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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The Elder Scrolls Online recaps the big events of E3 while players get hit with surprise bans

If you’re fond of The Elder Scrolls Online and have managed to tear yourself away from Morrowind for a few minutes, you probably already caught up on the game’s big announcements at this year’s E3. But there was more stuff going on this year than just that, and the game’s team has helpfully recapped the big events for players unable to attend, including the community meetup and the game’s presence at the Bethesda booth.

Of course, it’s easy to step away from the game if you’re unexpectedly banned, isn’t it? Players who preordered the game through Amazon seem to be having some issues, getting banned despite being players in good standing. Players who ordered physical copies of the game are still waiting on delivery of same, which seems to be the cause behind the unintentional bans. The community service team has been working with affected players as best they are able, but it’s still a bit of a kick for players who have done nothing meriting the banning. So… here’s hoping that if you are looking forward to the game’s next updates, you didn’t order through Amazon.

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Legendary pokemon are teased for Pokemon Go as a new anti-cheat measure auto-bans bots

Remember how last summer was all about Pokémon Go? That’s probably not going to happen again this year, but the team behind the game at Niantic is certainly hoping for something similar with the promise that the summer will be legendary. That certainly alludes to a bunch of legendary Pokémon wandering the world, so if you’ve long been hoping for a Zapdos you could name “Captain Zappywing,” you might be closer than you thought.

Of course, all of that is only if you’re playing the game legitimately. A new anti-cheat measure is being deployed against botting accounts, and rather than bans, it seems to be flagging accounts in a far more insidious manner. The flagged accounts can still play the game… but all they see are common Pokémon, rather than any of the rarer or more desirable ones. The community on Reddit has worked overtime in analyzing the bans and found very few false positives, making it a welcome boon to those playing the game legitimately.


Black Desert GM punishes a player with a writing assignment

The hard part about being a GM has to be when you’re dealing with a certain brand of player. You know the sort; they’re the ones making other people’s time in the game worse just for giggles. How do you actually punish players who just want to sow chaos and don’t care about the consequences? An enterprising GM for Black Desert tried out a novel technique by banning a reported toxic player… unless said player wrote a 501-word essay.

Of course, there’s more to the story, as it turns out the player in question was reported for being a jerk to roleplayers, and the ban announcement by the GM in question was clearly leaning pretty hard on the “roleplaying” button. The player in question did write as requested and avoided the ban, although it’s not exactly a timeless masterpiece of literature (you can see it in the Reddit thread if you want). Whether or not this was actually effective is up for debate, but we can’t help but think that it was therapeutic for the GM, at the very least. (And as a bonus, there’s always the slim chance that one of us will have to deal with this sort of ban, which will mean we get out of jail for free!)

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Kakao permabans Black Desert shovel exploiters

This past weekend, Black Desert devs disabled some unusual items in the game: shovels and empty bottles. It turned out that exploiters had been using the items to take advantage of an infinite gathering bug that allowed them to rack up an alleged 20 billion in coin apiece over the course of the last few months, potentially wrecking the economy.

Today, Kakao has announced that those who abused the bug have been banned:

“We previously informed you of our investigation and necessary actions to stop the potential abuse of an exploit in BDO. Unfortunately some Players would sacrifice the enjoyment of others for advancement at any cost. The use of exploits to gain an unfair advantage over other Players is an egregious violation of our Terms of Use. As such these Users have been permanently removed from the game. We wish to make our stance clear regarding this type of behavior; it will not be tolerated. During our investigation some restrictions were placed on the functionality of specific in-game items over the past few days. Actions of this nature, while inconvenient are rare and done for good reason, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

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Pokémon Go lifts the ban on some third-party map app users

Pokémon Go has a word of warning for those players using third-party map applications: Stop or you could be banned. Niantic said that even if players didn’t realize what they were doing was against the terms of service, these apps “can have an effect similar to DDoS attacks” on the game’s servers.

The good news is that for banned players who used these apps without realizing their impact, Niantic is lifting the punishment… for now. However, the studio said that it will continue to be vigilant in putting an end to the use of these add-on maps: “Our main priority is to provide a fair, fun, and legitimate experience for all players, so aggressive banning will continue to occur for players who engage in these kinds of activities.”

Source: Pokemon Go. Thanks Nordavind!


Final Fantasy XIV bans more than 6,000 accounts for RMT

Making money in Final Fantasy XIV isn’t necessarily easy. You have to play the free market quite a bit to acquire large amounts of gil, and you can sometimes make mistakes or bad decisions. Or you can make a really bad decision and just buy gil, in which case you can get caught in another wave of bans. Case in point, the game has banned more than 6,000 accounts for RMT advertisement or participation. So if you bought gil, you saved yourself several days farming it, and then you saved yourself from ever playing the game again for any reason.

As always, players who discover or confirm cheats or exploits are asked to report the problem promptly and avoid being associated in any way with RMT or other forms of cheating. This is the latest in a series of bannings targeting players who violate the game’s terms of service, so your best bet is probably to just avoid buying gil altogether. It just doesn’t work out in your favor.


World of Warcraft is introducing a silence penalty with the Legion prepatch

Hello, trade chat, my old friend; I’m turning you back on again. Because the team on World of Warcraft has addressed your issues at last, so the players who were filling you with spam will not be banned, but will make sounds of silence.

The new silence penalty is being rolled out with the game’s pre-patch for Legion and will hopefully provide a useful midpoint between banning players and simply silencing those who others find continually offensive. When a player is reported for offensive behavior in chat and the report holds up under review, a silence penalty will be implemented, preventing the player from inviting others to groups, talking in general channels, or sending mail to other players.

At first implementation, the silence penalty will last for 24 hours. Each subsequent silence penalty will double, with no upward limit. Your 10th silence penalty would last for about 512 days, or just about a year and a half. So for players who just can’t stop dropping ethnic slurs in chat, there’s a means to get them to hush up. No word on whether Simon & Garfunkel play if someone under the penalty attempts to use a forbidden chat, but we can certainly hope so.

Source: Official Site. Thanks, ThreeSpeed.


The Division subtracts 30,000 cheaters from its playerbase

Cheaters are not wanted in The Division. They’re not wanted in any game, really, but Ubisoft is taking a harder line against cheaters by taking action against 30,000 accounts. This action led to 3,800 permanent bans and many more temporary suspensions, ensuring that anyone caught as a cheater is going to be just a bit more cautious before trying the same thing again.

But the action doesn’t stop there; Ubisoft is preventing recidivism by keeping players from getting a second chance in the first place. Moving forward, players who get caught using cheat engines can say hello to a shiny new permanent ban for a first offense. It’s unclear how a second offense would take place, at that point, but you probably don’t want to know how hard the company would come down on you. In short, don’t cheat.


Overwatch racks up 7M players, bans 1500 of them

It’s been a little over a week since Overwatch launched, and in that short time Blizzard’s new team shooter has become a bonafide success in the market.

As of yesterday, Overwatch passed its seven millionth player, which represents a lot of revenue for the buy-to-play game. Need some more big numbers before you’ll be impressed? To date, Overwatch players have collectively clocked 119 million hours in the live game and swapped heroes 326 million times.

A small handful of those players won’t be seen in the game any more, however. Over 1,500 Chinese accounts have been permanently banned due to cheating. This is the first wave of bans, with Blizzard obviously sending a message to any players out there who might consider using a hack to gain a competitive advantage.

Curious what the Overwatch experience is like? Read our launch impressions of the super-powered shooter!

Source: Business Wire, Daily Dot. Thanks Khalith and Pepperzine for the tip!


Flameseeker Chronicles: Why wave-ban Guild Wars 2 cheaters?

Last week, our very own Bree Royce summed up a response given by ArenaNet’s Chris Cleary to a self-confessed hacker on the game’s subreddit who asked why he had not been banned for his actions. A list of offences was given in the post, and the indignant OP explained that the purpose of this bout of ill-advised honesty was to shame the company into taking swifter and more decisive action against cheaters. Guild Wars 2 Game Security Lead Cleary’s response to the hacker — who used the name MegaWormHole — received as many harsh words as the hacker himself, so I thought I should weigh in on the issue and discuss my views on how ArenaNet handles hacking (and cheating in general for that matter).

Cheating detection is a whopper of an issue for MMO developers to handle, especially since both fairness and equality of resource access are crucial in successfully managing massive online communities. Having said that, if an anti-hacking system is too rigorous, false positives can occur and honest players then suffer for those who decide to cheat. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll break down Cleary’s response to this hacking admission while discussing batch banning and how adequately this deals with cheating in GW2. 

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Tree of Savior names and shames banned bots and goldsellers

We have a deeply personal question for you: Are you a bot? Because if so, you might be banned from Tree of Savior right now. This is also true if you’re a gold seller or if you’re a human being using a bot for all of the helpful services a bot can provide. (Like, well, getting your account banned for botting.) Since banning over 3000 cheaters last week, IMC has been posting its list of bans — with names — every single day: 372 on April 21st, 113 on the 22nd, 217 on the 23rd, 206 on the 24th, 230 on the 25th, and 857 yesterday — just under 2000 since the weekend.

Players who have been wrongfully banned should contact the game’s support team for further investigation. Perhaps “qqddaad” was the closest you could get to naming yourself “Sad Dad,” or “nvb” is your longstanding nickname because you’re on the smaller side and it stands for “not very big.” And maybe “sdfgsdfgs” is… um… well, maybe you think it’s cool. If your “name” isn’t in the list, however, you can just enjoy logging into the game with fewer bots or goldsellers.

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