BioWare Bans SWTOR Players for Accessing High Level Content Too Soon, Explains Why

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xeones

"you are not high enough level to open this container"  

seems like that would be an easy enough fix....  i don't know how long the time interval was between when they warned them and then banned them, but I imagine it should have been long enough to fix it.

But perhaps they wanted to minimize the damage to the economy by removing the exploiters massive wealth they managed to accrue using the "exploit"

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obsim

The gaming nazi's are at it again. Punishing the player's for yet again purchasing another of their crappy products rife with DRM. I have pulled out some great old Bioware games as of late such as KOTOR and Neverwinter Nights which were superior in most respects other than in Graphics and have been thouroughly enjoying the fact that they do not need to "phone home" every 10 minutes so they can be played on a laptop out in the middle of nowhere with no internet connection. EA has truly ruined one of the greatest companies that ever there was and they should be banned for their abuse of their customer base.

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shinelso

Do you even know what you are talking about? This is an online game. Of course you have to have an internet connection and actually be connected to play. Could you at least be informed on what you are complaining about before you start your rant?

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Marthian

you can't really complain about DRM on an MMO considering you are always connected.

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yammerpickle2

Fix the bug. Feature unique in game rewards for those who report bugs and exploits. Treat paying customers as cleaver people who contribute to the world instead of making them criminals for being creative and resourceful. A significant part of MMO / RPG games are leveling up, gearing up, collecting resources. So if someone is very effective for their level that means they are a bad player and need to be banned? Is it better to force players to waste time grinding for hours to get the same reward? I know when I pay to play a game I expect to play and have fun. I do not feel like I should be paying to working at grinding in the hopes that eventually I can have fun playing.

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illusionslayer

Did anyone get banned for slicing?
EA/Bioware allowed the economy to become unbalanced and they're blaming the users?

What's the difference between lower levels and 40s running around and looting these items? I'm sure the farmers that were doing it can get to 40 in a couple days and start right back up doing this. 

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Havok

That's awesome! You actually went there and called it 'slicing'! Sir, I salute you!

And also, sure. If the developper leaves in mechanics that can lead to exploits, users will use those exploits. WoW raid boss exploits, TF2 ledge running exploits and now, 'legitamate use of transportation to high level zone' exploits.

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Krantzstone

... as both a former admin of an online game and a self-admitted griefer, I've come to the conclusion that there's fault enough on both sides.

Those people who find a clever cheat, exploit, loophole, whatever you want to call it, in the way a game is coded, generally know enough about the game and how it works to know that it's something unusual and possibly not working the way it was designed to work.  People who don't know any better generally will go 'huh?' and move on, dismiss it as a glitch.  Only the really clever bastards ;) are generally savvy enough to: 1) recognize what happened was actually a 'glitch' and shouldn't have happened but did, 2) figure out how to recreate the glitch, 3) see how it can unfairly imbalance the game as a whole, or benefit your character at the expense of others.

Ethical gamers who find such exploits will generally report them, and I think game developers need to do more to reward those people who report such bugs, because they are providing a valuable service (and apparently doing a better job than paid beta testers) and are wiling to go out of their way to report the bug because they want the game to become better, and to see that the bug isn't exploited by unethical gamers, and in general to further support a game they love.

One thing that needs to be done fast by the game developers is to lock down that bug, and fast.  No one wants the exploit to be getting spread to the rest of the game population, abused by everyone and having to reset the game, or reset people's character files, or whatever.  And no one wants paying customers to feel that the exploiters are getting an unfair advantage over them and nothing is being done.

Furthermore, the admin need to clearly state that the bug in question is in fact a bug (and not a feature), and clearly state the consequences for people who are, or may be thinking about abusing it, but not to get all draconian on customers who are paying to play the game.  If a gamer tried out an exploit a couple of times just to see it work, so long as the exploit wasn't something that gave them a major or permanent advantage (eg. rare equipment duping), or something that didn't negatively affect the gaming populace as a whole (eg. a server-crashing bug), but didn't abuse it, you might as well let it go.  Maybe give them a warning or something, or take away whatever advantage they gained.  But bans?  That's a little harsh, and only serves to turn someone who was just fooling around into someone with a chip on their shoulder regarding the game and those who run it.  Let the punishment fit the crime, in other words.

As well, game admin must take proactive steps to ensure that gamers have not only more to lose by abusing exploits, but more to gain by reporting them in the first place, so that a gamer who weighs the pros and cons of reporting vs. abusing, can see that in the end, it's generally better to report a bug they find and not abuse it, than to abuse it and risk their characters, their accounts, and everything they worked for, just for an advantage in-game that is going to be found out eventually and taken away.  And the best way to tip the balance in favour of reporting said bug, is to offer rewards to people who find them.  After all, these people who are finding these bugs are doing what paid beta testers and quality assurance people were supposed to find _before_ the game went live, and thus by rights you should be paying them.  Give them a month's free gaming, or in-game credits, or some special item they can show off to friends showing that they helped make the game better: something to reward them for the good choice they made.  Just as in any RPG, you generally get rewarded for doing the 'good' thing, so should the game admin remember to do that for their players.  I especially like the idea of some sort of in-game item, possibly worn, or maybe a holo-companion that shows that a player reported a bug.  It will be something unique to those players who report bugs (and not transferable), and thus coveted, and thus serves to promote the value in reporting bugs, above and beyond simply one's own concept of right and wrong.  Special props to those who report bugs, displayed prominent on the game website wouldn't be amiss either.

In the end, the carrot is infinitely better than the stick, especially if you want paying customers to come back.  No one wants to be treated like a criminal, and everyone wants to be treated like a hero: just make it so if you do the right thing, you get lauded.

And don't crack down too harshly on people who make mistakes: it's entirely possible someone triggered an exploit without even meaning to, or they just did it once or twice after discovering it just to make sure it wasn't a one-time glitch.  Penalizing them the same as someone who continued to abuse the exploit 100000000x in order to tank the in-game economy or give themselves an advantage, is a surefire way of turning players against the game (and against the game admin, developers, etc.) and that's a quick way to breed grief players.

Grief players largely exist because for whatever reason, they've lost (or never had any) connection with the game as a multi-user world, and have become bitter (either towards the admin, or the players, or both) and are acting out to 'punish' everyone else in any way they can.  Don't give people like that more reason to hate the game or the people who play on it: give them reasons to actually think of the game as a shared world that they too can contribute to, and there are few contributions more important to game development than bug-finding.

I realize this issue is a lot more complex than 'it's against the rules, they got what they deserve', especially in a case like this where something was not explicitly written as being illegal, and it could be interpreted either as a bug or as a feature, depending on one's perspective.  To the game devs who designed and wrote the game, it may be perfectly logical to see it as anything but legal (an exploit), while to the players who found it and (ab)used it, it could be seen as reward for cleverness (a feature).  And if it's not in the rules one way or another, many players might see it as fair game, especially if it's not an exploit that is obviously wrong, like doing something that crashes the game.

I haven't played this game yet, but it's probably the first MMO I've even been remotely interested in or excited about the idea of playing, and I want to love it.  But I also know how quickly an online multiplayer experience can easily be ruined both by over-zealous admin enforcing draconian rules (and/or interpreting the rules in such a way as to criminalize the average player), and grief players who cause trouble for other players because they've lost faith in the game admin's fairness in terms of rules enforcement or punishment fitting the crime.

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bling581

Well said, but in this specific instance I have a really hard time believing that the players were innocent. It's clear they had an intent to exploit to make a huge profit. For what other reason would they have to go into a zone clearly above their level and repeatedly loot containers? The statement from EA says that they "repeatedly looted containers and in high numbers".

In most cases I would be against a company that gets ban happy, but in this case I don't see how anyone can side with the players.

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alexc

If it's a hack they should be banned.  If it is an exploit of normal game mechanics then it should be fixed.  Banning players for exploiting a design flaw is wrong, especially when you design a game that rewards players for using the most effective methods to reach a goal.  Any person that has played a MMO at a high level has encountered this dilemma at some point where it isn't completely clear whether a game mechanic is intended or not, but not utilizing it will set you behind while you know others are taking advantage.

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bling581

This thread is too comical. People are always complaining about cheaters and how they ruin a game, so when a company actually does something about it everyone cries foul? Oh wait, they're not cheaters, just clever people who found a loop hole in the system and chose to exploit it.

Are we jumping on the band wagon or off? I can't tell.

 

Clearly people were intending to exploit the system so EA had every right to ban them, especially if they were warned prior to receiving the ban. It was only day one or two after launch and I was already seeing spam from credit sellers and getting in-game mail.

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aarcane

They're not punishing the players for "Being smarter than the programmers", here, or similar.  They're punishing gamers for "Exploiting the fact that they're smarter than the programmers to make massive amounts of in game money and unbalance the economy and the gameplay"

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Eoraptor

EA and Bioware prove once again that once they got your money, you can go take a flying leap for all they care. "What? Exploit a large plothole in the game and tank the in-game economics? that's not ~OUR~ fault... here, let us educate you on whose fault it really is."

but this is what happens when you let corporations get used to treating every customer as a potential pirate, they get a hero complex about it. I'm just glad that ~most~ other online game vendors would instead have quietly adjusted the game and moved on. But i wonder how long that mentality will last when someone as big as EA apparently gets away with this? After all, it's cheaper to call your customers thieflings and banhammer them than it is to hire coders to fix the game.

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thechipper

When did the MMO world switch to this totalitarian nonsense. If there is something exploitable in your game it is your fault. Not the end user. There is an imbalance in an economy because you let there be an imbalance. At the end of the day any MMO will have its farmers anyways and 3rd party item transfer sites. That's hardly even an exploit. As soon as people find ways to make money in game, they do.

 

You can give a child crayons but you have to be prepared for the writing on the wall.

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bling581

I agree, but they claim that they warned said players more than once so if it continued then they have nobody to blame but themselves. I don't know if they can just whip up a fix that puts a lvl requirement on crafting in a day, but doing so might be hasty. I'm guessing they're examining the situation to see how much it's being abused. I'm sure putting a lvl restriction on crafting might anger the rest of the population that is minding their own business.

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jnwoll

They're learning how it works like anyone else who enters the world of MMO with a massive base of fans to begin with.  Nerds are always power hungry.  Maybe they lose some players, maybe they gain some players, who knows.  I don't care, I'm having fun.  I will say though I did not like their condescending tone of wanting to transfer to a new server and they basically said, "Just go create a new character on the new server, it's about the story."  I get that it's about the story.  It's also about playing with friends. 

Oh well.  Satisfying to know that this is the only game that's ever had issues in less than a month of launching.  

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zNelson24

This is a major game design issue. The game needs to be fixed, not it's players.

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Nimrod

yeah i would have done it to if it was possible. Im not sure tho, is stayed the fuck away from this game just like i will for any Origin game. Fuck ea any way.

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bling581

Rage lately? What a smart comment seeing that you don't ever touch Origin to launch the game. The only time it involved Origin was when I purchased it.

Rage on

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frizzly

so they are just punishing the players for being smarter than the programers. that does not sould like an environment that I care be part of. every time you find a way to get ahead some GM nocks you back down. no thanks I would just prefere to spend my time on a different game where I know I'm not wasting my time.

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zeroibis

Madness, if I did that on my servers there would be no players left. When you find an exploit you patch it as soon as possible and if it effected the balance of the game too much you find a way to retroactivly scale the effects to minimize the impact to other players.

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Svetty Parabols

Anybody else would have just patched the exploit and moved on. Congrats EA & Bioware for showing your customers what gigantic douchebags you really are.

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dgrmouse

Agreed.

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chinomon

Google +1 this lol

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