The Rant Files: What Have We Learned From May 12th #Fredricksonbangate?

A little over two weeks ago the devs carried out an infamous ban wave that saw many innocents got hit in the process. After ensuing days of rage, shitstorm, mods vs. community and community vs. community, PWE did officially close the case with the Driftwood Tavern #4 stream. So we’ll also wrap up the incident today, but since they did not answer player concerns in a satisfying fashion, we are going to do it with a good old rant!

They messed up!

I guess we all know what happened: They found some criteria that indicated botting, banned a bunch of accounts and realized that in the end some of it might actually have been done manually. While there is not a public announcement that acknowledges any error, it’s a fact. Support started to send out compensations last week to some players “for the error they made”.

As compensation for the ban that we issued to your account on May 12th for botting, and our delay in releasing your account, we have decided to credit your account with 14 days of VIP time (your VIP rank will remain unchanged). We believe this is fair compensation for the error that we made.CS Response

If this somehow still doesn’t convince you, just look at these three guilty faces on the live stream while Julia struggles to explain, well, anything. The only thing that’s really missing here is Julia closing by saying “mistakes” instead of “behaviors”. She went as far as she could without actually admitting an error. This is not a confident statement of someone who is convinced to have done nothing wrong. It’s not in the clip, but I especially liked how she tried to reason with other games doing this shit the same way. Does that automatically mean Cryptic/PWE shouldn’t do any better?

Somebody needs to grow some balls

This make it as much more irritating that the official announcement still speaks of player being released on probation. I mean, could we please not become the White House of the gaming industry? Otherwise I might be inclined to rename Julia to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Instead of grabbing your players by the pussy, somebody on the corporate level needs to grow some balls. It’s not hard to make mistakes, but to go out and admit it takes courage. I get you can say that support delivered an apology, but that’s not enough. The issue with the statement is that it puts the burden of proof on the players. But if the evidence was not conclusive enough to maintain a ban, than players are by definition innocent. Hence it should be worded as such.

I do by the way believe that despite the lack of success in terms of getting clarity and transparency from the devs, they absolutely do not want this to happen again. It was a disaster for everyone involved, community, mods, devs. We might not have something to show for our efforts immediately, but it’s still good to keep the pressure up in case something like this happens.

Friday bans, really smart…

The mods said not banning on a Friday was one of the main points they bugged Julia with and this can’t be understated. Although the motives are unknown, it’s simply the worst day to carry out the bans. Users can’t reach support over the weekend and since they will bring their rage to the message board, all the pressure is on the mods to clean up the mess. The relationship between community and mods is already bad and this certainly does not help. Plus you can’t insist on constructive feedback in such a situation, that’s silly. It’s like driving over people and then expect them to stay calm. You fucked up? Suck up a few hits yourself!

I admit the community has to learn not to overreact, and I happily include myself here, but it’s so easy to say when all the emotions are on the other side of the argument. The way this whole process has been handled did not actually weather the storm, quite the opposite actually.

Relax on the rules just a little bit

One very valid issue in that regard also remains the restrictive rule set of the official message board. It’s simply impossible for users to get any kind of help there. Ok so support members are the only ones able to deal with those bans, but why can’t the forum help guiding users through properly dealing with them? There’s so much focus on deleting posts and really aggressively protecting the rules, and so little on helping out. This adds to the perception that there’s no assumption of innocence, and controversial topics are better not discussed publicly.

Granted, they did allow a feedback thread. That absolutely shouldn’t go unnoticed. That one however was also plagued by many deletions and mods coming in giving their best impression of Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf. Not only did that add unnecessary fuel to the fire, provoked inflammatory comments towards obvious ignorant statements, and with that passively contributed to derailing the thread, it also makes them look like idiots now that we know more. Welp, I guess that backfired, didn’t it?

Should we call this #Fredricksonbangate?

As much as Julia tried to make this a corporate decision, it’s really not. This will always be connected to the individuals related to it: Mods, PWE, Cryptic, devs. And since the Community Manager was the public face of the fuck-up, why not call this one #Fredricksonbangate? I know it’s not right, but who cares if the company acts deliberately dense. Not shooting the messenger only really works if you have a chance to get to the decision maker, which is not the case here. There’s no place players can bring their frustration to, or even understand what was going on. No wonder we are creating our own targets.

How can Cryptic/PWE prevent rants like this? Transparency and admitting mistakes would be a great start. Isn’t that called a win-win? So here’s hoping somebody has learned something from the May 12th incident, even if the devs are not going to admit it.


How do you feel about the #Fredricksonbangate? Is this overboard or does this rant make reasonable points? Share your thoughts in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter inspired by the DPS builds of Envy and Rokuthy, he has built up ALTs of all classes and finished Module 5 with five characters in full legendaries and BiS/near-BiS level.

4 thoughts on “The Rant Files: What Have We Learned From May 12th #Fredricksonbangate?

  • May 30, 2017 at 7:40 am
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    How many botters/cheaters were banned ? How many innocent were banned ?
    As long as you dont know that, all talk is BS

    Reply
    • May 30, 2017 at 8:32 am
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      Looks like a nice catch-22 is working in their favor then. Can’t substantially talk until you have information they won’t hand out.

      Reply
  • June 1, 2017 at 8:37 am
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    Cryptic needs to learn from other companies. Black Dessert recently did a mass ban. They quickly discovered that the ban was catching many innocent players. Their reaction? They lifted all the bans, looked at why they caught all these people, adjusted the criteria and then re-ran and banned the people that were doing the bad behavior.

    This is how Cryptic should have been handled this ban in the first place. Once they saw they had caught many innocent folks they should have unbanned everyone caught and have another look at their metrics.

    FYI it took them over 18 days to release my account….. guess 14 days VIP makes up for that lost trust right?

    Reply
    • June 1, 2017 at 9:30 am
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      Hey. Do you have any links on this? We would be interested.

      Reply

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