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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 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 3.
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30. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 14:12 Cutter
 
Bhruic wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 13:05:
While yes, I agree that they should close the loopholes, it's not a simple matter of "oh, fix that". It has to be tested, vetted, and tested again before they can release a patch on live servers. Having people continue to exploit a system in the meantime can be severely unbalancing to a game.

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.

 
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29. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 13:50 KilrathiAce
 
This reminds me of WoW... oh wait this game is basically WoW in star wars theme lol.  
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28. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 13:47 briktal
 
Matshock wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 13:29:
Add this to my list of reasons not to get into MMOs.

The gold farming bans I understand, but "sneaking" into a "high-level" area to loot items put in place by the devs? That's a decades-old RPG mechanic. I did that in Phasntasy Star I.

Thankfully PSI didn't have power-stupid online mods.


What I was wondering with that is how is it any different having a low level character sneak in and do it compared to just having an appropriately leveled character looting the same chests. Also, I don't like things that are balanced only around the thought that nobody is crazy/bored/etc enough to do certain things a lot. Especially an MMO.
 
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27. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 13:46 Illumin
 
Verno wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 13:04:
Illumin wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 12:42:
I'm sure it will be fixed so whats wrong with telling someone not to do it until its fixed? Thats why the "broad language" is used because in a mmo there are billions of situations that can happen. Their is no way they could name every situation.

They didn't stop at telling people apparently and I've explained what's wrong with their actions twice now, use your brain man As for being vague, we can agree to disagree but I don't think it's unreasonable for consumers to complain about ludicrously one sided ToS agreements that can potentially affect their account standing. There's a difference between using third party tools to accumulate money to sell to people for real dollars and just looting some containers provided for you by the game, IMO anyway.

How about just playing the game for the fun of it? Where has that gone?

People have different definitions of fun. I don't like playing economy MMO with my dollars but some people do and whatever I guess, it takes all kinds.

The only ones banned were the ones that were selling credits /gold farming, all others were just warned to stop. Not sure where your getting the people that looted chest because they wanted ubber gear were banned. Anywho we both made our points
 
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26. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 13:41 Halo
 
I remember back in the days of early MMO games I had a friend that would always lead me into high level areas to vulture the loot of high level monsters that nobody wanted but was worth much more than I was getting. I would then sell it and make tons, only downside was if I got hit once by a monster I was dead. Seemed fair at the time...  
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25. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 13:29 Matshock
 
Add this to my list of reasons not to get into MMOs.

The gold farming bans I understand, but "sneaking" into a "high-level" area to loot items put in place by the devs? That's a decades-old RPG mechanic. I did that in Phantasy Star I.

Thankfully PSI didn't have power-stupid online mods.

This comment was edited on Jan 3, 2012, 13:45.
 
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24. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 13:08 Rossafur
 
Burrito of Peace wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 10:46:
I feel it's unethical to warn, suspend or ban players who are playing the game within the mechanics you designed instead of the way you intended. If your mechanics allow an action you did not intend, change the mechanics.


It's unethical to punish people for behaving unethically because it's physically possible to behave unethically? Where to begin with the flaws in that argument...
If this were strictly a single-player game then you'd be right: just fix the exploits, because it doesn't affect anyone but the exploiter. But it's not, it's an MMO, and this affects the whole game's economy, and the exploiters had to know what they were doing was wrong.
 
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23. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 13:05 Bhruic
 
Every MMO I've played has had "exploits" listed as bannable offenses in their ToS. And what an "exploit" is has always been a bit of a grey area. It's no real surprise that SW:ToR has had people try to exploit it, and no surprise that they've tried to stop it.

While yes, I agree that they should close the loopholes, it's not a simple matter of "oh, fix that". It has to be tested, vetted, and tested again before they can release a patch on live servers. Having people continue to exploit a system in the meantime can be severely unbalancing to a game.
 
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22. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 13:04 Verno
 
Illumin wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 12:42:
I'm sure it will be fixed so whats wrong with telling someone not to do it until its fixed? Thats why the "broad language" is used because in a mmo there are billions of situations that can happen. Their is no way they could name every situation.

They didn't stop at telling people apparently and I've explained what's wrong with their actions twice now, use your brain man As for being vague, we can agree to disagree but I don't think it's unreasonable for consumers to complain about ludicrously one sided ToS agreements that can potentially affect their account standing. There's a difference between using third party tools to accumulate money to sell to people for real dollars and just looting some containers provided for you by the game, IMO anyway.

How about just playing the game for the fun of it? Where has that gone?

People have different definitions of fun. I don't like playing economy MMO with my dollars but some people do and whatever I guess, it takes all kinds.
 
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21. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 12:55 Kajetan
 
Verno wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 11:57:
The point again is that this was a design problem that should be addressed as such.
It should, but it can't.

Blizzard has done this in the past in WoW (remember the guy who discovered a freaky but legit way to reach a closed area?), Bioware does it now, other devs have done it. These companies are not able to admit mistakes because their company culture thrives on blaming others for mistakes.
 
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20. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 12:49 Kastagir
 
This whole "beat the game" mentality is why I don't play MMOs, or any online games. If I were invested in a game like this, I suppose I wouldn't mind seeing people hit with the banning stick a lot more often. How about just playing the game for the fun of it? Where has that gone?

Edit: Oh, right. This is a Bioware/EA MMO. I guess there isn't much else to do but kill/outdo your fellow gamers.
 
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19. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 12:45 Endo
 
Stolk wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 12:34:
Burrito of Peace wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 10:46:
I feel it's unethical to warn, suspend or ban players who are playing the game within the mechanics you designed instead of the way you intended. If your mechanics allow an action you did not intend, change the mechanics.

Badly said.
I agree. While I'm generally against game developers banning players to cover up poor design on their part, there's also the other side of the equasion: "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."

Ultimately the exploiters are going to be vastly in the minority, yet even so in an online game such as this their exploits can have a major impact on the economy for everyone else.

It's not so much about covering up poor game design as it is purely a business decision. Better to piss off a few customers than to have a large number get frustrated and leave.
 
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18. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 12:42 Illumin
 
Verno wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 11:57:
Illumin wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 11:48:
Honestly you guys that are posting about this saying how its wrong of Bioware / Ea are just haters or incredibly stupid. Im refering to those of you that said the ban's are wrong.

Or maybe just people who don't agree with your opinion. Some people were warned or "temporarily suspended" which is fluff language for a temporary ban from the game, presumably for doing it more than Bioware wants them to yet still allows. There is a simpler solution to the Ilum problem was the point, one that stops the credit farmers and that doesn't get other players caught up in it. I don't really care for their broad "unusual game activity" language either. The point again is that this was a design problem that should be addressed as such.

I'm sure it will be fixed so whats wrong with telling someone not to do it until its fixed? Thats why the "broad language" is used because in a mmo there are billions of situations that can happen. Their is no way they could name every situation.

Use your brain man you know just as well as I do they have to be vague in this situation. It is unusual for low level people to camp chest on high level planets or to flip. If it wasn't unusual there would be 80 other lvel 20 guys there doing it too.
 
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17. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 12:34 Stolk
 
Burrito of Peace wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 10:46:
I feel it's unethical to warn, suspend or ban players who are playing the game within the mechanics you designed instead of the way you intended. If your mechanics allow an action you did not intend, change the mechanics.

Badly said.
 
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16. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 11:57 Verno
 
Illumin wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 11:48:
Honestly you guys that are posting about this saying how its wrong of Bioware / Ea are just haters or incredibly stupid. Im refering to those of you that said the ban's are wrong.

Or maybe just people who don't agree with your opinion. Some people were warned or "temporarily suspended" which is fluff language for a temporary ban from the game, presumably for doing it more than Bioware wants them to yet still allows. There is a simpler solution to the Ilum problem was the point, one that stops the credit farmers and that doesn't get other players caught up in it. I don't really care for their broad "unusual game activity" language either. The point again is that this was a design problem that should be addressed as such.
 
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15. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 11:55 CommunistHamster
 
I feel it's unethical to warn, suspend or ban players who are playing the game within the mechanics you designed instead of the way you intended. If your mechanics allow an action you did not intend, change the mechanics.

Well said.
 
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14. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 11:48 Illumin
 
Yeah let the gold farmers run! I love nothing more than getting to an area and having to compete with gold farmers for resources. The point is they are credit farmers that SELL them to other players. THOSE are the ones that got banned.

The players that went there at a low level were just warned big woop. All right so get a few levels and go there big deal you can level to 50 in no time.

Honestly you guys that are posting about this saying how its wrong of Bioware / Ea are just haters or incredibly stupid. Im refering to those of you that said the ban's are wrong.
 
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13. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 11:47 ASeven
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 11:43:
The funny thing is, if they turned around and made a glorified dating/conversation simulator, they'd probably screw that up too. The problem with bioware is they've received the EA touch of death. And the cancer is spreading fast. They've probably got a good idea on the board, and some idiot will come along and say: "we need, this, and this, and this, oh and some of this. And we need to include, x, y and z" so they don't feel excluded. All in the meanwhile their main fanbase are the ones who get screwed in the long and short run.

In a few years I can see Bioware being as fondly reminded as Westwood was before EA killed them, regardless if Bioware as an entity still exists or not. Their spirit is clearly dead or dying fast.
 
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12. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 11:43 Mashiki Amiketo
 
The funny thing is, if they turned around and made a glorified dating/conversation simulator, they'd probably screw that up too. The problem with bioware is they've received the EA touch of death. And the cancer is spreading fast. They've probably got a good idea on the board, and some idiot will come along and say: "we need, this, and this, and this, oh and some of this. And we need to include, x, y and z" so they don't feel excluded. All in the meanwhile their main fanbase are the ones who get screwed in the long and short run.  
--
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there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
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11. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Bans Follow-up Jan 3, 2012, 11:27 Verno
 
ASeven wrote on Jan 3, 2012, 11:24:
Bioware's no longer the titans of gaming they once were. Right now they're more akin to whimpering mouses.

Did anyone else read that article with the Bioware founders in Etc a few weeks ago? They were talking about riffing features from Skyrim and I was just kind of shaking my head while reading it. Maybe go back to making real RPG games instead of glorified dating/conversation simulators with TPS cover mechanics before you start tackling open world gameplay?

After playing a bit of Oblivion the other day after finishing Skyrim, I feel like Bethesda mostly gets it in terms of reducing complexity without neutering the entire game. Bioware on the other hand just seems to get more and more out there with every game.
 
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