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Let me first tell you that the following story very well could be bogus. I think it will be impossible to verify unless Bioware/EA makes a statement on the issue (who knows if they will). That said, I have a hunch there is something to this. And that something stinks…
It is well known by now that Star Wars: the Old Republic is fairly linear for an MMO. How linear? Apparently it is linear enough that if a low level player decides to take the risk and journey to a high level planet to loot a chest, they will be hit with a banhammer.
Here is the supposed ban e-mail from Bioware/EA as posted by Bionic711 on Reddit:
Here's the e-mail I received with identification information removed.
We are contacting you regarding your account for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. We wish to notify you that we are sanctioning your account for violating our Terms of Service. From an investigation of your account we can see that your character, , was used to violate our Terms of Service on the server.
Specifically, this character participated in looting high level Loot Containers on Illum while being well below the recommended level for the planet. By utilizing these Loot Containers, the account was able to acquire, distribute, or obtain currency, gear and equipment not meant to be acquired by low level characters (below level 40).Illum is intended for Level 50 characters and this is clearly communicated in game. By ignoring these warnings, the account showed intent to exploit the game.
As you have violated our Terms of Service we will be applying a ban on your account. We are banning your Account, effective immediately. Continuing to violate our Terms of Service may result in further action against your account up to and including permanent account closure. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with our Terms of Service which can be found here: - http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBTERMS/US/en/PC/
Thank you for your understanding.
The TOR forums are digesting the news now thanks to forum-user Blackk . The player reaction is largely one of disgust. Though some players are rightly pointing out that it could be a bogus e-mail. However, the e-mail seems fairly well put together and Occam’s Razor (in my opinion) is only cutting in one direction on this issue.
Should the TOR community be upset over this? Should the MMO community be upset? If we take these claims as legit, I’d say so. There is a long history in MMOs of players doing this sort of activity and not being banned. Higher risk should equal higher reward, not a ban because your world design is quite obviously flawed.
Around 5 years ago as a lvl 25 Dwarf Hunter, I took a long trip from Booty Bay and then to Ratchet in Kalimdor. After a long, long, death ridden journey to Aszhara, I caught some Stonescale Eels and later sold them at 1 gold a piece on the AH. It was one hell of an adventure that made me good money for those days. x Had I been banned for it, I am sure the Lich King would never have been defeated by my party of heroes. Nor would have Blizzard received so much of my money through the years.
P.S. This is my first post on MMORPG… long time lurker, just needed something of substance to report.
Also, when I was under level and fishing in Aszhara I once had to call a GM to get my ghost out of a hole. He laughed, helped me out, and said “have fun”. Thanks for not banning me Mr. GM.
Edit: More information has come to light since I wrote the above.
According to SWTOR's community manager:
Second, a smaller number of accounts were warned or temporarily suspended for exploiting loot containers on Ilum. To be completely clear, while players may choose to travel to Ilum earlier than the recommended level (40+) and may loot containers if they can get to them, in the cases of those customers that were warned or temporarily suspended, they were systematically and repeatedly looting containers in very high numbers resulting in the game economy becoming unbalanced.
None of these accounts were banned for their actions and no accounts have been banned for travelling to Ilum while still relatively low level. By comparison, the number of accounts that were warned or temporarily suspended was considerably lower than the number of accounts banned for 'credit farming'.
It's important to remember that our Terms of Service team is extremely careful and thorough in their investigation of any potential exploit or unusual activity in-game. Working closely with the development team and using extensive metrics based on player activity, they are able to determine what is normal player activity, what is unusual and what is exploiting. Our goal is always to ensure a fair game experience for all players while also protecting the rights of individuals, and if people are disrupting the play experience for others action will be taken.
So, some players were "exploiting" loot containers on Ilum and were handed suspensions, not perma-bans. The exploit seems to have been the act of camping loot container spawns.
In my opinion, spawn camping for loot would generally not be considered exploitation of game systems. Most games would present either player competition, guardian MOBs, or long spawn timers to avoid the ruination of the in-game economy via loot farming. But it's a new title with plenty of kinks to work out. Here's to hoping Bioware patches in some MOBs to guard these loot containers.