We left out a key patch note the other day:
- We’ve added additional logging and hack/bot detection into WildStar
The first round of mass bannings for hacking/botting will happen tonight. Thousands of accounts will be banned based on log crawls and cheat detection. We’ve already banned numerous accounts over the last weeks based on player reports and GM investigations.
Thousands of other accounts are on a watch list – we’re actually pretty sure they’ve been hacking/botting. In the interest in limiting banning potential innocents, we will be looking at past logs and monitoring future behavior to see if it’s repeated and ban accordingly.
Now, what will happen over the next few days:
We’re also in the process of adding further click-and-report functionality to make it easier to report folks, and we’re working to automate as much of this as possible. There is no exact ETA on this, but it’s in the hopper.
- Some folks will post over the next few days saying they were inappropriately banned. They’ll fall into three categories:
- Many were actually hacking, and will stay banned.
- Some won't know they were hacking but their accounts were compromised and have been used for gold farming. We will resolve these issues on a case by case basis. PLEASE consider enabling two-factor authentication, this is way more common than you’d think. https://forums.wilds...g-your-account/.
- It's possible some weren’t hacking and were caught in the sweep by accident. We’ll work to resolve those cases if they happen. Based on the reports, this shouldn’t be a category – but errors can happen, and in the interest of transparency, if it happens we’ll investigate and use that to refine our searches further.
- We’ll also be further scrubbing the logs to get the next batch of folks. And the next.
After we ban the first batch, more will come back and their scripts and such will improve. Our logging will improve, and report tools will improve, and we’ll keep fighting this fight.
(An aside, from a place of honesty here - I sincerely don’t understand the player that tries to level up by AFK botting - they make instanced Battlegrounds less fun, and we’re going to ban healthy percentages of them. This wastes money and time (both ours and theirs). And pisses you, the honest player, off. Lose-lose-lose. That being said, I don’t gotta understand the reasons behind such actions – they’re still going to get banned, we’re going to focus heavily on those going forwards.)
(Gold farmers I hate too, but at least I can understand the reasons behind their actions. They’re trying to make money by spamming, ripping off accounts, and gold, and wasting our support/dev time, which is unethical and borderline evil but at least rational. I really suggest not buying gold from them if you actually care about such things).
In any case, we devs have been playing a lot of WildStar too, and have been annoyed as well by farmbots starting to appear at mining nodes, and by folks mucking up battleground games by AFKbotting. Both suck, and while there will be many stages to the war against these kinds of folks, it’s a battle that has to be fought even if it’s a distraction from what we’d rather be doing - adding content, fixing bugs, and making the game better. We'll keep doing that as well despite the distraction.
Anyhoo, this is the first wave of what I’m sure will be an ongoing battle. I don’t guarantee perfection, but I do guarantee we’ll do our part in the fight. As for what you can do: if you keep reporting we’ll keep banning.
Needless to say, some people were a little upset that Carbine decided to enforce its EULA and Rules of Conduct. I know I read the EULA before I started playing, but after covering CCP's War on Bots for years, reading the EULA for MMORPGs is now second nature. But one player didn't seem aware of the rules. Either that, or didn't believe Carbine was serious:
Atra - "Doing something that will ban innocents en masse is so *cupcake* stupid. Where were the warnings of possible things that would ban innocents? Are you guys *cupcake* serious with this right now? Are you patting yourself on the backs for a shitty job done? I didn't even get banned but the shear stupidity of doing something that would just willy nilly permaban people is deserving of nothing more than you guys giving out extra free months. I am so apalled right now that such little research into possible false positive addons or other such tweaks went in before you decide to hit the big red button. Do you guys not remember the mass bannings GW2 for stupid reasons? You are *cupcake* with subscribers here not F2P peasants. Whoever OK'd this should be severely disciplined because there was a severe judgement lapse in doing this. Shame on you Carbine. Honestly this deserves nothing less than to blow up in your face and have you make ammends to innocent players who have to be without the game THAT HAS BEEN PAID FOR FOR THIS FIRST MONTH BY THE WAY. I can't even believe this is a thing."
Actually, the EULA is pretty explicit in what will get a player banned.
Gaffney also made a post on Reddit making the same announcement. One interesting defense came from a member of a top raiding guild, spawning a thread titled, "Member of Enigma (top US raiding guild) admits that 1/4 of the guild is cheating. Only one person gets banned, and plans to get unbanned through "friends in high places". This is not okay."
|An example of a macro used by a member of a top raiding guild in Wildstar.|
And yes, as the image above shows, the person actually made that claim about using influence with important people in Carbine to become unbanned. I'm pretty sure, though, that setting up a macro to perform multiple actions with one keystroke violates the EULA.
I realize that everyone claims innocence, but some people should really read what they write. This comment from Gaffney's announcement thead made me chuckle:
brickwinchester - "Another unjustified ban here. This is the same thing that happened to me in Aion... I hope carbine handles this better. After hours of contacting ncsoft support for my Aion account all I got was my account deleted."The same person mistakenly banned from multiple games for the same offense?
While the above snippets from the Wildstar forums and Reddit are entertaining, what do we really know about the targets of this first wave of bans? I tracked down that many users of a hack called Nova have received permanent bans.
|Copy of a ban letter received by a Nova user|
What is Nova? Nova is a hacking tool derived from a hacking suite for World of Warcraft called WoW-Plus. WoW-Plus died after the developer received legal pressure from Blizzard to stop his activities. But the developer continued work and for Wildstar advertised this list of capabilities back in April:
- SpeedHack (any speed possible, does not speed up other things)
- Object Tracking
While the official forums and Reddit are full of people wrongly banned, the forum thread for Nova has a different tone.
Lugian - "Just finished mining a few nodes, came to a crafting station and saw the yellow "you are banned" text across the screen. Oh well...."Gaffney indicated in his posts that last night was just the first of the bans. I expect we will see more bans leading up to the weekend. If I see a lot of tears, I may make a second post.
number2 - "Good while it lasted I prob would hide most of use right now until the banwaves goes away might take a while!"
A comment about the effort spent creating Nova
montgola - "Yea I just got disconnected and then it says your account has been suspended. Was fun while it lasted!"
Tweeqit2 - "Banned.. Action: Account Closure. Just started using it today for about an hour, minor speed hack with not much teleport use."
Flubleah - "banned - teleported everywhere, pretty much used everything DNGAF. Thanks for the good run Master, gonna move to other things, maybe read a book or something, I heard doing that is good for you or some shit. Thanks again man."
NOTE: For those reading one of my posts on the subject for the first time, a note about my use of the names of the hacks. I included WoW-Plus and included a link because development of the hack ended over a year ago. I mentioned Nova, but did not include a link to the comments, because while Carbine has shown the ability to detect and ban users of the hack, the hack is still available. So while the use of Google will lead people to the software and the comments, I don't want to make the process too easy for those looking for hacks or bots. I figure anyone who is looking for Wildstar bots and hacks and stumbles across this post first will find what he (or she) is looking for within 5 minutes anyway. That's how long it took for me to find this hack.