EA Retracts Game Ban For Forum Violation

By John Walker on March 11th, 2011 at 10:46 pm.

Maybe not so much then.

Wow, well here’s a crazy update. After being repeatedly told that he was intentionally locked out of his EA games because he broke the rules on the BioWare forum, and that this was in accordance to the Terms Of Service that he’d agreed to, this morning’s internet famous man, Arno, has just been told that it was in fact a mistake.

He received an email from EA’s Senior Director of Customer Support, Boyd Beasley, explaining that his “inappropriate language” meant he had received a 72 hour ban from the BioWare Social Network, but that,

“Unfortunately, there was an error in the system that accidentally suspended your entire EA account. Immediately upon learning of the glitch, we have restored the entire account and apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused while accessing other areas of the EA service.”

So there you go then. A strange one indeed, after he was told by both EA’s live support, and the moderator who locked the thread discussing the matter (who declined to speak to us), the opposite. But good news for Arno, who can finally play the game he’s paid for.

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151 Comments »

    • Kaputnik88 says:

      I worked customer support for games before, and this makes me feel bad cause I know I would have done the same as the moderator in that situation, even though I know its wrong. :(

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      You’d act in a way that causes additional scandal and anger towards your employer? Really?

    • Navagon says:

      Well if you know your “employer” is in the wrong and all you’re doing is toeing the company line then personally I don’t see how EA can have a problem with it. Clearly the problem is with their own policies, not moderators highlighting those policies.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      PROTIP: http://thepiratebay.org/ ^^
      Seriously: If you allow them to act like that, you deserve it, and more.
      I’m all for giving the designers and developers money, if you got something (a service in this case. Software is not a product) you valued from them.
      But this is not even remotely related to such a basic business relationships.
      There simply should be a “donate” button next to each download on The Pirate Bay, for giving money to the original makers. Directly. Similar to the hat of a street musician. Even if the makers don’t want it. Until they notice, that they get more money from the downloaders than from the licensers (NOT buyers, as that is physically impossible).

      @Navagon: False dichotomy. Following rules that are wrong, is just as wrong, as creating those rules. Because it always takes at least two: The ones making them, and the ones accepting them. In this case they are accepting them from their bosses, and making them for the forum users.

    • Samuel Bass says:

      Um, ok.

      Some questions…

      (i) Do you trust an organization that deals in illegitimately obtained goods to get money to the original creators? They’re not exactly GoG or Steam.

      (ii) How many people do you think would actually donate? Given – to use a vaguely related corollary – that only “48%” of Radiohead fans bothered to pay for In Rainbows, and a good chunk of them paid very little, I just don’t see it happening.

      (iii) I make games for EA…how do I get the money when you nab something I’ve made from the Pirate Bay? Do they send it to EA? Do they send me a cashiers check?

      (iv) Furthermore, how does a company fund new games – given an average dev budget of $15-30 million US – if they’re not making any money?

      Methinks you haven’t thought this through all the way, but don’t let me get in the way of your internet bloviating.

    • ShawnClapper says:

      Don’t forget thepiratebay originally allowed sharing of child porn before they were forced to remove it. They only share what they can get away with and will also make them advertising revenue. They are just as much a business except they deal in stolen goods.

    • Navagon says:

      @ BAReFOOt

      You’re misunderstanding me. I’m saying it’s totally right to shame your “employer”* by quoting the less palatable aspects of their terms of service where appropriate. That way you’re shaming them simply by toeing the company line.

      *mods are often volunteers.

    • ezeleolos says:

      @Barefoot
      I don’t know which is worse…your justification, or my assumption that you sound like you actually believe in that logic (good troll if my assumption is wrong).

      Software is not a product?!! Newsflash to me. Silly programmer slaves! Your work doesn’t make products, so you shall work for freeeeee! Are books on kindle not products either? Is my digital artwork that i’ve spent hours and hours on a product (if and if not it is printed on a canvas)? Damn, I need to find a career that makes real products. I should work at a Taco Bell and make some real tacos (30% real meat right?). They can at least make a 30% real product into a 100% real product…What a steal!

      EA bans one person? OH MY GOD…TIME TO BOARD THE PIRATEBAY SHIP. Developers have to flock to big publishers like EA to fund their “products that are not products” since people like you will not pay for them on principle. No matter, you probably just have the average entitlement issues stereotypical to gamers. Bite the hands that entertain you. People like you deserve nothing but a large bucket to shit in. Maybe after a few days your “product” will finally remind you of what your justification smells like.

      The only people who actually donate to torrent sites are actual members, and that’s because they are forced to since they STEAL THE MOST. Money going to developers from torrent sites? LOL. Most of the developers wouldn’t even a be able to afford a hat to accept donations if they didn’t have publishers. Indie product funding is working well these days because it’s trendy, and people believe in it. However, just as many people will still steal even the Indie games…

      People wouldn’t give more than 2 cents to the developers (even then, it’d be to complain on the game’s forums). Nice people exist, but they are paying the price FOR YOU. Why do you think PC games cost $60+ and have a crapload of DLC? It isn’t just those big bad publishers doing their big bad business practices. It’s you, and millions like you, who will steal whenever they have the chance to.

      Your example of a false dichotomy is a recipe for chaos and jackassery. Some laws are wrong, but the majority are there for good reasons. It’s usually to stop opportunistic people like you who make up rules for themselves on the fly ‘since they think they have the answer for everything. Oh, this item technically isn’t an “item” because it’s digital! I’m clever, and I deserve to steal it! I should tell others!

      I know i’m riding a high horse here, but if you are going to be a pirate at least admit you are in the unsavory business of pirating (to yourself).

      Robin Hood would not approve (-15).

      The end.

  1. oxymelum says:

    Glitch, yeah right. The media shitstorm made them realize they wouldn’t get away with this without serious image problems.

    • DSVella says:

      I can believe it. Have you tried to use the mess of an account system that bioware and EA have? it’s horrid. Frankly i had to re buy DA to be able to get it all in one place.

    • westyfield says:

      Indeed. My copy of Dragon Age Origins activated but none of the DLC worked – fortunately I’d won a free CD key and forgotten about it, so I could enter that and get the DLC. Which works intermittently. It’s a hideous, awful mess and I hope it goes away forever.

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      Humans are the truest glitches

    • Diziet Sma says:

      @DSVella Really? I had major problems too with some stuff under one account and some stuff under another and they merged it all for me just so I could get the PC Dragon Age bonuses into my XBox 360 copy of Mass Effect 2.

    • dsi1 says:

      @DSVella: I have 3 Bioware accounts for Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2, luckily their system allows you to mix up account-game assignments as long as you know the info.

    • triple omega says:

      I wonder who the guys are that make these kinds of bad decisions.
      Also, it must be really hard to be the lead PR guy @ EA right now. Watching your entire PR budget flow down the drain in the matter of hours.

    • dadioflex says:

      @Goomich nice find!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Frankly i had to re buy DA to be able to get it all in one place.

      So the system is delivering more value from existing IP. Sounds good to me.

      Kind of like how people will buy things they already own on Steam for the value-add of replacing a CD check with an online one. And possibly showing off thier bulging library to their Internet Friends.

  2. FriendlyFire says:

    Somebody was testing the waters, perhaps?

  3. Dominic White says:

    Clearly, this must be tested. Anyone else willing to sacrifice themselves by getting deliberately banned/suspended from the EA forums? Just offer some Shoes Forking and they’re sure to smash you.

    All in the name of journalism!

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Are you suggesting we send some kind of forum space monkeys to die in the void of the EA forums ?

      Because I like that idea !

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Well, if you have licensed only one single-player game from them, then just download it via torrent, and then go ahead and get them to ban you. No risk involved. I’d do it. But I’d never throw a single penny at EA. (I’d throw something at the developers there. If they would have the balls to kick their bosses’ asses.)

    • Daiv says:

      Because as we all know, science can only be done on those who are still alive.

  4. James says:

    PR is a funny, stupid beast.

  5. kyrieee says:

    Didn’t see that one coming from a mile away
    GJ reporting on it though RPS, that’s what keeps them honest

  6. Recidivist says:

    Buuuuuuuuuuuuullllllllllll sshhhhhiiiiiiiiit.

    You can run, but I’m still pirating yo games!

  7. gganate says:

    Does anyone actually read the user agreement before installing a game? I don’t think I have ever during my entire gaming life.

    • Marshall Stele says:

      I do sometimes, but I have to admit that I always feel really dumb because I can’t make heads or tails of what it actually says.

      Then I remember it’s written by lawyers.

    • Pinkables says:

      It’s pretty silly really, i’m sure there’s no real belief that more than a tiny proportion of users read it. And indeed it’s not really written for the likes of us to understand. Unfortunately, i can’t see that there’s any incentive for publishers etc to change this, since it protects their interests very well, whether we read it or not.

    • Zogtee says:

      Which is sort of interesting. If they genuinely wanted to inform the user of something, then they should write in a way that people can understand, without having a lawyer of their own present to analyze it. Also, translating it into all the happy languages we speak here in Europe. They are always careful to translate the manuals, so why not the EULA’s?

      As it stands, these EULA’s are a legally doubtful practice and you have to ask yourself what the purpose really is. There’s your next idea for an article, RPS.

    • Quine says:

      It’s interesting that there’s a system of easily understandable ratings symbols and descriptions to guide the layman parents/purchasers, but EULAs can be as obscure as they like, when they’re all probably restating the same basic ownership principles- you rent the software at our pleasure, online services may be subject to change, don’t pirate or distribute the goods, etc.

      Would it be feasible to reduce these into a standard set of EULA symbols that are obvious to the user, with links to the full legalese? Would an enlightened government be able to push for this sort of clarity? Would the studios pack up shop and leave in a huff if forced to comply?

    • Pinkables says:

      I think that this is exactly what we need. I always assume that i’m agreeing to pretty much the same EULA each time. It’s only when some kind journalists highlight some outrageous small print for some game or the other that i’m aware of it. There’s really no reason that it shouldn’t be standard, perhaps with a few plainly written special clauses if they’re absolutely necessary.

    • anduin1 says:

      I read it once, I felt like I could go and defend OJ Simpson in court after finishing it but not really knowing what the hell I just read.

  8. bluebogle says:

    Does anyone actually believe it was a mistake?

    • Wulf says:

      Hahaha, nope. This is just arse-covering after discovering that one of their more draconian policies was so far away from fair consumer rights that they’d given people an excuse to pirate their games.

      “It wasn’t us shooting ourselves in the foot, honest! It was a computer glitch! Made by our incompetent computers which always seem to get the 1s and 0s mixed up! Dumb computers, bad computers!”

      The only problem that exists here is PEBCAK. Either the person who designed it was an idiot, the person who banned the forum account was an idiot and pressed the wrong button, or this was entirely intentional and meant as a threat to shut up those who were talking negatively about Bioware games.

      Smart money’s on the latter, in my opinion.

      (Also? Garbage In, Garbage Out. If this really was a glitch, then a bunch of programmers should be fired for cramming Bioware’s systems with garbage. A computer does what it’s told – you don’t blame hardware for software glitches, which are–again–usually oversights on the part of development, the user, or something done intentionally that was scapegoated as a glitch.)

    • juandemarco says:

      This was definitely them going back on their decision. Yes, they do have all the rights on their games and we just pay to let them decide wether we should be able to play or not, and even then we paying customer get treated like criminals while pirates get away with games hassle-free. They own the rights, they can do what they want about it, but they don’t have to be dicks about it. If they continue on this path, I’ll somehow won’t feel bad pirating their future games, and it’s not something I think of lightly, but if they feel they can play dirty, so will I.

      EDIT: What about the unmentioned SecuROM DRM in DA2?

    • Xercies says:

      If it was a mistake, that would actually be even more scarier!

  9. frymaster says:

    i think all the moderator could say was “well we can’t do game bans, only forums bans, therefore you MUST have broken EA’s rules” rather than actually being a definitive spokesman on things

  10. BurningPet says:

    So they resorted to lies? is this serious? how much does their PR department cost them a year? give me 10th and ill do a better job than that.

  11. bigtoeohno says:

    Wow,glitch in Tue system? That is weak.

  12. Jimbo says:

    Rightly so, though Bioware’s Mr. Woo didn’t seem to see anything wrong with using game access as leverage to coerce somebody into acting a particular way on the forum at the time. The two things shouldn’t be connected at all.

    I think the claim that he was even breaking the Rules of Conduct in the first place is pretty tenuous tbh. He used a well known idiom to ask what many people are thinking. Big deal. I suppose any language can be deemed “inappropriate” if you ask the right person, but typically this means discriminatory or vulgar, which his cited comment certainly wasn’t. He posed a legitimate question, albeit in a rather pointed manner. This comment didn’t warrant any kind of action, except maybe a little soul searching on their part.

    EA / Bioware need to toughen up if they can’t handle a question like this in this day and age.

  13. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    I’m not inclined to trust EA / Bioware on this one, what with them lying completely about what DRM they included in Dragon Age 2.

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/03/dragon-age-ii-features-hated-securom-despite-previous-ea-claims.ars

    • SirKicksalot says:

      That’s just a release date check tool made by the same team that makes Securom. A Bioware employee posted a few days ago about it. The review copies do have the “traditional” Securom DRM, but what’s in the final version is not that one.

    • Ravenger says:

      That’s correct, but technically it’s still SecuROM – it’s part of that suite of software, made by the same team and contacts the same servers.

      It also modifies your registry and leaves keys behind, so it doesn’t completely remove itself.

    • Kadayi says:

      Really? You do realise that you’re talking about a company that employs several thousand people and not some singular minded entity, that is all knowing and omnipresent as to its every action?

      I mean jez, do you know exactly what the state of play is with respect to everyone of your co-workers projects at any given second?

      Some sense of perspective might be required.

  14. Freud says:

    EA: “Ahhhhrgggghhh, The spotlight. It burns. Make it stop”

  15. Derpington Hurrrrrrr says:

    More Bioware bullshit? They are bigger EA than the EA themselves.

  16. Deano2099 says:

    Yup, if you have a chance to go back to EA John, the interesting question would be “Are there any circumstances in which a user posting something on the forums should lose access to his games?”

    I’m curious if this is a mistake because Bioware never do that, or because in this case the infraction wasn’t major enough to warrant it (ie. would he be banned if he posted a link to a torrent?)

  17. mkultra says:

    The little things…

  18. Hoaxfish says:

    1. Guy pops up after being banned, including his access to game, after a “moan” on their forums
    2. Bioware staff justify the ban, talk down to anyone who disagrees.
    3. Story continues to build up to a huge shitstorm of PR failure
    4. apology: OH, er, sorry guys, it was a system error! Those crazy computers!

    …now where’s the one where they admit to being complete failures in communication that lead them to blindly defending their “in error” actions?

    Hindsight doesn’t work for PR any more than anyone else, unless you have a time-machine.

  19. geldonyetich says:

    I don’t think a lot of people are going to forgive the fact that they apparently have a switch they can activate on their side that prevents their software, that you paid full price for, from working anymore.

  20. Kadayi says:

    So actually contacting someone in customer services cleared up the matter? Wow who’d of thought that raising a matter with customer services instead of writing to game Journalists with a sob story would be the way to go? Colour me amazed…..

    • Dao Jones says:

      “A strange one indeed, after he was told by both EA’s live support, and the moderator who locked the thread discussing the matter (who declined to speak to us), the opposite.”

      Why are you always so negative on here? :-\

    • Hoaxfish says:

      sorry, failure to detect internet-sarcasm and all…

      but he did contact support, and they told him it was a legit ban. He posted on the forum, and was told it was a legit ban by a mod.

      the story “happened”, and then he received an email from the big boss “EA’s Senior Director of Customer Support” (not a system grunt)… telling him it was all a mistake, it should’ve been just a normal ban.

    • Ravenger says:

      Do you really think it would have been sorted so quickly if there hadn’t been a media frenzy about it?

      I’m glad these sorts of issues are coming up because the pendulum of rights has swung too far away from the consumer when it comes to PC games and tying them to online accounts and services.

      It’s about time that the issues were investigated properly and PC gamers made aware just how easy it is for a company to deny you access to games you’ve bought and paid for with a single button press, and how hard it can be to get them back – or if you can get them back at all.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Hoaxfish

      I think the ‘facts’ have been slightly misrepresented in name of making a story somewhat more sensational than it really is when you look into it without an agenda (contrary to the previous article a thread was locked, not threads). Raising a support ticket was always going to be the route to go. That it eventually paid off is no surprise. Did John Walker loudly championing it via RPS perhaps result in some swifter action? Maybe, but should one assume the resultant would necessarily be any different otherwise? I’m not so convinced.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I’m not familiar with EA’s support, but generally when you receive a reply to tickets it’s usually the end of things… the Support dept has given you the answer, and unless they say “oh, we’re checking on the issue and we’ll get back to you”, that’s the end of that.

      From the forum post that the user made, it was a straight “you got banned for 3 days, for reason X, see you later”, not a “this is what’s happening, I’ll check it out”.

      I would imagine if it’d been a “I’ll get back to you” sort of email, the guy wouldn’t have made the forum post (rather, he would’ve waited for the next reply).
      I guess the attention could have elevated a basic ticket to “personal reply from EA’s head of dept”, but the forum post (and mod reply) seems to suggest to me that support had said all it was going to say on the matter (and most supt depts will simply ignore tickets that push the issue they’ve banned you for).

      I think the subsequent attention jump-started damage control, and certainly a review of the specific ban.

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      EA is not one single entity. It is a giant corporation run by many individual humans working together under a hierarchy. There’s no reason to think it was some fundamental conspiracy or necessary “test” just because EA “changed its mind”. The rules were created by some disconnected individuals up top of EA’s pyramid, who obviously realized the fuck up after it was too late. The moderators and customer support were simply following such regulations.

      I think these occurrences are very beneficial because they shine a light on rules that the gaming community will refuse – forcing the rule-makers to recognize that their customers care, and that they can’t fuck around with people as much as other corporations in different businesses often do.
      I also approve of the media coverage, regardless of how quick-to-judge they appeared, for the same reasons as above.

      However, I disapprove of anyone looking at this occurrence as some sign that EA is inherently evil (they are, but for different reasons). The reason I disapprove of this is because doing so is just another form of trickery – tricking oneself by viewing certain occurrences in a over-exaggerated way leading to a genuine misunderstanding and misguidance of how we can really improve related issues of customer-seller relations.

    • jplayer01 says:

      Uh, do you really believe the *senior director* of support has the time to sift through the thousands of support tickets which come in daily/weekly? That’s what he has his minions for. The only reason why it came to his attention at all is because 1) media shitstorm and 2) very loud, pissed off consumers. That’s how it works. If those two things hadn’t come up, this problem would’ve gone unnoticed by him.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Hoaxfish

      Have a look at what the Bioware moderator said: -

      2. EA Community bans come down from a different department and are the result of someone hitting the REPORT POST button. These bans can affect access to your game and/or DLC.

      The ban didn’t come from some moderator in the Bioware community (which makes Johns Bioware anti-social network banner somewhat misleading and hilarious given his tirades against ‘fair and balanced’ Fox News misrepresentations ), it came as a result of someone reporting the post to EA. Go to the EA ToS page and it tells you: -

      “If your Account, or a particular subscription for an EA Service associated with your Account, is terminated, suspended and/or if any Entitlements are selectively removed, revoked or garnished from your Account, no refund will be granted, no Entitlements will be credited to you or converted to cash or other forms of reimbursement, and you will have no further access to your Account or Entitlements associated with your Account or the particular EA Service. If you believe that any action has been taken against your Account in error, please contact Customer Support at support.ea.com.”

      http://support.ea.com/

      Where in you get the option to raise a support ticket on the matter (contact us account/registration). This is not what Arno did though, instead he went to: -

      http://support.ea.com/app/chat/livechat_landing (which isn’t even listed on the customer support page) which appears to be live support for technical issues (installing game type problems) not account issues.

      The guy was banging on the wrong door at EA to get a proper response/investigation into the matter all along. If he had the brains to follow the instructions as given perhaps the matter might of gotten resolved faster.

    • v_ware says:

      @ Kadayi
      Don’t act like a total douche. What is your problem?
      I got an automated mail after my suspension and in that mail there was a link to fill in a form to dispute my suspension. That link was dead. So not entirely my fault I went too EA Live Chat is it?
      “If you feel that this action is unwarranted, or if you wish to dispute the
      claims of this email, please submit a dispute form by using the following
      link: http://support.ea.com/cgi-bin/ea.cfg/php/enduser/terminated_form.php.”
      Try it, it’ll just land you on a search help page.

  21. Valvarexart says:

    So, DID Bioware sell their soul to the EA devil?

    • caesarbear says:

      Yes BioWare sold their soul to the EA devil.

      Really, is there any question? Wasn’t it obvious before.

      BioWare sold their soul to the EA devil.

    • Zogtee says:

      It’s hard for us oldtimers to admit, but the Bioware we see today is not the same Bioware we know and love from the old games.

  22. Nomaki says:

    So, +1 for piracy then.
    No need to worry about a forum account ban “glitching” your access to EA games.

  23. James G says:

    I get the skepticism, but the number of times I’ve seen mods spout nonsense on various forums makes me realise that the often don’t understand the inner workings. I get the impression that many game companies just give trusted users ban-hammers and a vague list of when they can use them.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      It’s not just banning. You can occasionally find a moderator saying incorrect information, which most people believe because “he’s a mod, they are employees, so must be correct, right?”

      I guess they’re split between “if you don’t know, don’t act like you do” and “say something, else it’ll look like you don’t know anything”.

  24. bascule42 says:

    I did ask on the comments section on EA’s YouTube channel vid of DA2 if I could get game banned for calling them Devils and suggesting that Bioware did indeed sell thier soul to EA. Had no reply as yet….but, it seems I can afterall since it was only a system error. Break open the rum truffles and red bull! Good times ahead.

    Possibly the metacritic user score of DA2 has made B/EA a little sensitive to the web chat surrounding thier grand release.

  25. trooperdx3117 says:

    Even if it was mistake it still raises the conundrum of should EA really have the ability to lock you out of your games at will if they do so please?

    • LionsPhil says:

      As noted above, gamers have run headlong into embracing such technology. I’m sorry that danging shiny games was enough to make you charge into a minefield, but that’s now where you are.

      But don’t worry! Smartphones are in the same situation, and with the Mac App Store there’s a movement to push this paradigm toward all desktop software.

  26. Voxel_Music_Man says:

    Bollocks! What a sack of fucking lies.

    No way are they getting any of my money.

    *cough cough* bittorrent is your friend *cough cough*

    • Stompywitch says:

      No, “EA / Bioware seek to remove my rights as a customer and so I will not support them, by buying their game, or justify their actions, by stealing it.” is your friend.

      Games aren’t a human right, and you don’t get to steal them just because the publisher does something you object to. Wait for the Goatee edition if you absolutely must play it.

    • Mattressi says:

      Stompy, while I understand your point of view (I too simply ignore games rather than pirate them), your talk of ‘rights’ is a little ironic. In the same way that a gamer has no right to play/own a game that they have not purchased or otherwise legally acquired, publishers also do not have a right to prevent their customers from playing a game that they purchased. If gamers had the money and publishers were poor I’d imagine people could do the same thing as publishers, but in reverse; write out a legal document of their own stating that the publisher automatically agrees upon releasing their game to have their game pirated. It’d be just as (il)legal and hold up just as well in court as an EULA.

      So while I have the view that I will just ignore games rather than pirate, I can’t say I’m against people who pirate games handled by draconian publishers/bullies – especially those who’ve had their games taken from them (or limited in some way) in the past and decide it’s time to ‘get their money back’ from the publisher by pirating the rest of their games.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I pirate games I own all the time. Because according to any EULA, I’m merely liscensing the assets to play it.

      Which is bull. So I pirate the games I already own. Because I paid for them, so I own them.

    • Kadayi says:

      @DJ Phantoon

      Which has zero to do with what Voxel is recommending

  27. Bluebreaker says:

    Too late. Damage is already done.

  28. georgemoshington says:

    i want to retract my previous statement regarding compromised integrity. while i understand that digital paladin john walker may not be in a situation to truly enjoy the crusade of consumer rights that he has previously embarked on regarding similar issues, there is enough cutting skepticism and shielded aggression in this post for the knight to have earned his spurs.

    godspeed.

  29. Navagon says:

    Talk about reeling from a PR clusterfuck. EA are going to have to do a lot of repair work on this one, which in no small part includes amending their terms of service so that nothing similar to this is even remotely possible in future.

  30. Aemony says:

    They either have some strange glitch or they actively stalk and harrass forum users. My friend whom submitted a bug report in the technical DA:II PC section was given a temporary ban yesterday for something along the line of ‘false conclusions’ or something :S

    In a bug report… >_< Weird…

  31. Binman88 says:

    Maybe in light of what’s happened in the world today, EA realised that they should aim to be a little bit less dickish at times, starting with this (non-)incident.

  32. bascule42 says:

    @trooperdx3117
    I’ve been thinking a similar thing for a few hours now. Can a games publisher impose a set of unilateral conditions on the purchaser *after* purchase? We all know that once that wrapping seal is off a PC game then shops will not refund the money as the product key, in most cases, has been seen and could have been copied. So, what if, someone has purchased a game, got home, open the box, up then actually reads the EULA and decides that “no, I don’t agree to this”. What recourse has that person got with regard to a refund? To demand agreement with such conditions as “We can ban you permanantly for “x” reason” – surely the purchaser needs to see and agree to these conditions *before* purchase?
    Perhaps some friendly, respectable – albeit slightly crazy – and credable gaming jouranalist could look into this? Maybe asking consumer direct and/or trading standards or friendly/media friendly solicitor to investigate the legitimacy of such demanding and seemingly unreasonable, (like not being able to play single player games & DLC after breaking the EULA), terms and conditions being imposed on consumers *after* the fact of purchase.

    Just having a agander at the Consumer Direct site & OFT. This could well come under “Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations”.

    • Curvespace says:

      Are consumer rights are region specific? In which case how do EA’s Terms of Policy cover all possible variations depending on territory? This is irrespective of the fact that I’m unsure that a users actions in a forum (or other arena) can be bound to a product after purchase.

      The more I think about this the more I don’t think they actually have a leg to stand on.

    • bascule42 says:

      “If you reside in the United States, Canada or Japan, these terms are an agreement between you and Electronic Arts Inc. If you reside in any other country, then these terms are an agreement between you and Electronic Arts Swiss Sàrl”.
      Yes, rights are region specific. One interesting one I came across a short while ago, is that in the UK we have our Statutory Rights. One of those rights is that “the seller is able to sell the product and transfer FULL ownership of the product”. Which doesnt seem to fit in with EA’s or Vavle’s T&C’s.

    • Curvespace says:

      Interesting :)

      Consumer rights in the UK are surprisingly hardcore and most shop owners start crapping themselves if you start quoting it at them (not that I do this type of thing… my brother on the other hand :D ).

    • bascule42 says:

      This make for interesting reading – in partic the newer European Regulations
      http://whatconsumer.co.uk/unfair-contract-terms/
      (From the PDF linked on that page)…
      Unfair Terms
      5.—
      (1) A contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as
      unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’
      rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer.
      (2) A term shall always be regarded as not having been individually negotiated where it has
      been drafted in advance and the consumer has therefore not been able to influence the substance
      of the term.
      I suppose a good question would be, is an EULA a “contract”? EDIT: lol…according to EA it is: (EA’s T&C). “These Terms of Service form a legally binding contract between you and EA”.

    • Lavatein says:

      Terms of a contract can’t be amended as soon as both parties agree to the offer, as per Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking Ltd [1971] 2 QB 163. However, software bought physically usually has a statement on the back of the case stating that the EULA forms part of the offer and that consumers should read the terms of the EULA on a public website before purchasing the product. DD sites force you to create an account before you can buy anything, at which point they can feed you all the terms they like.

      As for the terms of the UTCCR s(5), the key element there is “contrary to the requirement of good faith”, which is a specific (although ambiguous) legal principle (see Director of Fair Trading v First National Bank [2002] 1 AC 481). Take my word on it that it doesn’t have the reach to apply to this case.

      BTW, when people say that EULAs don’t hold up in court, they’re talking out their harris. I’ve never seen a piece of UK caselaw that rejected a properly implemented EULA.

  33. Resin says:

    It would have been way cooler if they just remotely accessed Arnos game and inserted invincible ogres with glowing EA brands on their foreheads to really teach the dissenter a lesson. If they pulled their Draconian BS with a little more style, I would feel better about it. Do it as a 72 hr. deal, when people complain, and the PR shitstorm gets rolling they could just say, “He said things he knew he shouldn’t a said, an he get what he get”. Then they would get some respect, and people would know that they can’t talk smack about em. As it is they just look like bullies with no class, who just role over at the first sign of getting caught by the public.

  34. Lobotomist says:

    LOL
    And someone said they dont care about PR.

    What a bunch of slime bags

  35. Xiyng says:

    What a cheap PR move. Somehow it feels like they decided this as a ‘mistake’ due to the bad publicity they were getting. The thing is, their policy is still the same and they can ban you from the games you own.

  36. bhlaab says:

    Wow what a bunch of sillies, making a mistake like that!

  37. Sirico says:

    Man they should have stated that the glitch had now been rectified, it’s what the pro’s do

  38. jti says:

    There was no glitch and everyone knows it. Good thing this made them change their minds though. It was perfectly insane. Anyway, the damage has already been done.

  39. Curvespace says:

    It’s interesting to consider this from what’s going on behind closed doors. I’m gonna speculate a bit here, please correct me if need be:

    I should imagine that forum moderation is done by a reasonably large team of not so senior employees. Now, they’ll likely be briefed pretty heavily on what they can and cannot do in regards banning users and so forth. Whoever made the decision to lock this account, be it a line-manager (or equivalent) or an individual moderator, must have been empowered to do so and informed that this was a) possible and b) acceptable. Given how innocuous the original comment was I can’t help but feel that either this has happened rather more frequently to users than we realise OR that there was a renewed enforcement from senior management that this type of arbitration is to be carried out. Perhaps as a result of the slightly less than euphoric reception of DA2. Thankfully what followed was a total PR shitstorm.

    I’d love to be in that office right now and hear some of the conversations that are no doubt being had! Some poor bastard’s probably going home to his gf after work today and moaning about upper-management not knowing its arse from its tit.

  40. Corporate Dog says:

    OK, but errrrm….

    How’s the game?

    And related to that…

    Xbox 360 or PC?

    • dsi1 says:

      Dragon Age II is amazing, get it on the PC of course.

      Though there is a bit of an issue with it and nVidia’s Fermi cards atm.

    • Ryz says:

      And to offer a counterpoint, DA2 is a painfully average to mediocre rush job that barely feels like a sequel and would have been much better off as an entirely new action RPG IP.

      The story isn’t great, even compared to DA:O’s largely cliche overarching plot, and is completely linear. It gives you the illusion of making choices and influencing things, but that isn’t actually true. There are exactly two endings, both of which are hugely unsatisfying (to make room for DLC?), and there is maybe a minute’s worth of difference between the two. I finished it on Hard with all the proper sidequests finished (there are a ton of annoying fetch quests that I ignored due to the painfully boring nature of running around Kirkwall bringing people their lost items with no dialogue or plot involved) in 28 hours. Others have done it faster.

      The combat has been talked about a lot, but Hard/Nightmare do bring the tactical nature of it back. Unfortunately, the difficulty is unnecessarily increased due to the terrible new camera and lack of an iso viewpoint. This makes it incredibly difficult to place AoEs, important on Nightmare with FF enabled, and position your party. Add into that the frustrating teleporting “waves” and it often feels like an exercise in futility. The game was balanced around Casual/Normal/Console’s button mashing with the harder modes included as an afterthought. This extends to party members: you have ONE tank character and ONE healer character unless you take Hawke in either of those directions. Unlike DA:O where you could pick between a couple tanks and spec Morrigan into adequate healing (or use mods to make her a full blown healer), you don’t have control over your parties specializations. They have character “unique” specs that you want to take or severely gimp them. You don’t need a tank or healer on Casual/Normal, and it’s really obvious that’s how it’s intended. After all, Heal is on a 40 second cooldown and Anders is the only NPC with additional party healing options. Popping potions and kiting will handle everything.

      The game takes one of Mass Effect 1′s ugliest pages and brings it back to life: repetitive dungeon design. All the side quests take place in the exact same 3/4 tilesets complete with the exact same minimaps. They just block off or open certain doors depending on the quest. You also stay in Kirkwall for 90% of the game, which makes the fact it’s stunningly devoid of life and activity all the worse. Spending your game running around streets with unmoving silent NPCs isn’t great. Considering you have to warp around the city to talk to your companions as well, you spend an irritating amount of time staring at the new loading screens.

      They also Mass Effect’d the quests in general. Gone are the 4-5+ ways to approach a quest or NPC, now we have the dialogue wheel of paraphrased doom and no persuade/intimidate options at all. Gone are quests like Sacred Ashes and the repercussions with certain NPCs. Instead you get Rivalry points and spout off a completely out of nowhere one-liner in the process.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I’d back up Ryz’s opinion here, having played it about halfway through, and not sure if I can stomach the rest of it.

      To add another comment — you can’t change your party members’ armor with anything you find or buy. All you can do is add a few invisible upgrades, so their appearance is always the same. Every piece of armor you loot or buy, is only for Hawke and worthless if it doesn’t fit your class. Think about what that means about the direction the game went away from everything Bioware has done before with fantasy RPG’s outside Mass Effect… where yeah, you didn’t get to change you party members’ armor either. Did they “streamline” this to make the game flow faster, or is it to sell some DLC that changes the appearance of your party members like ME2? Wanna make a bet?

      Oh, and the combat is so fast, and so “wave oriented” that you can forget tactics. It’s a button mash fest, with no semblance of the “separate action game for consoles and tactical mode for PC’s” that Bioware mentioned in previews. It’s pure action game with the endless combat. I had to buy it, to see what they did with it (and because I’m a sucker, I guess), but it’s as bad as I feared it might be from seeing the demo.

    • Zogtee says:

      Thanks to Ryz and Zenicetus for your feedback. I guess I’ll wait for a heavily discounted Goatee edition, before I get this one.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      Yeah. Much of that jives with what I’ve read in other reviews.

      As a Bioware fanboy, you don’t exactly win points with me by calling DA:O “cliched”, but from the sounds of it, I think this one definitely has to go on the “wait until the price comes down” pile.

      I was still working my way through the DLC of the original as recently as four months ago, so it’s not like I’m jonezing for more Dragon Age. And I’m not experiencing a dearth of RPGs either. I’m currently working my way through Alpha Protocol (which is not nearly as bad as most reviewers suggested) and then Fallout: New Vegas is queued up after that.

  41. Memph says:

    “Unfortunately, there was an error in the [forum staff] system that accidentally [on purpose] suspended your entire EA account [because they didn't like you]. Immediately upon learning of the glitch [from all over the internet], we have restored the entire account and apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused while accessing other areas of the [evil] EA [devil's, soul reaping] service.”

    In all seriousness, i’d be half inclined to throw the apology back at them, just to see how demanding a refund for the game would pan out with all the current attention on it. Hammer the iron while it’s glowing hot and all that.

    Grats on getting your account back though Arno. Must be a big relief.

  42. Axyl says:

    If they backpedal anymore, they’re gonna moonwalk right thru the wall
    (Fresh Prince Quote FTW)

    Still, happy for whatshisface. :)

  43. BobsLawnService says:

    Sounds like a case of a trigger-happy mod.

  44. ANeM says:

    This was actually a mistake, contrary to what many people here in the comments seem to think. The Bioware community bans were supposed to be separate from the full EA account bans.

    This man was banned by a bioware moderator, which should have only restricted access to the Bioware forums. However, instead it did a full EA account ban.

    Also contrary to many comments, this does not mean that the EA account ban policy is being revoked, or that it was an “accident” that peoples games were being locked out upon being banned in the first place. EA is still going to stick with their absolutely abhorrent policies, however they should not be applied to moderation taken by studio specific moderators.

    • v_ware says:

      The fact that they can suspend your EA account and in that way stop you from playing your single-player game is pretty unsettling.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      @ANeM
      You apparently have no idea how Bioware and EA accounts work. And that they are partially and effectively the same, even if they use two databases. Despite cases when they aren’t. There is much intermixing, and in case of two account with the same name (email) and different passwords it is possible to perform certain actions on your account with wrong credentials (i.e. you use a password from the other site), after supposedly “merging” gone awry. And I believe that horrible mess was intended,

  45. benjaminlobato says:

    Anyone else think that accusing someone of selling their soul to the “EA devil” is not very profane or offensive and definitely not worthy of a ban of any kind? I mean, it’s a pretty dumb and pointless thing to say, but I’ve seen so so much worse on the internet.

  46. craigdolphin says:

    Bioware’s forum mods are hyper sensitive to criticism of game developers and publishers in general. It’s not a surprise they banned the guy for this kind of comment. But, the concept of being ABLE to lock a customer out of their legally purchased single-player game is outrageous in my view. And I should note that Bioware’s Fernando Melo has subsequently clarified that the ‘glitch’ was human error, not code. So, the system works exactly as they intend….just they admit to pulling the trigger inappropriately on this occasion.
    So, yeah, make of that what you will.

  47. DJ Phantoon says:

    Like I said before, Blizzard wants to do this but are just smart enough to know not to try it.

  48. AnonEMoose says:

    EAs EULA, that was also quoted by the official BIoware staff, clearly states:
    2. EA Community bans come down from a different department and are the result of someone hitting the REPORT POST button. These bans can affect access to your game and/or DLC.
    But if your image is in danger its suddenly a glitch.
    Meanwhile EA keeps banning peoples access…..

  49. Jorum says:

    DA2 is designed for my brother to play on his Xbox inbetween MW2.
    It is painfully obvious that the game was built for the console demographic.

    It’s not a PC game, and it’s not really an RPG as we used to know.
    It’s in the new pseudo-rpg camp.

    Unfortunately cross-platform seems to be the unquestioned norm for AAA nowdays.

    EA/Bioware will never do a “traditional” RPG like Baldur’s Gate or Planescape because there is zero market for it on consoles and they wouldn’t dream of pc-only.

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