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Posts with tag banned

WoW Archivist: A raid exploit compendium

Ensidia banned
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

One week after Mists of Pandaria goes live, the expansion's first raid will become available and the race to world first will officially begin. To the most dedicated progression raiders, a world-first kill is a dream come true, the ultimate achievement in raiding. Other raiders are just as excited to get a regional or a realm first.

To realize those dreams, however, some guilds bend the rules. Whether you call it cheating or a "creative use of game mechanics," it's been happening throughout WoW's long raiding history. The myriad methods have been as varied and creative as the bosses themselves. Let's take a look back!

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

The Lawbringer: WoW launching in Brazil

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

In the near future, Blizzard will be launching a localized World of Warcraft, complete with language localization and specific servers, in Brazil with a Portugeuse version of its signature virtual world. This localization accompanies a potential Japanese release, with servers for both Japan and Brazil, much as there are already US, EU, Oceanic, and Chinese/Taiwanese servers. The World of Warcraft gaming community and Blizzard especially are excited to welcome these two markets into the fold with their own local servers.

We're talking all things Brazil this week on The Lawbringer -- well, not everything Brazilian. I think all of the waxing and juijitsu questions are better left for The WoW Insider Show or perhaps The Queue. No, this week is all about the video game climate in Brazil, why Brazil is a huge up-and-coming market for MMOs, how a Portuguese localized version of WoW benefits a huge number of gamers, and the potentially pitfalls of the anti-video game sentiments in the South American powerhouse market.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Contracts and player bans


Welcome to The Lawbringer, where we investigate the intersection of law and Warcraft and answer such questions as what do you call a raid of lawyers in the Maelstrom. Answer? A good start.

Last week, we looked at what is private about our armory profiles. Hint: not much. But, life has a funny way of providing a use for things we thought were annoying. Check out this email we received Saturday:
"Two days ago I lost my wedding ring. Of course my wife of 4 years finds it odd and starts to question what I do at night while she is at work. After hours of arguing, I remember about the WoW Armory. I rush to the PC and show her almost minute by minute what I was doing at night. She knows my characters and knew it was my character, and the Armory showed her everything."
So remember, guys and dolls, the Armory can convert your spouse's infidelity aggro to regular WoW aggro. Use at your own risk.

Today, we're going to look at losing the ability to play WoW, such as with player bans like the one given to Ensidia a few weeks ago. However, just as understanding how one gets into a contract helps in understanding how that contract affects players, learning about how to get out of a contract helps in understanding how bans affect players.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Ensidia temporarily banned for exploits

It looks like Ensidia's 25-man world first on the Lich King will go down with an asterisk next to it, because they've all just received a three-day ban for "Abuse of in-game mechanics or glitches with intent to exploit or cheat in World of Warcraft." The Ensidia blog post reporting this is down as of this writing due to traffic, but you can still view the Google cache.

The story is that Ensidia made use of Saronite Bombs to "bypass The Lich King fight mechanics" (Saronite Bombs and similar items were disabled in a hotfix last night). In addition to the temporary ban, all items and achievements they gained from downing Arthas have been revoked. Before the ban (but after the hotfix), Ensidia put up a post claiming that they didn't think the bombs were an exploit; Blizzard obviously isn't buying it.

Meanwhile, Muqq, the Ensidia player who posted about the ban, has taken this as an opportunity to quit WoW (and rant a bit at Blizzard about "half-assed encounters"), saying "to ban people when they do not know what's causing the bugs is just a [expletive] joke."

Update: It's worth a mention that the language Muqq used at the end of his post is identical (save places and names) to this post by Tigole (scroll to the bottom -- it's the last thing on the page), written of EverQuest in 2002. Be warned, neither of these are safe for work.

Filed under: Guilds, News items, Raiding

Officers' Quarters: Crushed by the banhammer

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

I enjoy the process of leveling as much as anyone else. I like the feeling of accomplishment in leveling, and the gradual growth of power that comes with it. Blizzard has given us a variety of tools to speed up the leveling process, including heirloom items and the Recruit-a-Friend service. Even so, I can understand why some players just want to skip to the endgame. To some people, questing on a low-level character is a lot less interesting than raiding or PvPing at the level cap.

In order to skip the leveling process, your options are both limited and dangerous. You could pay a leveling service. However, some of these services are actually scam artists who will use your account info to sell everything you have and take all your stuff. You could ask a friend to log in and level for you. However, sharing your account information can get your account banned. Finally, you could just buy an account. Let's see how that turned out for one particular guild leader.

Hello Scott,

My guild is going through an incredibly rough time right now. Our situation is this: We are one of the best guilds on our server. We have cleared Ulduar in both 10 and 25 man, working on hard modes right now. Our team is rock solid. We have about 35 dedicated, geared, and skilled raiders. We all get along great and have an awesome time raiding. But recently a problem has come up that will undoubtedly destroy our guild and send some of the best players on our server without a home. Our GM had unknowingly violated Blizzard's ToS/ToU and now his account has been banned.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Exodus punished for exploiting Yogg-Saron encounter


As previously reported, there were accusations that US guild Exodus used an exploit to obtain the World First of the last unclaimed Hard Mode in Ulduar -- Alone in the Darkness. As it turns out, these accusations were true and blue poster Daelo posted on the official forums that the Yogg-Saron encounter was hotfixed on all servers to prevent this from happening in the future. Owing to this, Exodus' kill is no longer recognized by some achievement trackers.

Contrary to some reports, however, Exodus released a statement on their website that members of their guild were not banned, clarifying that Blizzard meted out a 72-hour suspension for their abuse of game mechanics. They argue that the encounter wasn't beatable to begin with, similar to the C'thun fight in Ahn'Qiraj before it was fixed, prompting the exploit. In the same statement, Exodus also points at Ensidia's arguably hypocritical stance of complaining about the abuse considering Ensidia used similar questionable methods to achieve other World Firsts. Serennia mentions this behavior in his column at wowriot, as well, bringing into question Blizzard's apparent double standard when meting out punishment.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Guilds, Blizzard

Glider down for the count

We knew this would happen after that last big Glider decision, but the judge's ruling has turned into action, and Glider has suspended their sales and operations. They're still hoping to bring it back up at some point -- there's still an appeals process to go through -- but that seems unlikely. Keep in mind that using Glider or any other botting software like it is a breach of Blizzard's terms of service and will most likely get you banned from the game.

The company also has a FAQ up (which includes a PDF link to the latest ruling), and they sound hopeful there as well, saying that they'll know in a little while whether they'll be "back within a month or... gone for at least a year." Just in case you have (against Blizzard's rules) purchased and used Glider and are concerned that your information is being passed on to Blizzard, worry not -- they say that the ruling doesn't require them to give up any sales information, just shut down their operations and sales of the program.

As Blizzard posted last month, they see this as a clear victory for both the company and players of the game -- Glider undermined both the wishes of the designers and the experience of other players in the game. Blizzard apparently feels the battle is over, while we're sure Glider is planning to continue the legal fight for as long as it takes. It seems unlikely that we'll see this software (or any bot software) back up for sale legitimately again, but if we do, we'll let you know.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Blizzard, News items, Hardware

Banned for no reason at all

GuamPDN.com ("Guam's complete source!") has an article up by Duane George, who tells his story of woe: he got banned from the game for suspected Arena win trading, and had to deal with 72 hours without the game. Blizzard, obviously, doesn't provide any information on how many players get banned from the game, and it would be even harder to determine the number of false positives out there like Duane: people who didn't do anything wrong but end up getting banned anyway. We've heard stories here of course, but this is a tough area to investigate by its very nature.

For Duane's part, he does say that he plans to stay out of Arenas and stick to battlegrounds, so you'd think that if there were a ton of false positives like him who were turned off from the Arena experience because it wrongly got them in trouble, Arenas wouldn't be nearly as popular as they are. But of course we don't know -- there's no oversight on Blizzard's part (and you could argue that there shouldn't be anyway, since it's their game), not to mention that they've got the right, according to the Terms of Use, to ban anyone at any time for any reason without notice anyway. If they were really going overboard, you'd expect them to be losing customers, and that's not the case yet.

Fortunately, this wasn't a permanent ban, and while he did apparently lose some Arena rating and the gear that came with it, his character wasn't too much the worse for wear. A 72-hour ban isn't too big a deal, so Blizzard probably hands those out with much less consideration than a permanent ban anyway. But we're sure Duane isn't the only case out there -- as small as the number may be, there's almost definitely other players like him, banned for doing nothing wrong at all.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Arena

Blizzard explains hunter suspension

WoW Insider recently reported that Megatf, the highest ranked Arena Hunter and hunter community personality, was banned from the forums. Initially thought to be a permanent ban from playing World of Warcraft, Drysc explained that Megatf had violated the Forum Code of Conduct and was temporarily banned from the forums, with no impact on his ability to access WoW. The violation was also not because Megatf has posted keyloggers or gold selling sites, as earlier reported, only that the ban was erroneously categorized elsewhere. An unfortunate side effect of the ban was the subsequent deletion of all threads created by Megatf, some of which also happened to be stickied guides that the hunter community held in high regard. Drysc also explained that the deletion was part of the suspension and could not be undone, so those useful hunter guides were gone forever unless they were archived.

Timbal explains Blizzard's actions in detail and in a rare display of verbosity, proceeds to rationalize the process by which Blizzard's moderators deal with errant threads and posters. He apologizes on behalf of the company for deleting the valuable threads but also cautions players against unwarranted and ill-worded protests against "perceived class balance issues" that might be in violation of the forum rules. He also explains that the scarcity of blue, or Blizzard, responses from the forums do not necessarily indicate that players are not being heard although it often feels that way for many. This only reinforces the fact that Blizzard is extremely vigilant about forum violations and spares no one from reprimand. As always, Blizzard encourages feedback as long as it is done in a constructive manner.

Filed under: Hunter, Blizzard, PvP, Forums, Arena

PTR Notes: No cyborz in the Deeprun Tram

What did Skazarund do to get banned from the PTR? All he did wrong was cyborz, man. Cyborz, if you didn't know, is a little bit of the digital hanky-panky. The Internet in-and-out, if you will. The networked nookie, know what I mean?

All joking aside, apparently that's true-- Timbal says the test realms are for "testing new game content and functionality, not your abilities to write romance novels." Now, I'm not a huge fan of cybersex or anything (the real thing seems much more fun), but there are people out there that do it, and as long as they don't hurt anyone, I'm fine with leaving them alone. Does Blizzard really feel the need to ban anyone who gets it on on the PTR? Is it somehow more wrong there than on the live servers?

Skaz may have been obscene in some way, and if so, then yeah-- he broke the terms of service, and a ban is in order. But if he's just gettin' it on, RP-style, baby, is that really being "disruptive or counterproductive to testing"?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor

CNET talks to Blizzard about banned players

I've tended to stay away from reporting about players angry at being banned, for reasons I'll get into in a second. But we periodically receive notices from players who think they've been unfairly banned, and there's lots of forum complaining on the same subject. The complaints have been loud enough, it seems, for CNET to take a look at the allegations, and get a nice quote from Blizzard about it.

Most of the angry players (if you are one, feel free to leave a comment below with your own story) say they try to log into their account one day and are simply banned for no reason at all. Some of them say they've even had their accounts hacked, and are then finding them banned afterwards. Most of them, in my experience, sound just like Zak, a 14-year-old interviewed in the article. He says he was banned because "I was leveling excessively and very fast, which is what power levelers do." One day he had an email in his inbox that said he was kicked out of WoW.

CNET then does what all of these players haven't seemingly been able to do, which is get a response from Blizzard about the whole thing. "We conduct a very thorough investigation before the actual ban takes place," says the Blizz spokesman. He says all bans are carried out only once Blizzard has decidedly determined that there has been action that goes against the Terms of Service and/or the End User License Agreement (that's the long text which pops up after you install every patch).

And the reason I don't have a lot of pity for the people who say they're unfairly banned is that I, for one, tend to believe him.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Economy

All they're asking for is your blood.

Donate bloodI'm not sure whether we should file this under "I'm glad Blizzard doesn't do this" or "I wish Blizzard would do this!" but Chinese gaming company Moliyo (who run the MMO Cabal Online) is offering banned players an interesting method by which to reactivate their accounts. What do you have to do? Simple! Donate blood, and they'll unlock your banned account within three days. And if you're an active player, you can receive a special game account for participating.

This is, to my knowledge, a completely unique way of going about reinstating banned players -- while supporting a good cause. And asking players to donate blood is no more time-consuming than Blizzard's usual procedure for restoring stolen accounts, which requires notarized documentation proving your identity. (And will still likely take several weeks for Blizzard to investigate and restore any missing property, which doesn't always happen.) Perhaps Moliyo's way is easier in the long run -- though, being a needle-phobic, I'll stick to the usual customer service queues.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard

Blizzard takes banned player's suicide threat seriously

ClassifiedPeon (who has an awesome name) posts on her LJ about hearing a story on the radio about a kid who got banned from WoW, and then decided to try and bribe his way back into the game. At first, he pleaded Blizz to let him back in, and even offered them money ($3,000 via Paypal, supposedly, though how a kid like this gets money like that who knows). Blue, of course, declined the offer, which is when he sent them an email threatening to end his life if they didn't let him back into the game.

And that's when Blizzard got serious. According to the original messageboard where the story was posted, not only did they send the kid an email with phone numbers for depression crisis centers, but a few hours later, the cops reportedly showed up at his door. Blizzard had apparently identified the kid from his IP address, and called the cops on his suicide threat. The story's been posted on Fark.com as well (and Digg also got their say), and the (hilarious) consensus there is that Blizzard did exactly the right thing in calling this little punk out on the stupid stuff he said. If the kid is really suicidal, he does need more help than Blizzard can offer him, and if he was just trying to lie his way back into his account (which is more than likely considering the kid was not only outright cheating, he was also supposedly using a "stolen serial"), he deserves to have the cops show up at his door.

Unfortunately, apart from the messageboard post I can't find any actual news source on the story, so for all we know the whole thing is made up by the guy who posted it (and who posted it last January, you'll note). But it's an interesting tale, and it supports my thoughts from the other day: while there are probably some false positives floating around Blizzard's ban list, most of the people they give the heave-ho probably deserve it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, News items

Bans coming in for Linux players

Cedega is a handy piece of software that many use to run World of Warcraft on their Linux machines. And it's apparently been working well for everyone -- until yesterday, when numerous Cedega users began to report being banned from World of Warcraft with the following generic message in their mailbox:

This account has been found to have employed third party software designed to automate many aspects of the World of Warcraft game play experience. Such software runs contrary to the essence of World of Warcraft and provides an advantage over other players. In addition, use of this software can lead to exploitation and destabilization of the World of Warcraft server economy. As such, this account has been closed and will not be reopened under any circumstances.

While ominous, it sounds to be a case of a problem with Blizzard's automated anti-hacking scans. TransGaming (makers of Cedega) is currently working with Blizzard's engineering team to resolve the issue -- and has been told that it wasn't Blizzard's intention to ban Cedega players. If you're a Cedega player who has suddenly been banned, Transgaming is offering to help reinstate your account -- let them know you've been banned and give them your account name, either via this support thread or e-mail to their support team.

[Thanks to Pat and Druid dude. Cedega links via Slashdot.]

Filed under: Cheats, Bugs, Blizzard

59,000 More Accounts Closed

In their continued effort to rid Azeroth of hackers and gold farmers, Eyonix announced this evening that 59,000 accounts were closed during the month of June for terms of use violations. Have you seen anyone behaving suspiciously on your server? An account that's being controlled by a bot isn't too difficult to spot if you spend a bit of time paying attention - and Blizzard investigates all reports. So if you suspect such behavior, report it to a GM, and help the community be rid of the annoyance of hackers and bot farmers.

Filed under: Cheats, News items, Economy

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