. Silently disable trades from accounts with matching MAC addresses. (Do not explicitly state the block was initiated by MAC flagging.)Variation of this could work. There's no need to use MAC address, just add some mechanism, that allows only one instance of Trove to be run at the same time (like, sort of "lock file", which has to exist when playing game, but you can't run game if it exists). This doesn't have any side effects. However, can be bypassed with virtual machine (unless someone comes with a clever solution).

PowerDj
07-04-2017, 01:30 PM
Here's my suggestion - simply close any open tabs of Trove if the user isn't logged in on Glyph. I honestly don't know why this isn't a thing already. I don't know any other game-thing that lets you log out while a game still plays, then log into another account and open another tab at the same time. Or they could just make both Trove tabs close down if more than one is open. I don't know anything about coding that kind of stuff but surely it can't be hard to just close the game if it's already open?

KoBeWi
07-04-2017, 01:31 PM
@KoBeWi, The reason I chose to say that the method should use and log the MAC address is because if you made the system a software 'No Multiboxing' option, then one would have cases wherein someone chooses not to multibox, but trades materials to a third party, then has that third party trade to the alt. Having logged server verification fixes this.Still, if you can't run few accounts AT ONCE, multiboxing is using much more time and is much less efficient. E.g. you can't farm Titan Treasures, because you can't carry your alts with your main.
tho, I don't fully understand what you just said

FlashExe
07-04-2017, 01:34 PM
Definitely would help a bit and shouldn't be too hard to pull off. Only downsides is that it could be at least partly exploited by those with multiple computers. I'm not sure, but there may be programs out there that can simulate separate computers on the same one as well.

Pennry
07-04-2017, 02:03 PM
First off, every lock can be broken. You're simply trying to make things less worth the effort.

Second, you should read the General PC section where this was beat to death. From what I could tell, two points were the most liked/agreeable: Souls in Chests and/or one client per PC. Looks like they've chosen to put the Souls in the cheats. So you're better off going to that thread and talking about how we can ease the Key grind.

Black Wyvern
07-04-2017, 02:07 PM
Of course, and there are, virtual machines can run as many separate clients as your hardware has the capacity to run. They can also spoof randomized MAC addresses per client if you need to do something with that. Disabling multiboxing, or MAC addressing on its own won't be a 100% fix. But if that alone is put in, it would dampen things. Not everyone has the system to run virtual boxes, or has multiple computers.

And to clarify KoBeWi, what I meant is: while taking alts into ST with your main is the majority of the problem we're trying to fix, a component of that is how easy it is to gear up those alts to get them into ST in the first place. If you simply disabled multiboxing, then instead of the farmer trading gear directly to his alt, all he would have to do is find a friend to trade it to, then switch to the alt, get the gear, and then find another ST carry to leech off of.

By logging MAC addresses and preventing logins from other accounts sharing the device, he couldn't even do that unless he was using a virtual machine or a separate computer. Again, not a 100% fix, but takes care of a lot of it.

EDIT: @Pennry I see. That's a bit of a shame really, but it makes sense. Also explains why I missed that. Probably predated the PTS changes, so wasn't posted to the PTS forum.

KoBeWi
07-04-2017, 03:00 PM
And to clarify KoBeWi, what I meant is: while taking alts into ST with your main is the majority of the problem we're trying to fix, a component of that is how easy it is to gear up those alts to get them into ST in the first place. If you simply disabled multiboxing, then instead of the farmer trading gear directly to his alt, all he would have to do is find a friend to trade it to, then switch to the alt, get the gear, and then find another ST carry to leech off of.So if I understand right, all it does is bypassing the time gate. If you have to switch to alt and do ST again, that means you have to play twice as much or more with more alts. Time gates are totally stupid thing and if someone wants to dedicate their time to farm Titan Souls, it's fine I guess. Although with the changes to flux drops from Titan's Treasures, the time gate should be just removed.

Pennry
07-04-2017, 05:38 PM
So if I understand right, all it does is bypassing the time gate. If you have to switch to alt and do ST again, that means you have to play twice as much or more with more alts. Time gates are totally stupid thing and if someone wants to dedicate their time to farm Titan Souls, it's fine I guess. Although with the changes to flux drops from Titan's Treasures, the time gate should be just removed.

IMO Titan's Treasures should be removed and make salvaging gear worth something.

Black Wyvern
07-04-2017, 06:06 PM
IMO Titan's Treasures should be removed and make salvaging gear worth something.

Get out of here with your sensible ideas. Trion doesn't want that kind of talk here. :rolleyes:

Ibita
07-04-2017, 07:02 PM
IMO Titan's Treasures should be removed and make salvaging gear worth something.

Well, I guess they need to keep it as a flux-pump into the game. Gating titan soul(s) with keys is a right decision since people have to play the game to get them.

spar13
07-05-2017, 10:58 AM
Nothing can really fix the current state. As a FTP game they have to deal with these issues that other games don't because they charge a monthly service fee. Apart from limiting accounts signing into Glyph to 5 and then banning after that, nothing would really help. It can still be bypassed but the amount of effort would deter most.

- Profile Verification is easily spoofed
- Email Verification is already required.
- 'silently prevent trading' until people realize it or just store things in a club chest
- Prevents any friends/family ever playing together. RIP lan events.
- VPNs exist.
- Can spoof the MAC with about 5 min of googlefroo
- Virtual Machine would give a different MAC
- Google Voice is still free, you can get phone numbers online for cheap
- Prepaid Cell Phones also exist.
- People already have alts leveled.
- Would seriously hinder everyone who wants to play with a friend/family.

High5
07-13-2017, 10:40 AM
The door had already been opened for alts.
It would be a bad idea to change things at this point, especially with plentiful ways around any additional requirements.

Playing the game should be more rewarding than alt farming.
Looks to be steps in the right direction.

+1 for the idea of allowing gear drops being worth more from salvaging.

Also keep in mind that although there are more shadow tower floors with the update, keys are the same crafting cost, however more key fragments drop in dungeons.
+1 for having key fragments drop in elemental worlds at the same rate that gem boxes drop in prime worlds.

fruitie
07-13-2017, 11:41 AM
I'm fine with the change personally. Titans treasures are worth a lot less which lowers the incentive and then farming the fragments lowers it even further. If they wanted to further limit it, they could do something where you need to deal damage to receive credit and ban people using 3rd party software to duplicate inputs. Needing keys is a bit inconvenient for new players, but really you should be using keys when doing shadow towers, and the fragment buff should help. I'm not so keen on limitations that could impact real users, for example people sharing a network, computer or requiring a phone (yeah, no thanks).