Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Anatomy of a 48-Hour Ban

Earlier tonight, I paid a visit to Dire Maul, as I so often do before heading to bed, to check for the rare, elite mobs that spawn in the Arena there. When I arrived, I found two of the three spawned waiting on the Maul floor; Skarr and Mushgog were disengaged, and ready to be solo'd by my Warlock DoTS. I didn't plan for anything to go differently than it usually has for the last year or so, since I began regularly farming the mobs for the Orb of Deception, which sells for a decently-hefty 400g on my server. Little did I know, however, that I would soon receive my first ban from the game, almost two years after starting my first toon.

For those of you that have seen these mobs engaged, you know how the mechanics work. Once in combat, if you remain out of reach of the mob's attacks for too long, your toon is ported to the center of the Maul. If you do not land a direct damage attack on the rares for some time, they will reset quickly, taking away any chance you may have at completing the encounter. Keeping these two mechanics in mind, it is easy for any Level 70 to solo these NPCs, making sure to regularly land a direct-damage attack while kiting, and using the ports to the center as shelter from the mob's high-damage attacks. Easy stuff, and known to just about everyone since the encounters have worked that way for as long as I can remember (which is at least since Summmer, '06).

Well, carefully keeping away from Mushgog so as to engage only one at a time, I drop Skarr after kiting him around one-half of the Maul and proceed to gather the herbs that spawn upon Mushgog's appearance. During a harvest of Dreamfoil, however, my connection suddenly drops. I try logging back in, but upon entering my login info, I find that I am unable to, and a message appears stating that my account has been temporarily suspended.

Double-You. Tee. Eff.

In the message was a link to Blizzard's Account Administration website, which then urged me to check my registered email address for any information regarding my ban. At first, there was nothing to be found. But then an email finally appears 5 to 10 minutes after the suspension, detailing the cause of my ban and it's duration.

Account Action: 48 Hour Suspension

Offense: Exploitation Policy - Unapproved Third Party Software

Player found moving in ways not possible by any means in-game in order to gain an advantage over other players.

Excuse me? Exploiting? Third Party Software? "What the hell are they talking about?" was my initial and is my ongoing reaction to the claim. I have never exploited or hacked the game in any way, shape, or form. I play a Warlock. I don't need to exploit to own.

I immediately wrote an email to dispute the claim that I was "found moving in ways not possible by any means in-game in order to gain an advantage over other players." Upon reading that statement in the email I received, I could only assume that the porting mechanic in the DM Arena was involved in my suspension, and that somehow Bliz missed the fact that the ports occur without any help from external sources. They are a part of the encounter. They always have been. And they probably always will be.

Oh, and get a load of this nonsense:

"Though we are unable to discuss the outcomes of our investigations due to privacy concerns, rest assured that this incident has been looked into very thoroughly, and the appropriate actions have been taken on all involved accounts."

Translated out of it's corporate banter, it basically means that some ghosting GM saw a Warlock porting around in the DM Arena, couldn't explain what he or she was seeing, assumed hacks were involved, and hit the ban button. Thorough indeed.

What's ironic is that Blizzard, in executing the suspension in the fashion they did, broke their own methods of standardized procedure for handling ill behaviors. According to an Account Penalties article on the company's Support website, there is a "Penalty Volcano" that acts as a hierarchy of punishment, ranging from the simple warning to the most serious act of account closure. In describing the 48-hour suspension that I received, the support website states that:

"48 Hour suspensions are most often assigned when the player has repeated an action he or she has been previously warned for."

So, instead of receiving an outright and semi-serious 48-hour ban, I should have received a warning first, instead of an outright suspension, which would have actually given me the opportunity to dispute the claim without Bliz locking me out of my own account and account management page.

As it stands now, I could only email the account administrators for clarification and resolution of the issue at hand. But unfortunately, according to Blizzard's own email, "it may be several days" before the admins are able to respond, and my suspension will likely be long over by then. /sigh... you always hear about Blizzard's apparent trend in screwing over their loyal and rule-abiding customers, but you never think it's gonna happen to you. Little did I know...

I'll keep you all posted on the happenings of this frustrating event. Wish me luck.


B of A said...

The ignorance of blizzard employees is making itself known too often lately. Its funny that they make it seem like you hacked and its a sure thing so no matter what you argue they can just ignore you and call it a days work.

EvilCheeseWedge said...

Blizzard sucks balls. It's good to know the employees are now as retarded as most of the players. If WoW was an MMO with 100,000 subscribers you can bet your ass you wouldn't have gotten a 48-hour suspension. But as it is, you're pretty replaceable Jago ;)

Zyphre said...

Jago, what is the term you use for the relation of a stimuli to an event /memory?

I can't recall or find it online.

Star said...

You got banned for the getting ported thing in Dire Maul??? How is it even possible that a gm wouldn't know that it happens to everyone?????

Poxus said...

Blizzard needs to have a training seminar for their GM's. Only after leveling a character from 1 to 70 and going through EVERY instance possible, can they institute any kind of ban.

JAGOeX said...

Thanks for the support, all. In hindsight, my post may have read as a bantering complaint of sorts, so thank you for putting up with my QQs. =)

Zy, give me a context. There are many words that describe stimulus-based relationships. I needs more info!

Enlightened said...

Maybe they found your anti-blizzard blog? ^.~

Zyphre said...


When you experience something and you jump thoughts to another experience?

The word that describes the connection we form between experiences and stimuli. Like you smell something and it takes you back to an event.

Anonymous said...

fuck them jago.
fuck that shit.

whatever you need, just holla at me on renatus vent.

and speaking of which...Z you fucker...where the hell you been???

you pastey haunch of meat.


JAGOeX said...

Thanks Six. All is well. Just waiting for the 2-days to be up so I can PvP with ya'll again.

Zy, is it mental association? It's the basic mechanism of cued recall, where you have a stimulus trigger a memory. Or maybe you're thinking of Deja Vu, where a stimulus trigger memory of a similar, previous event?

Zyphre said...

Jago just throw out a bunch of relevant terms. I will recognize the one I am looking for.

Six, I quit the game and have a job doing tech support...

Anonymous said...

well Z..i miss you buddy.
you damn meat-bo.

oh and jago..yeah.. we not catching no games till you get back on. so no worries..everyone is chill.


Lacheisis said...

Wow, they must have hired some noobs who have never stepped into any pre-BC instances. How unfair and lame.