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Trion Responds to Accidental Banning Accusations

Posted by William Murphy on Oct 10, 2014  | Comments

Trion Responds to Accidental Banning Accusations - MMORPG.com

There have been several reports of legitimate players being banned from Trion's ArcheAge here in the NA and EU in an effort for the company to curtail botting and illegal activities in the game. We reached out for comment from Trion's CEO on the matter, and this is what Scott Hartsman wrote back:

Yes, we're doing lots of things to deal with the bad actors, and we've been making massive improvements day by day.  The game is already in a vastly better state than it was originally, and also better than what many other games call acceptable.  And we're still working to make it even better.  While it's not perfect yet, it's getting better constantly.  We do want to be as close to perfect as we can possibly get.

We've been going through ongoing ramp-ups of bots, hackers, spammers, and fraudster bans over the last few weeks.  The overwhelming majority of the bans are legitimate.  The ones that aren't are rolled back as rapidly as we can.   That's a tiny minority, and getting them sorted out is a huge priority - Both for their sake, and to improve future accuracy.  Then we use that info to re-tune to be more accurate in future passes.  

Additionally, sometimes innocents being "banned" is also necessary - When an account is hacked, it's usually immediately used for farming/spamming/botting.  We have to suspend the entire account until we get an appeal from the owner, since the accounts need to be re-secured, or it just ends up right back in the hands of the abuser.

Most of the time when an innocent person is "banned," that's what happened.  The person usually doesn't realize at first that both their Trion account and email account have both been compromised.  The addition of the glyph token emails has cut this down tremendously, since now a hacker also has to have a person's email account to get in also.  We've recently made it harder for bad actors to create new accounts, so they're now going after accounts that have old credentials that have been compromised from other sites again.

Unfortunately, and this is the one that surprises most people - When actual hackers (especially with teleport hackers and gold storage accounts from the gold sellers) get banned, they tend to be the ones with the most eloquently written, heartfelt pleas of innocence, making it time consuming to sort through a haystack of legitimate bans to find a needle of a valid appeal.   

I looked at a sample of 500-ish bans yesterday, and one account was borderline enough to err in the favor of the customer and reverse a ban.  That's barely a measurable percent of the bans, much less a measurable percent of total users.  The rest were either botting/hacking or compromised accounts.  While this person may be legitimate, and if they have an appeal in, it'll definitely get looked into.  Looking at the end of his thread, it looks like that may have already happened.

In other exciting news, I grabbed another few dozen to check over myself after hours last night to make sure we're still tuned correctly.  One very angry gentleman who thought he had "Trion" problems had a CC that was stolen and being used actively in China, and his bank was the one causing the blocks - Our folks went out of our way help him get that solved as well as make sure he was able to be in and playing.  That's one of the kinds of helpful things we do that no one ever hears about. 

And yes, we're responding quite constantly - On our forums, on reddit, on twitter, over email, in tickets, etc.  - Just not in every single instance that the topic gets raised.  

Obviously, the battle against the bots is an ongoing quest for Trion. And we'll only really be able to tell if it works when things calm down. If you're experiencing account hacking or banning issues, it's probably the best advice to reach out to Trion's Support, though we're hearing reports from players that the quickest and most reliable method is online chatting, rather than filing tickets, as Trion's support department has been overwhelmed.

Good luck, and godspeed.

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William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.
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