Last week, EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) released the Battlefield 3 Open Beta on Origin for the PC and through each consoles’ online services. The beta is extremely limited, offering a 32-player limit; having only one map, Metro; and one game mode, Rush. During the weekend, something changed for the PC users: hacked servers started to pop up with increased player count up to 128, via Rock Paper Shotgun.
EA quickly responded to this disturbance by making an official statement on the forums. The statement was later pulled but a screenshot was taken and it stated the following:
“We are aware that a number of servers have appeared and are running game modes and player counts that have not currently been seen. Please try to remain on official servers.
Official servers run the following configuration
Max Players: 32
Map: Operation Metro
Please avoid temptation and remain on these offical servers while we work to have these servers dealt with.
Playing on those servers can cause your account to become compromised, stats to be altered or other issues to arise whcih may lead to having your account banned by EA.”
A few moments later, there was a second statement that was also captured by screenshot before being removed:
“If your account gets banned it does mean any EA game you have on your account also be unavailable.”
Analysis: I know curiosity very well, and if I were still playing the open beta, I definitely would’ve been tempted to look at said servers. The reasoning would’ve been simple: I would’ve thought, “DICE is testing the limit of their server load.” This happens all the time with betas and MMOs, especially and since BF3 is going to officially supports up to 64 in the PC version. With that in mind, I would’ve also thought maybe they’d have unranked servers that allowed more players like in Call of Duty: Black Ops. This would’ve been a logical conclusion for me since I do beta testing frequently, but I don’t have time to read every forum after I start. I report bugs in game instead of the forum unless the latter is required.
It’s rash to ban people for simply being curious or seeing potential for the game to do more and think DICE is pushing that limit. Even though the statements were pulled, this leaves a sour taste in my mouth about the mentality of those at EA and how Origin is being implemented. If one game can ban you and potentially lock out of your whole EA account, what recourse do we have? There is none; it’s all on EA’s good graces or the amount of media attention you get for an injustice. There are reasonable steps to protect your IP and abuse of power, and EA, you’re teetering on abuse of power here, in my opinion.
I’m glad to see you listened to the angels on your shoulder this time and pulled the statement, but does that mean you’ll still take action on those who are only curious? Personally, I’m worried that they’ll do just that and not focus enough on these hacked servers.