We've written a lot about bot-aspirants in these pages. In the highly acclaimed Why They Hate the Code series, the Common Bot-Aspirant received an entry--which was given a film adaptation by Sasha Nemtsov.
Nevertheless, so many people these days are asking our Agents about bot-aspirancy and what it entails. The term "bot-aspirant" entered the essential vocabulary of EVE players due to its appearance in the Code. The Code tells us:
"Bot-aspirant behavior is not permitted."Bot-aspirancy is what it sounds like, to aspire to be like a bot. Rebels and skeptics claim that the bot-aspirancy clause is some sort of trapdoor in the Code, a catch-all term that allows our Agents to accuse anyone of being a Code violator. Nothing could be further from the truth. Only a bot-aspirant would think that everyone's guilty of bot-aspirant behavior. People who criticize the Code in this way are guilty of violating the Code.
What does it mean to aspire to be like a bot? Well, consider the nature of the bot. The bot performs a repetitive activity for the purpose of grinding isk. The benefit of a bot program is its ability to continue grinding isk autonomously, with little or no interaction required from the human player.
The bot owner's motive is twofold: He craves the isk generated by the bot, and he desires not to interact with the game to perform the task himself. Both of these elements are important. The first element is obvious; no one would use a mining bot if they didn't get the ore at the end of the day.
The second element is no less essential. Consider activities you enjoy: Eating a favorite meal, watching a new film that you've been looking forward to. Obviously, you wouldn't create a bot to eat the food or watch the movie for you. Nor would someone use a mining bot if they savored the experience of mining. They would spend their time mining, rather than activating a bot and going AFK.
The bot-aspirant doesn't use a bot--at least, not yet. He would if he could, though. Lacking a bot, he does the next best thing: He becomes as much like a bot as possible. Bot-aspirants automate the process as best they can, minimizing their interaction with the game and maximizing the time they can spend AFK. But it goes further than that.
The bot-aspirant tries as much as possible to believe that EVE plays itself. He imagines that he can exempt himself from interaction with other players. Think of the implications of EVE being a multiplayer game: You need to watch out for predators, stay alert, use tank modules, avoid spending too much isk your ship, gain allies, adapt to emergent gameplay, etc. The bot-aspirant puts all these things out of his mind. He isn't interested in a multiplayer game; he's not even interested in a single-player game! He wants a zero-player game, one he can turn on and leave unattended.
And so we see the signs of bot-aspirancy: An AFK pilot, an untanked ship, a blingy fit, a mining "op" with no defense ships, a refusal to recognize player-created rules... and a violent rage whenever any of these things are challenged.
The Agents of the New Order are exactly the opposite. They are the representatives of the spirit of humanity in highsec. And yet, the rebels and skeptics sometimes accuse gankers of being bot-aspirants. The charge is hypocritical in the extreme, but let's think this through. Are gankers like bots in any way?
According to the carebear, gankers perform a repetitive activity: Find target, kill target, tell target to calm down and buy a permit. Just like mining, right? Unfortunately for the carebear, the same reasoning could be applied to any activity, no matter how varied or complex. For example, consider the great powers of nullsec: Invade region, conquer region, defend region, repeat. Who knew galactic domination was so boring--or so simple?
We know that ganking is far more demanding than the carebears realize, for when the carebears occasionally do attempt to perform ganks, they invariably fail in hilarious fashion. In truth, ganking is deep; it's an activity that involves much learning, planning, and adaptation. In short, it requires a human.
It's possible to design a bot that locates a Retriever, approaches it, and shoots it within a certain range. This might be amusing in a sort of "Terminator reprogrammed to kill other bots" sort of way. However, such a bot would not be a successful ganker. Agents of the New Order are forced to deal with both CONCORD and the faction police. Because the faction police prevent gankers from remaining on grid for more than a few seconds, the ganking bot would not be able to warp to a belt and approach a target. He would need an alt to act as a scout, preferably one capable of cloaking and maneuvering in such a way that he creates a warp-in while not alerting the miners to his presence. Needless to say, no such "scout bot" exists.
In addition, the ganker bot would need to be able to scan and analyze miners' fits (without scaring them off), assemble fleets, and counteract the interference of third parties on station undocks, stargates, and ganking sites. If you're ganking freighters, you're also going to need a "bumper bot" and even more complicated warp-in procedures. But all that is the easy part.
Our Agents are far more than killers, though they are statistically the best killers in the game. The act of ganking, on its own, has never made history or created a civilization. A true Agent must be able to change the hearts and minds of highsec. They have a certain style, a certain charisma. They have heart. They have humanity. There will never be a bot with these qualities.
Or a bot-aspirant.