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Black Desert has banned another batch of almost 600 speedhackers and botters

Good thing Black Desert kept that banhammer from the Hystria bans handy because it needed it again this week – in fact, it looks like it’s about to become a recurring party favor, as Kakao says it’s banned another 599 cheaters: 402 of them speedhacking, 197 of them botting.

“With the partial success of the ban wave last week, we’ve been able to streamline our processes to ensure we can gather and analyse data much faster to roll out more effective and more frequent waves. We’re still a long way from 100% but we’ve been able to catch a considerable number that evaded last weeks wave and we’ll continue to go after not only people that are actively using 3rd party software but also historic cheaters.”

If you’ve managed to be an upstanding player not subject to the bans, you may be interested in this week’s update, which adds NPC dating to the game, as well as our E3 interview with Pearl Abyss, in which we discuss the plausibility of a Switch port.

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SMITE says it’s banned or suspended 20,000 toxic players in season five alone

Toxic players, beware: Hi-Rez may not be talking to its Hand of the Gods players, but it’s cracking way down on SMITE miscreants. The studio apparently banned or suspended over 2000 people last week “based on player reports and in-game behavior,” just a fraction of the number punished this season alone.

“Over 20,000 players have been suspended or banned in SMITE during Season 5 so far. However, this latest action today represents a ramp-up in our suspension activities, especially on Xbox and PS4, where our tools and processes have improved the most. One of our top priorities is making sure the player experience is positive and fun, and we’ve done major work recently to help us handle in game toxicity. We’ve been working hard to improve our machine learning tools to better identify players that have shown trends of negative behavior, as well as ramp up the efforts of our internal team at Hi-Rez that checks player reports and chat logs.”

The company stresses that this is all past of its “initiative to promote positive player behavior and handle negativity in game,” with more on the way. It also requests that players keep the reports coming.

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Black Desert banned 647 cheaters over the last month, mostly fish botters, which is a thing

Thinking about cheating in Black Desert? Probably not; cheaters are hiding out in the bowels of the internet trading hacks with the other script kiddies. Our readers, then, will surely care that Kakao is apparently in the midst of another crackdown, as it’s announced it’s banned 647 cheaters over the last month.

Targeting specifically “the use of nefarious software that automates gameplay and gives people unfair advantages,” the company says, it is “following up the ban wave from December 13th with an additional wave of 647 accounts. As before, this wave primarily consists of fish bots, although other bots are also included.”

Fish botting just makes the whole thing sadder. “Hey so why’d you get banned from BDO?” “Oh, I was fish botting, and I wasn’t even good enough to get away with it.”

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Destiny 2 once again denies misidentifying cheaters in latest ban wave

When Destiny 2 launched on PC just two weeks ago, the cheater ban waves began. Players revolted, arguing that they hadn’t been cheating and indeed that they had only innocuous programs running on their machines. Bungie initially scoffed at the claims, diplomatically calling them “internet BS,” but then had to walk all that back following a deeper investigation, overturning an undisclosed number of bans of people banned in error. The end result? People don’t believe Bungie when Bungie says its bans are legit.

And now it’s happening again. As Kotaku reports, the Destiny 2 forums are overrun with banned players arguing they aren’t cheaters but instead are being flagged for unrelated third-party programs, like kernel debuggers and Visual Studio used in actual game development.

But Bungie is once again denying that its detection could be overzealous.

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Bungie now says it’s unbanning Destiny 2 players ‘banned in error’

Remember how yesterday Destiny 2’s community was all freaked out about account bans they believed were being caused by use of overlays from programs like OBS, XSPLIT, Fraps, Mumble, and Discord? And remember how Bungie’s PC project lead tweeted to call that “internet BS”?

Bungie followed that up with a statement clarifying that 400 PC players were indeed banned, but manually and not for overlay-related reasons, and that it had overturned four beta bans. Now the studio has walked back its initial statements even more.

“As part of our ban review process, we have identified a group of players who were banned in error. Those players have been unbanned. The bans were not related to the third-party applications listed above. We will continue to review the process we use to ensure a fun and fair game.”

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Bungie denies Destiny 2 community claims that third-party apps are triggering PC permabans [Updated]

We’ve updated with Bungie’s latest statement at the end of this post.

It’s a classic case of he said, she said: the MMO edition.

Following yesterday’s rollout of Destiny 2 on the PC, players have flocked to the official forums and Reddit in consternation. The issue? Apparently, some folks claim that the use of certain third-party apps has triggered account bans despite Bungie’s never having expressly forbidding the community from using such programs. Even worse, players who receive a permaban in this fashion cannot appeal their case to the studio.

Some of the alleged programs that are causing these issues include OBS, XSPLIT, Fraps, Mumble, Discord, MSI Afterburner, and EVGA Precision XOC.

Despite the rising outcry, Bungie denies that this is the case. “We do block programs from pushing their code into our game,” PC Project Lead David Shaw tweeted. “Most overlays work like that. We don’t ban for that tho. That’s internet BS.”

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds tops 2.3M concurrency, bans a fraction of that

Here’s a fun game that we play around the Massively OP office: A troublemaker will come in and loudly proclaim, “You know what’s a good game name? PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds!” Then it becomes a race to exit the building as fast as possible before flying projectiles from the staff make contact.

Dumb name or no, PUBG continues its meteoric climb in popularity. The battle royale shooter just reached a staggering 2.3 million concurrency, although these levels haven’t been achieved without a few (hundred thousand) bad eggs spoiling the batch. The studio claims that it has banned 322,000 accounts so far for cheating.

As the studio struggles to stay on top of this monster that it created, it also prepares for the holiday Xbox One release, the PC 1.0 launch, and the imminent addition of climbing and vaulting.

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Fortnite deals with cheat detection false positives, breaks half a million concurrent players

Cheating is bad in online games; we can all agree on that. Having anti-cheat software usually raises some questions back and forth, but the core idea of making sure that cheating is stopped swiftly at the root at least makes a fair amount of sense. Really, the only problem with it in the long term is if it mistakenly flags innocent accounts for immediate banning when they weren’t doing anything wrong. You know, like what seems to be happening to Fortnite players recently.

The studio quickly identified the issue and is working to both fix the problem and correct the automated cheat bans for players unfairly barred from the game; the bug appears to be caused by shooting whilst on a swingset, and players hit by this false positive should no longer be getting fully banned. Still, it takes some time to reverse bans, and it’s hard to argue that this makes the anti-cheat software look good. Unless you think swingsets are inherently evil, we suppose. So that’s a mixed result when the game cracks down hard on cheating, perhaps.

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Overwatch deals with ‘ban bug,’ publishes Zarya comic

Here is a fun bug indeed: Overwatch has a glitch that’s been accidentally slinging seasonal bans at players who did not deserve them. It’s not a particularly widespread issue, having only impacted about 200 accounts, but it has concerned Blizzard and stirred the team to resolve it and restore affected players to their glory.

“We recently identified a bug that, in extremely rare cases, can cause players to lose their skill rating progress and receive a seasonal ban from competitive play without any prior penalties for leaving early or being kicked for inactivity,” Game Director Jeff Kaplan posted in the forums. “This bug is a high priority for our team, and we’re working on a fix to prevent further instances of it occurring as we speak. In the meantime, we’ll be removing the seasonal ban for all players affected by this bug as well as restoring their skill rating.”

On a happier note, Blizzard published a new 12-page comic starring everyone’s favorite Russian heavy hitter, Zarya. Keep your eyes open; another Overwatch hero or two might be popping in to say hi during this one.

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Overwatch: Fan designs an awesome Thai character, competitive bans start soon

Overwatch’s next great character isn’t a product of Blizzard’s labs at all but the imagination of a masters student who whipped up a Thai hero named Tara as part of a school project. The result is a 40-page document with concept art and design specs for the hero, her abilities, her outfits, her weapons, and even a Thailand-themed map called Arun Town.

“I created a female character as a support hero,” the student posted on the forums. “Her name is Tara (meaning ‘water’ in Thai). The character’s theme is a fish, a Siamese fighting fish to be specific, and a plaited bamboo fish which is a local product in Thailand.”

In response, Game Director Jeff Kaplan said that the project was “amazing!”

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EVE Evolved: How much toxic, antisocial behaviour should MMOs tolerate?

The EVE Online community is aflame this week after alliance leader gigX was permanently banned for making threats of real-life violence against another player following possibly the biggest betrayal in EVE history. Some players don’t want to accept that gigX crossed a serious line and deserves his ban, and others have been asking why The Mittani’s similar actions in 2012 resulted in only a temporary ban. CCP’s official stance is that its policies have become stricter since 2012, but it’s still not entirely clear exactly where the line is drawn.

Another side to the debate is that the internet itself has evolved over EVE‘s 14-year lifespan, and a lot of toxic behaviour that was accepted or commonly overlooked on the early internet is now considered totally unacceptable. Many of us have grown from a bunch of anonymous actors playing roles in fantasy game worlds to real people sharing our lives and an online hobby with each other, and antisocial behaviour is an issue that all online games now need to take seriously. The lawless wild west of EVE‘s early years is gone, and I don’t think it’s ever coming back.

So what’s the deal? Does EVE Online tolerate less toxic behaviour today, has the internet started to outgrow its lawless roots, and what does it mean for the future of sandboxes?

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EVE Online political betrayal results in record-breaking theft

The EVE Online twitterverse exploded late last night with the news of a political twist so enormous that it’s become the largest recorded theft of in-game assets in the game’s history. In the middle of the night and without warning, major EVE military alliance Circle of Two (or CO2 for short) was betrayed by its diplomatic officer, a player with the ominous name of The Judge. In addition to cleaning out the alliance war funds and assets to the tune of over a trillion ISK, The Judge also transferred ownership of CO2’s 300 billion ISK keepstar citadel in its capital star system of 68FT-6 to a holding corporation, effectively stealing the alliance’s home space station.

News of The Judge’s betrayal trickled out of EVE all through the night, and it wasn’t long before the full extent of the incident was known. The 68FT-6 keepstar was sold to enemy alliance Goonswarm Federation, while CO2’s smaller citadels throughout Impass are now in the hands of TEST Alliance. The theft combined with the value of the citadels is estimated at over 1.5 trillion ISK, easily beating the 2011 trillion ISK Phaser Inc scam to become the highest-value theft in EVE‘s history. The actual damage done is even more extensive, injecting a huge dose of chaos into CO2 alliance and throwing fuel on the fire of the southern war.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of last night’s record-breaking theft, the reasons behind the betrayal, and the political situation that led us here.

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