Free to play fantasy MMO RPG Lost Ark got a bit too happy with its banhammer over the weekend, with lapsed players taking to the game’s Steam page to complain that they’d been banned for no reason other than inactivity. Players, or at least former players, of Lost Ark left more than 1300 negative reviews of the game on Saturday, and more than 1000 on Sunday. They claimed they’d received bans that appeared on their Steam profile without actually logging into the game recently.
Some players said they’d not played the game since shortly after it launched last year, but were still banned. “They will literally ban you for nothing and leave a stain on your profile. Haven't played since Feb and now I have this forever,” said one reviewer. “Got banned on a game that I've played once,” said another Steam user. “Just because I didn't like it, doesn't give developers the right to ban my account.”
Amazon and Smilegate posted a message to Lost Ark’s Steam store page and on the game’s forum that acknowledged the accounts had been banned in error, which they blamed on a wave of bans targeting bots. “We have determined the error that triggered these false bans,” the statement read, “and are actively working on reversing them for all affected legitimate players regardless of whether a support ticket has been filed.” The post was later updated, with the companies saying they’d reversed the ban for all affected players.
Lost Ark has struggled with bots since it launched early last year. A statement shared on the game’s site back in May discussed the problem, and some of the steps Amazon and Smilegate were taking to combat it. “Addressing bots can be especially challenging in free-to-play games because it’s so easy to create an account and enter the game,” the statement said, “but we’re working on multiple fronts to fight them.” At the time, Amazon and Smilegate said they were looking into other ways to tackle bots “natively at scale”.