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In-Game Mechanic/Policy Ripe for Abuse/Exploitation

hanshotfirsthanshotfirst Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 710Member

For those unaware, Cryptic/Atari currently supports an in-game mechanic (and subsequent disciplinary policy) that can *easily* be abused... ostensively for the clear purpose of "griefing" fellow players.



How? What? Huh? Allow me to explain...



Simply by placing another player on /ignore, this sets the ball in motion. If you can coordinate enough players to follow suit and also place that individual on /ignore, the game will disable ALL chat functions, the ability to use in-game mail, the market, private messages, and yes, even emotes for your intended victim... for up to 24 hours.



If the implications haven't sunk in yet, let me repeat:



At any time (even if you're logged out), anyone can anonymously place your account on ignore. They do NOT have to rationalize, justify or even provide an explanation. They do not even have to have malicious intentions. And if enough people do this (Cryptic/Atari will NOT reveal just how many is required, but all indications are it's quite low), you will be effectively banned from participating in the game for 24 hours in any capacity other than solely as a single-player experience. Furthermore, you will NOT be given an opportunity to protest or refute this consequence.



In theory, a customer service representative is supposed to receive notice of such action, and immediately review the situation in accordance with the game's EULA/TOS. However, in practice, that simply isn't happening. Should you attempt to contact support, and somehow manage to speak with a live, human being, expect to be assumed guilty... of something... and effectively be told "tough luck."



Now I appreciate this measure was implemented in an effort to thwart RMT spam (gold sellers & power leveling services), and (IMO) that's most certainly a worthwhile pursuit. That said, (IMO) no policy should be *this* vulnerable to abuse.

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Comments

  • Die_ScreamDie_Scream Vancouver, BCPosts: 1,785Member

    Not that it makes a difference in you point (which is correct) but /ignore doesn't do this. /Report spam does. When you report as spammer, they do get ignored by you and are flagged. Cryptic themselves have admitted that if enough people do this, you get "silenced" for 24 hours. Regardless if the reports were false or not. Plus you don't know who is griefing you, besides Cryptic.

    People argue on the forums, then have their whole fleet report the guy to get back at them.

    EDIT: Your point about not knowing why is true. If you go to the boards to complain, you might get banned (victimized again) as well as having the fanbois jump down your throat. Because, let's face it, nothing is Cryptic's fault.

     

  • DrakynnDrakynn The Pas, MBPosts: 2,030Member

    This type of feature is in use in many MMOs and yes it is exploitable just as any (auto)report functionality is.Exploitation is supposed to be prevented by actual investigation and this works in a lot of MMOS but obviously if the company does not follow up with an investigation then the system fails.Given Cryptic's rep for  level of customer service I can see why you'd be worried in this regard.

  • TheSkimDotNetTheSkimDotNet Pittsburgh, INPosts: 274Member

    Seems this is more of a problem with our community than with cryptic.

    image
  • Die_ScreamDie_Scream Vancouver, BCPosts: 1,785Member

    AFAIK, it's automated. There is no investigation. I've seen threads by people asking why they were silenced, or thinking they were bugged. Turns out some fleet griefed them, and they have no recourse.

    Hell, they could keep reporting someone as soon as the 24 hours was up looks like, to nail them again for (longer?).

  • PreponerancePreponerance Houston, TXPosts: 295Member

     Wait, effectively 24 hours making it a single player game, kinda felt like that to me anyway..

  • BetabooBetaboo middle island, NYPosts: 384Member

    Cryptic greifs the player base so why shouldnt other players be able to?

  • hanshotfirsthanshotfirst Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 710Member
    Originally posted by Die_Scream


    Not that it makes a difference in you point (which is correct) but /ignore doesn't do this. /Report spam does...
     

     

    That's what I (initially) believed as well. However a customer service representative recently corrected me. Apparently *any* use of their /ignore function (not simply Report Spam) can flag an account for this penalty.

    Frankly, in my opinion, that's ridiculous.

  • hanshotfirsthanshotfirst Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 710Member
    Originally posted by Preponerance


     Wait, effectively 24 hours making it a single player game, kinda felt like that to me anyway..

     

    Yeah, I suppose one could argue not being able to socialize in this game is a non-issue. However, not being able to sell OR purchase items via the market? That kinda sucks even for a single-player game.

  • SilverdaggerSilverdagger Hulls Cove, MEPosts: 119Member Uncommon

    My suggestion....instead of complaining, exploit it - /ignore everyone who chats...especially if it's an admin.  Get your friends to do the same.  Soon enough there will be a chorus of voices to add to your own and the feature will likely be fixed or removed.

    image
  • Die_ScreamDie_Scream Vancouver, BCPosts: 1,785Member
    Originally posted by hanshotfirst

    Originally posted by Die_Scream


    Not that it makes a difference in you point (which is correct) but /ignore doesn't do this. /Report spam does...
     

     

    That's what I (initially) believed as well. However a customer service representative recently corrected me. Apparently *any* use of their /ignore function (not simply Report Spam) can flag an account for this penalty.

    Frankly, in my opinion, that's ridiculous.

     

    Interesting, I suppose that makes sense. As long as a /ignore is part of a report it goes against the player. The funny thing is the gold spam goes unchecked. I just looked, I have 7 gold spam msgs in my inbox at STO since yesterday.

  • Die_ScreamDie_Scream Vancouver, BCPosts: 1,785Member
    Originally posted by Silverdagger


    My suggestion....instead of complaining, exploit it - /ignore everyone who chats...especially if it's an admin.  Get your friends to do the same.  Soon enough there will be a chorus of voices to add to your own and the feature will likely be fixed or removed.

     

    I can say with almost certainty this would just get you banned. It would be hard to find an admin in game anyway.

  • hanshotfirsthanshotfirst Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 710Member
    Originally posted by Die_Scream

    Originally posted by Silverdagger


    My suggestion....instead of complaining, exploit it - /ignore everyone who chats...especially if it's an admin.  Get your friends to do the same.  Soon enough there will be a chorus of voices to add to your own and the feature will likely be fixed or removed.

     

    I can say with almost certainty this would just get you banned. It would be hard to find an admin in game anyway.

     

    I really wish I had faith such a thing could be true, but I'm immensely skeptical.



    And just for added irony?



    Given the extent of discontent present currently in STO... you in all likelihood could (would) get a 24-hour silence simply for saying publicly that you like the game... and it would be far easier for Cryptic/Atari to stand behind such action, rather than investigate any possible wrongdoing.



    For added insult to injury? Freeloaders (aka: folks taking advantage of trial buddy keys) can ALSO contribute to abuse/exploitation of this policy. Ponder that for a moment: people who haven't purchased the game (much less signed on for a subscription fee commitment) can grief legitimate, paying customers... with absolutely no justification or fear of consequence.

  • hanshotfirsthanshotfirst Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 710Member

    A glimmer of hope?



    http://forums.startrekonline.com/showthread.php?p=2271103#post2271103



    Hey All,



    Just wanted to send out a quick update on the spam silencing.



    We've been reviewing the logs recently and have found that in some situations, the system was a little aggressive in the way it determined whether or not something was spam. We've seen a couple situations where players were not really spamming, but they were silenced anyway.



    We are planning on tweaking the system to be a bit more flexible in hopes to prevent future false positives. My apologies to anyone that was affected by this. Thanks for your patience!




    I guess only time will tell if this is as close to an admission of guilt (neglect, irresponsibility, etc.) we'll ever get... or if they're just blowing smoke up our collective you-know-whats.

  • Xondar123Xondar123 None of Your Business, BCPosts: 2,543Member
    Originally posted by Drakynn


    This type of feature is in use in many MMOs and yes it is exploitable just as any (auto)report functionality is.Exploitation is supposed to be prevented by actual investigation and this works in a lot of MMOS but obviously if the company does not follow up with an investigation then the system fails.Given Cryptic's rep for  level of customer service I can see why you'd be worried in this regard.

     

    I know many MMOs have a /reportspammer function, but I've never heard of them being automated in such a way that someone is silenced for 24 hours.

    Edit: correction, I've never heard of any MMO using the ignore function in such a way.

  • krowxxviikrowxxvii Savage, MNPosts: 177Member

    Wow. That's messed up. I can see the logic in this system in regards to thwarting RMTers, but it is definitely a system that can be abused by the players. What a shame.

    You can't use the tools if you don't know they exist...
    http://www.ic3.gov - Internet Crime Complaint Center - Report cyber crimes to the FBI.

    http://www.spamcop.net - SpamCop.net - Report spam and scam emails.

    http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/ - Network Solutions WHOIS - Investigate and reveal suspcious websites.

  • init_0init_0 dPosts: 10Member

    What you point out (@OP) would be very worrying in a "real" MMO. In STO being unable to chat/trade/interact with other players is at most a minor inconvenience. I played all the way up to RA5, finished all quests, did some PVP and got bored without ever having to interact with any other player. The Exchange (AH) is also totally worthless since you can't actually sort by price (yes, not a joke).

  • Die_ScreamDie_Scream Vancouver, BCPosts: 1,785Member
    Originally posted by init_0


    What you point out (@OP) would be very worrying in a "real" MMO. In STO being unable to chat/trade/interact with other players is at most a minor inconvenience. I played all the way up to RA5, finished all quests, did some PVP and got bored without ever having to interact with any other player. The Exchange (AH) is also totally worthless since you can't actually sort by price (yes, not a joke).

     

    This is a good point. I literally minimized my chat bar in the tutorial and went ll the way to RA5 without ever using it.

    The only chat I used was one filtered to only show rewards and some combat. STO really is a single player game. And not a very good one to boot.

  • ryuga81ryuga81 AnconaPosts: 351Member

    so, if you have a whole fleet of bored people (mass boredom is not that hard to achieve on STO), you can just silence pretty much everyone that talks in chat, effectively making STO a single player game for everyone?

    i see lots of irony there...

  • DrakynnDrakynn The Pas, MBPosts: 2,030Member
    Originally posted by Xondar123

    Originally posted by Drakynn


    This type of feature is in use in many MMOs and yes it is exploitable just as any (auto)report functionality is.Exploitation is supposed to be prevented by actual investigation and this works in a lot of MMOS but obviously if the company does not follow up with an investigation then the system fails.Given Cryptic's rep for  level of customer service I can see why you'd be worried in this regard.

     

    I know many MMOs have a /reportspammer function, but I've never heard of them being automated in such a way that someone is silenced for 24 hours.

    Edit: correction, I've never heard of any MMO using the ignore function in such a way.

     

    Yes I would agree that it is unusual to have it on the ignore command...most commonly it's on a report command.Aion I believe is one that uses a system like that or did at some stage.I don't think having it on the ingore command is any more or less abusable though.

  • hanshotfirsthanshotfirst Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 710Member
    Originally posted by ryuga81


    so, if you have a whole fleet of bored people (mass boredom is not that hard to achieve on STO), you can just silence pretty much everyone that talks in chat, effectively making STO a single player game for everyone?
    i see lots of irony there...

     

    Yes. Essentially, that's precisely what can and has happened. Furthermore, since this mechanic is flagged indiscriminately (either via Report Spam or the /ignore function), and the GM staff is spread quite thin, there's very little recourse to determine whether or not a disciplinary action was merited, or if the system was abused. You'll simply be assumed guilty (of something) by both the playerbase and customer support alike.

     

    I strongly urge subscribers of the game to not take this matter lightly, and to politely insist Cryptic/Atari suspend such policies until "false positives" can be eliminated completely.

  • Darth_OsorDarth_Osor Mt Laurel, NJPosts: 1,089Member
    Originally posted by hanshotfirst

    Originally posted by Die_Scream


    Not that it makes a difference in you point (which is correct) but /ignore doesn't do this. /Report spam does...
     

     

    That's what I (initially) believed as well. However a customer service representative recently corrected me. Apparently *any* use of their /ignore function (not simply Report Spam) can flag an account for this penalty.

    Frankly, in my opinion, that's ridiculous.



     

    If true, that is indeed yet more fail.  I actually supported the mechanic when I thought it was just "report spam" by a certain number of players that silenced a spammer, along the statement that anyone abusing the /report function would be disciplined, but this is different.  WTF is the point of two separate commands if they do the same thing?

  • ryuga81ryuga81 AnconaPosts: 351Member

    yep, you can sanction the abuse of /report (as it is meant for gold spam, offences, oscene language and such), but you can't sanction the use of /ignore (i don't have to explain why i don't like someone and want to have him blocked, i'm free to /ignore the whole server if i want so)

  • Monti61Monti61 Boston, MAPosts: 4Member

    Have there always been a large group of conspiracy theorists in the world, or is this a recent phenomenon?

  • hanshotfirsthanshotfirst Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 710Member
    Originally posted by Monti61


    Have there always been a large group of conspiracy theorists in the world, or is this a recent phenomenon?

     

    What conspiracy? Read the official forums; the devs aren't exactly keeping it a secret how this mechanic works.

  • hanshotfirsthanshotfirst Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 710Member
    Originally posted by Darth_Osor

    Originally posted by hanshotfirst

    Originally posted by Die_Scream


    Not that it makes a difference in you point (which is correct) but /ignore doesn't do this. /Report spam does...
     

     

    That's what I (initially) believed as well. However a customer service representative recently corrected me. Apparently *any* use of their /ignore function (not simply Report Spam) can flag an account for this penalty.

    Frankly, in my opinion, that's ridiculous.



     

    If true, that is indeed yet more fail.  I actually supported the mechanic when I thought it was just "report spam" by a certain number of players that silenced a spammer, along the statement that anyone abusing the /report function would be disciplined, but this is different.  WTF is the point of two separate commands if they do the same thing?

     

    It's true. I've personally been told that's how it works by two customer support reps. The game does not distinguish between /ignore and Report Spam for the purpose of automated discipline (silencing).

    I gotta wonder how many people may have been silenced already just for chatting in German, Spanish or French.

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