Oh goodness me, can this really be true? A pic of an email is circulating this morning purporting to be a communication from EA, informing a player that their account has been banned from playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, because their character visited, and looted within, a high level area. Because, they say, this violates their terms of service. If this proves to be the case, and that's purely the reason, it may be the most ridiculous EA ban yet. However, there are a lot of reasons to assume it's either a fake, or things are a lot more complicated. Take a look.
The story traces back, as you might imagine, to Reddit. Without explanation, and with identifying information removed, the capture of the email is offered without commentary. And it's mad.
Here's the text:
"Here's the e-mail I received with identification information removed.
We are contacting you regarding your account for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. We wish to notify you that we are sanctioning your account for violating our Terms of Service. From an investigation of your account we can see that your character, , was used to violate our Terms of Service on the server.
Specifically, this character participated in looting high level Loot Containers on Illum while being well below the recommended level for the planet. By utilizing these Loot Containers, the account was able to acquire, distribute, or obtain currency, gear and equipment not meant to be acquired by low level characters (below level 40).Illum is intended for Level 50 characters and this is clearly communicated in game. By ignoring these warnings, the account showed intent to exploit the game.
As you have violated our Terms of Service we will be applying a ban on your account. We are banning your Account, effective immediately. Continuing to violate our Terms of Service may result in further action against your account up to and including permanent account closure. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with our Terms of Service which can be found here: - http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBTERMS/US/en/PC/
Thank you for your understanding."
There are a few problems. First, if anyone's received an email from SWTOR's support, they'll know they are having fun with them, generally signing off as droids. However, those claiming that the from field is inaccurate are wrong - I've support emails with the same details at the top.
But then comes the spelling of Ilum. The planet in the game has one 'l', whereas this email persists with two. That could be a mistake by the author of the email, of course, but it does call things into question. Then there's the crappy grammar, no spaces after full stops, and the confusion over not stating how long the ban is for, while suggesting it's not a permanent ban.
And if it is for real, which of course it could well be, there's another explanation for why it might be a more legitimate ban. Another Reddit user adds in the main thread:
"Well, the people on bioware fourm are saying he is actually banned for doing a "flip" exploit on the planet. not because he was low level and farming high level nodes. which makes a lot of sense to me. the flip exploit: from what i understand, when the control of the zone is changed from one faction to another, all the gathering nodes respawn. so if you have someone from the other team to cooperate and flip it back and forth, you would have infinite money. the reason why bioware mentioned he is there at low level is most likely to emphasis the fact he is exploiting there isn't enough high level player to fight for the control of the zone yet. so he is also exploiting this fact by going there at low level. i think this makes the most sense. as stupid and unreasonable as EA support is, to be banned for playing the game different is too much."
Meanwhile, it's not the only weird ban threat people are reporting.