In light of the recent discussions and situation with our recent bans I’d like to clarify these detections, our process for implementing their methods, and the Customer Support response for the ban appeals associated with them. We understand these have caused a lot of frustration and fear among the community in recent days, so I hope to provide some more clarity regarding these topics and let you know what steps we’ll be taking immediately.
First, for the specific bans that are displaying the message “suspicious map activity”, we have alerted our teams to hold off on banning anyone with this criteria, all ban appeals will also go through a more rigorous review process, and all previous accounts banned by this method will be further reviewed and released if there is any ambiguity or uncertainty in the detection for that player. We have already released a large number accounts earlier tonight and will continue to release more. Compensation will be provided to these players at a future date as this will take more time to put together. Now I know this may not resolve the situation for every player, and some players ban appeals may not be responded to yet, but we plan to continue looking into this as quickly as we can.
Now to explain the situation a little bit further; over the past few weeks we have implemented new methods for identifying and banning hackers and botters. In my last memo, I mentioned we were looking at specifically Ark classes. However in the days since that memo, we have also devised methods that did not target any one specific class. One of these methods is what I mentioned above as displaying the message "suspicious map activity". The specific action our teams are looking into associated to this message is how runes in maps were being solved by players.
To clarify our overall process a little bit, before we ban accounts using any method, we take a look at the accounts that would be identified and also use our own accounts internally to test and look for any situations in which legitimate accounts could also possibly be identified. For this specific method, after several rounds of testing and confirmation last week, we put it into place to start banning players. Once this had begun, we also monitored the accounts detected and ban appeals for this detection to further assess the method. Initially a lot of the ban appeals appear to have been from illegitimate players trying to get their account back. We have actually seen evidence from various sources, as well as from prior experience, that with strong methods like this one we just implemented there is a concerted effort from illicit players to send in ban appeals. We’ve mentioned this in the past as well, but I just wanted to mention again how this ultimately slows down our ban appeal and review process a little bit.
Regarding the process for ban appeals, whenever our teams come up with a new detection method, we train our teams to look for specific data and behavior that cause these detections to occur in addition to other red flags we identify. These things are all looked at very closely and thoroughly with each ban appeal. This is true of this current detection and any detection we have implemented in the past. This process has been improved upon over years of dealing with an enormous amount of ban appeals from both legitimate and illegitimate players. Now of course we have made mistakes in the past and there may be times that unpredictable factors that can cause these specific red flags to appear on legitimate accounts. For this detection specifically, we have recently discovered a specific situation in which these a legitimate account may contain some of these red flags. Due to this, we have taken the actions described above to put this detection method on hold for now.
With this explanation, one thing I want to emphasize is that I don’t mean to belittle the fact that this is severely frustrating for some of you nor am I saying this is a completely acceptable situation for our team as well. I simply wanted to explain how this can happen, let you know how our teams are doing their best to ensure that it doesn’t, and that we will react as quickly as we can if it does. Many of you have already lost time playing the game and may have lost trust in us to resolve these issues, so we sincerely apologize to those players who may have been falsely banned as a result of this. We also know that a lot of players are fearful of playing at the moment due to possibly getting banned. I know there may be little we can say that hasn’t already been said to allay those fears. Even if these memos weren’t released, please know that we also believe our actions are ultimately what defines how much we value our players first and foremost.
Having said that, I know you all have much more questions and concerns about this topic, and as we promise with every memo, we hope to address them if we can. We also know that some players are appealing bans made for other detections and messages. These are also being looked into by our teams. The conversation regarding this topic doesn’t end with these memos. Our team continues to read all the feedback you provide on all sources, and internally we look for more ways we can both move forward in a positive direction.
Dennis “SavageAce” Bernardo
Producer – MapleStory