SWTOR bans players for playing the game wrong

Users have been receiving temporary bans for “exploiting” Star Wars: The Old Republic, as confirmed by BioWare recently. The only trouble is, the players were not really breaking the game in anyway — they’ve only been doing what the game has allowed them to do.

The issue stems from players visiting Ilum below their character has reached Level 40, and opening boxes to find high level loot. If a player does this too many times (and I should point out in fairness that the banned parties do this a lot), they will get their account suspended for potentially damaging the game’s economy. 

“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,” said community manager Stephen Reid. “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.”

I find it hard to believe that any of this is the fault of the player, however. If a similar way to get high level loot existed in a single-player game, would it be classified as a damaging exploit, or simply a good money making method? Ultimately, the game itself is allowing this “exploit” to happen, with no cracking, breaking, or even bending required. You visit a planet, get gear, and make money. The containers aren’t even restricted by level — the most basic and obvious answer to this whole situation.

BioWare needs to fix that, rather than just ban anyone for the crime of doing what MMOs expect them to do — grind and loot.

Jim Sterling