SWTOR Ilum Bans Were Real, Nuanced

By John Walker on January 2nd, 2012 at 10:08 pm.

For some reason this image amuses me greatly.

Well this is all jolly interesting. Remember the story about Star Wars: The Old Republic banning a player because he’d been to Ilum at too low a level, and been looting the containers? And remember how it looked pretty dodgy, and was probably a fake? Well here’s the thing: it wasn’t. It was real. But, as you might imagine, there were a few details missed out.

In a post to the SWTOR forums, Senior Online Community Manager, Stephen Reid, makes it clear that no one is going to get banned for visiting Ilum at a level under 40, and seeing what they can find in a container. Which is pretty much how the original story ran.

However, if a person is going to Ilum to repeatedly exploit the availability of such high level/value loot, to the point where the game’s economy becomes imbalanced, at that point BioWare say they’re going to issue a temporary ban.

Putting this in context, Reid begins by explaining that they’ve handed out plenty of permanent bans against those who are gold farming within the game, as you’d expect. But, he says, those who are threatening the economy of the game via an exploit were “warned or temporarily suspended”. He stresses those who received this notice were considerably fewer in number than those banned for “credit farming”. And he explains that this isn’t carried out lightly.

“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.”

Clearly responding to the Reddit-led fuss that occurred last weekend, Reid insists that appeals are listened to, and says in some cases actions have been rescinded, but also stresses that those who are receiving bans may not tell the whole story.

“While we understand people’s concern about actions taken against accounts, please remember the Terms of Service team exists to help ensure a balanced and fair game experience for all. When you see reports of actions taken against someone’s account, remember they are choosing to tell their version of the story – and there are two sides to every story.”

Soooooo, where does that leave us? Well, no one has been permanently banned for exploiting Ilum’s boxes. That’s important to know. But whether the lesser actions are appropriate or not remains an interesting question. Were those players doing anything wrong? Or were they simply playing the game, in a way in which the game allowed itself to be played?

In my opinion (because the joy of owning a site is I’m entitled to give my opinions!) those players should not be punished, but rather the game should be fixed. If you create a universe, and then ask people to spend considerably amounts of money and time within that universe, then you have to expect people to be people. Gold farming is one thing – having the nous to get big loot and gain from that, that’s quite another. And hell, the game lets you play as a smuggler!

It makes me think of EVE, and the fragility and adaptability of that economy. I sometimes wonder if those creating MMOs aren’t really willing to accept the full responsibility for their creation. If the economy can be so easily exploited, either allow your game to be influenced by that, or fix your game. Punishing canny customers seems the wrong approach, but certainly the quick fix. Bad PR, functioning game. You can see why they made the decision.

What do you think?

Cheers to zack.

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303 Comments »

  1. Calreth says:

    Going to an area fay beyond your level and accomplishing something is an achievement, not an exploit. It is part of the thrill in an RPG of going into a dangerous area, surviving, and returning with something to show for it.

    MMOs by nature should encourage exploration. It seems completely irrational on their part for banning someone who did just that.

  2. LordHuggington says:

    I don’t understand why the content wasn’t gated in some form in the first place if this was a concern of theirs. They should have been able to predict the possibility of people trying to exploit it. Or just make the area more challenging so that if a lowbie does go there and get some goodies, those things are well earned after risking life and limb to get them.

  3. Bobby Oxygen says:

    The mind boggles at how many people are defending this sort of unacceptable behaviour from a corporation. What is wrong with you? What happened to you that made you believe that punishing players for taking advantage of glaring design oversights is even remotely justified?

    • D says:

      No sarcasm? Seriously, this is not a glaring design flaw. This is a minor loophole that a few people have exploited, because they were selfish. The obviousness of the flaw is being greatly overestimated. It’s an exploit in the interaction between two systems, in a world with probably thousands of different interacting systems.

    • Bobby Oxygen says:

      It seems pretty obvious to me. The container spawns highly desirable loot and is refilled every time a faction takes control of the area. How is that not an invitation to trigger that event as often as possible?

      And calling those players “selfish” is so stupid it hurts my brain. It’s a MMO, a WOW clone no less. The whole point of it is to level up your character and improve your gear. The entire concept revolves around being selfish. Do you grind all day just to give away all the stuff you found? I’m guessing you don’t, which makes you just as selfish as any other MMO player, those guys included.

    • D says:

      Not even playing, friend. But the game not fostering team-play is no excuse to disregard your fellow players.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Nogo says:

    I heard alts were created specifically to prevent this player from doing what they were doing and I don’t see an rps article written to protect the gameplay experiences of those players.

  5. cpy says:

    I sense F2P in the future of this game! I mean come on! Bans for playing? It won’t end up good.

  6. Kadayi says:

    I’d imagine Bioware (EA are the publishers) will patch the exploit out in a few days. We’ve just gone through Christmas and the New Year so I doubt they as a company have had more than a skeleton staff in place to deal with these things, so they’ve put up a temporary road sign and asked people to slow down until it’s addressed, and when people have refused to comply, slapped a temporary ban on them. No biggie tbh. Coding takes time and more importantly requires in house testing to make sure it doesn’t cause further issues. Computer Games = about the most complex software going especially MMO’s given all the variables so some patience may be required before fixes are put in place.

  7. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    As I said earlier, Reid’s post is a really bad way to go about placating the community, because it’s so vaguely worded and non-specific that everyone who reads it comes away with their own interpretation, usually conforming to their own confirmation bias. A Bioware defender might come away thinking the Reddit scandal was complete bullshit and that Bioware has their back, whereas a detractor will probably come away with the exact opposite impression. And so the fannish flames are kindled, and we all have to suffer through more of this garbage.

    The real shame in all this is that TOR is a really excellent game, with some of Bioware’s strongest writing, great voice acting across the board, and many fantastic improvements to the WOW formula that WOW itself should adopt. And it’s the first MMO I’ve played that genuinely does feel like an RPG. It sucks that all these scandals seem to have taken over the discussion around the game, because it really is one of Bioware’s best.

    Then again, I like Bioware’s stuff, so perhaps I’m biased.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Considering the standards of the community, anything that was said would resulted in exactly the same reaction.

  8. acenck says:

    Great read

  9. Xqon says:

    This game is such a train wreck, highly amusing to observe.
    And seeing the fans defend obvious bugs and design flaws on the Bioware forums like indoctrinated cult members. Many of them think TOR is in no way a WoW clone, and GW2 is a WoW clone.

    Imagine a person who loved the Star Wars prequels and praises George Lucas as if he can do no wrong, now imagine this person also thinks Dragon Age 2 is GOTY material. These are the kind of people who love TOR the most.

    • Xqon says:

      Not relevant. Did I hurt your feelings?

    • Premium User Badge

      ffordesoon says:

      Actually, I thought DA2 was a huge disappointment, I hated the prequels, and I think even the Bioware games I love have some obvious, glaring design flaws. And, as I said, I really love TOR. So, um, thanks for playing?

    • Kadayi says:

      @Xqon

      Oh I think it’s highly relevant tbh. I don’t even play TOR (MMOs aren’t really my scene any more) and albeit I don’t think DA2 was the world ending disaster ‘some’ would have us believe, I certainly wouldn’t mark it down as my GoTY (SR3 FTW). However I also don’t subscribe to the notion that RPS can do no wrong in terms of their commentary on gaming issues.

  10. michal.lewtak says:

    Am I reading this right? Bioware creates an advantage and then bans players for using it? I don’t care how many warnings they send out, if something’s possible within the game, that’s their responsibility to limit it, not ban players from playing the game they fucking paid for.

  11. brfritos says:

    Please, tell me you people are joking! I read a lot of discussion about the law, TOS, Bioware, players, the community and other BoS, but wait a minute: the player cannot anymore PLAY the game as he or her want to?
    Because that’s the issue here my friends.

    Exploits are present in thousands, if not millions, of games and this exploit exist because there is either a flaw in the code or a error in the concept or both.
    So the answear is punish the player and not correct the issue?
    Also the company tells you to not play the game like you want and people are OK with it?

    Stop the world, I wanna leave.

    • Kadayi says:

      Who said they weren’t going to fix the issue?

    • Alceste007 says:

      They removed some of the chests in questions, while others there are now elite stealth seeing mobs guarding.

  12. djim says:

    I think that i do not like being cheated. Bioware is in the right in this case.

    • michal.lewtak says:

      By preventing customers who paid for their product to use it?
      How would you feel if you decided to risk a little, go to a higher level area and scout around, fight or avoid powerful mobs carefully and grab some nice loot as a reward, and then do that a few more times to sell it to others, earning some money thanks to your emergent behavior, only to find out you have been banned for a few days beacuse you weren’t supposed to be able to do that?

    • djim says:

      For me, exploiting bugs is cheating and this is a logical bug. This guy did not do it a few times. He did it repeatedly, was warned that he would be banned, yet he kept doing it. Fair punishment imo and it is only a temporary ban, which is also correct.

    • Metriculated says:

      Again michal get a clue as to what was going on, there was no gameplay inolved, no risk or reward, they abused alts and loot respawning to destroy the economy. They were warned then got banned don’t turn them into fucking martyrs . . .

  13. Toothball says:

    No plan survives contact with the enemy. Similarly, no MMO economy survives contact with its players.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Shakermaker says:

    I really don’t see the difference between this case and TF2 exploiters getting VAC-banned.

    • Kadayi says:

      Also where’s the RPS Article about the Steam Christmas Pile Giveaway Fiasco?

    • Premium User Badge

      Big Murray says:

      What fiasco?

    • Memph says:

      Apparently, many Steam alt accounts were created using game keys aquired for tuppence from Humble Bundle 4. These accounts were then used to farm coal to send to their main accounts and craft free games from The Great Gift Pile. This caused Valve to actually run out of gift game keys for everyone else, so all that everyone that had saved their coal they’d worked for got when they crafted it were % off Valve game vouchers.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hanban says:

      Well. It was possible to do so obviously it wasn’t the wrong thing to do.

    • InternetBatman says:

      There was an article about the people abusing the humble bundle, so it’s half way there. Personally I thought the Christmas event wasn’t as well designed as the summer one, but it was still a nice thing that they didn’t have to do.

    • Milky1985 says:

      @Memph

      I believe i read somewhere that you couldn’t trade ot of new accoutns for 30 days or something like that, so if they were farming coal they would have had to do it on that one account (guessing via the FTP games)

      Not sure if this is true however, but might explain the orange box i got for free near new year :P

    • edrick says:

      New accounts could trade coal and coupons, but not games. Several people had their accounts disabled for taking advantage of such an obvious oversight on the part of Valve. Ridiculous.

    • Kadayi says:

      @edrick

      Indeed. But surely it was merely a case of ‘emergent game-play’ on the exploiters behalf no? Why should they be punished rather than rewarded for ‘beating’ the system?

  15. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    That’s pretty bad. If someone’s cheating to get money or items, then sure. But this sounds like it was just somebody playing the game, and playing it well.

    Gold-farming has never been against a TOS, has it? I don’t see how that’s even possible.

  16. Lemming says:

    I agree completely with the article.

    If something is broken and allows an exploit, the priority is the fix not the ban. Hell, the player did the job your QA team is supposed to do and is paying you money to do it.

    Whatever perceived advantage the exploit gave the player is null and void come the next content update anyway. You’re talking about one person.

  17. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    It reminds me of a game we played at the recent youth trip I have been to – the onset of the game was so vague I grew rather suspicious if the game holds any substance. So I somewhat ignored the rules and happened to break the rules in front one of the incognito GMs. I shared my concerns and probably got him a bit angry, but he did not issued an in-game punishment, sadly. Then I broke them again and I got punished IN-GAME and it got the ball rolling and in the end I played quite a nice role in the game to the enjoyment of all I hope.

    Why I am saying that – even if you decide to break the rules (game rules, not like modifying the software or DDoSing), you ARE still IN the game, no matter what. Breaking rules is part of the game, period. And any game master should account to that, otherwise it is a missed opportunity and the game is broken. Give those exploiters (okay, maybe not those credit farming bots as they have no soul) a role, get them involved and it will be to the benefit of all. Eve IS a good example with all its pirates, griefers and others like those from 4Chan. They play out their roles and when it is over the line, they get punished…but IN-GAME if it can be helped.

  18. StrayGreg says:

    These protests are imbecile. I think you should give it more critical thought instead of simple personal rants.

    According to these information, the person was disrupting the game balance, damaging other players and the overall community. Also, he was doing things against the Terms of Service, to which he legally agreed in order to play. BioWare punished him with a temporary ban. I commend to that.
    It’s something I really wished Blizzard had done since the beginning of WoW, preemptive strikes.

    Picture this. We are people, we live in a city. We spend all our time and money living here. So is it okay to “exploit” the system? I mean, it is THEIR fault we are “able” to do such things, so THEY should fix the system because it’s not our fault if we CAN not follow the rules. I’m gonna go steal shit, fraud things and hope to go unpunished.

    If you wanted to do whatever you pleased, in an anarchic, free world, then you could have read the ToS, denied it and gone elsewhere. Think about it.

    • Milky1985 says:

      @StrayGreg

      I think i should say that your post was stupid and i think you should give it more critical thought instead of simple rants.

      Simply because you decide to compare the situation to a city, and how apparently you can steal and this go unpunished in this city like people expect to be able to do in game (depsite the lack of stealing and breaking of any mechanics). I think you will find that if you steal in the city (and in some cases advertise your stolen bag of rice on the internet) you do get punished…. within the city…. by the people within the city who tend to be known as “cops”, “police” or “the filth”.

      You do not however have a hand of god pick you up and dump you on the moon for 7 days to think about what you have done, because you have broken rule number 87 out of 1567 on a piece of paper that is as valuable as the paper you wipe your butt on (EULA’s and TOS’s have so many holes in them actually i wouldn’t trust them for wiping duties)

      I have decided to go the slightly silly route with my post as I feel it is quite appropriate considering the topic of conversation.

  19. Unaco says:

    What would be the difference between, say, asking people not to use this ‘exploit’, and enforcing some amount of Role Play on a server? Both would have to be done through a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ type thing… until the ‘exploit’ is fixed, you’re asking people to NOT do something the game allows, and similarly with RP you’d be asking people to NOT do things allowed by the game. In fact, asking people not to use the exploit, sounds a little like enforcing some RP to me… Yes, within the mechanics of the ‘game’ this ‘exploit’ is possible, but in the game world, your character wouldn’t be able to do this, or wouldn’t do this.

    It sounds like they’ve asked people to not abuse (or publicise) these ‘exploits’ until they can get them fixed, which sounds fair enough to me.

  20. Spinks says:

    If they could just go ahead and ban all the hyper competitive, ultra obsessive nolife cheaters, the game would probably be better for everyone else. I don’t really get why everyone is so keen to defend them.

  21. der jester says:

    I love all the posts with a vague understanding of how MMOs work and how this exploit was achieved. Ilum has a conquerable zone. When the zone flips some high level loot containers spawn. Since there are a lot of level 50 players just yet, it’s easy to flip the zone, this won’t be a problem once sufficient players reach level 50 and begin fighting over the zone. They could’ve implemented a timer or something else to prevent this from occurring and then removed it once the population was sufficient, but weigh the hours of coding against the hours of support you’ll have to put in and support becomes cheaper.
    Exploits are always a difficult problem to address in an MMO. Do you plaster your front page with “This is an exploit, don’t do it because you’ll get in trouble. Also, you get a ton of money.” Which makes a lot of players think “Well I’ll just do it once.” and now instead of a small problem with a handful of players exploiting, everyone is doing it and your support team is now spending all their time tracking and actioning exploiters instead of addressing real player concerns. Your support queue jumps to 48 hours and no one is happy. Or you just action that handful and hope it doesn’t get posted to reddit or some other news site saying how unfair your ban is.
    You have to weigh actioning a few people against the welfare of the game as a whole. A small vocal minority of people being pissed is better than having the entire economy ruined.
    Eve is not a valid example of an MMO. Eve has taken the stance that “We’ve created this sandbox, play in it. If we don’t want you to do something we’ll fix the game.” And there has been plenty of exploits in Eve that were actionable as well, (Station Bowling anyone?). Saying you get to play however you want is such a bullshit argument. Just because you pay for admission to Disneyland doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nogo says:

      Great post sir. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here because everyone is tossing around totally uninformed opinions, john included. This is obviously an isolated incident that was handled appropriately for all the reasons you’ve listed.

  22. Dreamhacker says:

    Boycott time?

  23. Bayonetto says:

    Please keep your hands inside the cart at all times.

    I wonder if you could ban players for not playing frequently enough and who are therefore ‘damaging the economy’ through their laziness and lack of participation?

  24. caliwyrm says:

    MMOs certainly aren’t a new genre anymore so how incompetant are these new MMO designers if this kind of thing happens repeatedly in almost every MMO? I’ve been playing MMO’s since a few months after DAoC’s release and I watch in horror as each MMO I have played ends up making the same design and PR mistakes over and over again.

    This particular fiasco is troubling on quite a few levels..

    Senior Online Community Manager, Stephen Reid says that doing it once is ‘ok’ but they run metrics on what is ‘average’ based on the ‘average’ player. How would that tell me, as a player, how many times is acceptable? Is doing it twice suddenly an exploit but once is ok? Three times? Five times? Are they looking at character accesses or account? I’m an altaholic.. If I do this across my account once per character am I suddenly exploiting because I might have did it five times (once per five characters)?

    What is even funnier is that SWG had this SAME EXACT PROBLEM!

    As someone else said in this thread, TOR is, what, a third or 4th gen MMO? How could they NOT expect the hordes of veteran MMO players not to min-max from the get-go? ESPECIALLY from such low hanging fruit! Simply put a high level trash mob that can one shot players below a certain level and, BAM, no more ‘exploit’. Take an existing mob, slap in a spawn point next to the chest and BAM, no ‘hard’ job in coding a fix..

  25. Bingla says:

    If you see a girl with a nice ass wearing a short skirt, you don’t immediately go grabbing it and tell her the short skirt is the culprit.

    “If you wouldn’t have had such a obvious design-flawed skirt, I wouldn’t have to go around exploiting that fine ass of yours. But since you choose to wear it, then I can’t help myself. I’m a man and this game is all about getting some fine ass. It’s how I roll baby!”
    And if she tells you to stop your silliness and you still go around doing it (without offering a little wine and dine first), then I would not be surprised if she slaps you into place.

    Yes, silly example, but this is a silly discussion. ;)

    • Wulf says:

      Oh. My. Gosh. I was hoping I could have kept my peace on this topic, but I can’t. Not after this. Can I take this one? I’m taking this one.

      Okay, your example is horribly, terribly flawed. Because you’re talking about an environment where the activity is frowned up, and people are behaviourally conditioned to not do it. Furthermore, there are restrictions in place which prevent this dress-grabbing from becoming commonplace (other people, the law, common decency, et cetera).

      However, the game is the stark opposite. It’s an environment where people are behaviourally conditioned to actually do this thing, and it is smiled upon. Loot is sacred, to grab the loot is to do a thing which is right, a thing which is praised by the showing of item links. To seek the loot, to have the item links to share, is a great honour. This is the sort of behavioural conditioning that MMORPGs like SWTOR bring about. And if you’ve ever played one of them, you’ll know that this is true.

      In other words, this is a day to do occurrence and not at all frowned upon. And there are no restrictions, only an ex-post facto punishment. There is no law that tells you ‘do not loot,’ because every law of the land, every rule of the game tells you the opposite. “Loot! Loot! Loot!” To loot is to play the game, in an item driven game such as that one, you are simply doing what you are supposed to do.

      And Bioware, through temp bans, are punishing people in an ex-post facto way for playing the game.

      If you want a valid example: It’s sort of like walking down a street, a street which lots of people walk down, one which you have walked down every day of your life. Then one day, a SWAT team jumps you and carts you off to prison, because apparently it’s illegal for you to walk down that street, because you walk up and down it too much and you’re wearing the pavement in. There were no signs to this effect, no warnings, you were just doing what you’d always done and you were punished for it.

      Hopefully you now understand why your example is completely and utterly ridiculous on every level. Comparing something that is not only frowned upon, but taboo, and illegal, and societally restricted with something that is a normative element, encouraged, praised, and part of day to day life in that game just doesn’t work. You’re using an example with a woman for popular appeal to try and somehow paint people who blame Bioware as misogynists, but that doesn’t work either. And I hope that’s clear now too.

      Seriously, you need to think these things through.

  26. Kaira- says:

    I find this whole “scandal”, um, what do you English-talking people call it… “much ado about nothing”? Then again, it comes from Reddit, which explains everything.

    • Kadayi says:

      Reddit? That Internet cornerstone of factual reporting and even handedness you say? Colour me impressed

  27. Xqon says:

    TOR is a North Korea simulator.

    - Not allowed to go anywhere except where you are told.
    - No violating glorious government sanctioned economy.
    - Thought police monitoring every conversation.
    - Failure to follow all rules perfectly IMMEDIATELY results in a vacation to the gulag.
    - Every aspect of social interaction is scripted to be a showcase.
    - Being around other players in the open world is considered a burden so everyone is a separated isolationist state.
    - All citizenry has a massive, undeserved hatred for their sole enemy, WoW.
    - Not allowed to sell to make a profit. No violating the perfect communist system.
    - You are told/convinced by other sources that the game you are playing is the greatest thing ever and you should always be happy because the rest of the gaming industry is horrible, full of strife, poverty, and evil imperialists that simply want to destroy your glorious communist workers paradise.
    - Severely imbalanced class system.
    - Attempts to leave are halted and forced defection is your only choice.
    - Any complaints are quickly stifled and labeled heresy and treason against the government.
    - Game forum practices heavy censorship whenever they deem it necessary, no explanation required.
    - Game seeks aide from outside sources but claims to be fully self-sufficient.
    - Entire game hierarchy is held up by bobble-headed yes men who blindly follow whatever Great Leader Bioware preaches.
    - Quantity > quality. Despite eating a feast of mashed cornmeal instead of a sustaining, balanced diet, you can be glad to know that Great Leader assures you that over one million pounds of corn meal was harvested in just a week.

    There are too many parallels for this to be coincidence.

  28. lobstilops says:

    Agree completely. Their problem, not the players. If they dislike people getting the items too soon level restrict it. Some companies really blow my mind that they create such massive things and stupid stuff like this still arises….

  29. Alam says:

    Per the forum post from Stephen Reid:

    “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.”

    You are completely allowed to undertake this behavior. It is not considered an exploit to loot those chests. The Senior Online Community Manager says it’s a-okay. So where does that leave us?

    The players could have been using an exploit to go about this but that’s not what Reid stated. He does say that some accounts were suspended for “activities on Ilum that were decided to be game exploits”. This is ambiguous – they decided the activity was an exploit but does that mean they used a bug or they were merely doing something the developers didn’t foresee them doing? Lacking any further clarification, we left to believe they were exploiting some kind of system bug (a map glitch to reach the chests, dying in a weird manner that allowed them to progress and still loot, etc) OR the punished players were utilizing legal game mechanics in a way that was deemed unbalancing. In the latter case, Bioware’s actions are ridiculous.

    If opening things and taking the loot is okay, and I know the loot respawns, why should it be wrong to sit there and take as much as I please? This isn’t, as far as we know, exploiting – chests are there for opening, respawns are there for refilling the chests. Everything is working as intended, from a code point of view. If I want to sit there and farm until my eyes hurt, why can’t I?

    Now, if it’s implemented in a way that unbalances the game, I expect they would fix it. But to punish me for playing the game “wrong”, through otherwise legal mechanics, is silly. If that’s not the way I should play the game, don’t let me do it. If you design an online stealth game where the mechanics allow me to run and gun, you can’t be angry when I do just that – design your game such that it rewards or requires the behavior you intend.

    If this is just a case of some people using a clear glitch (passing through walls, etc), cool, that’s not a problem. But in that case, Bioware’s Community Manager needs to step up his game. With just a slightly better worded post, all the confusion could have been clarified. “We found that some users were exploiting game bugs to cause these chests to respawn faster than they should have and they were warned or suspended.” (Or some other wording that conveys that a glitch was being used, without explaining what the exploit is)

    • NathanH says:

      This would be a good argument if they just outright ban people for doing stuff like this, but I think they send them a warning to stop doing it first. Once you’ve been told not to do something, even if it’s physically possible you shouldn’t do it and if you continue to do it you can reasonably be punished for it. Effectively, it’s Bioware’s ball, you have to play by their rules and one of their rules is “if we tell you to stop doing something, you should stop it”.

  30. Dhatz says:

    I wanna see how is kicking out paying clients advantageous to having a F2P where it wouldnt be problem. If someone already pays to play, this gets you rid of them forever.

  31. Premium User Badge

    piratmonkey says:

    Can all of us, collectively, end posts containing “I can be banned for looting a high level chest?!” or “Other MMOs just incorporate glitches/exploits/whatever-you-want-to-call-them like these” or “Since when can’t I do whatever I want in an WoW clone?” or “Why don’t they fix the real problem right now!?”
    Because all of those are not true/possible. We know they aren’t true. Read the article please. It clearly states that people who persisted in performing this exploit were banned because it is obviously abusing the game mechanic. People who “systematically” looted these chests were warned. The economy hasn’t had time to mature, there aren’t tons of high-level characters have gold stockpiled, ala WoW, which means inflating the economy can really damage the game. The exploit is clearly going to be fixed in a patch, just give it time so they don’t release a patch that breaks everything everywhere.
    I’ve read comments of, “Just make the chests/zone not usable to low levels, duh!” immediately followed by, “I should have unlimited freedom in the game!”
    Except, people should be able to go to these zones and loot the items, I think that’s a good mechanic! That is an awesome capability, unlike WoW, which bases your lock-picking on skill-which is tied to level (right?), so going to high-level zones contains no reward. However, in ToR going to these zones as a low-level is exciting and the rewards actually match the risk!
    But wait! It’s not really about being low-level and “systematically looting” these chests, it’s the “systematically looting” it part. Character level has nothing to with it. They just happened to be low-level due to being an alt or that’s just the level the user was.
    To finish, whatever your opinion, please read the article before posting “You will get banned for opening a chest just PLAYING THE GAME.”
    Edit: Can we also stop analogies? I know it helps to have a frame of reference, but analogies between the physical vs digital worlds rarely (if ever) work, and it obfuscates the issue more than necessary.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Because, piratmonkey, if the only problem was that they were focusing on looting these chests to the exclusion of other activities, that is _not_ exploitative. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on one aspect of the game to advance your character. These games, in fact, encourage that sort of thing.

      The whole idea that focusing on looting chests on its own is a legitimate reason to ban accounts is farcical, and it is that farce that has people annoyed. And it is your acceptance of that farce that is .. frankly bizarre.

      The most likely explanation of course is that they were doing something *else* that made them able to loot these chests more often than is reasonable. And that would be the undisclosed, unreferenced exploit.

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      piratmonkey says:

      Again, the people who were banned were credit farmers who were selling the credits for real money, which is against the ToS.
      People who “were systematically and repeatedly looting containers in very high numbers resulting in the game economy becoming unbalanced” were warned. They did this by flipping control of the zone, therefore increasing the spawning rate of the chests and receiving ungodly amounts of credits. The devs are not against camping the chest, but when you perform exploits to do it, then you’re going to be warned/suspended.
      No one was banned for looting chests, they really need to make a post in all caps and bold to drive that home.

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      jrodman says:

      You say those people were flipping control. You’re guessing. It’s a good guess.

      It’s reasonable not to accept these guesses as facts.

      They stated in plain English that looting chests systematically is exploitative. I hope they were just failing to do their job as communication communicators.

    • Gnarf says:

      “They stated in plain English that looting chests systematically is exploitative. I hope they were just failing to do their job as communication communicators.”

      Can you quote them on that?

      I know of the part that goes “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.” But that one doesn’t actually say that it is considered an exploit, or that it is the cause (or the sole cause) for the warnings/suspensions. It basically just narrows things down (in this case, no one outside of this set of players got warnings/suspensions). (Maybe possibly to the point where you can’t narrow it down any further without getting into the details of the exploit.)

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      piratmonkey says:

      Well considering it was specifically Illum (whatever the hell it is called), a planet reportedly notorious for being easy to farm credits for (according to the forums), I think it is reasonable to assume that the flip exploit (easily earning people hundreds of thousands of credits a day) was involved. I do not believe for a moment that BioWare or any other MMO would ban people for just looting chests. Maybe they could have been more clear but I honestly think that this issue isn’t nearly as egregious as people are making it out to be.

  32. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    Right, patch notes a say “Removed some high-level harvesting nodes from Tatooine, Corellia, and Ilum.”

    I guess this is Bioware taking the necessary action.