Put a progression system in a game and someone will try to game it. If it's a multiplayer game, that'll often be at the expense of other players' fun. That's how it's gone with Ubisoft's swordfest For Honor [official site], where some dastardly players have been 'AFK farming'. They rig their games to keep their character moving, to avoid being kicked for inactivity, so they can receive progress and rewards without playing. Which, of course, spoils the fun for other players. Ubisoft are now cracking down on that. They're given 1,500 of these 'AFK farmers' temporary bans and warnings to thousands more. Permanent bans may follow.
As Ubisoft explained when they announced their intent earlier this month:
"For those unfamiliar with the practice, players are able to go AFK (away from keyboard) and keep their in-game character moving throughout a match (ex. tying a rubber band on the control stick), garnering end-game rewards and progression without actually playing. The 'farming' aspect comes about when these players use this technique frequently to gain a large amount of these rewards.
"Because this kind of behavior negatively affects the player experience of others, it has become a top priority for us. As such, we will be sanctioning all the players who have been found to be using AFK Farming repeatedly."
Ubisoft started detecting and tracking AFK farmers, last week issued a first round of warnings, and have now moved onto punishment.
Around 1,500 people have been issued with three-day temporary bans, the Ubigang explained in a Reddit post yesterday. Another 4,000 or so have received warnings that will escalate if unheeded. So far Ubisoft have only temporarily banned AFK farmers from For Honor but they say permanent suspension is an option too, especially for people using naughty software.
Come on, gang: you're supposed to enjoy the grind! Who doesn't love a good grind? Do you want everything in the game you bought right now? Shame on you!