BioWare Explains Recent SWTOR Bans

BioWare has explained some of the recent Star Wars: The Old Republic bans and vowed to make adjustments to areas where players have been found to be exploiting. Last week some players were banned from playing because they were looting containers in planet Ilum at too low a level – a move that apparently made many in the SWTOR community upset. Community manager Stephen Reid took to the SWTOR website to explain exactly what had happened and why some players were banned.

Speaking of those who had banned, he noted that they had been warned or temporarily banned because they "were systematically and repeatedly looting containers in very high numbers resulting in the game economy becoming unbalanced."

"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," he said. "None of these accounts were banned for their actions and no accounts have been banned for traveling to Ilum while still relatively low level. By comparison, the number of accounts that were warned or temporarily suspended was considerably lower than the number of accounts banned for 'credit farming'."

"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."

Reid said that BioWare might reverse a ban decision if the case merits it – but said that online player reports should be taken at face value.

"While we will not discuss the details of any individual action, whenever we take action against an account we believe they have clearly broken our Terms of Service," he explained. "Any action taken against an account can be appealed and in some cases actions have been rescinded."

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."

Finally, BioWare plans to adjust Ilum "in the near future" to discourage exploits. For now, the planet remains open to anyone who wishes to travel there.

"The goal of the Star Wars: The Old Republic team is to maintain a service for our customers that is fun to play and equitable for everyone," Reid concluded. "Critical to this goal is making sure that gameplay is fair and reasonable and we are constantly on the lookout for anything that would prove to be a detriment to your gameplay experiences."

Source: Eurogamer

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  1. 0
    DorthLous says:

    Urgh… MMO design 101. Record every single transaction among other things. That way, if you track an abuse like this that was due to a fault in your own design, you can fix it *softly*. Undo damaging transactions based on *wrong* items or loot until it's back in the exploiter's possession then erase it. You don't lose players and exploiters quickly discover they work for naught. Very few scenarios can't be fix by this method, even in chain transactions. And if someone paid real money for an exploited item? Sorry, but that's against the EULA, so while I hate EULAs, you still can't argue this one.

  2. 0
    Hevach says:

    Not only bad design, but predictably bad design.

    WoW had the very same problem. Never banned people over it, but they did go through a series of updates to deal with it:

    1. Added guards to all chest spawns so in order to open one you had to defeat an appropriately leveled enemy group

    2. When people bypassed that in various ways, they added level requirements to the chests.

    3. When people still farmed them for free loot, in Burning Crusade they got rid of most chests outside dungeons, but in a couple areas where they still were you had to kill enemies to get the key first.

    4. Eventually removed them entirely even in dungeons, and replace the outdoor chests with rare elite enemies that drop a pile of gold and blue items when killed.


    And WoW wasn't exactly pioneering new ground when it did those things.

    They really should have seen this coming. Saw a video on youtube of how to get these loot boxes, and the basic tactics are nothing new: Watching moving enemies and using line of sight and other agro tricks to avoid fixed ones, working around behind groups and grabbing boxes when it's safe. Same old problem, and Bioware neglected to fix it ahead of time.

    Banning is heavy handed… the only way I can even see these bannings being justified is that the people were given warnings, and they kept doing it. Which is pretty damn stupid in any MMO, no matter how legitimate you think what you're doing is.

  3. 0
    Neo_DrKefka says:

    The way the way the staff is going now and the lack of staff on the forums people will be leaving. Instead of Stanley Wooing them by pushing customers away they should trying to work for the customers.

    Stanley Woo customer service in an MMORPG does not work

  4. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    "Finally, BioWare plans to adjust Ilum "in the near future" to discourage exploits. For now, the planet remains open to anyone who wishes to travel there."

    I'm thinking… giant red rancors, maybe (a la Serious Sam 3)

  5. 0
    Technogeek says:

    There are some reports (albeit unconfirmed) that exploits were involved, causing the containers to respawn much faster than they normally would.

    In any case, the only person affected that I've seen speak up admitted to spending 8+ hours a day opening the chests. I'm certainly not going to complain about that setting off warning bells.

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