Guild Wars 2’s ArenaNet Is Ban Happy In The Wrong Way

The Ban Hammer. It comes down hard sometimes. We’ve seen plenty of games get rid of thousands upon thousands of accounts for exploits, gold farming, botting, and other such terrible, anti-TOS, game challenging things. However I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hammer as constantly active and unforgiving as ArenaNet’s.

Guild Wars 2 has just recently launched and since then there have been plenty of reports about people getting banned from their freshly bought $60 game for plenty of offenses ranging from the bad ones such as botting or exploting to the very minuscule such as bad language or attitude. It seems that ArenaNet has played other MMO’s before and knows how iffy an online community can get. They are trying oh-so hard to keep everyone on a mature and tolerable level. In other words, you have to stay in line over here in Tyria.

Well that’s all fine and dandy but this is a Teen rated game that mentions mild language but also includes a mature language filter for chat. If indeed ArenaNet knows how gamers can be behind their keyboards, then why is this a bannable offense? I’ve never heard of a game banning people for using foul language. If it is in the extreme such as the ever so popular Xbox Live mantra of “f*** you fa***t!” then I can see why someone would report it and have it dealt with. However for things such as crude jokes or vulgar language, if the mature filter is off then people should know what’s coming their way. If someone reports another player for things like that, the first thing I would check is if their filter is on or not. If the reported chat entry wasn’t in the extreme sense, I would whisper that reporting player and tell them to put their filter on and keep it on.

There was another incident the other day about an exploit that dealt with a set of Tiered weapons that were easily purchasable through a Karma bug. Anyone who exploited this instead of reporting it got banned. It was a pretty large amount of players if you take in consideration the amount of people on forums and subreddits foaming at the mouth over this. However it seems there were some who were grouped in the banned pool who didn’t exploit this bug. They bought a few weapons to fill up their useable weapon list and then went on their way. Was it cheaper than normal? Probably. Did every single player know that it shouldn’t have been? No, it’s a new game. I would have bought the same amount to be able to switch through weapon sets at the same power.

However, there were plenty who bought tons of weapons to salvage for trades and crafting pieces. These players either deliberately knew what was going on or saw a great bargain and a way to get their crafting up quick. For the latter, they may have seen this ban as an extreme response. Which it was since ArenaNet obviously didn’t check every player and discern who to ban or give warnings to.

Now, the coolest thing about ArenaNet is their heavy presence on the Guild Wars 2 subreddit on reddit. They post under the username of ArenaNetTeam and they are on there quite a bit. They saw this confusion of who was really an exploiter or not and gave the players a chance to e-mail their support team and have their account checked and then possibly be granted a reinstatement as long as the returning player destroyed the items they bought. ArenaNet is going to check the accounts to see if this was done or the player would be banned again, for good. This was followed by questions almost like this, “what if all I bought was enough to have my weapons sets all Tiered?” ArenaNet wants it gone. If you made gold off of this, buy things from the vendor with it and then destroy the bought item. The options go on.

Now, non-players of Guild Wars 2 may see this as radical. Honestly, I believe it is. The players who did not deliberately exploit this bug should have never been banned in the first place. A warning to ensure those players make sure to contact ArenaNet when they see an exploit would have been great and show that ArenaNet checks everyone and ensures a quality service. However, the Mjolnir-sized ban hammer went out to everyone and it caused a problem with customers. Is checking that large amount of players a tough job? Oh yeah but they had to deal with tons of e-mails anyway for possible reinstatement.

I’m very glad that ArenaNet is trying to make this game a great place to play with good people. I hate elitism and I can’t stand keyboard warriors. Yet I think ArenaNet needs to realize that this game is fresh. No one really knows the boundaries this team is setting forth. Bans on the first offense for language or attitude is ridiculous. For people who just bought Guild Wars 2 for full retail price just to have their account banned within the first two weeks must feel cheated out of their money. I would and so would you.

I like ArenaNet. They have good values for their products and their communities. I think they need to lay down the ban hammer but keep a keen eye on it. Check into situations, don’t be afraid of warnings, and if you think reddit is the best way to communicate with your player base then put that in the launcher so everyone knows where you stand.