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Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website has a follow-up to the report that some users in BioWare's MMORPG were being sanctioned for visiting areas intended for higher level characters (thanks Joao via Rock, Paper, Shotgun). As it turns out, none of these users was banned, they simply received warnings:

First, action was taken against a number of accounts for what's commonly known as 'gold farming' - or in our case, credit farming. These accounts were found to be exploiting the game in a variety of ways to maximize their credits in order to sell them to other players. Our Terms of Service team took action against these accounts and removed them permanently from the game.

Second, a smaller number of accounts were warned or temporarily suspended for exploiting loot containers on Ilum. To be completely clear, while players may choose to travel to Ilum earlier than the recommended level (40+) and may loot containers if they can get to them, in the cases of those customers that were warned or temporarily suspended, they were systematically and repeatedly looting containers in very high numbers resulting in the game economy becoming unbalanced.

None of these accounts were banned for their actions and no accounts have been banned for travelling to Ilum while still relatively low level. By comparison, the number of accounts that were warned or temporarily suspended was considerably lower than the number of accounts banned for 'credit farming'.

It's important to remember that our Terms of Service team is extremely careful and thorough in their investigation of any potential exploit or unusual activity in-game. Working closely with the development team and using extensive metrics based on player activity, they are able to determine what is normal player activity, what is unusual and what is exploiting. Our goal is always to ensure a fair game experience for all players while also protecting the rights of individuals, and if people are disrupting the play experience for others action will be taken.

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70. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 4, 2012, 09:10 Dev
 
Flatline wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 17:24:
He's also curious if they're running virtual servers, which will seize/allocate system resources the more populated the servers are. If that's the case, low/average population servers may actually literally have not enough resources allocated to them.
This is highly likely to be the case, what with them doing the whole staggered launch thing. Servers don't cost that much nowadays, but looks like EA wants to cheap out on a few thousand bucks. It also wouldn't surprise me if they cheaped out on the specs for the servers, like only got 8 gigs of ram instead of 32+.

This comment was edited on Jan 4, 2012, 10:12.
 
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69. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 4, 2012, 09:02 briktal
 
RollinThundr wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 17:18:
I think something alot of people who either didn't spend time on the old Bioboards or BW social site fail to realize is Bioware has been moving in this direction long before the EA buy out.

It's easy to blame EA as the big bad evil huge publisher but really it's been obvious to me for about the past 5 years or so that BW hasn't wanted to make RPG's for a long time now. They want to make the same cinematic story with minor setting changes (ME, DA, Kotor/Tor) with illusion of player choice (some titles more obvious than others at the lack of said player choice, DA2 comes instantly to mind) blow a wad on marketing and hype and expect to sell 5 million copies every game.

I mean does anyone really wonder why some of their oldest employee's have been jumping ship over the last few years, while the ones who remain, The Gaiders or Priestlys just become more and more snarky towards their very own fanbase? Seriously?


Kinda related to that, the last two games they released before EA (three if you also count Mass Effect since I think that sort of decision would've been made before EA bought them) were released on console first, with Jade Empire not getting a PC version for a couple years.

Also I guess most of the discussion of these bans/the announcement of them (though the previous article mentions it) hasn't been very clear that apparently the reason for the bans is that players, either through alts, friends, or agreements with players on the other faction, were constantly flipping a world pvp zone, which causes the chests to respawn.
 
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68. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 4, 2012, 07:57 Fibrocyte
 
^Drag0n^ wrote on Jan 4, 2012, 04:21:
Wow. What an absolutely wretched sounding game. Their solution to a clear design flaw? Ban those exploiting it. Brilliant. What a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

^D^

Drama queen.
 
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67. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 4, 2012, 04:21 ^Drag0n^
 
Wow. What an absolutely wretched sounding game. Their solution to a clear design flaw? Ban those exploiting it. Brilliant. What a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

^D^
 
Avatar 55075
 
"Never start a fight, but always finish it."
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66. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 4, 2012, 02:36 Cutter
 
Bhruic wrote on Jan 4, 2012, 01:58:
Hogwash, sir! It's easily and quickly remedied. Just have a high level mob spawn with the containers and tether them to it. Or just put a minimal level cap on them. Problem solved.

Again, it's not that there aren't solutions to the problem. There are plenty, of which the one you posted is certainly one (although I understand that area is supposed to be a pvp zone, isn't it?). The problem is that you can't just plop that into a game like this in a quick patch. MMOs don't get "quick patches". You can't put something like that on a live server without tested it. A testing procedure that will take quite a while. That's just how MMOs work, which is a good thing, as untested patches often have unintended consequences.

So in the meantime, rather than have people able to continually exploit the system, they are giving warnings and temp-bans. The most reasonable solution to the problem.

Hotfix. Problem solved.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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65. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 4, 2012, 01:58 Bhruic
 
Hogwash, sir! It's easily and quickly remedied. Just have a high level mob spawn with the containers and tether them to it. Or just put a minimal level cap on them. Problem solved.

Again, it's not that there aren't solutions to the problem. There are plenty, of which the one you posted is certainly one (although I understand that area is supposed to be a pvp zone, isn't it?). The problem is that you can't just plop that into a game like this in a quick patch. MMOs don't get "quick patches". You can't put something like that on a live server without tested it. A testing procedure that will take quite a while. That's just how MMOs work, which is a good thing, as untested patches often have unintended consequences.

So in the meantime, rather than have people able to continually exploit the system, they are giving warnings and temp-bans. The most reasonable solution to the problem.
 
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64. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 21:03 ASeven
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 20:49:
ASeven wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 18:54:
Kinda unrelated to SWTOR but very related to EA, while googling in my spare time I found this.

http://i.imgur.com/6PfKc.png

There's only one thing I can say, holy shit if that's true. After the Gamasutra article on the industry's working conditions 2 years ago and their comments being filled by well known devs who related stories of suicide due to the brutal work environment that is working for a publisher nowadays I suspect this picture may unfortunately not be fake.

Yeah, I worked for EA for just under a year before I had to quit. It really was horrible and I don't expect that's changed anymore than they've legally been forced to change. I'd wager the old Russian gulags were very similar.


Still... someone dying due to that Mythic CC problem a while ago? Holy hell, that is bordering on the truly insane. I know the industry has a brutal work environment but the stuff he tells goes beyond brutal and into nightmare territory.
 
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63. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 20:49 Cutter
 
ASeven wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 18:54:
Kinda unrelated to SWTOR but very related to EA, while googling in my spare time I found this.

http://i.imgur.com/6PfKc.png

There's only one thing I can say, holy shit if that's true. After the Gamasutra article on the industry's working conditions 2 years ago and their comments being filled by well known devs who related stories of suicide due to the brutal work environment that is working for a publisher nowadays I suspect this picture may unfortunately not be fake.

Yeah, I worked for EA for just under a year before I had to quit. It really was horrible and I don't expect that's changed anymore than they've legally been forced to change. I'd wager the old Russian gulags were very similar.

 
Avatar 25394
 
"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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62. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 19:16 eunichron
 
I haven't experienced any game-breaking bugs with the game that some of you in the thread are. I have been doing some hard mode flashpoints and there are a lot of issues with bugged/overtuned bosses and loot chests. I think it is fairly obvious that they rushed the game out, and they didn't have very many regular testers on the beta (only 1 server with a low population). But the game is still fun and I am enjoying it. I only hope that they are quick on the bug fixes and content.  
Avatar 13977
 
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61. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 18:54 ASeven
 
Kinda unrelated to SWTOR but very related to EA, while googling in my spare time I found this.

http://i.imgur.com/6PfKc.png

There's only one thing I can say, holy shit if that's true. After the Gamasutra article on the industry's working conditions 2 years ago and their comments being filled by well known devs who related stories of suicide due to the brutal work environment that is working for a publisher nowadays I suspect this picture may unfortunately not be fake.
 
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60. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 18:22 Endo
 
Flatline wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 17:24:
Endo wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 17:04:
Lorcin wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 15:19:
so tried to add him to ignore and the game said he didn't exist.
Of course, that doesn't really mean much. One of the current bugs is that players often "don't exist" when they're not logged in. Makes it rather frustrating trying to add your friends to your friends list at times. Especially adding their alts.

So he may have simply logged off, may have been suspended, or may have been deleted. No way to know.


Oh man I have other gripes & complaints about TOR.

I'd be more conceptually cool with the "warning" if a patch were to come out in the next day or two after the warning fixing it. Along with a public statement saying "Until patched, doing X, Y times a day is considered an exploit".

As far as gold farmers, they've already started and the banhammer is fine. I got system mail offering to powerlevel my character to level 50 for 20 dollars American.

My complaints are that the game, while fun, is a technical mess on the back end. Bioware and whoever EA hired have real problems with designing an MMO that actually... you know... works. My ping and framerate is more or less rock solid (framerate will dip in certain areas but even in heavy action it stays the same), but get more than two PCs in the same area and you start seeing lag bubbles, glitches, and all kinds of sh*t. Right now if more than 5 PCs are in combat at once in an area my computer CTDs almost reliably. I'm also not the only one to have the mouse freeze during the lag bubbles, ensuring that you can't do anything whatsoever until the bubble passes. We've seen the miracle regenerating monster (the mob gets down to <10% health and instantly bubble warps and is at full health, repeat ad nauseum), mobs that are impossible to loot (permanently "too far away to loot"), companions that die randomly when running through lag bubble areas of the server (it's bizarre that it's constrained to certain small geographical areas) that are instantly raised again if you walk 20 feet out of the area, etc etc... This isn't on a full server with a queue, which I could sort of understand. This is on an average population server, on worlds like Tatooine which had like 30 players total on it, from both sides.

My friend, who was an MMO beta tester at one point, has suggested turning on process monitors during gameplay and seeing if CPU usage spikes during a lag bubble. If it does, it means that the game is sending sync-updates that are way too large and the computer bogs down processing them and trying to run the game and trying to process the normal incoming data all at once. He's also curious if they're running virtual servers, which will seize/allocate system resources the more populated the servers are. If that's the case, low/average population servers may actually literally have not enough resources allocated to them.

What's frustrating is that I'm sending in detailed bug reports constantly, and it's been nearly a week since the last patch. The game is in no state to run a week or two without patching.
Yep, there's definitely a fair bunch of bugs. But that doesn't surprise me, given the publisher is EA. I've seen too much from them in recent years to expect otherwise. Then, couple that with the fact that it's an MMO, and well, there you go.

Thankfully I've not run into too many serious bugs. The list I've seen personally is pretty short.

- Adding friends bug (mentioned my last post)
- "Show Sith Corruption" option constantly resetting itself to the default (on). Seems to happen whenever joining a group, or whenever changing zone/phase while in a group
- Actual ammount of hitpoints of party member not displaying correctly on the UI. Was playing my healing sorcerer and had to keep clicking on my friend's tank companion to see its blue health bar above its head, as the bar by the portrait always showed full.
- Resource nodes unusable. (My working theory as to how this happens is someone scans the node, then for whatever reason doesn't loot it... leaving it still present, but locked, thus no one else can use it.)

I know there's a thousand more bugs that are equally (or a great deal more) significant, so I'm just grateful I've not encountered them.
 
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59. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 18:20 Krovven
 
Fibrocyte wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 18:14:
You obviously didn't get it the first time and this is just your attempt to save face.

Or the list of dense folks that can't think outside the box and are completely humorless, is getting considerably longer. You all think far too highly of yourselves.


 
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58. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 18:14 Fibrocyte
 
Krovven wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 17:14:
Rossafur wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 16:45:
Krovven wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 16:34:

If you insist on finishing every sentence with "lol", please never post again.



Nice fail on detecting Fibrocyte's annoyance with KilrathiAce's use of "lol" and a throw-away comparison to WoW.

I caught it just fine, thanks captain obvious. He isn't the grammar police, nor is KilrathiAce's opinion any less trivial than Fribrocytes. Clearly you failed at the irony of my post.


You obviously didn't get it the first time and this is just your attempt to save face. Nice.

Back to the topic at hand: I understand this rule isn't posted. What I am saying is once you are aware that it isn't proper activity then you should cease doing it. Whether you know not to do this by reading the forums, getting warned by an administrator, or just being born with common sense isn't really relevant.
 
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57. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 18:10 ASeven
 
Oh for fuck's sakes, we don't need biodrones here defending bad gameplay design decisions that are apparent to all except biodrones.  
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56. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 17:44 Acleacius
 
I'm beginning to think bioeaware is sending in the hacks, to try to quell the decent.  
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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55. a Jan 3, 2012, 17:32 Blackhawk
 
People are getting too complex in their solutions. Invisible below level, level limit on opening, restricting the zone by level? Nah.

Just plop an on-level mob down near it with a relatively fast respawn.

This comment was edited on Feb 24, 2012, 09:04.
 
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54. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 17:32 RollinThundr
 
Flatline wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 17:24:
Endo wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 17:04:
Lorcin wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 15:19:
so tried to add him to ignore and the game said he didn't exist.
Of course, that doesn't really mean much. One of the current bugs is that players often "don't exist" when they're not logged in. Makes it rather frustrating trying to add your friends to your friends list at times. Especially adding their alts.

So he may have simply logged off, may have been suspended, or may have been deleted. No way to know.


Oh man I have other gripes & complaints about TOR.

I'd be more conceptually cool with the "warning" if a patch were to come out in the next day or two after the warning fixing it. Along with a public statement saying "Until patched, doing X, Y times a day is considered an exploit".

As far as gold farmers, they've already started and the banhammer is fine. I got system mail offering to powerlevel my character to level 50 for 20 dollars American.

My complaints are that the game, while fun, is a technical mess on the back end. Bioware and whoever EA hired have real problems with designing an MMO that actually... you know... works. My ping and framerate is more or less rock solid (framerate will dip in certain areas but even in heavy action it stays the same), but get more than two PCs in the same area and you start seeing lag bubbles, glitches, and all kinds of sh*t. Right now if more than 5 PCs are in combat at once in an area my computer CTDs almost reliably. I'm also not the only one to have the mouse freeze during the lag bubbles, ensuring that you can't do anything whatsoever until the bubble passes. We've seen the miracle regenerating monster (the mob gets down to <10% health and instantly bubble warps and is at full health, repeat ad nauseum), mobs that are impossible to loot (permanently "too far away to loot"), companions that die randomly when running through lag bubble areas of the server (it's bizarre that it's constrained to certain small geographical areas) that are instantly raised again if you walk 20 feet out of the area, etc etc... This isn't on a full server with a queue, which I could sort of understand. This is on an average population server, on worlds like Tatooine which had like 30 players total on it, from both sides.

My friend, who was an MMO beta tester at one point, has suggested turning on process monitors during gameplay and seeing if CPU usage spikes during a lag bubble. If it does, it means that the game is sending sync-updates that are way too large and the computer bogs down processing them and trying to run the game and trying to process the normal incoming data all at once. He's also curious if they're running virtual servers, which will seize/allocate system resources the more populated the servers are. If that's the case, low/average population servers may actually literally have not enough resources allocated to them.

What's frustrating is that I'm sending in detailed bug reports constantly, and it's been nearly a week since the last patch. The game is in no state to run a week or two without patching.

Or logging into a blank server list, Or the play button being greyed out on the launcher, or taxi routes not working, or running into invisible walls in open areas for no reason. Yeah I have to agree, there's a ton of nagging issues that happen in this game that happened early on in beta that should have been fixed a hell of a long time before launching.
 
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53. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 17:31 Creston
 
It still sounds to me that EA chooses to fix bad game design by just banning those people that abuse that bad game design. So grinding for low level loot and infinitely opening the same chest is fine, but if you do so with high level loot, you're getting banned?

Seems rather dubious.

Creston
 
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52. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 17:28 RollinThundr
 
Fibrocyte wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 16:19:
Warskull wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 15:14:
WyldKat wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 14:30:
EDIT: Disregard, apparently according to Bioware via Reddit, low-level farming of Ilum is okay.

Unless they decide it isn't. They said if a lowbie goes and opens a chest he won't be banned, but if you repeatedly "exploit" the resources you will be.

That is even worse, if you cross some moving, arbitrary invisible line, they can temp ban you. Basically, you can open chests and you only get banned if they feel like banning you.

Just fix the mechanic, it is so easy. Level limits on the chests, area, scaling the loot to level, ect.

This is the worst of the culture that infests MMOs. If you don't play the way people think you should, you are cheating and should be banned. It is like people who try to put arbitrary "no spawn camping" rules in games. Either the supposed spawn camping isn't a problem or the map is crap and no one should play it.

How about not doing it if it isn't what you should be doing? If you didn't know (really?) then you'll get a warning. If you do it again, you deserve a ban.

This is hardly different than speed limits. You have the option to go over the speed limit even though you shouldn't - but when you do, you're penalized. Or should the government put governors on all our vehicles?

Just play the game as it was intended. This is not a single-player game where you can exploit something and it only impacts you. Some of your actions in an MMO impact others and you should act accordingly.

How so? ToR to be honest doesn't really have much of an "economy" to begin with. oooo it has an auction house, big whoop. I think I've bought all of 2 items off of it in 40 lvls of play with my BH.
 
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51. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 17:24 Flatline
 
Endo wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 17:04:
Lorcin wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 15:19:
so tried to add him to ignore and the game said he didn't exist.
Of course, that doesn't really mean much. One of the current bugs is that players often "don't exist" when they're not logged in. Makes it rather frustrating trying to add your friends to your friends list at times. Especially adding their alts.

So he may have simply logged off, may have been suspended, or may have been deleted. No way to know.


Oh man I have other gripes & complaints about TOR.

I'd be more conceptually cool with the "warning" if a patch were to come out in the next day or two after the warning fixing it. Along with a public statement saying "Until patched, doing X, Y times a day is considered an exploit".

As far as gold farmers, they've already started and the banhammer is fine. I got system mail offering to powerlevel my character to level 50 for 20 dollars American.

My complaints are that the game, while fun, is a technical mess on the back end. Bioware and whoever EA hired have real problems with designing an MMO that actually... you know... works. My ping and framerate is more or less rock solid (framerate will dip in certain areas but even in heavy action it stays the same), but get more than two PCs in the same area and you start seeing lag bubbles, glitches, and all kinds of sh*t. Right now if more than 5 PCs are in combat at once in an area my computer CTDs almost reliably. I'm also not the only one to have the mouse freeze during the lag bubbles, ensuring that you can't do anything whatsoever until the bubble passes. We've seen the miracle regenerating monster (the mob gets down to <10% health and instantly bubble warps and is at full health, repeat ad nauseum), mobs that are impossible to loot (permanently "too far away to loot"), companions that die randomly when running through lag bubble areas of the server (it's bizarre that it's constrained to certain small geographical areas) that are instantly raised again if you walk 20 feet out of the area, etc etc... This isn't on a full server with a queue, which I could sort of understand. This is on an average population server, on worlds like Tatooine which had like 30 players total on it, from both sides.

My friend, who was an MMO beta tester at one point, has suggested turning on process monitors during gameplay and seeing if CPU usage spikes during a lag bubble. If it does, it means that the game is sending sync-updates that are way too large and the computer bogs down processing them and trying to run the game and trying to process the normal incoming data all at once. He's also curious if they're running virtual servers, which will seize/allocate system resources the more populated the servers are. If that's the case, low/average population servers may actually literally have not enough resources allocated to them.

What's frustrating is that I'm sending in detailed bug reports constantly, and it's been nearly a week since the last patch. The game is in no state to run a week or two without patching.
 
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