An Interview with Funcom About Recent Player Bans

Questions by Benjamin J. de la Durantaye, Age of Conan Lead CM, Ten Ton Hammer

by Benjamin J. de la Durantaye, Age of Conan Lead CM, Ten Ton Hammer
style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">
by Mathis, Senior Customer Service & QA Manager

Recently there have been player bans in Age of Conan. The community has
been asking for details as to what has happened and what players can do
if they feel they have been wrongly banned. Today we were able to get
the following details from Funcom Senior Customer Service & QA
Manager, Mathis.

Ten Ton Hammer: Recently
several accounts have been banned due to suspicious activity. Can you
elaborate on this as to why these accounts were banned?

style="font-weight: bold;">Mathis style="font-weight: bold;">:
We can’t go into details on exactly what was done by the
offenders but as we have said in public, some members of the community
found a weakness in the game; an exploit that they decided to abuse to
gain extra money in the game. It wasn’t directly a money
exploit, but by using the exploit itself they got access to more money.
Our experience tells us that we need to be pro-active and react when
serious issues like this arise. Most people don’t like that
there are possibilities for cheating in any game, and therefore we have
zero tolerance for exploits. We don’t want to sit on the
fence and watch a small group of players ruin the game experience for
the rest of the community.

The downside with it all is that sometimes other people get dragged
into it. If we see some suspicious behavior we might have to close
accounts temporarily for investigation. It’s a way to do
damage control to make sure things don’t get out of hand
until we have control over the situation.

This is a somewhat touchy topic as we can’t reveal too many
details about how we do this - that would give away our procedures and
help people get away with it next time they find an exploit. No matter
how much we work to cover everything, sooner or later there will be new
exploits born in Hyboria. That’s just the way MMOs work.
However, our goal is to minimize the damage, and obviously do our best
to ensure that it won’t happen again.

Ten Ton Hammer: What if
the accounts banned were legitimate accounts? For instance many guilds
have given a guild character much gold to act as a guild bank until the
in-game bank was brought back up. What can players do to get these
accounts reactivated, assuming the gold was legitimate?

style="font-weight: bold;">Mathis: Sometimes
accounts suspended were legitimate accounts but we do our best to avoid
this. Suspicious behavior might cause a temporary suspension until we
have verified that it was a false alarm. We have our own team going
through data to analyze whether it was legitimate or not. Every case is
analyzed and accounts will be re-opened if we happen to verify that
actions were legitimate. On this specific incident, players should do
as instructed in the mail we sent out to those who got affected. They
should e-mail [email protected]
and our staff will process their case. We have no intention of keeping
players from playing the game. So it is in our best interest to make
sure that people get back in the game if everything was legitimate.

Ten Ton Hammer: Some
accounts have had gold removed but the account wasn't banned. Is there
anything these players can do to rectify the situation if the gold was

style="font-weight: bold;">Mathis: They should
e-mail [email protected]
as instructed in the mail they got from us. We sent out different
e-mails depending on what happened to their account. Everyone was
informed that they should contact us if they for some reason felt that
a mistake was done on our end.

Ten Ton Hammer: Will
players be notified if their accounts will NOT be reactivated?

style="font-weight: bold;">Mathis: Yes,
everyone sending an e-mail regarding this specific issue will be
notified no matter what the outcome would be. It is important to
mention that people will not get a response by using this address if
the issues are for something else. This address is only to handle the
exploit incidents. For any other issues players should check the FAQ
located here:

Ten Ton Hammer: Do you
feel the alarms for this thing may be too sensitive as they stand? What
kind of plans are in place to avoid this same problem in the future,
given the amount of money it requires to build a complete city?

style="font-weight: bold;">Mathis: We
don’t feel that the alarms are too sensitive. Looking at our
numbers of those being affected, it wasn’t many at all. I
should point out that some people that got suspended never did anything
wrong. Those are being contacted and informed that accounts are being
re-opened. Some are already back in Hyboria enjoying their time.
What’s important is that we are efficient and make sure that
those players getting temporary suspensions get back in the game in a
timely manner, and don’t need to wait too long before they
hear back from us.

We understand that it can be frustrating being affected by this if
everything you do as a player is legit, and I can assure every customer
that we’ll do our best to cover every area to minimize the
impact. After all, we obviously want people to enjoy the game and what
it has to offer. Together we can ensure that those cheating stay away,
as we don’t support that sort of behavior and we encourage
everyone to report exploits if you come across one by using href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected].

I hope that gave you some answers to your questions!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Age of Conan: Unchained Game Page.

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