Sunday, January 6, 2008

Banned: The Final Review

Getting banned stinks. There's no way around it. But what's worse is getting banned for something you didn't do; that's like a whole new level of odor I wouldn't wish upon anyone. But it happened to me, and I've been spending the past many weeks bathing in tomato juice trying to make things right. Recently, that has involved a thread on the WoW Customer Support forums. But when my post received no love from Blue even after several thousand views and over 100 replies, I decided to change things up a bit and make one last effort with Account Administration before giving up completely.

With that last effort, I wanted to make it clear how seriously I was taking the issue at hand. I told the Account Admins that I frequently visit Irvine, CA, and asked if it was possible to make an appointment with a Bliz rep to further discuss my case.

The email got their attention.

I received a response, entitled "Final Review," earlier today from an Account Administrator. Here's what it had to say:

Greetings,

Thank you for again contacting us in regard the suspension place on the World of Warcraft account, [x]. I have reviewed all information pertaining to this action, and I have confirmed that the account was found to have been in violation of the World of Warcraft Terms of Use and our Exploitation Policy.

That said, the actual issue does not reflect the original action taken. As such, I have removed the penalties placed upon this account and reduced the action to a warning. In addition, I do wish to clear up any confusion and perhaps illuminate the issue somewhat. Please disregard the prior notice of Third-Party Exploitation, as I was able to verify the issue was not related to such exploitation, and no evidence of any compromise was found during the course of my investigation. I do again apologize for the miscommunication.

In order to protect the integrity of our investigation process, I do hope you understand I must be a little vague in my explanations. The action placed upon the account was done as a result of verified abuse of Game Mechanics, which took place within the dungeon of Dire Maul. While there is a mechanic in place that attempts to prevent such exploitation, the creative use of geometry performed by the character Jagoex is what drew the initial account action.

While we do understand your point of view, please be aware that such a performance is in violation of both the World of Warcraft Terms of Use (http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/legal/termsofuse.html), as well as the Exploitation Policy (http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?articleId=20224). Please review the relevant selections, which I have included below:

From the Abuse of Game Mechanics policy:

The distinction between exploiting bugs and abusing game mechanics is a fine one. While bug exploitation involves the abuse of what is essentially a programming mistake, the abuse of game mechanics is the act of taking advantage of the limitations of the World of Warcraft game systems. Since the line between the sanctioned use and the abuse of game mechanics is sometimes unclear, we prefer to educate players before taking any action against the account being used.

This category includes using/distributing game mechanics in a manner unintended by their design that:
* Damages another character, their gameplay, the service itself and/or its economy

If a player is found to have abused/distributed such game mechanics, he/she may:
* Be given a verbal warning
* Subsequent related offenses will result in temporary suspension from the game

In addition to this policy, please also review the World of Warcraft Terms of Use in particular the following selection:

Section 5: Rules of Conduct.

C. Rules Related to Game Play

Nonetheless, certain acts go beyond what is "fair" and are considered serious violations of these Terms of Use. Those acts include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

1. Using or exploiting errors in design, features which have not been documented, and/or "program bugs" to gain access that is otherwise not available, or to obtain a competitive advantage over other players;
2. Conduct prohibited by the EULA or these Terms of Use, including without limitation that conduct prohibited by Section 2(C); and
3. Anything that Blizzard considers contrary to the "essence" of the Program.

As the prior action has been reduced to a warning, please be aware that per the Game Abuse policy, any further infractions of this nature may result in further account actions and suspensions. Please note that these actions are taken to maintain integrity within the World of Warcraft, and are not taken lightly.

I do hope I have been able to clarify the issue somewhat and relieve any concerns. Thank you for your time and understanding of our position in this matter.


Regards,

[x]
Account Administration Supervisor
Blizzard Entertainment
www.worldofwarcraft.com
http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?articleId=21505

Wow. Talk about an unexpected turn of events! Not only did Blizzard admit that they were wrong about the ban and apologize for their mistake, but they also retroactively altered the punishment level as well. Pretty nice of them. I guess they really didn't want me paying them a visit. =)

A few things still get me, though. For one thing, the email fails to address the multiple times my ban was CONFIRMED, and simply glosses over the mistake as if it were no big deal. "Sorry we messed up, Jagoex, several, several times." would have been a good start.

Also, if I read their email correctly, it pretty much states that kiting in a particular path in the DM Arena (creative geometry was the email's wording), specifically, running to the opposing wall after each teleport, is indeed an exploit. Seems strange to classify it as such.

But anyway, I'm done with this issue. The case is closed and I can finally move on from this tiny little mess that was weighing far too heavily on my mind. I definitely learned something; hopefully Blizzard did too. And thanks to those of you who posted your support -- it was much appreciated. =)

/tomato bath

8 comments:

Horns said...

All I can say is rofl: first they tell you shit about using 3rd party software (which was confirmed like... 2 times?), and now you're supposed to disregard it cause they were full of shit. Just.., whatever.
Glad you got your account back


Horns/yawn

Zyphre said...

Looking at logs of predicted player trajectory on a grid and seeing them skip around then use the old school tap the standby button on the modem. That is likely what the first guy saw/thought. Since all your location and game speed is done client side, its hard for them to really see if you were using exploits or hacking without digging up warden records (which I am sure only a few people have access to).

I mean don't get me wrong, it sucks that they start cracking down on exploits and the like when your out doing something you thought was fine. Its just that I see it as a good thing that this was investigated and pursued in a few ways.

Jesyka said...

/cheers

So all we have to do is ask to set up an appointment with Blizzard Reps in Irvine?

Good to know.

Gratz noobness.

Sellia said...

I'm glad for you ... Perseverance can get you far !

:)

Jagoex said...

Thanks Sellia, and everyone. It's been nice having lots of support. It definitely made the ridiculousness of the situation easier to deal with.

And Horns, I totally hear what you're saying. They mess up, three times, and tell me to disregard their mistakes? It's like getting punched in the face. Twice. No, three times. Then the aggressor saying "Oh, my bad. On your way now." Just terrible.

Jes, if you ever get banned and need a rep to visit Irvine for ya, just holla. ;)

Jesyka said...

Will do, Jago. ;)

And... gimmeh my dress back, damn it.

jess said...

duuude...my bf's account got banned after THREE days of playing. he has NO IDEA why.

the ONLY thing we can think of is one of my co-workers gave him 10 gold to get him started.

other than that, what else could it be? no keyloggers, no nothing.

we wrote to account services and got an automated email saying we'd hear from them...how long does it take to get a response? should we delete the account and start over?

help! we need advice...and i think you might be an expert.

Jagoex said...

Oh man, sorry to hear about the account. Did Bliz send you an email to your registered account explaining why the ban was delivered in the first place? That should offer up a clue as to what their reasoning is.

Responses from Account Admin can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days to arrive, on average. When I was banned for two days, my first response didn't arrive until 3 days later... a lot of good that did!

As you wait for their email, head over to the Customer Service forum and see if you can get a Blizzard Blue to give some insight into your matter. Those guys can't take any action, but they can offer up info for sure -- and don't let anyone there tell you otherwise!

Keep me posted on the happenings, and good luck!