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World of Warcraft Editorial: Blizzard Banning Accounts

By  on November 24, 2006

World of Warcraft: Blizzard Banning Accounts

Editorial by Garrett Fuller

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.

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More and more account issues continue to pop up in the MMORPG world this week. This time it's the monster company Blizzard who has come under fire for banning accounts that have been running third party software or operating in online trade or gold buying activities. These seem like valid reasons for a ban however players are being hit for running the game on Linux or logging in their character from another location. This is causing a stir among players because those who have done nothing wrong are logging in to find their accounts cancelled with little or no explanation from the company.

The problem is Blizzard allows so many customizable mods for players to use and this area can get shady. We here at MMORPG.com want to try to give players as much information as possible about the situation in order to help them not get wrongly banned as well as protect Blizzard's stance on hacking and third party programs.

There was one instance I was made aware of where a player had logged into his character from a location other than his home PC. When he eventually got back home and logged in from his normal location he found that his account was cancelled due to third party activity. Now, please understand this example is complete hearsay. But it does bring up a good point. I have no doubt that Blizzard monitors accounts closely and also holds the right to ban someone for activities they feel are unworthy.

However, the explanation from the company should be clear to the said offender. Some players are calling for Blizzard to warn them first that a program is running for WoW which Blizzard does not approve of. If the program is not shut off in a certain period of time, then the account is banned. Personally I do not agree with that policy. If hackers know they will only get a slap on the wrist for doing something over a certain period of time, then you are creating a window for that illegal activity to occur in. Once they get the warning, they can stop whatever hack or program they are running and start again somewhere else. Either way people need to watch their accounts closely and make sure you stay with in Blizzards guidelines.

Here is a link to Blizzard's "How to stay in Game" policy.

If you can clearly avoid running any of the pieces mentioned in this write up you should be okay.

The Linux issue seems to be a growing concern among players in Europe and the U.S. Just because an operating system outside of Windows is running the game should not warrant a ban. Let me be the first to say that more information is needed on this topic. We do not have accurate data on how many accounts have been banned from running on Linux and whether or not Blizzard deems that as a valid reason for a ban. Right now much of the information is on the forums. We will continue to look into this issue.

One of the many concerns players have with Blizzard is the lack of communication when it comes to a ban. People are asking for the reasons that they were banned, and hopefully if the ban was not warranted to have the account reinstated. Please understand that WoW officially became big business two years ago. There are so many gold farming and power leveling companies that make a ton of money off this game, Blizzard has a lot to fight against. More and more companies are looking for ways to protect their games from this type of hacking. Other companies are embracing it offering players the opportunity to buy gold directly from them. While I do agree that communication between any game company and their players is very important, I also feel that if you are doing something that goes against that company's policy you should be punished and have your account banned. Whether or not that company owes you an explanation is up to them. This article started out as a report and really ended up as an editorial because there is a lot of grey in this area of MMOs.

Bottom line is if your account was wrongly banned let us know. If you agree with hacking, gold farming, and power leveling let us know. If you are a developer or customer service rep at Blizzard who feels that you can ban an account for any activity that is deemed illegal this is your chance to speak on an open forum. There are so many opinions on this topic it would be hard to fit them all into one article. Really we here at MMORPG.com wanted to try to bring this issue to the forefront and certainly get opinions on it.

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