Guild Wars 2’s legendary upgrade feature accidentally joins weekly patch as new RMT griefing trick emerges

    
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If, like our staff, you looked at yesterday’s Guild Wars 2 patch notes and thought it was a “filler patch” with just a handful of bug and balance tweaks and some new Halloween bits in the cash shop, well, that’s because the biggest and best change wasn’t in the patch notes at all. That’d be the legendary weapon upgrade-swapping feature, and it wasn’t supposed to go live, but it did! As explained in a separate post by ArenaNet’s Gaile Gray,

“You may have noticed a new feature came out today. You can now swap upgrades in legendary weapons for free! If you were wondering why it wasn’t accompanied by the usual fanfare for such a highly-requested update, that’s because it slipped out early. It wasn’t intended to go out until the next release, but since it’s out there now, enjoy!”

So that’s the good news. The bad news in the community right now is the mess ArenaNet’s making of RMT bans. MMO vets surely remember the old Warframe griefing trick whereby innocent players were being caught up in goldseller trades unknowingly; we covered it back in June. In Guild Wars 2, the sellers aren’t laundering gold through the legit market; they’re just being used as a direct griefing weapon.

Apparently, it’s possible to pay an RMT service to direct money to somebody else’s account; then, when the money is accepted, the victim will be ensnared in ArenaNet’s RMT trap. One such player posted the support email chiding him for receiving RMT items he didn’t actually buy (it does appear he was only temporarily banned threatened with a ban, but the scolding the support person gave him – the victim! – is breathtaking). Best thing you can do, we suppose, is never open mail, ever.

Source: Official forums. Cheers, Tanek!
Update 11/1 AM
ArenaNet has directed us to the fresh update to its RMT FAQ, which emphasizes what to do if you’re affected by an RMT griefer and contradicts previous support emails to players that suggested the target account would be held accountable.

“When the Support Team detects that RMT gold has been sent to an account, their goal is to remove the wealth and items while ensuring that the account is protected against misuse or tampering,” says the studio. “If you suspect you’ve received items or gold from a gold seller or RMT account, the best action is to report the message, return it if it still contains the items, and contact support if you are concerned that further action may be taken. We will work with you to secure your account and track the items back to the RMT account(s).”

As we noted yesterday, the player bringing all this to light on Reddit did accept the money at first, not realizing it was coming from a goldseller paid off by a griefer, before returning it and explaining the whole thing to ArenaNet, which is presumably why support didn’t permaban him. Other victims say they have not been so lucky. That does appear to be the way ArenaNet prefers it be handled: turn yourself in and hope the support people who get your case believe you.

As multiple people on the official forums have pointed out, the new additions to the FAQ do not technically promise that players will not suffer consequences of being targeted by these types of griefers, nor is there truly any way to tell whether mails to your account are coming from RMT vendors; for example, anyone working in the gate economy is going to be sent lots of tips from strangers. It also does not address claims on Reddit that bans are being issued to accounts before RMT emails have even been opened, nor does it address the playerbase’s call for more stringent mail controls.

Update 11/1 PM
Twitter user @Das_TAKu pointed out to us that the original player posted an update on Reddit, including the apology from the lead customer service rep. Nicely done, ArenaNet.

Lead GM apologized in "200g RMT trick"-case and restored the lost 200g from Guildwars2

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Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Here’s an update from Gaile regarding the RMT Scandal.

https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/59323/about-our-policy-on-rmt

Reading more into this it appears this is way less of an issue than it needs to be.

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Barnoc N'Draak

The following quote seems to be what people want to hear, but I think arenanet is trying to avoid giving those who might be tempted to try RMT cover.

If the account is directly linked to RMT—by way of evidence that amounts to more than just receiving items—it may be subject to further account action.

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Northerner

OP of this whole RMT scam thread answered in this post https://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/9sxn5y/support_replied_to_200g_stranger_who_tried_to_ban/e8s5n7u/ that he actually clicked ‘accept’ on the gold in the mail sent to him.

People are hysterical and calling for a ‘Report’ option on scam messages. There already is such a report-option in the GW2 mails.

And in the OP’s screenshot of the mail he sends back, why does the recipient have a different display name than the one he asks the question of?
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Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Looks like I’ll be making more room for other titles, I find it disturbing as some one that has bought a lot of outfits, a few armor sets, bag slots, character slots, a few lvl 80 boosts, 3 Mount Pavks, and roughly 20 mounts from the first Adoption License. I’ve got an investment to protect and the fact that support would ban you over such substandard reasons, such frivolous reasons makes me want to avoid this place like the plague now because that tells me ANet has no respect for people that have spent a ton of money on their Gem Store.

I can not trust a company that would do this.

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Emmanuel Carabott

so let me get this straight, what you’re saying is you invested heavily in your account and because you cant bare to loose everything in the off chance a couple of people decide they want to get you banned and try to frame you for RMT and succeed you’re going to leave yourself essentially making it 100% sure you do loose everything?

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Well when you put it that way I guess that’s pretty stupid. I’d just woken up (I work nights) pretty easy for me to get triggered before I have my coffee. After reading what I wrote I kind of made an ass out of my self, been trying to avoid that lately after I left my old self behind.

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Emmanuel Carabott

Nahh, I wouldnt say its stupid, more like an over reaction. Its fair to feel anger over this and ask for anet to take action to protect innocent players who might be targeted by a malicious 3rd party. especially since people brought up this concern before and back then anet decided to ignore it at least publicly. Was just pointing out that making sure the outcome you’re afraid of happens might not be the right move here. Demanding Anet address this loophole is the way to go at least in my opinion.

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Dylan Field

The biggest issue, and the reason this is actually receiving the backlash from the community that it is, is that you DON’T have to open the in game mail in order to get banned for the RMT. Even if you immediately hit return to sender on the gold that was sent to you, it still flags you and gets you banned (though bans are progressive, equaling 4 hours for a first offense, 8 for a second, etc.).

In the case of the GW2 player who posted their trials on reddit most recently, they received the gold while they were asleep, never opened it, and the ban itself still occurred (And being a 4 hour ban was already over) before they ever tried to log on for the day. When they did log on to the game they saw the mail and returned to sender, then went to the forums only to JUST THEN finally find out by a warning in their mailbox that they had been banned for RMT.

The real solution here is to adjust the way they handle it two-fold. 1) Do not ban unless the player actually accepts the contents of the mail, and 2) Give players an option in their mail settings to automatically return to sender any items/gold from other players (and maybe a second option to receive from friends only. Personally I would want only the first, some of my friends are the kind of a-holes who would prank ban you as a joke).

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Emmanuel Carabott

That wouldnt work in my opinion. Most people who see a 200g mail will not think “ohh someone is trying to frame me, I better send it back” They’ll think “hurray someone made a typo when sending 200g to a friend and I won the lottery”

Also recieve from friends only isnt an issue unless one of your friends also happens to be a Real money trader themselves.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I will now, now I don’t even want to play this game or give them money after reading about this.

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Riccardo Tavano

Well, if you accept a mail from the trustworthy player “asjkhpdha.4457”, because bots never have account or character names with a sense, thinking that it was a mail sent by mistake you deserve every last second of that ban because you’re stupid af .

And anyway even if it was a stolen account, accepting money from someone you had literally zero contacts every is still pretty dumb. RMT has been a thing in every single MMO out there from years and years.

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Emmanuel Carabott

you’re right in that bots dont have meaningful names but mules likely will. Dont forget its in the gold sellers best interest the transaction doesnt get flagged and it doesnt make sense to comprise that just for the sake of not spending 5 seconds to pick a good name if they pick the name at all since the mule account can just be a hacked account too.

Case in point if you look the screenshot the person who had this happen to supplied it includes the character name and the account name of who send them the gold and it looks 100% legitimate, 0 reason to think its a bot.

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Arktouros

Whole thing seems pretty simple to me. The bulk of the recrimination should fall on the account who is sending any potential RMT items not on those receiving it. Instead for the people on the receiving end those resources should simply disappear. That means if you accept gold in the mail from a random stranger be aware that it may suddenly disappear with a note that it was removed due to it’s RMT source. This means if a mysterious stranger decides to send you 200g one day maybe don’t go on a big shopping spree as anything bought with it could equally find itself missing or simply gold removed from your account.

Things really don’t have to be that hard.

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Emmanuel Carabott

in most cases RMT accounts are hacked, gold sellers dont care if they get closed or not hence closing them will not deter anyone.

Besides I’d imagine people buying gold are already well aware that the gold they bought might disappear not just because Anet takes it but because the gold seller might not honor the deal in the first place. Simply speaking its a risk they’re willing to take hence it wouldnt really be a repercussion if arenanet simply took that gold and did nothing else.

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Barnoc N'Draak

I guess that depends on whether or not you view the goal of enforcement as being to protect the economy or to make sure that the guilty are punished.

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Emmanuel Carabott

Its both. We need to keep in mind that there is no crystal ball that says this account is sending gold because it belongs to a gold seller. A lot of the gold that is sold has to fall between the cracks else people would not engage in the practice if they’re caught 100% of the time.

Because of this the best way to protect the economy is not by taking away gold that was sold illicitly because if you limit yourself to that you’ll only be addressing a fraction of all the gold thats sold. You have to make sure buyers know there are consequence that are serious enough that its just not worthed.

Even by taking these two approaches together no game is 100% successful imagine limiting themselves to just one practice!

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Barnoc N'Draak

To be honest, I’m a little surprised that this is even a problem in gw2. I had thought microtransactions had sucked all the oxygen out of this issue since you CAN buy gold with money, and do it risk free.

https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/mike-obrien-on-microtransactions-in-guild-wars-2/

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Emmanuel Carabott

I dont understand it either, from a little research, from what I can see you can buy 100g for $3.50 from RMT traders. you can buy 100g in game compelely legally with no risk of being banned or losing your money for $6.25. So they’re taking this risk just to save a little more then 40%

And thats the cheapest I found btw, prices went up to even $4.10 for 100g so seems people are willing to risk it even for a 30% saving.

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rafael12104

Hmm… So, I think I ran out of cheese for the hamsters in my head. But, isn’t it possible for someone to use RMT to get someone else in trouble in almost any game that cares to police it?

I don’t see this as being specific to GW2 as the RMT will send the gold or goods to whatever character and server once it is paid. Am I wrong on that?

Maybe I don’t understand the delivery methods but it seems to be the RMT won’t care where the “goods” go once they are paid. And yeah, you could frame someone IF game security looks for RMT mails etc.

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Dwarf-Orc

Pretty much exactly. They can’t know who bought the gold because it happens outside of the game. All they can know is who received it. You technically don’t even need to have a game account in order to grief someone, you just have to know their character name.

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Schmidt.Capela

Of note, this isn’t exactly new; gold sellers and other people who benefit from breaking a game’s TOS often gift part of their ill-gotten gains to unsuspecting innocent players as a way to sic moderators on those victims and cause outrage against the game enforcing its TOS. I’ve seen people sharing hints about how to do it on cheating forums since a long time ago.

This is also why zero tolerance policies are borderline suicidal for MMOs; such polices make it easy to use the game’s own moderation as a way to attack players you dislike.

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TomTurtle

I was hoping for an exploit fix for one of the Halloween activities, but sadly not. It’s actually ruined my desire to log in and enjoy the holiday. Maybe it’ll be fixed next year.

As with all of these customer support issues, I don’t know the truth of things. If true, ArenaNet ought to do better by this person.

And of course, as usual, lots of people eating up any drama they can get over on Reddit. Either they get an ArenaNet response and enjoy the so-called “smackdown” or they at least get some fuel for the fire against ArenaNet. Reddit: Where civil discourse goes to die.

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Emmanuel Carabott

I dont know why people are targeting support on this, they’re not the issue here. Support are only doing their job. The only thing they can verify is that an account knowing to have engaged in RMT sent someone gold. They have no way of knowing if the target account owner is the one who initiated the sale or if they’re the victim of griefing.

What this needs isnt more understanding GM’s but rather a system change. Arenanet should simply change mail to disallow people sending gold or items to each other unless they’re in each other’s friend list. Thats the only solution I think of to solve this. Now I get it there are some practices like tipping people who help you with jumping puzzles and such and I guess that can be kept by allowing people to send each other up to 2g per week if they’re not in each other friendlist.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

New? Hardly. That’s why there’s an outcry. ANet is perfectly aware that their practices are faulty yet they’ve persisted.