Faulty Heuristics Strike Again With Bans And Suspensions On 22nd

PWE has handed out a sizeable amount of bans and suspensions on 22nd in a second publicly announced wave. The first happened on October, 30th. Only days after we wicked up a Reddit post in our Community Watch about a user claiming he got innocently hit by a 3-day ban, this seems to be another prime example of faulty heuristics. Reports from players that claim to have done nothing wrong rapidly spread all over the message boards. The reason seems to be an exploit that forced PWE to bring down the Parcels at the first day of the Winter Festival, but as always leaves players guessing what specifically they’ve done wrong.

This is especially unfortunate as the ban wave hits hours before the holidays, in which response times from support could be higher than usual. This approach is unacceptable and we contacted members of the community team and support to urge PWE to use manual account investigation before handing out bans! You rather let 100 exploiters get away than ban one innocent, but PWE continues to hand out bans first and let the support sort out the mess later.

If you got hit, there is a decent chance a suspension won’t be lifted although it might be unwarranted. You could be forced to sit out a temporary ban anyway. A good hint is to contact support with the clear message that you don’t want to know the reason of the ban, but a manual account investigation and that they should forward your request instantly. This might avoid the first standard response that will only state ban reason and duration and won’t help you. You also need to attach a few account details so that support can verify your the legitimate account holder. That’s standard procedure and not sending this information will just lead to requesting it. Here’s how an email could look like:

Example Support Request
PWE registered Account Name:
PWE registered Nickname:
PWE registered Full Name (First, Last):
PWE registered Account’s Registered Email Address:
PWE registered Date of Birth:
PWE registered Country:
PWE registered IP address: (if you don’t know this, just send what https://api.ipify.org/ shows you)

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’ve been hit with a ban/suspension yesterday, but am among those that wrongly got hit because of a misinterpretation of the underlying data. Please instantly launch a manual account investigation and get back to me as soon as possible. Do not reply with a standard response that states the ban duration and reason, just forward my request to someone who can properly deal with it.

Thanks in advance!

We’re feeling for everyone that got hit yesterday and did nothing wrong.

*** UPDATE (12/23) *** Asterdahl and yetweallfalldown commented on the issue and admitted the bans indeed were based on faulty data. The devs were tackling a gameplay exploit that occurred on the first day of the Winter Festival and allowed some players to claim way more Parcels than intended, enabling them to flood the market with the companions that drop from them. So they searched for players that had opened a large quantity of Parcels assuming that those have to be exploiters, but didn’t anticipate that players with a large quantity of ALTs could easily reach 100s of Parcels legitimately by now.

This seems a comical error, but it fits shaky data-based approaches used in earlier ban waves that also saw innocent being hit, albeit not in the quantity of yesterday. Asterdahl stated the bans were not automatic and just had ‘false positives’, so either the team processing the ban wave had no clue about how much Parcels can be generated on accounts or didn’t look up on which day the Parcels were opened. Anyway, we are glad the situation was resolved for most, accounts should be released now.

However, the data used to identify violators had a number of false positives, hence some players were very unfortunately levied with a temporary ban when they should not have been. Asterdahl
People were wrongfully banned because they had opened what was dictated as a large quantity of parcels. I have reiterated to our team that there are scenarios where people had a large amount of characters and were able to open that quantity of parcels.yetweallfalldown
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3 thoughts on “Faulty Heuristics Strike Again With Bans And Suspensions On 22nd

  • Avatar
    December 23, 2015 at 9:45 pm
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    Thanks for the support ticket help out.

    It seems that they addressed the issue pretty fast this time round. I was among the ones got misunderstandingly suspended but was cleared now. I urge those who are having problems still to file a ticket asap as stated above 🙂 Merry Christmas all!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    December 23, 2015 at 2:24 pm
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    I would say that praying on 50 chars is not what Cryptic had in mind when they created this game. Therefor its a design flaw and exploiting such a flaw with or without a bot could been sen as breaking the TOS agreement. BUT I do not think thats the case here. I think they banning players who has 20+ toons and were collecting the Winter Festival boxes every day. Thats basically the same thing as praying, its a design flaw but a bit more serious than praying since you can get companions and artifacts that cost millions of AD.
    “l. using or exploiting any bugs, errors, or design flaws to obtain unauthorized access to the Service or to gain an unfair advantage over other players;”
    But maybe still not that serious in the players eyes and thats why its widely accepted by the playerbase and thats why people are angry and do not even understand why they got a ban. Question is if Cryptic will change their mind about it and let it go or not. I think maybe not since they knew from the start how many would get banned and they still banned them. But who knows, maybe the christmas spirit will change their mind and unban them.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      December 28, 2015 at 4:38 am
      Permalink

      is that you zebular with another nick?

      Reply

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