Bioware Bans First Round of Exploiters in SWTOR

Star Wars: The Old RepublicBioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic was released only recently for the PC, but the company has had to take action against players who’ve been exploiting the game for in-game credits, otherwise known as gold or credit farming. Yesterday, Senior Online Community Manager Stephen Reid posted a comment about these recent bans on the official forums:
 

First, action was taken against a number of accounts for what’s commonly known as ‘gold farming’ – or in our case, credit farming. These accounts were found to be exploiting the game in a variety of ways to maximize their credits in order to sell them to other players. Our Terms of Service team took action against these accounts and removed them permanently from the game.

Second, a smaller number of accounts were warned or temporarily suspended for exploiting loot containers on Ilum. 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.

None of these accounts were banned for their actions and no accounts have been banned for travelling 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.

Stephen concluded his statement with these final comments:

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.

In summary, our Terms of Service team took action against a number of accounts that were ‘credit farming’ to remove them permanently from the game. They also warned and temporarily suspended – but did not ban – a smaller number of accounts for activities on Ilum that were decided to be game exploits.

Some adjustments will be made to Ilum in the near future to discourage future exploits. However, the planet is still open to anyone who wishes to travel there.


Analysis: There have been a few comments on the forum following Stephen’s comment stating that players shouldn’t be penalized for this because Bioware didn’t think to close it before the games release. I don’t agree with this or any other statement along these lines, and the reason is because players shouldn’t be exploiting the game in the first place.

The most important thing everyone has to keep in mind is that BioWare only banned those who were performing this action a very frequent number of times, and they’re only warning or briefly suspending players who have only periodically used this exploit. This is a reasonable, and in my opinion, a well-thought out and even-handed response. If BioWare were acting rash, they would’ve banned everyone for going to Ilum below level 40 no matter what the reason.

I’m glad that BioWare is being active in preventing this sort of activity. This does nothing but hurt everyone in the long run, and I believe they’ve taken the right course of action. This is coming from a current player of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Now, let’s hope BioWare fixes some of these bugs that have been reported since around June. The game’s been released; a company can’t tell us to make new characters because they don’t think that’s a priority, especially the story bugs with companions.

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