Very important - Rules change on otservlist.org

xinn

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On Monday 5/12/2016 we will start enforcing a new rule on otservlist concerning the number of allowed multi clients counted from a single IP address. Servers are not allowed to count more than 4 multi clients as real players.
As "multi client" we define multiple characters logged in from a single IP address.
As "real players" we mean the number of players online which is returned to otservlist website using the status protocol.

All servers are asked to make necessary changes in their code or apply a global multi client limit (4 connections/IP) for example by using the following iptables rule:
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport GAME_PORT -m connlimit --connlimit-above 4 -j DROP
When applying the above iptable rule, please change GAME_PORT to your server's game port (default: 7172).

What is the reasoning behind this change? Unfortunately we are forced to start enforcing such rule because some server owners started encouraging people to log in as many multi clients as possible.
While we performed our tests, we found out servers, where 10 players logged in 250 (!!!) characters. Of course reporting that there are 250 players online while in fact there are 10 unique people controlling them is false advertising and shouldn't be allowed. Your potential players visiting our website deserve the correct information about the server.

If you need further info, please contact us using the following form: http://otservlist.org/contact.

Working code for TFS 1.0/1.1/1.2 which limits counting multi clients in status protocol from Gunz:
https://otland.net/threads/very-important-rules-change-on-otservlist-org.247531/page-3#post-2407794
 
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tanii

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On Monday 5/12/2016 we will start enforcing a new rule on otservlist concerning the number of allowed multi clients counted from a single IP address. Servers are not allowed to count more than 4 multi clients as real players.
As "multi client" we define multiple characters logged in from a single IP address.
As "real players" we mean the number of players online which is returned to otservlist website using the status protocol.

All servers are asked to make necessary changes in their code or apply a global multi client limit (4 connections/IP) for example by using the following iptables rule:
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport GAME_PORT -m connlimit --connlimit-above 4 -j DROP
When applying the above iptable rule, please change GAME_PORT to your server's game port (default: 7172).

What is the reasoning behind this change? Unfortunately we are forced to start enforcing such rule because some server owners started encouraging people to log in as many multi clients as possible.
While we performed our tests, we found out servers, where 10 players logged in 250 (!!!) characters. Of course reporting that there are 250 players online while in fact there are 10 unique people controlling them is false advertising and shouldn't be allowed. Your potential players visiting our website deserve the correct information about the server.

If you need further info, please contact us using the following form: http://otservlist.org/contact.
What about if some server have proxy system...
 

Flatlander

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Hm, honestly it's a good rule at the same time not. Example last year a big OT opened at the same time it was Dreamhack summer 2015. And it was more than 4 people from that LAN that were logged in and was playing. So it will be a kinda weird if the server owner gets punished.
Server owner won't really be punished, just the players (after the first 4) won't be counted.
 
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xinn

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@tanii: You can for example send the clients IP address over the proxy and limit counting it based on that information.

@Flatlander: Don't get me wrong, we won't enforce servers to limit the number of multi clients to 4, it's about limiting counting such players as "real players".
 
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tanii

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@tanii: You can for example send the clients IP address over the proxy and limit counting it based on that information.
The problem is my proxy is on america and when the players connect via proxy all the players have same ip.
 
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xinn

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The problem is my proxy is on america and when the players connect via proxy all the players have same ip.
In such situation you will obviously won't be able to limit connections using iptables but you will have to apply a solution to your engine, which would either limit the max number of connections from real client IP (not the proxy) or limit counting multi clients as real players.
 

Flatlander

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@Flatlander: Don't get me wrong, we won't enforce servers to limit the number of multi clients to 4, it's about limiting counting such players as "real players".
Well, there are multiple issues with this system.
I know this, because when creating my anti-MC detection I basically had to disable it, because it completely destroyed the game for many players.

  1. Many players play for internet cafes, This is all on one IP. If you have more than 4 players from this internet cafe, then sorry they won't count.
  2. Some tunnel programs, like ReduceTheLag tunnel your connection through one of their servers. Then it appears everyone using ReduceTheLag is on the same IP. This means people using certain tunnel application will hit the system. So for example, if I have a server in the USA, and have 250 players using ReduceTheLag to lower their ping, and then 100 normal players not using this. I will show 104 players. Even though I may in fact have 350 unique players.
 

Marcus

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That wont work @xinn , seriously.
A few servers runs with DDos protection in a way that it's like the game's official IP actually is a proxy.
And from the server's side, on the real network, everyone will be using the same IP.

on my DarkOT for example, during a peak of lets say.. 300 players.. more than 200 of them are all linked to same 2 IP's because the proxies I offers.
Do you tell me I have to make a limit, so it says there's like 120 players online, instead of 300?

This wouldn't be a problem for me as I'm about to start using more advanced proxies that bypass the real IP to my servers, but for those who aren't that advanced, they'll be left in the dark...

But we can all agree, MANY of today OTs run with LAN groups, launches normally includes a huge group of players playing in LAN.
I'm not 100% sure, but when MoonHawk from Shadowcores launched, there was more than 300 players in LAN parties entering the game.
And in such event, the game has to make it look like they actually have 295 less players that they really do?

IMO, the new rule of yours wasn't really something you've put a lot of mind on, too many variables that can fuck up.
IP is something that changes, and can apply many times over, IP is not some sort of security number that only you can use.
IP is not a single person.

@Flatlander Yeah about that, I used to have MC systems myself, it completely fucked everything up when suddenly 90% of the server was "MCing" while in fact half of them were using WTFast proxies and the rest on internet cafe and similar.


Edit:
DarkOT.net atm.. 40 players online,
12 different IPs connected.
22 connections from EU Proxy IP,

So thanks to my proxy, I should hearby say it's 22 players online, while it's 40 real players.
 
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Flatlander

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That wont work @xinn , seriously.
A few servers runs with DDos protection in a way that it's like the game's official IP actually is a proxy.
And from the server's side, on the real network, everyone will be using the same IP.

on my DarkOT for example, during a peak of lets say.. 300 players.. more than 200 of them are all linked to same 2 IP's because the proxies I offers.
Do you tell me I have to make a limit, so it says there's like 120 players online, instead of 300?

This wouldn't be a problem for me as I'm about to start using more advanced proxies that bypass the real IP to my servers, but for those who aren't that advanced, they'll be left in the dark...

But we can all agree, MANY of today OTs run with LAN groups, launches normally includes a huge group of players playing in LAN.
I'm not 100% sure, but when MoonHawk from Shadowcores launched, there was more than 300 players in LAN parties entering the game.
And in such event, the game has to make it look like they actually have 295 less players that they really do?

IMO, the new rule of yours wasn't really something you've put a lot of mind on, too many variables that can fuck up.
IP is something that changes, and can apply many times over, IP is not some sort of security number that only you can use.
IP is not a single person.
I 100% agree with this. Using IP Address to determine if a Multi-Client is being used simply doesn't work.

If you want, simply make TFS send 2 numbers to otservlist.
#1 - Amount of Unique IPs connected.
#2 - Amount of Players Online.

This way, players themselves can make the decision whether to look at the IPs or the Players Online.
 

Stigma

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i think more thought needs to be put into this before you push this change, based on the reasons @Flatlander gave you
if you really want to push a change like this, it needs to be simple to where server owners will be able to use a solution in their engine with code provided if you really want your website to be relevant
 
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xinn

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@Flatlander: I'm fully aware of the trade-off. However, from my experience I can say it's not a big deal. For like last 6 years we were limitting the number of connections to our servers to 6/IP, somewhere near 2015/2016 we started to limit it to 4/IP. We also kept tracking who actually connects 4 clients/IP. 95% were full time botters who sells GP. 5% - brothers logging in additional characters. Internet caffes? None. F
Also, even if there is someone playing from internet cafe/huge town network it would be a very low % of your player base. I want to mention once again, we don't ask you to limit the number of connections from one IP but to limit the number of multi clients counted as real players in status protocol. This will not affect your player base but the number returned in status protocol.

@OpenTibiaServer:
This is a nonsense. How do you run your server then? What do you do when someone for example hacks your players while being connected from your proxy IP? You simply let him go? Because from what you say most of your players are reported to be connected from one IP. What you should do is pass your client's real IP over the proxy. That's how we do it on our servers and I can't really imagine how people run their servers when they have most of their players reported to be connected from 1 IP - proxy IP. Wild west.

But we can all agree, MANY of today OTs run with LAN groups, launches normally includes a huge group of players playing in LAN.
This is simply not true.
 

Flatlander

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@Flatlander: I'm fully aware of the trade-off. However, from my experience I can say it's not a big deal. For like last 6 years we were limitting the number of connections to our servers to 6/IP, somewhere near 2015/2016 we started to limit it to 4/IP. We also kept tracking who actually connects 4 clients/IP. 95% were full time botters who sells GP. 5% - brothers logging in additional characters. Internet caffes? None. F
Also, even if there is someone playing from internet cafe/huge town network it would be a very low % of your player base. I want to mention once again, we don't ask you to limit the number of connections from one IP but to limit the number of multi clients counted as real players in status protocol. This will not affect your player base but the number returned in status protocol.

@OpenTibiaServer:
This is a nonsense. How do you run your server then? What do you do when someone for example hacks your players while being connected from your proxy IP? You simply let him go? Because from what you say most of your players are reported to be connected from one IP. What you should do is pass your client's real IP over the proxy. That's how we do it on our servers and I can't really imagine how people run their servers when they have most of their players reported to be connected from 1 IP - proxy IP. Wild west.


This is simply not true.
I guarantee you, that you will be eliminating huge portions of real players with this system.

Do whatever you want. Regarding OTServlist, we are all forced to use this website to advertise our servers. Since it basically has a monopoly, you can require anything you want and we are forced to use it, (Good or Bad)

Just know, this is NOT a good way to eliminate Multi-Client's being counted unfairly.
This is like using a bomb to blow up an entire building with everyone inside of it, instead of just shooting the one bad-guy inside with a gun.

BTW, you aren't removing the Multi-Clients of smart people, I have a friend who uses virtual machines and IP Spoofs and he can break your system 100%.

You are just catching the following people:
  1. Idiots who Multi-Client without using virtual machines.
  2. People playing in LANs or at Internet Cafes.
  3. Anyone who uses a Tunnel to reduce their ping.
Congratz, good system.
 
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xinn

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I 100% agree with this. Using IP Address to determine if a Multi-Client is being used simply doesn't work.

If you want, simply make TFS send 2 numbers to otservlist.
#1 - Amount of Unique IPs connected.
#2 - Amount of Players Online.

This way, players themselves can make the decision whether to look at the IPs or the Players Online.
Actually I'm a huge fan of reporting the unique number of players online, however, I can already hear the voices about how this is not fair because of brothers/sisters/friends playing from the same network which wouldn't be counted as real players. That's why I've chosen the treshold to be 4/IP. This would be fine for like 95% cases.
 

Flatlander

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Actually I'm a huge fan of reporting the unique number of players online, however, I can already hear the voices about how this is not fair because of brothers/sisters/friends playing from the same network which wouldn't be counted as real players. That's why I've chosen the treshold to be 4/IP. This would be fine for like 95% cases.
You misunderstood me.

When I say have 2 numbers.
  1. Unique Players
  2. Unique IPs.
I mean, if there are 300 people online, OTservlist reports 300 people online. Doesn't care about their IP at all. Hell, if they exit-logged and have an IP of 0.0.0.0 it still counts them.
Then you have a 2nd number called "Unique IPs" or you can name it "Verified Players' that is the number of players with Unique IPs.

This means, one server could have 300 players online, and 250 unique IPs.
Then another server could have 300 players online, but 10 unique IPs.

This way, when I go to your website, and see that @OpenTibiaServer has 200 players online, but only 5 Unique IPs, I can then make the decision MYSELF to say "hmm, He probably uses a proxy, I'll check it out."
Then when I look at his server description, and it states "This server uses a Proxy to reduce ping, so we will not have many Unique IPs." I can go "Yep, sounds legit, I'll try this server."
 
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xinn

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@Flatlander: That would be great and I will ask TFS coders to implement something like that in future release. When majority of servers starts using it I will change how the data on otservlist are displayed.
However, I need to address now different problem because having servers on the list reporting 700-800 players online while in fact there are 200 unique characters is a nonsense. The server list is for players and our job is to deliver them as much accurate info as possible.
 

Flatlander

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@Flatlander: That would be great and I will ask TFS coders to implement something like that in future release. When majority of servers starts using it I will change how the data on otservlist are displayed.
However, I need to address now different problem because having servers on the list reporting 700-800 players online while in fact there are 200 unique characters is a nonsense. The server list is for players and our job is to deliver them as much accurate info as possible.
The problem, is you have no way to actually verify that there are only 200 unique characters.

You literally are just speculating that only 200 of those players are unique.
There is NO WAY to know if someone is truly multi-clienting, or just 2 players in the same house. It is 100% impossible to know.

And to pretend that gold-farmers from china are playing OT-Servers is ridiculous.
There may be a few players, who also gold-farm for their own benefit, but no one is making real large amounts of money gold-farming on an ot-server. So most gold-farmers skip OTs as an option for making money.

When you see 700 players on a server, you can suspect that some of those are multi-clients. But that is all you can do.
The actual percentage of real players on a LAN, or players using WTFast vs players using multi-client is unknown, and will always be unknown.

The 700 players is probably more like this:
  1. 70% of players are real (some/most are botting depending on the server)
  2. 30% of players are Multi-Clients, *But these are 2ndary characters of the 70%, meaning your system will catch exactly 0 of these unless there is a player MCing more than 4 additional characters, which most players do not)
For example, when I play a server that has trainers, I usually have 1-2 secondary characters training.

And depending on the server, I might also level up 1-2 characters that just bot and make me money.
This is because I HAVE to, if I want to compete on most servers.

Many other players do this as well. If you are able to bot on a server, then a huge amount of players will have at least 1 secondary character botting. You basically double your playerbase. And your (4 people from same IP) would not catch these players.

The majority of what you will catch are people using Proxies to get lower ping.
 

Mr. Greyshade

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Unfortunately we are forced to start enforcing such rule because some server owners started encouraging people to log in as many multi clients as possible.
Why not punish those servers instead? When I look at otservlist there's only one server that has around 500-600 players at ALL times everyday, while other servers online counts jumps from 300 to 1500depending on the time of the day. So it's very obvious which server has these amounts of spoofs.

This is how normal graphs looks:





Where player activity fluctuates ALOT depending on the time of the day, and here's the server abusing your current system alot. It's obvious this sever stands out from all the others so instead of adding such a system that you are talking about why not just punish the server abusing this ?

 
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DukeeH

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Really nice, it's good to have "real" information.
As said, there are some problems, but it will help with those 700~1000 players otservers.
It would be nice if you or someone release some code not to block other players but to count only the first 4, we need to add this, right?
Since it's starting in a few days we would need the code, I don't want to block mc, only not to count.
 

Marcus

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I don't understand, why do you keep looking for ways to verify numbers online? why not try to change players to play servers they enjoy and not for their "huge number of players online".
I see very often completely awesome servers, dying down.. just because you NEED the high amount to have a successful OT, but then I see really shitty OTs, filled with bugs and everything, but people play them because "omg so many players, such pro ot!!!!!"

Find a way to promote quality over quantity, and the peoples need for spoof will go away, and decent server will have a chance and money-grabbers will die out.

Maybe your otservlist should sort servers by effort put into server, and less corruption and all that, and not sort them by which has most players :)
 
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