ArenaNet strips, kills, deletes, and bans Guild Wars 2 cheater

Today’s lesson is that you shouldn’t cheat in online games. Alas, a Guild Wars 2 character had to die to provide this valuable information if you couldn’t come up with that one on your own, as players captured video of a rather notorious cheater doing that cheat thing. If you were wondering if video evidence was enough for ArenaNet to ban you, well, yes it is.

How do we know that? Because Chris Cleary, game security lead, posted video of the team logging in to the character, stripping him of his gear, flinging him to his death in the middle of Divinity’s Reach, and then deleting the character. And to add insult to injury, yes, the player is banned now. So “don’t be filmed while cheating” could be the lesson here, but we prefer to go with “don’t cheat.”

[Source: Forum thread; thanks to Siphaed for the tip]
Update 2015-05-08 10:28:47: No less than the BBC has picked up this story. “Hacker given in-game death sentence,” the Beeb says, putting this important issue into perspective for international news readers.
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189 Comments on "ArenaNet strips, kills, deletes, and bans Guild Wars 2 cheater"

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Champagon
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Champagon

I find this stuff absolutely hilarious. Wish more devs did this

decompiler
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decompiler

syberghost decompiler Ekphrasis ManastuUtakata  “Humiliation is also a tool of… parents” — As a parent, I’m going to take exception to that statement.

When I tell my daughter I’m disappointed in her for something, it elicits the desired response: she feels shame in a proportion that is appropriate to her transgression.  I want her to be ashamed of breaking the rules, but I’m not humiliating her.  Humiliation would be if I marched her into the town square and berated/flogged her in front of an audience.

Shame is a both logical and emotional human reaction that is predicated on our understanding of right and wrong.  Respect for the rules is the part that’s learned; once that’s understood, shame should be the natural response to transgression.
Humiliation, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with right and wrong.  Various forms of internet “shaming”, as an example, are for the most part really about false shame – making someone feel bad even though they’ve done nothing wrong.
(…well, so much for no semantics argument.  :D)
Anyway, regardless how how we choose to define humiliate and shame, I think many on this board agree that the actions of ArenaNet will not have the desired effect.  I don’t think this player feels an ounce of shame after what happened to them – look at how long they went on enjoying the game at the expense of their peers.  Like I said, the very existence of shame is predicated on one’s respect for the rules.

Deathage
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Deathage

This might be what is needed. My favorite childhood game was completely destroyed by botting, and it wasn’t due to the developer/GMs not trying. The problem is that when you simply delete an account/character, the botter has a low barrier to entry to create a new one if they simply botted to get everything they had. This is especially true for older games that have a cheap or free cost of entry.

The next step is for the developer to call the botter’s mother and tell them that their son/daughter has been a very naughty child. At least then we could expect the botter to receive a call talking about how disappointed the parents are and how they raised their child better than this. Growing up, shaming from public/family/close friends was one of the main ways that I really learned not to do some things. Unfortunately it takes a village sometimes.

syberghost
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syberghost

decompiler Ekphrasis syberghost ManastuUtakata Humiliation is also a tool of teachers, parents, and mentors. Humans don’t feel shame for genetic reasons, it’s a learned behavior.

Humiliation is the cause; shame is the effect.

Ekphrasis
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Ekphrasis

syberghost

Generally a ban is a private matter between the studio and the player – which is none of my business, doesn’t affect me and something I’d generally not have visibility of.

I can only point to one specific example I’m aware of in City of Heroes when a friend was temp-banned for using an exploit. Once. Unknowingly. And wouldn’t have even known it was an exploit had they not been temp-banned. They petitioned, it was investigated and reversed.

It happens.

Here’s a hypothetical scenario, a player just playing GW2 is highlighted in a report for using an exploit. They get banned, have their character deleted and a video is made of the process – like in this instance. They appeal, the decision is reversed and everything’s fine right? No.
They’ve already been branded as a cheater for everyone to see – even if it was an honest mistake. ArenaNet can’t take that back, nor the feeling of embarrassment for the player.

It’s unlikely, sure. I doubt ArenaNet would make a ban/delete video for every single player but what they’ve done is open the door to that scenario.

It’s like when you say something rude/nasty in the heat of the moment and realise it was a mistake. Sure, you can apologise but once it’s out – a simple ‘sorry’ doesn’t make it better.

Players should only have to focus on enjoying the game – not worry about the possible scenario I listed here in the back of their mind. 

My point still stands – this approach isn’t appropriate when you consider and acknowledge the impact to the broader community.

I’ll leave it there though, as we’re starting to go around in circles.

decompiler
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decompiler

Ekphrasis decompiler syberghost ManastuUtakata Ah yes, that’s the final piece (as far as I’m concerned).

Shame is the appropriate human response to knowing that one has done something wrong.

Humiliation is being made to feel shame.

Humiliation is a tool of torturers, sadists, and internet trolls.

Shame is a tool of your conscience, when that little voice is telling you that what you’re doing is wrong.

So, to restate the final thought of my above reply using this refreshed terminology – I’m not for this player being humiliated (forced to feel shame), I’m for them feeling ashamed of their actions (feeling shame of their own volition).

At least no semantics argument was necessary!  ;)

syberghost
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syberghost

Ekphrasis syberghost if you have evidence that they’ve done this to marginal cases, not to people with a clear and repeated pattern of abuse, then you have a point. Do you have such evidence?

If not, then fear that cheating will get you humiliated is a very, very good thing.

Ekphrasis
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Ekphrasis

syberghost 

I should have been more articulate – I meant for the people that have nothing to fear in the first place. Or those who may accidentally and unknowingly break the rules once.

Devs/mods have been known to be heavy handed on occasion when it wasn’t fully warranted. Should the community be fearful of being publicly humiliated and banned if they accidentally discover an exploit and a trigger happy dev/mod takes action?

This creates feelings of uneasiness / uncertainty in the community.

I don’t think creating that type of environment was the intent. 

Even if it does deterr a couple of cheaters it certainly isn’t worth it when you factor in the broader community impact as I’ve previously outlined. 

So, no – it isn’t working.
Not even close.

syberghost
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syberghost

Ekphrasis syberghost decompiler ManastuUtakata that “fear that it could happen to me” is the best possible outcome of this.

Means it’s working.

Ekphrasis
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Ekphrasis

syberghost Ekphrasis decompiler ManastuUtakata

I don’t disagree that it’s isn’t effective for a subset of the population.

However, a penalty in any situation will never be an effective deterrent for the entire population. For instance, Indonesia maintains a death penalty (by firing squad) for drug trafficking. Still, people will knowingly break the law.

Banning someone in an online game/forum is about punishment of the offender. 
A ban is a fit for purpose punishment by revoking their entitlement to play.
It’s also a potential deterrent to others who may consider breaking the rules in the future.

If people don’t feel guilty about that and continue committing the same ban-able offense, then the bans should continue.

There are broader implications to taking this path. Just look at this thread and the opinions contained in it – there’s fear that it ‘could happen to me’, objection to the video, those that see nothing wrong, strong advocates with their pitchforks and divisive debate.

I believe the video is not only ineffective as a deterrent but harms the community – as can be seen plainly here. If someone is banned for breaking the rules, the general response is ‘good’ and people get back to having fun. That’s not what has happened in this instance because of the measures ArenaNet has taken.

It’s not ArenaNet’s place to take it upon themselves to publicly humiliate anyone or try to enforce feelings of shame or remorse.

Nor is it ours.