Open Discussion Account pushing and coplaying

Mintyfresh

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Recently there has been increased kerfuffle over what constitutes account pushing and exploitation of loopholes within the shared connection rules. The rules in question i am referring to are:

4.4: Creating and/or using one or more accounts for the primary benefit of another account ("pushing"), as well as profiting from such behavior, is forbidden.

4.9: Users playing from the same device or network (e.g. same household, school, workplace) have to declare this in their account settings under "Connection Sharing".


The two issues are primarily that pushing is hard to determine at an arbitrary glace with no ingame proof of wrongdoing and also that its easy to pretend to be connection sharing several accounts. Combined they allow people to create an unfair advantage for themselves by either having people create villages for them to take for 'free' via arrangements on skype/discord etc or allow people to say that "My brother was playing and decided to nuke enemy village for me for no gain to himself because he is so nice". This has actually been a problem to some extent for many years, certainly as long as i can remember. The first rule is basically laughably easy to ignore as long unfortunately as long as you have more than 3 braincells between you and your friends because of how unprovable it is when the mods only have ingame actions/communcations to go on when looking at the issue. It has recently become more main-stream and popular. Certainly the past 20 worlds its become almost standard practice for some premade groups/tribes to get an early boost and try to get to the mid-game as soon as possible.

Part of the main problem i believe is the huge grey area that surrounds the issue of coplaying. If i recall correctly historically Inno has always said they dont technically support the concept of coplaying because of potential issues with account sharing rules but at the same time its also been broadly accepted as almost the normal/best method to play the game. I'd imagine the .net playerbase would be much smaller if coplaying was not implicitly allowed due to the 24/7 timezone nature of it. There are a few ways that i can think of to fix this and try and prevent the pushing meta thats become more common lately.

1) Ban coplaying - Slightly more viable an option with the new flexible night-hours feature. This blanket ban would probably solve most of the pushing issues. However i personally think this would be unhealthy for the game as i know a lot of people prefer co-playing to avoid the issue of burnout which is a common occurance for solo playing. Introducing this would probably please the casual population but risk alienating the 'elites' (im being generous to you guys) who in terms of long-term health for the game are probably more important to keep happy than casuals

2) Fully support coplaying. This would allow inno to actually impose rules and regulations on how this would work. For example cap the number of allowed players on an account to three. Instead of trying to prevent pushing altogether (impossible) you could allow it with boundaries and rules attached. E.g. 3 coplayers join a world seperately and declare that their accounts are linked together through an ingame process. Then going forward the players on it would have to merge by a certain time after world start and then the players would be banned from switching to other accounts after the merge. Should people join without declaring and then merge then that should be against the rules and bannable (shouldnt be too hard to monitor and catch most people trying this)

3) Increase the number of mods to allow for micro investigation of the accounts in question. I think most of the time people get away with pushing is that mods dont really have time to investigate it all in great detail. I dont have access to the GM tools but id imagine you can look in quite a lot of detail regarding how an account plays, logins, attack patterns and build orders etc. I think in 90% of the cases it should be determinable whether the village in question is pushed to another person just from a mod familiarising themselves with what the normal build or actions should be for an account in the first couple of weeks in the world. If a village just builds resource/wh buildings a couple of times a day and makes no effort to defend themselves when a local powerhouse nobles them then it should be flagged for investigation. Or if an account builds a nuke then suicides it while another player sends a train to land on it shortly after then it should be investigated.

Regarding rule 4.9 i think it should just be removed personally. I think that the number of players legitimately needing this rule is probably in the minority compared to the number of people who use this as an exploit. If your brother/coworker genuinely wants to play the game on the same connection then they should just play another world or coplay your account. Might be slightly controversial but i think just outright removing it is the best way to maintain fairness in the game. Cant really think of a way to allow shared connection but prevent it from being abused.

Please let me know your thoughts on the two rules and what you think the problems are with them and what your (reasonable plz) solutions might be
 
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Mintyfresh

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Additionally a further issue that was raised to my attention in discussions was the issue of abuse of the invite function in the lategame. When all the barbs have been taken and then there are no more villages to take some unscrupulous players spam out the invite button hundreds of times to artificially create more villages next to them in their cluster.

Im quite surprised that such actions dont automatically raise red flags on the system, doesnt seem logical that someone can send 100s of invite links out for free villages next to them to make dense clusters and that not be something thats noted or investigated. This needs to be looked at and perhaps a cap implemented on the number of invites a single person can send or perhaps something that at least flags up the account for investigation
 

One Last Shot...

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My take on this:

We shouldn't ban co-playing as it would harm the community given how standardised that is.

However, co-playing shouldn't be about deliberately joining separately at the start and then merging accounts; that is where I believe it becomes 'pushing'.

Perhaps co-playing should have a limit in terms of villages that can be 'merged' by the player. Say, 50% of the removed account's villages (the rest must be taken by others). That would limit the pushing element of premeditated merging.

I like the idea of having players sign up to say they intend to account merge (I'd envisage it as 'shared connection') and making it illegal to do so if this is not done.

So, I guess suggestions 2+3 combined may be the way forward.

I fully agree with removing the 4.9 rule.
 

SergeantCrunsh

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Additionally a further issue that was raised to my attention in discussions was the issue of abuse of the invite function in the lategame. When all the barbs have been taken and then there are no more villages to take some unscrupulous players spam out the invite button hundreds of times to artificially create more villages next to them in their cluster.

Im quite surprised that such actions dont automatically raise red flags on the system, doesnt seem logical that someone can send 100s of invite links out for free villages next to them to make dense clusters and that not be something thats noted or investigated. This needs to be looked at and perhaps a cap implemented on the number of invites a single person can send or perhaps something that at least flags up the account for investigation
as the one who brought this up I feel the same way and think of it as way more of a pushing problem then early game "planned merge" type accounts because it literally creates more (and unlimited) growth for one side. As veteran players we have all seen some crsazy tactics used to propel people early, but those players are notorious for falling apart late game. When done late game with "invite" I think its a much more frustrating situation because you no longer have avenues for growth such as barbs/other players like there is early.

Surprisingly, it wasn't even done when I saw it with 100's of invite links it was done by 1-2 accounts (same each time) repeatedly joining and being nobled by the same player. Maybe no one else is bothered by this issue as much as me but its so cheap/blatant it really triggered me seeing it used against me and it took a long time to get anyone (multiple tickets) to admit it was unfair so I think a clear section in the rules on this, or an in game lock such an invite limit or unable to accept past a certain point is necessary, as well as giving the less experienced mods a hard rule to act on when this behavior is detected.

On the main topic of pushing, make co playing a 2 player max with ability to declare someone as a primary/secondary from startup and just accept this type of play is allowed (and mostly no stoppable when not allowed). Past that, you are not allowed to join another account who nobled your villages at ANY point.

^Immediate issue I see above that I know will be mentioned is the old "you noble my friend and ill noble your friend" that everyone gets so riled up about on some servers, but with the limited player base and current mod count this type of behavior should be able to be manually investigated in cases where its extreme and causing a huge advantage. Some people may be able to get away doing it to a slight degree, but it would seriously curb the problem and provide a baseline for mods to fall back on when doling out punishments.
 

WelcomeToTheFreakshow

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"Should people join without declaring and then merge then that should be against the rules and bannable (shouldnt be too hard to monitor and catch most people trying this)"

When would you see that the declaration has to be done? (in the world)
What happens with merges done between people realizing that their time isnt enough(simply acc gotten to big for solo play) and merges accounts to easier cover times?
 
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Aaron1985

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@Mintyfresh
“If your brother/coworker genuinely wants to play the game on the same connection then they should just play another world or coplay your account. Might be slightly controversial but i think just outright removing it is the best way to maintain fairness in the game.”

You and a family member would be on a similar time schedule you couldn’t co play right? Well for the most part?, w111 myself and partner played we declared and we had a 24 hour ban on everything sending support, resources even attacking the same villages. We also couldn’t help each other. Was a little annoying we both couldn’t support or attack to help noble together or snipe an incoming on a tribes mate, but we wanted to play together not on different worlds, I’m not 100% sure but I think you’ll get a bit of pushback if that’s banned. It would really suck but I see the conundrum Inno is facing here and sorry to say I have no other options apart from your option where they check build times. Not defending themselves, sending resources to the other for free or supporting/attacking players nearby for that early help as you said.

What about secondary authorisation like you have to register a phone number with it your account? To truly prove you are two people? That can be exploited too I know but between that and a watchful eye on villages linked to see times logins and builds, defends, sending resources, attack patterns not defending or joining tribes etc. Would take some doing or could a script or monitor program be made and setup for this? instead of having to watch it?
We wouldn’t be able to play together if it was banned :/
 

Aaron1985

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I get that it takes over and it does and can consume you but surely you could limit yourself somehow if it was gone, if you really are that serious about being addicted would you be able to walk away with co playing gone? Not that I think that would happen to be honest.

But we can’t knock out connection sharing brothers and sisters and family’s wouldn’t be able to play the game. Inno could lose out on thousands but I do agree it’s an issue for sure, you see it all the time. :/
 
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AuroraMoon

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tweaking the "account sitting" page in "options"
could provide an easy way to monitor co-players/mergers if a world has already started
it shouldnt be to difficult to restrict the amount of mergers/co-players an account has from there

an account would still signs into the world through their own account
but will be diverted to the co-played account

also as someone who has tried to get family members to play the game but failed usually due to the simple reason "they were not able to attack me" which removed the personal competition factor
i still think the shared connection aspect of the game should stay - due to the potential abuse
 

Aaron1985

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Definitely sharing connections should remain or family members can’t play together. The penalty is 24 hours, attacking the same player, supporting the same player, sending resources to the same player, can’t attack or support each other which does suck in my case as we’re in the same tribe.

Would the 24 hour wait be up for debate? Maybe halve it to 12 hours? So you can help support, send res or attack the same player whilst being in the same world? Off topic a little.
 

One Last Shot...

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Definitely sharing connections should remain or family members can’t play together. The penalty is 24 hours, attacking the same player, supporting the same player, sending resources to the same player, can’t attack or support each other which does suck in my case as we’re in the same tribe.

Would the 24 hour wait be up for debate? Maybe halve it to 12 hours? So you can help support, send res or attack the same player whilst being in the same world? Off topic a little.
What you are talking about - you and your family member essentially coordinating together - gives you a huge unfair advantage given that, so far as the rest of the community is concerned, you can see each other's accounts and screens, village info, mails etc, and nothing can be done about it.

The whole point is that two accounts on a single connection should NOT be allowed to coordinate in any way, shape or form. The 24 hour rule is there to prevent the shared connection feature from being so easily abused, and to be honest should be far higher.

Family members can play together - by co-playing. Or play on separate worlds. Shared connection is too much of an opportunity for multi-accounting players to abuse the feature.
 

Mintyfresh

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@Mintyfresh
“If your brother/coworker genuinely wants to play the game on the same connection then they should just play another world or coplay your account. Might be slightly controversial but i think just outright removing it is the best way to maintain fairness in the game.”

You and a family member would be on a similar time schedule you couldn’t co play right? Well for the most part?, w111 myself and partner played we declared and we had a 24 hour ban on everything sending support, resources even attacking the same villages. We also couldn’t help each other. Was a little annoying we both couldn’t support or attack to help noble together or snipe an incoming on a tribes mate, but we wanted to play together not on different worlds, I’m not 100% sure but I think you’ll get a bit of pushback if that’s banned. It would really suck but I see the conundrum Inno is facing here and sorry to say I have no other options apart from your option where they check build times. Not defending themselves, sending resources to the other for free or supporting/attacking players nearby for that early help as you said.

What about secondary authorisation like you have to register a phone number with it your account? To truly prove you are two people? That can be exploited too I know but between that and a watchful eye on villages linked to see times logins and builds, defends, sending resources, attack patterns not defending or joining tribes etc. Would take some doing or could a script or monitor program be made and setup for this? instead of having to watch it?
We wouldn’t be able to play together if it was banned :/
I appreciate that there are people playing currently who do legitimately have coworkers or family who want to play with or against each other on the same world but quite frankly i suspect that the number of shared connections that are for people to game system is much higher. While i dont prefer not to advocate extreme solutions like removing a feature that will affect players i also dont really see how it the connection sharing feature can be implemented without leaving it wide open to exploitation. For example say that if it was changed so that people on shared connections could never interact with each other in anyway shape or form people could still do this:

Start two accounts, one for them and one for their 'brother'

Build up two villages

Set the 2nd village to nuke someone then press delete

Wait until the 2nd village has deleted the cap it. You have the advantage by knowing its empty and when it will delete so its basically a free village for you again on top of having a free second nuke for another enemy village.

Then say inno specifically ban that scenario. Then you can just get another person to do shared connection with 2 accounts and do a swap with them where you take their second vil and they take your second vil. And this can go on and on and on forever. I cannot think of a single method to somehow stop the shared connection feature from being exploited. Therefore in the interests of overall fairness i would take the 'lesser sin' and ban it all together even if that negatively impacts people who use the feature genuinely.


"Should people join without declaring and then merge then that should be against the rules and bannable (shouldnt be too hard to monitor and catch most people trying this)"

When would you see that the declaration has to be done? (in the world)
What happens with merges done between people realizing that their time isnt enough(simply acc gotten to big for solo play) and merges accounts to easier cover times?
Timing is open to debate and configuration. I dont see why there should be a limit longer than BP tbh. If you are planning to play together down the road but start off separately then why do you need to hide it or wait it out?

Additionally there are fundamental differences between late-game accounts where its a burden for a single person to play and they merge with another large account to increase their respective coverage and early game multi village pushing. Perhaps after a period of time say 3/4 months or something then merges are free and available again to allow people to do so if they wish.

Thanks everyone for your responses so far
 

Aaron1985

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What you are talking about - you and your family member essentially coordinating together - gives you a huge unfair advantage given that, so far as the rest of the community is concerned, you can see each other's accounts and screens, village info, mails etc, and nothing can be done about it.

The whole point is that two accounts on a single connection should NOT be allowed to coordinate in any way, shape or form. The 24 hour rule is there to prevent the shared connection feature from being so easily abused, and to be honest should be far higher.

Family members can play together - by co-playing. Or play on separate worlds. Shared connection is too much of an opportunity for multi-accounting players to abuse the feature.
Well it’s my partner for one. I play one world at a time and w111 was her first. She works and I study and volunteer at 3 places during the same hours all day then we’re home at 5-530 and we have 2 children. co playing would be impossible for us bar I could maybe login and what send support in time if she was say closer? You could check our logins via phones during the day or her work pc and then wifi after that would be different times logging in as I check mine then she hers or vice versa and how can we coordinate when we can’t touch the same village for 24 hours.

A new system or way to watch it needs to be put in place.

I’ll accept that lowering the time would make it easier so leave it at 24 or go for higher times whatever but you can’t remove shared connection, you’ll lose thousands of players.

Yeah we can see each other’s screens, I was teaching her to play. You think we cover each other while we’re both asleep? Lol, what are you talking about?
Both exhausted by 9pm which is why I can’t wait till May and they bring in the night mode option.

And @Mintyfresh yeah I’ll bet, everyone takes advantage of every game but surely there has to be a solution to this problem like you said more eyes on, surely a program can be created so that if a shared connection that can see the worlds server and the same IP never changes or rarely changes as we play from our phones mostly ( different IPs ie different carriers ) and use the PCs in the house ( Same IPs is same carrier ) the program would then see 2 people can’t be in the 2 places playing at the same time but then are during certain hour and that’s only sometimes.

Can’t you develop a server program so it picks it up and sends a message out automatically warning them to stop or face a ban or a mail to the mods, depending on the amount you have and they can mail out or ban themselves.

Most houses have static IPs where I’m from, Keeps the costs down.

Again static IPs can be proxy blocked but a server with a half competent program would see right through that and you would have a ban instantly.

Has to be a way around it, surely :/

But Co-Playing never liked that, they’re not gonna need it come May with the night mode. Unless they wanna boost hard like always and get the best progress, but I know I’ll sleep soundly having it set as will my partner, using shared connection.
 

One Last Shot...

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I’ll accept that lowering the time would make it easier so leave it at 24 or go for higher times whatever but you can’t remove shared connection, you’ll lose thousands of players.

Yeah we can see each other’s screens, I was teaching her to play. You think we cover each other while we’re both asleep? Lol, what are you talking about?
Removing shared connection merely means that on future worlds, if you wish to play together you would have to share an account (co-playing - it doesn't necessarily mean covering each other's offline periods, just sharing an account), or play on separate worlds to negate that advantage you otherwise have.

I don't believe there is a particularly large part of the community who are in a situation similar to yours regarding shared connection. Yes, for the tiny proportion of the players in that situation, I can completely see it being a frustration. But for the vast majority, a sure-fire way of blocking some opportunities to multi-account would be an overwhelmingly positive thing to do :)
 

Aaron1985

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Agreed. Yep, like I said I play one at a time so little different but yeah I get it.

Why must people exploit these situations and worse. It’s frustrating, every game some players use loop holes to create advantages that are always deemed illegal and it just ruins it for everyone. Annoyed honestly. Here’s hoping to a good outcome to the problem at hand :/
Going to be hard to solve this one.
 

bobertini

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A ban on coplaying would result in the game dying then and there.

A similar connection sharing feature should be a thing for would be coplayers which has to be mandatory. A countdown would then exist dependent on what period of the game they're in. I'd say a week max should be sufficient.
 

Seven Devils

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I've mentioned it before and i can mention it again;

Ban Co-Playing, Yes, the elite will hate you, but i think it is more healthy to the game to kill it than to keep it. How many players enjoy being ran down by these 247 accounts that has 3-4 co players? Not that many i'd assume. There has to be some point where it is 'fair' for everyone and i think there are ways to doing so.

Why do people merge and co play? Well, as you stated - To get an early game boost. EVERYONE DOES IT, it's the norm. It is so unfair to those who does not do it, because you are going to be fighting uphill from the first few weeks. Troops takes time to rebuild - If player A & B have 5 vills each, player B will clear and player A can take easily another 3 villages and Then he can add player B's 5 and after that continue to take another 3. That means for that period of time, player A just got 16 villages meanwhile player C only got 8.

How is C supposed to fight player A ? It won't be fair. And A can RE-DO it again for player C, as they need 3 co players. It's a joke, if you ask me.

So, how do we solve the issue all 'elite' player say they have? Well, we have a system built into the game already, i do think it needs abit of tweaking for sure - Account sitting. As it current form it is very outdated and quite frank, pretty damn awefull.

If you were to change some rules regarding the account sitting, to such as - Sat accounts CAN attack same targets, without the 24h rule (Which is bloody stupid rule if you ask me) you would allow players to easy sitt eachother and throw around the sitts.

To help the game i would suggest a new option, where you 'add' players that you will 'co play' and they will have access to your account at any given time, maybe keep a green&red dot incase they online/offline etc.

This way you have to play your own account but you can get help from others you intended to play with. If you want to "only" play one account, EASY - Don't build your village up to great.

I agree .net has diffrent online times, but you are punishing 95% of the players by allowing co played accounts. Make a better solution then what we currently got please. Elites does not pay the game, the other ones does...



And for the shared connection, please - How many are really playing within the family? I mean, can't be that many. Keep the rule.
 

Aaron1985

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Some great points dude totally agree.

The shared connection thing though will ruin it for the 10% not breaching the rules. Which really does suck. Maybe it’s just gotta happen and tough luck to me and everyone else right? Or a compromise/ other option needs to come up. I’ve been thinking hard to no avail so far of an idea to fix it, tell the cheaters apart from the non cheaters without checking every single account and let’s face it that’s not going to happen I don’t think with the amount of players.

I am with you but about the co playing though! @Seven Devils
 

SergeantCrunsh

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After a lot of thought almost anything seems like there is no way to stop the feature from being abused. What if we make a new suggestion.

Ban coplaying, but remove account sitting restriction. Or maybe edit the rule to allow attacking of same players not same villages?

Maybe the issue is that moderating coplaying is impossible and instead we should try to enable the players who are not doing it to compete. Maybe if this were implemented “slots” for account sits could also scale from 1-3 as world goes on to help limit impact of startup.