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Open letter: Exploits, Perma Bans, Naming & Shaming

  • JavaWho
    JavaWho
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    I find that we have to discuss this topic excessively sad. We have purchased a game, a MMO to play with friends and have fun, yet we have concerns about perma banning we should not have.

    Bottom line for me, if ZOS allowed a broken gear set, skill, etc.. in game, the players who are the consumer should not be perma banned for a company mistake.

    Not everyone reads forums, or even has the ability or hard drive space to get on the PTS. Gamer's for most part want to log in, play their game and have fun, not spend their time reading what they can be banned for. That is simply not the entertainment they paid for.

    @HeroOfNone I agree with small scale bans, 3 days, 7 days, even a 30 day ban for a more serious offense, especially when these gamer's in no way harmed anyone but themselves.

    Epic Synergy, Founder
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  • kevlarto_ESO
    kevlarto_ESO
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    I think they are still to easy on cheaters, every cheater I knew came right back after the three days of perma ban and started to cheat again, that's egg on ZOS's face, I think they need to be harsher on cheaters, run a third party a real perma ban, no second chances.
  • Mx13
    Mx13
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    JavaWho wrote: »
    Bottom line for me, if ZOS allowed a broken gear set, skill, etc.. in game, the players who are the consumer should not be perma banned for a company mistake.

    So... you're saying that if there is a bug/exploit that port me directly to last boss of vMA and i abuse it to get into leaderboards and get 30 super 1337 BiS prosperous 2h sword its ok? i shouldn't get any disciplinary action just beacause ZOS "allowed" it?.
  • Rex-Umbra
    Rex-Umbra
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    Darkfall had Unholy BanHammer it displayed every banned player and there guild.
    Xbox GT: Rex Umbra IX
  • HeroOfNone
    HeroOfNone
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    I think they are still to easy on cheaters, every cheater I knew came right back after the three days of perma ban and started to cheat again, that's egg on ZOS's face, I think they need to be harsher on cheaters, run a third party a real perma ban, no second chances.

    I recommend reevaluating after the far past with the recent past. There have been a lot more reports of permanent bans after gap closers and the salvation set bugs were exploited. But we can't really independently given the current policies.
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  • DHale
    DHale
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    Although I agree with the letter. I hope it does some good but remain doubtful. Operationally, there should only be a few ZOS employees with the Authority to perma ban someone. Then the evidence should be reviewed by management. Even to this day people are logging on to other peoples accounts to do VMSA for them to get weapons and even when they are reported they get in no trouble so there is a lot of subjectivity involved in the scope and severity of bans Then ZOS perma banned people for the dolmen glitch which is very minor and has little overall impact when compared to account sharing. Getting weapons you did not deserve and then getting the best weapons in the game. Sounds to me like the consideration for bans is not measurable and goes by opinion and personal biases rather than specific set guidelines.
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  • runagate
    runagate
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    Having never seen a video of the OP I was genuinely startled to discover that he is avant saxophone player and composer John Zorn: (in this video the guy directing the musicians wearing the glasses, not the singer)

    Edited by runagate on September 1, 2016 4:47AM
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  • UrQuan
    UrQuan
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    runagate wrote: »
    Having never seen a video of the OP I was genuinely startled to discover that he is avant saxophone player and composer John Zorn: (in this video the guy directing the musicians wearing the glasses, not the singer)

    Well here I was just genuinely startled to discover that he isn't just an evil demon kitty.
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  • KaleidoscopeEyz
    KaleidoscopeEyz
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    So... you're saying that if there is a bug/exploit that port me directly to last boss of vMA and i abuse it to get into leaderboards and get 30 super 1337 BiS prosperous 2h sword its ok? i shouldn't get any disciplinary action just beacause ZOS "allowed" it?.

    Um, yes. That's exactly how I feel. Don't punish people for putting out a broken product.
  • Lord_Dexter
    Lord_Dexter
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    So ZOS is banning immediately, Without any warnings?

    Is there any official information page that explains what can get you banned? And what process are they following?
    Edited by Lord_Dexter on September 1, 2016 3:03PM
  • HeroOfNone
    HeroOfNone
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    So... you're saying that if there is a bug/exploit that port me directly to last boss of vMA and i abuse it to get into leaderboards and get 30 super 1337 BiS prosperous 2h sword its ok? i shouldn't get any disciplinary action just beacause ZOS "allowed" it?.

    Um, yes. That's exactly how I feel. Don't punish people for putting out a broken product.

    I've heard a lot of talk about "if they put it out broken you should be allowed to use it." While it's ok to debate this, I don't feel it's ok to act on what you feel something should be. You signed the TOS when you came into the game agreeing not to use bugs and exploits, there was no qualifier if if was something that was found during PTS or not. We have also seen ZOS give additional information on the forums here and topics like this should make it abundantly clear that using an exploit will get you in trouble. All I ask from ZOS is they tone back some of the punishments if they are permanent bans.

    The best debate I've seen on this so far though is on reddit going over design constraints and prioritization of fixes. It's wordy on both sides, but covers a lot of both sides.

    The other issues I see are a lot of folks are using this argument about known bugs to extend to not being responsible for using any bugs or exploits at all. I think this is because with all these known bugs there are a lot of unknown ones that folks are actively hiding so they can continue to use them. This is much more henious, since it works to actually deteriorate the quality of the game just to be able to one up other players. I fear though that unless we show some sort of firm (but not too strong) action on folks using bugs, then these individuals will feel no fear to continue their exploits. I encourage most of these folks to come clean and help improve the game, othe rise risk being caught and tossed out like the rest.
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  • HeroOfNone
    HeroOfNone
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    So ZOS is banning immediately, Without any warnings?

    Is there any official information page that explains what can get you banned? And what process are they following?

    Plenty, you signed the TOS.

    But in addition

    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/272833/cheating-and-exploits

    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/278031/cyrodiil-cheating-exploiting-you#latest
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  • Ragnaroek93
    Ragnaroek93
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    ZOS should ban for third party tools like Cheat Engine, I'm fine with that. But this "exploits" like jumping into keeps are in the game for months now, ZOS doesn't even think of fixing it and it often happens that someone jumps into a keep by accident (for example if you ambush someone who enters a door you will get into the keep. I see this happening every day and it happens to me too sometimes BY ACCIDENT).
    A lot people don't even read the forum and don't even know that it is not allowed to jump into a keep. A good way to deal with exploiting is to programm the game well and to handle PvP exploits as high priority bugs and not as stuff that will maybe get fixed in 6 months like most PvP related bugs (by the way: is willows path still bugged? For how long were axebleeds buggy?). Maybe PvP bugs should get the same treatment and hotfixes like this freakin PvE bugs which affect the leaderboards and we would have much less discussions about what's allowed and what's not.

    And please punish people who make too many false reports. Many good players get hate whispers and get called out for cheating because "uhhhh too much dmg... too much sustain... too tanky" or "gtfo macro scrub" while 99,9% of the time it's a l2p issue and the people just report for harassment. I'm in fear that many innocent people will get banned in this witch hunt because of idiots who seek for "blind revenge" (I really hate the attitude of banning cheaters by all means and don't give a *** about people who get banned because of false accusation). Just yesterday I had a conversation with one guy who insulted two of my mates for half an hour and told us that he and his whole raid will report us all for cheating lol. I've never heard that such toxic players got any punishment...

    Sorry for my rant, I just think it's completely ridiculous that we play a game in our freetime which we paid for and actually have to worry about permabans because the developer is unable to fix his game. I mean OK, if someone uses cheat engine then permaban him, but don't permaban people for stuff that ZOS is responsible for (like jumping into keeps), don't ban people with automatic tools and don't ban people because they get many reports.
  • timidobserver
    timidobserver
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    So ZOS is banning immediately, Without any warnings?

    Is there any official information page that explains what can get you banned? And what process are they following?

    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/278031/cyrodiil-cheating-exploiting-you/p1
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  • Tavore1138
    Tavore1138
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    Good post OP.

    I think communication is the key here - ZOS need to be communicating on what we can't do and what the penalty will be. No-one should ever have to guess at what the rules are around exploits (although those around cheats should be fairly clear to anyone with basic morality).

    Example:

    Any idiot would know that collecting the same survey multiple times was dodgy and, to me, there is no excuse - anyone doing it more than once or twice should have their materials taken no protest.

    Any idiot might not know that keep exploits were wrong on day one - DKs have been able to do it for so long now, seeing weapon skills doing it players may ON DAY ONE be excused for not knowing any better. But on that same day ZOS should have been announcing it is not OK and that anyone found doing it after such and such date will be liable for a banning.

    ZOS should maintain a list of exploits along with which are liable for penalties.

    Not doing this and not being transparent about what is going on just makes the game a mess because people think others are cheating without knowing if they are or not.

    I have no issue with banned players being named and shamed once they have been proven guilty - sport does it with athletes who dope why should ZOS not do it with players that cheat. Just a simple - "PlayerX was banned for multiple uses of the keep jump exploit" would be enough. The shame belongs to the player not those naming them.

    The one caveat being that should they later prove they were innocent ZOS would also issue a statement saying the player had not cheated.

    Final Thought - I am effing sick and tired of people trying to say that it is OK to exploit because ZOS have not fixed it, code is not perfect but that is the amoral view of the sociopath that one just takes advantage of any loophole however destructive it might be to the game and the experiences of other players. You need to take responsibility for what you do - you know that keep jumping is against the rules so don't do it, if you actually do it by genuine mistake then block and jump back down again and open the wall up properly.
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  • Lucius_Aelius
    Lucius_Aelius
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    ZOS should ban for third party tools like Cheat Engine, I'm fine with that. But this "exploits" like jumping into keeps are in the game for months now, ZOS doesn't even think of fixing it and it often happens that someone jumps into a keep by accident (for example if you ambush someone who enters a door you will get into the keep. I see this happening every day and it happens to me too sometimes BY ACCIDENT).
    A lot people don't even read the forum and don't even know that it is not allowed to jump into a keep. A good way to deal with exploiting is to programm the game well and to handle PvP exploits as high priority bugs and not as stuff that will maybe get fixed in 6 months like most PvP related bugs (by the way: is willows path still bugged? For how long were axebleeds buggy?). Maybe PvP bugs should get the same treatment and hotfixes like this freakin PvE bugs which affect the leaderboards and we would have much less discussions about what's allowed and what's not.

    And please punish people who make too many false reports. Many good players get hate whispers and get called out for cheating because "uhhhh too much dmg... too much sustain... too tanky" or "gtfo macro scrub" while 99,9% of the time it's a l2p issue and the people just report for harassment. I'm in fear that many innocent people will get banned in this witch hunt because of idiots who seek for "blind revenge" (I really hate the attitude of banning cheaters by all means and don't give a *** about people who get banned because of false accusation). Just yesterday I had a conversation with one guy who insulted two of my mates for half an hour and told us that he and his whole raid will report us all for cheating lol. I've never heard that such toxic players got any punishment...

    Sorry for my rant, I just think it's completely ridiculous that we play a game in our freetime which we paid for and actually have to worry about permabans because the developer is unable to fix his game. I mean OK, if someone uses cheat engine then permaban him, but don't permaban people for stuff that ZOS is responsible for (like jumping into keeps), don't ban people with automatic tools and don't ban people because they get many reports.

    Cheating is cheating, just because the ability exists to cheat is no excuse to be a cheater yourself, that's ridiculous. You're right of course that it happens by accident sometimes but you don't need to worry about a few times here and there, it's if you do it repeatedly (or if the cheat is hard/impossible to do by accident) that you have to start worrying about any kind of ban, let alone a permaban. I play this game almost every day and I don't even think about the possibility of getting banned at all ever, for the very simple reason that I don't cheat and as such have absolutely nothing to worry about. The only reason you'd have anything to worry about is if you're exploiting glitches and know it's wrong and still are doing it, in which case if it happens you've got it coming.

    The fact is that cheaters spoil the game for everyone else, so to protect the integrity of the game they must be punished, sometimes with permabans if that person crossed too serious of a line. Suggesting people shouldn't be banned from games is just as idiotic as suggesting criminals shouldn't be punished in real life, rules are there for a reason and the ability to break them is never an excuse for doing so intentionally, and if you break the rules you need to be punished accordingly to protect the integrity of the game or, in real life, society at large. If you never cheat intentionally and are still worried about being punished for it then you shouldn't be, but if you do cheat intentionally then that's on you, not the Developers for allowing some bugs to slip through the cracks in their countless lines of code.
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  • JavaWho
    JavaWho
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    Mx13 wrote: »
    JavaWho wrote: »
    Bottom line for me, if ZOS allowed a broken gear set, skill, etc.. in game, the players who are the consumer should not be perma banned for a company mistake.

    So... you're saying that if there is a bug/exploit that port me directly to last boss of vMA and i abuse it to get into leaderboards and get 30 super 1337 BiS prosperous 2h sword its ok? i shouldn't get any disciplinary action just beacause ZOS "allowed" it?.

    No I am not saying that it is okay yet your question to me is something that has never happened in game and therefore is not truly valid. My post is in reference to "Perma Bans" first sentence. Final sentence, I did say banning for 3 days, 7 days or even 30 days I would understand providing it was something put in game and broke.
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  • Hamrb
    Hamrb
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    when I joined a random pvp group to grind AP, back when I needed more alliance levels, I gave up on worrying about cheaters. basically some of these pvp guilds have players bragging about cheating :( in a teamspeak with at least 30 others listening.
    and you know what everyone responds like, when confronted, "well so in so guild in this faction does it, we're just getting them back"
    sure maybe it started like that, but youre still using it and cheating XD
    theres enough people out there claiming they use this so called, "cheat engine" that I don't know if we can ever weed them all out, and its a damn shame
    All I can do is give them the boot, if theyre in my guild. after that, its not even worth worrying about. Every online pvp game will have people creating new ways to cheat.
    online gaming is what it is, unfortunately. but the good far outweighs the bad
    Edited by Hamrb on September 1, 2016 6:03PM
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  • Burning_Talons
    Burning_Talons
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    Giving Deltia access to cheat won't make his builds any better though
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  • NobleNerd
    NobleNerd
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    UrQuan wrote: »
    HeroOfNone wrote: »
    HeroOfNone wrote: »
    cjthibs wrote: »
    Cryptical wrote: »
    Naming... If there's a video that shows a name, that's not a subjective story about events being told by memory. That's a video of the exact incident.

    The example videos of what something looks like from multiple screens is a winning idea. There was a topic a week or so ago about a guy who got multi-gap closed from beyond the rendering distance. It was pointed out how a certain type of circumstances plus randomness can create what has been named a 'macroslice', and a fengrush video was linked showing it happening during his session. That vid was illuminating.

    In that example in particular he could've accidentally done so.
    Without seeing the bigger picture you might just get someone who made a mistake banned.

    One video of one incident is not enough. If I accidentally gap-closed through a wall one time, having no idea that would happen...should I be publicly shamed for that?

    ZOS has the data, let them play judge and jury, that's all I'm saying.

    Thing Is that ZOS would have already played the judge & jury, and are letting you know the sentence. And your correct that ZOS would have the evidence that someone cheated, if it wasn't conclusive evidence I wouldn't expect to hear anything from them. Here is an example:

    Player A is recording their game, standing in thier inner keep with the walls up. Suddenly player B uses crit rush to attack player A, kill them, and flip the keep. Player A reports them asking if this is a exploit. ZOS comes back saying "thank you for your report, we'll investigate this issue. We can't tell you the results of this investigation" and gives no response after. In the next few days, player C and Player D do similar things and Player A reports them each time, getting the same response. By the 3rd report, player A wonders if it's a legal tactic, because it seems everyone is doing it, and now they start using crit rush to bypass walls.

    This could have gone different if ZOS came out and said "we'll investigate" and after several days came back and said "thank you for your report. Using gap closers to bypass walls is indeed an exploit. We will take appropriate action to handle this, please understand we do not discuss the penalties about other players. Thank you for your time."


    This can't happen with the current system though. We never see this unless the incident is so major everyone know it.

    In addition to this there are a lot of folks spreading misinformation about being perma banned for a first offense. I feel that ZOS should be upfront in saying "no, this was you 5th or 8th offense, it's time to go" and give us more information.
    ZOS "administrative actions" for using exploits has been a slap on the hand. Seriously, they banned people for like 2 days for the writ exploit. I'd gladly take a 2 day ban for unlimited ore and tons of tempering alloys. It's a joke.

    If you want an exploit dealt with and resolved, make it public so everyone does it. They won't ban everyone and they'll fix the issue quicker.

    That was the older ZOS, after the cheat engine debacle & gap closer exploits they seem to have a much harder stance. I don't like soft punishment, but a zero tolerance policy is the other extreme.
    Naming and Shaming isn't allowed because if it were it would make Zenimax look unprofessional. This honestly goes for any company really.

    I disagree.

    Several games like Team fortress 2, DOTA 2, and Counter Strike:GO show when players have prior VAC bans on thier accounts. This let's others know when something wierd is happening in game, they see the prior ban, and they can report the player to be investigated.

    League of legends are very vocal about the people they ban and show that they are committed to make their games less toxic.

    And more recently, and notably more popular and by a bigger "professional" company, Overwatch banned several thousand cheaters and even listed their accounts on forums.

    So this isn't anything new, it's something that should be reviewed and possibly tweaked, if what I'm recommending makes sense.

    Thanks for confirming why I don't care for LoL and Blizzard. That is not professional because it's basically a violation of user privacy. I mean really, would you consider a company that just hops on local media and says " hah hah we banned such and such because they cheated!" professional? No, I have no respect for companies like that, regardless of why those people were banned. It's flat out childish is what it is.

    But it does break part of the argument that it's never done, correct? I'm also not looking to go on a crusade to out every cheater, exploiter, and toxic player we have either, but we should get some feedback "yeah, you were right, that was a exploit/cheat, thank you for bringing this to our attention" and leave it.

    On the forums here I feel what we need is just summary information of what occured. "We had 29 folks cheating last night that were banned, thank you for the reports." No need to get into detail unless someone starts spreading misinformation around.

    You make a valid point. Every professional company should follow protocol that doesn't make them look childish and I wanna believe EVERY company is professional but clearly that isn't the case. Zenimax basically did that last bit you said, and that tells us exactly what we needed to know without being unprofessional. LoL and Blizzard could learn from that apparently.
    I fail to see how having a publicly available record of people who have been caught and punished for breaking the rules is somehow childish and/or unprofessional. Does that make real life courts childish and unprofessional? We're not talking about publishing rumours about bad behavior - only cases where they've investigated and determined that a ban was warranted. It's the game equivalent of being convicted of a crime and getting a criminal record.

    I agree. If you break the rules of the game you are playing there is nothing "childish" or unprofessional about posting the player's names of those who have broke the rules!

    Newspapers and news outlets do it every week/day!

    If you break the rules you will be known....... I like that philosophy. Will it have exceptions and those wrongly accused?.... of course, but the effects of listing the rule breakers outweighs the few that might mistakenly be accused.
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  • binho
    binho
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    A player should not be responsible for broken sets and skills! It's appalling that people are being banned for something that ZOS put in the game!
    A week ban or something like that I can understand, but permanent ban?! That's wrong
  • cjthibs
    cjthibs
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    binho wrote: »
    A player should not be responsible for broken sets and skills! It's appalling that people are being banned for something that ZOS put in the game!
    A week ban or something like that I can understand, but permanent ban?! That's wrong

    They put in the chat box and the ability to whisper people too.
    So by your logic harassment via chat is fine too because ZOS put the capability in there, right?
  • Tandor
    Tandor
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    I'm all for a zero tolerance approach to cheating in any form. First offence a one week suspension (if it's temporary it's a suspension, not a ban), second offence a permanent ban. There's simply no excuse for cheating, none whatsoever. Arguing as some do that if a developer introduces a bug into a game then it's ok to exploit it is no different to excusing a burglary on the grounds that the victim left his door open.

    I am, however, totally in favour of the naming and shaming policy, it's for ZOS to decide if someone is cheating, not the players who should merely report their suspicions privately. Allowing naming and shaming by players offers far too much scope for abuse.
  • HeroOfNone
    HeroOfNone
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    Tandor wrote: »
    I'm all for a zero tolerance approach to cheating in any form. First offence a one week suspension (if it's temporary it's a suspension, not a ban), second offence a permanent ban. There's simply no excuse for cheating, none whatsoever. Arguing as some do that if a developer introduces a bug into a game then it's ok to exploit it is no different to excusing a burglary on the grounds that the victim left his door open.

    I am, however, totally in favour of the naming and shaming policy, it's for ZOS to decide if someone is cheating, not the players who should merely report their suspicions privately. Allowing naming and shaming by players offers far too much scope for abuse.

    Accusations for naming and shaming aren't up for debate here, but reporting back if a person was exploiting. Like you said, it's up to ZOS, nor a court of public opinion, to see if someone is guilty. Once someone has been caught however feedback back to the reporter should come back to let them know they got it right and not to repeat any kind of exploit.
    Edited by HeroOfNone on September 1, 2016 6:16PM
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  • KaleidoscopeEyz
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    I love the TOS angle. Like anyone reads that crap. That's just an "Accept" button we all immediately hit. Ain't nobody got time for that.
  • iRogue32
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    I love the TOS angle. Like anyone reads that crap. That's just an "Accept" button we all immediately hit. Ain't nobody got time for that.

    That doesn't negate the fact that they exist
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  • Lucius_Aelius
    Lucius_Aelius
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    iRogue32 wrote: »
    I love the TOS angle. Like anyone reads that crap. That's just an "Accept" button we all immediately hit. Ain't nobody got time for that.

    That doesn't negate the fact that they exist

    And that we all agreed to it.
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  • Tandor
    Tandor
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    HeroOfNone wrote: »
    Tandor wrote: »
    I'm all for a zero tolerance approach to cheating in any form. First offence a one week suspension (if it's temporary it's a suspension, not a ban), second offence a permanent ban. There's simply no excuse for cheating, none whatsoever. Arguing as some do that if a developer introduces a bug into a game then it's ok to exploit it is no different to excusing a burglary on the grounds that the victim left his door open.

    I am, however, totally in favour of the naming and shaming policy, it's for ZOS to decide if someone is cheating, not the players who should merely report their suspicions privately. Allowing naming and shaming by players offers far too much scope for abuse.

    Accusations for naming and shaming aren't up for debate here, but reporting back if a person was exploiting. Like you said, it's up to ZOS, nor a court of public opinion, to see if someone is guilty. Once someone has been caught however feedback back to the reporter should come back to let them know they got it right and not to repeat any kind of exploit.

    I'm afraid the way forums work isn't on the basis that the OP gets to decide what is and what isn't up for debate within the subjects he has listed. You listed the need to review the naming and shaming policy in your original post, and it's perfectly valid for me to comment on any aspect of that. Besides, you have already indicated to another poster your view on that aspect so I am perfectly entitled to indicate my view on it, which as it happens accords with your own view. You don't, however, control the topic, that's for the mods to do.

    Few if any developers will report back to an individual player on the outcome of a report against another player, and there is a similar reluctance to publish the outcome of individual cases. Either course could open a veritable Pandora's Box with claims of defamation or libel etc and there's simply no way developers are going to put themselves at risk in that way. In any event I see no benefit in that changing here, although I welcomed @ZOS_JessicaFolsom's agreement to pursue the possibility of publishing regular updates on the overall number of suspensions and bans which I would still be happy to see. Indeed, I support the call for an official update on that.
  • Dubhliam
    Dubhliam
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    My take on this:
    Keep harsh punishments.
    Keep naming and shaming prohibited.
    The only way to lift a permaban is with a public apology. (I like your idea very much, this kinda overrides naming and shaming since the player decides himself to make himself known as a cheater).
    They don't need to tell us something is a bannable offence. We are all adult (over 18) players, exploits and cheats are always done knowingly and deliberately. If someone got a ban, it wasn't because he gap closed to a keep, it's because he used this method to troll and grief people.
    ZOS needs to make resolving broken mechanics and exploits a bigger priority.
    ZOS needs to communicate with their players as to what was done in the past month (e.g. X players banned in June, Y of which are first time offences, 3 days ban, Z of which are permabans etc. - make a neat statistical infographic with that information).
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