It's obvious that Evony has widespread problems of multi-accounting (where people run multiple accounts) and of people using bots (software to do various functions such as farming and defenses) for them. These problems exist rampantly in both age 1 and age 2 and drive away honest players (even on Age 2, there are people using bots with armies numbering in the tens of millions of men.)
The following suggestions would help somewhat with the problems. Ultimately, more programming with tighter controls is needed but this can get a lot of the goals done with little work.
1. Every month, send an email to all active users. If they don't confirm the email receipt, their account becomes inactive. This reduces your server loads and eliminates 90% of the multi-accounters. Here's why - most multi-accounts aren't built from scratch. Players are too lazy for that. Instead, player X leave and gives his info to his buddies. They then use the account. Because the account is tied to player X's email and his buddies don't have access to that, if an email is sent, the actual current player can't respond. Add a button on login that tells people the account went inactive for "resend activation email" so they make the adjustments necessary for it to get past their spam filters, thus all honest players get that email. This, seriously, will get rid of 90% of the multi-accounts on mature servers. On age 2, maybe have it be a facebook notification (same principle.)
2. Issue suspensions and bans for multiple logins at the same time from the same IP address. Under the T's and C's players are required to notify and explain to Evony if a second player is in their household on the same IP address. Enforce it. The objection of "I'm at a big company or university with multiple IP addresses" is easily overcome. You can enter an IP address and see where it came from - takes 10 seconds. If it is a university or large business - unban the account - very simple. THIS IS WHAT THE OTHER BIG ONLINE GAMES DO!!!
Bots (2 classes - direct inferface and macros-bots):
*disclaimer - the best solution is to have constant revisions to your software to check for this - that requires investments but is well worth it. Look at the big online game companies - for WOW to get big, they had a huge bot and macros problem they had to address.
1 (all bots): If you can't auto-detect them, look for the "obvious" flags such as army sizes, amounts of resources, and number of level 5 NPC hits done in a day. If someone has an army with 20M scouts, 10M warriors, 5M archers, and 1M balllista - there is likely a reason for it. If someone hits 30 level 5 NPC's 5 times a day for every city (1,500 npc hits level 5) - again, it's unlikley to be a human (possible, though.) Last is if they are reported in the customer service portal as a possible cheater with some evidence such as chat confessions, screen-shots, etc. Any combination of these (or even 1 of the 2 first) should warrant looking into it. This gives you a suspect list.
2 (all bots): HAVE IN-GAME VOLUNTEER MODS. Have them able to talk to players, jump into any alliance, and "spy" on any player activity - have them check up on possible cheating to get a human perspective. 1-2 mods per server is more than sufficient. They would, at most, have temporary suspension powers for Evony to then make the final decision. They could not be active players but maybe you give them 100 cents/month on another server as a token thank you.
3 (all bots): Evony caught a bunch of people last December-January that were using evobot. Whatever you did to catch them will still work. On Age 1, at least, about a quarter of the servers have gone back to using OLD evobots. It is clear that Evony isn't sweeping these servers for it. That should be part of daily or weekly maintinance (yes, a 4 hour maint. is fine every week if it gets rid of these.) I can identify about 3 dozen people on N1 that use the same version people got caught with last time (keep in mind, that's 5-10% of ALL active players on that server.) As you develop new ways to catch these people - just incorporate it into the routeines.
4 (macros bots): They click on the same spot on a screen (macros meaning it virtually controls your mouse in this context) - record what spots on the screen someone clicks on. Real humans will vary by small amounts on each click, the computer won't. If 1000 attacks are launched from EXACTLY the same spot - it is statistically impossible to have been a human.
5 (macros bots): Have pop-ups appear from time to time or move "buttons" around so it ,messes the macros bots up. Change the display size by 1/4", etc. Even allow people to spend a speaker to send a message to someone that is a pop-up just to let honest players get in the way of the cheating ones.
6 (interface bots): They log in directly to Evony in a way different than a human does. You can change your login routine in a way that will catch them. Several players who are flash programmers gave suggestions on easy work-arounds that would solve this. Also - forums for flash developers list solutions to this type of problem (Evony should also be concerned since it becomes a security vulnerability for you and your users.) Email me if you want links, I'll happily send you to both the forums and some programmers (some as players who would do it for free.)
7 (punishments): the 3 day suspension then ban for 2nd violation from last December-January would work well. Do it for both the multi-accounters and the botters. For bans, give the player 30 days to appeal - if you don't agree with them, DELETE THE ACCOUNT - don't just have it come out of holiday for the player to take back the cities and heroes with a new account. Lastly, if a player is banned - BAN their IP.
8 (alternate): Have a "clean" server that players pay to be part of that enforces these types of rules aggressively. You could get 2,000 players for an age 1 "Elite" server like that overnight.
Are any of these perfect? No. Would they be a vast improvement on what is done today? Absolutely.
Felwred - player/host on Server N1 Age 1 (former age 2 player and vet of many other Evony servers.)
*and yes, I would volunteer to be an in-game mod for a server I don't play on (or would retire from my current server to mod there.)
You can't have in game mods. What you're going to have a guy in the server... he gets attacked, his city wiped out, maybe his best hero stolen. He complains, says this person is cheating. I've heard so much BS from players about this. There are two kinds of people on evony. Those who want to play games like farmville, simcity, and chat.... and then there are your hardcore players. This guy/gal can have a bug up their butt about anything. Not many people can handle power. And giving him/her control over players is wrong. Relationships start, friends are made, there will always be corruption.
Email? Great.... that runs into problems. Some people don't log into their email every day...week...month. Kids, play evony at home, play at school. Parents ground them for a month, they log back in oops. Evony just deleted your account. If people want to travel, they got to worry about.... oh I have to log into evony so they won't delete.
IP Adress - thats fun. Work, Home, Airport, Coffee shop wifi. All different IP Addresses. Hell, I've got a stick from Virgin Mobile, my Ip adress changes as the signal jumps around all the time depending on the tower its bouncing off of. So How are you going to weed out the ones who are innocent and those who are not?
Macros and Bots- Yes this is an issue. But...
"20M scouts, 10M warriors, 5M archers, and 1M balllista"
I farm and I farm some more, YOU HIT 10's! You've got a hero high enough, you lose 1-2k archers. Not bad for 20m food. You can farm for awhile, Acquire 10b food in each city, and build that kind of army, and port to a state and take on the enemy. If you have an alliance... have your friends and members transport food to you. 100 members per alliance, 10m food per day from each. thats a billion per day, per city. Again, things have flaws to them.
As for your "WOW" fantasy. This is not a game where it pulls in millions every month in revenue. This is not a big time corporation like Blizzard.
And a 4hour maintance? Flawed Flawed Flawed Flawed. Let me use maintance to cover up my attack, wipe out a guy's city, and leave his troops to die. Let me send 50 waves at him, take his troops, take his resources, all the while he can't do a dam thing. Here... let me wait for maintance is over so I can farm the 5's and 10's, and get all the resources. Even 15 minutes now... its usually 20 minutes to an hour. Flats are made every time, leaving spaces for enemies to port in.
I could go on all day about how Felwred's ideas are. You're biased bud. Probably have a case of sour grapes against someone. There is the good and the bad in everything.
Now how about changing those Nation Medal drop rates?
Exactly.. you spend time and effort to build up some farms that you possibly can get resources before your botting neighbors get to them, and then the next day or two, they are gone, 10's go to 1 over night and you had to milk them every day to get them to a 10, only to have Evony take them back. Now you can't farm enough to keep up with the bots, you either farm to keep your troop level up enough to farm the next days worth only to find them useless to you overnight. Then the only salvation to your troops is to buy food.. NO way.. food at 50, lumber, iron, stone at 60 - 80... You'd have to bot to have enough to even buy food. Sorry Evony... after almost 4 years... you've milked this too much..You're way out of touch with the game that you started @ 4 years ago.. its not even fun anymore. Astro Empires... has a similar game, but if you outgun your neighbor, you can't attack them... So botters with 40 mil troops can't attack someone with 1 million troops. (example only.. they have something similar to prest.) you only play at your level. It was a fun time and I did have alot of good memories from many servers, but it's not the Evony that was so popular earlier.. before the billion prest club.
I think your wrong, i do believe evony pulls in millions every month with their 30 dollar packs. it is amazing what is spent here in some of the servers- even old ones- thing is alot of the players you call 'hardcore' are spenders, they get elite in the game because they do spend alot, acheive their quests faster, build their 15 sets faster, buy hhs and hcs, in turn they use bots because taking something from them is like going into their wallet and pulling out a couple of $50s..
You cannot tell me evony doesnt pull in millions when i know 1 player alone in my alliance that paid his way to his 15 set, it cost him about $8,000 US not counting the packs he has bought after that ..and thats just 1 player on 1 server.
In Conclusion- i do believe if evony invested some of the money it IS making Millions or not- Computers only do what we tell them to do.. People create programs to run evony on auto- it is not impossible for evony to create programs to seek and destroy accounts using these programs/bots much like virus detectors..
make it fair tho maybe if ever implemented- 1st time caught botting- warning and closer monitoring of that particular account. 2nd time caught botting- your troops and res are taken.. ALL OF THEM.. 3rd time.. BYE BYE... permenant suspension
I totally agree.. and since I can't compete on a Super Server that is probably 90% bots with maybe only 100 players that have many alts (all with bots), I quit last week. I spent on average $30 every other month... and any complaints to Evony went to the standard answer.. They will investigate and return with an answer.. most times not.. others with some BS.. Sorry, but there are other games that are out there that actually make you play fair or your history.
1. Every month, send an email to all active users. If they don't confirm the email receipt, their account becomes inactive. This reduces your server loads and eliminates 90% of the multi-accounters. Here's why - most multi-accounts aren't built from scratch. Players are too lazy for that. Instead, player X leave and gives his info to his buddies. They then use the account. Because the account is tied to player X's email and his buddies don't have access to that, if an email is sent, the actual current player can't respond. Add a button on login that tells people the account went inactive for "resend activation email" so they make the adjustments necessary for it to get past their spam filters, thus all honest players get that email. This, seriously, will get rid of 90% of the multi-accounts on mature servers.
Only problem is if this was implimenting I WOULD HATE IT. i never check my email. i only use it for evony so i dont check it. heck i dont even remember my password for it. so what im supposed be kicked out of evony with my 20+ mill troops? NO this is a bad idea