A letter concerning battle.net banning measures

fwing

Diabloii.Net Member
A letter concerning battle.net banning measures

First, I must explain and justify this post:

- I was fed up with the faulty measures Blizzard has in place for banning people from battle.net and decided to write this letter
- I posted this as an open letter to Blizzard and it has already been posted in their suggestion forums (I don't want to exterior link, but you can find it near the top if you browse that area)
- While this is meant for Blizzard, it is also meant for people to comment on. I want to see if others think I have sound arguments or identify with the issues that I outline
- Many topics come up where people may post open letters to be discussed, and I think that since this concerns Diablo 2 and temporary banning that it would be appropriate to post it in Diabloii.net forums. If someone disagrees with my I encourage them to pm me and let me discuss rather than delete any of its content
- I believe it is pertinent to this forum and as a forum that people don't post in or check much I don't think it will do much harm. It will probably just drop off to later pages without a notice (I'm fine with this, but at least let it have a chance!)

If you accept my explanation and justification, I encourage you to read on.

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An open letter to Blizzard:

To whom it may concern,

Hello. Let me introduce myself: I am a long time fan of Blizzard games and one of your customers. Though I haven’t tried every Blizzard game available, I have personally bought Starcraft, Starcraft: Brood Wars, Diablo II, and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. In total, my purchases have come to about $60, give or take (plus tax), and for that sixty-or-so dollars I have put towards your company, I simply ask that someone actually read this letter, give it their attention and not send me an automated response about possible reasons that a player may be temp-banned (I’m sure that http://www.battle.net/forums/thread.aspx?FN=support&T=431351 and http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?articleId=20794 combined are nearing the number of hits YouTube currently has).

I also must apologize ahead of time. Despite my most professional of intentions, I cannot help but let a bit of sarcasm or passive-aggressiveness seethe into this letter as I am trying my utmost to calm my teeming frustration.

First, I have a bit of news for you. I can either put it formally as something like “your current banning system for Diablo II is faulty, inadequate and generally unappealing†or I can simply say that it sucks. Yes, it sucks. I’m not sure if you’ve played your own games recently. This is totally a possibility as addicted employees would not produce effective results. In any case, if no one has told you this I just wanted to let you know.

You may think I am the only one with this opinion. I invite you to do a Google search with “Diablo 2 temp ban†and take a gander through the thousands of hits. But it could be the case that myself and thousands of other players have a false impression of this system. Maybe we’re just disgruntled and should stop trying to give our nice bows that our paladin found to our amazon, stop checking the inventories of our various characters that hold items and start staying in games for 5-10 minutes after we’ve traded an item to another player (in fact, we should just stop trading altogether!).

Well, let us review your policy to see if our opinion holds any weight. How do you get temp-banned? Please refer to one of the links above (ha, I even still have a sense of humour). Three-quarters of these points are legitimate, I'll give you that. Here are a few ones that myself and others have taken issue with:

“- Creating or joining numerous games within a short time period
- Common causes include muling, magic finding, Baal/Pindleskin runs, and in some cases rapid actions within the game itself. If you stay in each game longer you should be able to avoid the restriction. Generally 10 minutes per game is fine.
- Rapidly swapping characters in and out of games.â€

All three generally collapse into the second point, but the first and third point generally apply to trading. Let me talk about trading first. Players generally create games with the item they are looking for or the item they are trading in the title, sometimes both. You know this, I’m sure (i.e. I hope), so I won’t insult your intelligence. Following your guidelines, you would have players join/create such games, trade (usually happens within the first 2 minutes), but then stay for a bit. Chill, you know. Maybe go kill a few monsters in the Blood Moor (damn those spike fiends!). But generally, just play a game. Or, alternatively (as I mentioned above), just don’t trade at all to be on the safe side.

Second, let’s talk about muling. The fact that this word is used on your website shows that someone at Blizzard has played some Diablo 2 online. Kudos. As you would have it, items that you find that may not be valuable to you, but valuable to other people or even other characters you have should either be: 1) left alone, 2) kept in your stash, 3) sold to Charsi (everyone’s favourite NPC). I will disregard 1) and 3) for now. I will give it to you, the stash size has been increased a number of years ago, but when one plays for more than about a week or so one may find that they need another character to hold some items for them. Are we ungrateful for the space upgrade all those years ago? Not at all. But perhaps leaving items on other characters is just greedy.

Third, let’s talk about magic finding. As you may know, there are dozens of guides on the internet explaining to people that certain items have a higher chance of dropping in certain areas, and many people who have played for longer than a few weeks know that hell countess drops runes like hotcakes. If a player is looking for a certain item or runes in general, it seems to make sense to keep going to the area that it will most likely be found. Of course they could just look all over and do a couple more things until they hit that special 10 minute mark, but they might just be darned frustrated when they know they could be putting their efforts towards magic-finding that same area to increase their odds of getting that specific item. And now that we’ve ruled out any sort of trading, it’s going to be hard to get it!

Fourth, let’s talk about Baal/Pindleskin runs. First, I don’t know anyone or any bots (one or two have gotten through your security measures, fyi) that run Pindle anymore. Maybe there are pindleforums somewhere but I haven’t checked. And Baal? You may not believe me but I’ve seen a couple bots doing Baal runs! I would have taken some screenshots of accounts and waited for a response, but I’ve already been sent the link that tells me why I might have been temp-banned. Baal bots got me to level 90. I don’t think playing in the same game as bots is against your policy, but I will read the fine print next time. And hey, maybe it wasn’t a bot. I know a lot of people that can type “BAAL TIME, SORCS USE STATIC PLZ IF YOU HAVE LOLZ NO METEOR/BONE WALL CHANNEL OP IAMDEFINATELYABOT TO FOLLOW RUNS†.5 seconds after killing Lister the Tormentor. But alas, I digress.

Fifthly, I’ll talk about one that I personally haven’t gotten: “rapid actions within the game itself.†Tell pally’s goodbye to vigor, they may just run themselves into a temp-ban! Maybe not, the first link explains: “Repeated use of a spell with no cast delay such as Amplify Damage or Glacial Spike.†I knew there was a reason I never put skills points in these spells. I mean, the company that created the game could ban me for using a skill they made too much! Ah, I should have know to put MY OWN cast delay on that spell. How foolish of me.

Lastly, the vendors. “Repeated requests for a new screen to see what you wish to gamble for,†and: “Going up and down a way point to refresh the screen in a shop.†Damn it, we should just see be satisfied with what they’re selling. Want to try and get a decent circlet? You’ll have to settle for these chain gloves! And Gheed is laughing all the way to the Lut Gholein. Is this what we all want?

So let’s review your puritan battle.net player that will never get banned. He/she:

1) doesn’t trade
2) doesn’t ‘mule’ items to other characters and their amazon will just have to use that cracked edge bow instead of that sweet Kuko Shakaku the paladin found
3) magic finds, but rather inefficiently because a) they have to wait another 8 minutes to kill Nightmare Andariel for their slightly slim-to-nothing odds of finding an SoJ and b) they can’t quite get their hands on the sweet Chance Guards their amazon gambled off of Gheed when she wanted a circlet instead
4) still gets a level 90 paladin because he/she can just click on ‘join game’ and pick any of the fifty games available to play with a bot that is running baal. (And they use Cleansing because the bot’s concentration is about 10 levels higher than their own and no one likes poison damage or decripify)
5) never, EVER dares to use the built in non-cast delayed spells and diligently adds a self-placed delay on the spell
6) makes Gheed a rich, rich man and buys anything he wants to scam them with

Maybe 4) isn’t fair. After all, the ladder has just reset and it takes programmers TWO WEEKS minimum to create a bot that will work baal and tell everyone the town portal to the throne of destruction is safe.

In any case, my question is this: Is this how you want people to play? Is this what you really pictured when you set up these thoroughly pointless, non-effective rules? Oh, but it gets worse. Let’s take a look what a common response is to temp-ban notifications in your technical support forums:

“1) Unfortunately, we cannot tell you the exact reason as to why you have been restricted, or the amount of time you'll be restricted. The only thing we can show it the list of reasons for restrictions and give you a timeframe. Please note that restrictions cannot be removed or shortened, the only solution is to wait it out. You can view the thread below for more information about restrictions:
(http://www.battle.net/forums/thread.aspx?FN=support&T=431351).

Now, there are different types of restrictions. First, there's the Realm Down message which only appears on Diablo2. This type of restriction lasts between 2 minutes and 12 hours. Next, there's the Temporary Restriction and the Extended Restriction. Temporary restrictions last anywhere from 2 minutes to 72 hours and Extended Restrictions last between 3 days and 2 weeks. If you would like to find out what type of restriction it is, send an e-mail to [email protected]. Please note, it will take an employee 2-3 business days to respond to you.â€

Let us go back to our puritan player. For some reason they slip up. They cast one too many glacial spikes and they get booted. What are they to do? Well, being a puritan player and reading the wonderful links Blizzard has given them, they decide to wait 3 days so they don’t extend their ban time. But after an hour they start fiending for some Diablo 2 and they can hear the voices of demon shamans in their head. So they fire an email off to Blizzard to find out how long their restriction is. The end result? They wait 3 days anyway because that’s when they get a response! Then one of two things result: they either play even more puritan than ever or they say EF BLIZZARD and never play again. And our puritan player gets the impression that Blizzard doesn’t really care about one customer who got temp-banned and never tried to log on for 3 days because of Blizzard’s own guidelines. After all, the puritan thinks, Blizzard always has WoW.

Let me bring everything to a closing. I would seriously recommend—even beg—you to put different banning rules in place so that you’re not penalizing (saying bans shouldn’t be looked at as a form of penalizing is just cushioning the blow with a rock pillow) the everyday guy or girl that plays Diablo 2. No one plays like your puritan player. NO ONE. For the most part, it is just the luck of the draw that some people get banned and some don’t, and this is, in my opinion, is not what a good company does to its customers. I should be able to play and trade and give items to my other players like everyone who has ever played Diablo 2 does without having to be locked out of my account for an indefinite amount of time rereading a link that doesn’t explain why I’m sitting here writing a letter while 50 bots are running Baal telling sorcs to use static plz or referring me to sites to buy duped items with my real money. Everyone should.

In the end, myself and other gamers just want to play the game you made without fear of being cut off by casting a few necro curses. I really don’t care about the bots and spammers—I can deal with them. If you really want to catch them you simply have to log on to Battle.Net because your automatic systems are not catching beans. Anyone with two eyes could fill lists of bot and spam accounts by sitting in a realm for five minutes. Hell, I’d even do it if you payed me too.

In conclusion, either send me a job offer or change these asinine measures you have in place.

Sincerely,

*fwing, USEAST
 

Sprut

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: A letter concerning battle.net banning measures

I agree 1000%. Blizzard don't give a flying **** about Diablo2, why should they? They got WoW and make 10 thousand billion million (gasillion?) dollars each month anyway. Battle.net as it is today is just not playable, the game we bought has a cover saying we can play on battle.net with it, thats just a lie, basically we've been scammed.

As you say Blizzard employees have probably never played Diablo2, it won't take more than a minute to find out how bad Battle.net is. Aaand the worst thing is that there are still bots/dupers/spammers and so forth. After patch and reset I played on bnet for 2days, then I quickly went to SP.

Blizzard failed, but as I see it, they don't even care a bit.
 

mackemradge

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: A letter concerning battle.net banning measures

Kudos, You have put into words what many, many players have to put up with.

I do not dupe, bot, pk or screw other players with dodgy trading.
I mule, trade, baal run and mf and am subject to the same banning rules as those who cheat and cheapen the game for all.

Blizzard need to change the policy, be more customer focussed and actually employ some moderators to sit on Battlenet and play the game, spotting and booting the bots, scammers and switch traders.

Good points well made m8, hope you get an official personal response.
:thumbup:
 

Thyiad

Moderator Single Player, D2 Assassin, Barbarian
Re: A letter concerning battle.net banning measures

This site is not an official Blizzard website and therefore cannot help you.

Try posting it on the Blizzard website forums or emailing it direct to them.
 

BrotherLantern

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: A letter concerning battle.net banning measures

I think you need to remember that battle.net is a free service. You should perhaps be grateful that it is there in the first instance. I could understand your grievances if you were paying for the privelage of playing. However, Blizzard are continuosly updating D2 (albeit not as often or as notably as some would like) and must by now be losing money on the man hours needed to keep it running, and keep it updated.

Maybe they will take heed of your letter, and fix and stay on top of all these issues, at the cost of a monthly subscription.

I'll gladly play for free inspite of some minor irritations, and be greatful that Blizzard are not charging us for playing a game that we enjoy.
 

Opeeq

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: A letter concerning battle.net banning measures

Heh if they'd start charging for D2 I'd SMASH MY CDs INTO PIECES

Then off to singleplayer -.-

I have my own method for not being tempbanned. When I leave a game and want to rejoin fast, I just count to 5 and do it. Just take it easy, relax while muling, and don't click too fast. Slow down your hand and you'll be fine :)

I know, it's the principle, and I couldn't agree more. If this letter changes anything for the good, it would be great, although I'm not so optimistic
 

GreenSunder

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: A letter concerning battle.net banning measures

I haven't played in a few years but decided to again after I heard of the ladder reset. Figured I'd get a fresh start along with everybody else. So yea, I'm pretty much a noob but I re-caught on from my old play days and built up a Hammerdin. Being the noob that I am I can't afford any good gear, so I was just doing countess runs with my tiny 5k damage. Took a while at first, but then I got it down to a science got a bunch of Hel runes and such and cubing everything up. Man, a few more days of this and I might get my HoZ or Shako. That would just be swell. Neat perhaps.

But this little noob got temp-banned for being to fast at the countess runs.
And if somebody as weak, and noobish as I can pull off these runs in obviously under 10minutes, the resctriction is completely unreasonable.

And as one of the posts above me said about how we should be grateful for Blizzard keeping battle.net operational I agree. But if their going to lose money on it, they might as well stop caring for it and just make all the muling, baal botting, maphacking, and everything in between legal as everybody does it, or takes advantage of it anyways (man those quick levels with a Baal Bot are great).


But oh well, just my 2-cents,


Sunder
 
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