Reddit is aflame over the ban of a popular bug-exposing YouTuber from ARK Survival Evolved


Since this article’s publication, Wildcard has walked back the ban. We’ve updated with the whole story at the very end.

Not quite a year ago, I wrote a piece about a greyhat hacker who, fed up with Nintendo’s lax action on cheaters in Splatoon 2, took matters into his own hands and hacked the game’s leaderboards with a demand that Nintendo ban the exploiters actively ruining the game. Instead, Nintendo banned him and made him a martyr for the playerbase since so many outlets covered the tale.

A similar story is unfolding right now in the world of ARK Survival Evolved. YouTuber and ARK content creator H.O.D Gaming posted a video exposing multiple years-old ARK bugs on an unofficial, offline server – many of which you’re no doubt familiar with if you follow our own Survivalist column. You can guess what’s coming next: Instead of thanking the YouTuber and fixing the exploits, Studio Wildcard allegedly globally banned him. And yes, the ARK Reddit has his back – here’s just one thread demanding #JusticeForHOD. The thread on /r/gaming itself has over 20,000 ups as I type this.

Wildcard has yet to address the mess, but we’ll update as soon as it does. It’s a bit of a bummer since the studio just yesterday announced classic PvP servers (yes, a game that left early access for launch just a year and a half ago is doing classic servers).

Want more stories on video game company retaliation in recent years? Sadly, there are several:

Source: Gaming Reddit, ARK Reddit. Thanks, Guy and mattgamer!
As of this afternoon, Wildcard has changed its mind on the ban. “When things land in the gray area, our first instinct is to do whatever is in our power to prevent abuse,” the studio wrote. “Upon further review of the situation involving H.O.D Gaming, we felt that it was not deserving of a permanent ban. Videos showing exploit techniques are admittedly a gray area when it comes to enforcement, which is just one of the reasons why the appeal process exists for bans.” The company also urges players to use “established methods for escalating exploits to the development team,” though given how old some of these bugs are, we assume he means going forward.
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