Wallshadows wrote on Nov 12, 2012, 15:04: My friend used a VPN to get early access through Steam but he got caught and his account is now banned.
Doubtful. I used a VPN to play several games early on Steam (including Borderlands 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Dishonored) and didn't have any issues (I was connected to the Steam Community and was Online at the time), nor did any of the people I know. A moderator on the Steam forums confirmed that there is no problem with using a VPN to access Steam.
What's more likely is that your "friend" bought the game in a different region to get it cheaper and they were caught out, as that goes against the Steam end-user agreement.