Jump to content

Multiple Accounts? Allowed/Disallowed?


Hare
 Share

Recommended Posts

 Are multiple accounts allowed on your game? Not allowed? If so, why? If not, why? And what do you do to deal with them?

I'm having a problem on my game. I would prefer if multiple accounts were allowed, but we need to be able to limit the number of animals each player has so the site doesn't break. Right now, players are allowed a set number of animals per account.

We are getting a lot of people signing up multiple accounts, though. We are banning them accordingly, but the amount of work involved in banning people for this is ridiculous. 

Any suggestions? Or even if you don't have any advise for this, I'm interesting in hearing what everyone else thinks of the topic. 

Edited by Hare
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say that multiple accounts should never be thought of as a problem. If the game isn't balanced enough where multiple accounts offer an advantage, perhaps the issue isn't multiple accounts, but a matter of what incentive to users to have them?

As for your issue, which is more along the lines of quantity of animals and site infrastructure, it really appear that multiple accounts are used to gain advantage as much to allow users the ability to have fun breeding. Your options are a little more nuanced, as you have the following to consider:

  1. What effect does having only a set limit of pets cause to the game play? Does it make it more boring, do you see a drop in people staying on the game if you were to limit it (moving forward) to a certain number globally. Those that have more should eventually (if you have options such as selling of pets, however they cannot gain new ones as long as they are above a set limit) level out. If you happen to have a game where death is a function, this will also cause the number to stabilize. It also will keep new accounts manageable, even if they are duplicate as you know what the cost is per account.
  2. Can you get more out of your code? I am not sure about how your coding is structured, but it may be possible to scale it to allow you to have more pets per account then you are able to handle now. With tools such as pet image caching (when you generate the pets image, store it for later instead of regenerating it), as well as some optimizations to queries and such, it is quite possible to get some juice out of your code. This can be small gains, or even larger gains, and simple not very technical to very technical options.
  3. Can you police a no-multiple-account-allowed policy effectively? If you were to say no to multiple accounts, how can you definitively prevent it from happening? How much effort to police that policy is involved? If you have a relatively large staff-base, you may be successful at it, however if you don't - well, it may not be effective.

Really each of these options have many solutions to them, the idea here is to scale down to what you feel the right balance of game play, site infrastructure, and management. Maybe you do a little in each category, maybe you only focus on one of them - it is entirely based on your user base, your time to look at your scaling options, and your staffing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree and would like to remove this rule we have. It's a pain to police and there shouldn't be a problem with multiple accounts on the site. What drives users to create them should be removed. Most players on our game are creating multiple accounts for the starting money (I can see them funneling the money to their 'main' account. We tried changing the starting money amount many times and no matter what the amount is, this still happens quite often. I'm thinking of eliminating starting money altogether and just having a starter pack. 

The animals issue I'm not sure how to get around though. We allow each player to have a couple hundred animals and they can increase the number with an upgrade. We used to allow thousands of animals though and still had problems, some players would have 15k+ animals and it caused the server to crash (maxed out disc space) which is why we had to limit it.

I've been optimizing the code and database as much as possible =D Dead animals don't have unnecessary data and are deleted after a while. Data that isn't necessary for every animal (such as whether an animal is neutered) has its own table, therefore reuding the amount of rows. Careful use of datatypes. Things like that. Images haven't been an issue though I've been meaning to add caching. We used to have issues with the aging cron, but I switched us over to a date aging system and no longer have any issues with queries/processes.  So our only issue now is with data and disk usage.

I've been trying to improve the staff features to make policing it easier, but it's still a lot of work that I feel could be spent on more important things that would improve the site. 

Edited by Hare
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Hare said:

Most players on our game are creating multiple accounts for the starting money (I can see them funneling the money to their 'main' account. We tried changing the starting money amount many times and no matter what the amount is, this still happens quite often. I'm thinking of eliminating starting money altogether and just having a starter pack. 

Starter packs might help, but some starting money is always nice. Another simple solution is to have accounts in a form of lock-down in regards to funneling. Another option is simply logging transactions and have a staff alerted when an account which is new (say a week or newer) has been depleted of funds. An admin could simply look at a log and determine. If you ban both the main and duplicate, you will probably deter most from trying, especially if you are a little vocal. That is something that should be enforced as a no-no.

It sounds like you are doing what you can elsewhere. Another option is if you are growing out of your current site infrastructure is to consider moving your database on to it's own environment, in which it has the room to grow without sharing it with your site.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Digital said:

Starter packs might help, but some starting money is always nice. Another simple solution is to have accounts in a form of lock-down in regards to funneling. Another option is simply logging transactions and have a staff alerted when an account which is new (say a week or newer) has been depleted of funds. An admin could simply look at a log and determine. If you ban both the main and duplicate, you will probably deter most from trying, especially if you are a little vocal. That is something that should be enforced as a no-no.

It sounds like you are doing what you can elsewhere. Another option is if you are growing out of your current site infrastructure is to consider moving your database on to it's own environment, in which it has the room to grow without sharing it with your site.

This is a good idea. I added a one month wait period recently for new accounts on sending money. Will definitely add the alerts list for staff, that should make the funneling issue much easier to deal with.

Ooh, and I had no idea about having a database moved elsewhere. Do you recommend a service? Or does this type of database hosting have a special name I can look up to find one?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Hare said:

Ooh, and I had no idea about having a database moved elsewhere. Do you recommend a service? Or does this type of database hosting have a special name I can look up to find one?

Your database (assuming mysql) can be basically hosted on any server, in terms of changes to your code, it is just a matter of changing your hostname, user, pass, and maybe database name (user, pass, and database name can obviously be kept the same) in your mysql connection.

Most shared hosting environments don't offer mysql as a stand alone service, but you could easily setup a droplet (think small vps) at DigitalOcean and get mysql up and running easily enough. The smallest droplet they offer is around $10 a month and surprisingly powers this entire forum all together.

Getting mysql installed and setup on a server is also quite easy these days, initially you would not need to do too much in terms of specific improvements. Also most servers these days are easy to manage.

If you are interested in being walked through it, let me know and I would be happy to discuss the steps to get up and running.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Digital said:

Your database (assuming mysql) can be basically hosted on any server, in terms of changes to your code, it is just a matter of changing your hostname, user, pass, and maybe database name (user, pass, and database name can obviously be kept the same) in your mysql connection.

Most shared hosting environments don't offer mysql as a stand alone service, but you could easily setup a droplet (think small vps) at DigitalOcean and get mysql up and running easily enough. The smallest droplet they offer is around $10 a month and surprisingly powers this entire forum all together.

Getting mysql installed and setup on a server is also quite easy these days, initially you would not need to do too much in terms of specific improvements. Also most servers these days are easy to manage.

If you are interested in being walked through it, let me know and I would be happy to discuss the steps to get up and running.

Thank you very much! This is great to know. I'll look around and learn more about it. =D 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Hare said:

We are getting a lot of people signing up multiple accounts, though. We are banning them accordingly, but the amount of work involved in banning people for this is ridiculous. 

1) Simple but not ideal solution. Write a bot to do the work for you. If there are things to abuse and obvious abusive user behavior patterns, ban for them automatically. If you can't tell multiaccounting from fair play automatically, no harm done and nothing breaks the game in most of the cases. In this case a user just plays as several separate real players, and there's nothing wrong with that. You'll need to do routine check maybe once a week spending 30-40 minutes to investigate the disputable cases manually. 

2) Difficult but ideal. Redesign the things that can be abused through multiaccounting so they can't be abused anymore. Make managing several accounts less profitable than one. Even if you find a global way to prevent users from creating more than one account (which is technically impossible), players will still abuse your imperfect game balance if it's possible to abuse it at all. A good game doesn't punish players for something they can technically do because this is the fault of devs who allowed that. It battles with exploits on the game design level instead.

Edited by Angel
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Thank you everyone for the advice! We resolved the issue by removing starter money and binding starter items to the account holder. There is no longer incentive and we're not seeing multiple accounts like we used to. 

I also wrote an autoban script to help deal with obvious multiple account holders, and another script that brings up suspect accounts for the staff to look at. Staff can take notes and catch cheating quite easily now. 

I'm still considering DigitalOcean or other servers to host the database separately since we have other ongoing space issues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This will always be a problem and there aren't many good solutions.

On  my games we have a function to compare IP addresses and emails to determine if accounts are related.

If they are related, they are forbidden from certain actions, such as creating new accounts if they are over the limit.

This is not fail safe however, as there are easy ways to get around it, and sometimes causes problems when people are playing on a shared network, such as a school.

But it does alleviate very many problems with regard to cheating..  

Edited by juliet
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use a bot that checks for the number of accounts created in a day. I also had people using auto-refreshing scripts to trigger random events happening more frequently. My bot auto bans all accounts doing either of those things. Sad that we still have so many people cheating! I would love to make a game in the future where there is no money only a bartering system so that would eliminate the need to create so many accounts or use refreshing scripts...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I allow it on HP as long as they are all upgraded, basic accounts are limited to 5, and if people drop upgrades and are over the basic limit, we ban the extras but let them unban later to upgrade if they choose. With the way the game is set up, it makes sense to allow multiple accounts and it works well!

The biggest problem we have is that the game is set up to give truly new players a 7 day trial upgrade, and not existing players just making new accounts, so some people try to take advantage of that, but the mods are pretty good at catching them and then we reverse the extra trial upgrades and any of the money they earned from them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...